E Is for Exbats

The Exbats

E Is for Exbats album art
Alternative/Indie Rock Garage Punk Pop Punk
Some people feel the need to censor themselves or tone down certain sides of their personality when they're spending time with their parents, but such things don't appear to trouble Inez McLain. She sings lead and plays drums in the band the Exbats, and their guitar player just so happens to be her father, Ken McLain. Despite having her dad standing just feet away from her on-stage, Inez sounds utterly delighted to belt out lyrics like "I wanna f*ck Mr. Bucky, and you do too!," "I swear I'm gonna kill your boyfriend, and maybe kill your daddy too!," and "I got guns, I got knives, I got fire and unlimited lives!" That said, Mr. McLain doesn't sound like he needs to worry much -- Inez is about as charming a punk rock gal as has come down the road in some time, and there's a gleeful playfulness in her delivery that makes even her strongest statements seem funny and semi-sweet, while her drumming is pretty solid to boot. (Besides, if anyone should worry, it's Ken's spouse, judging from the eye-rolling snark of "Everybody Loves My Mom.") The Exbats have released two albums on cassette and digital formats: 2016's A Guide to the Health Issues Affecting Rescue Hens and 2018's I Got the Hots for Charlie Watts. E Is for Exbats is a collection that pulls 14 songs from those releases and makes them available on vinyl for the first time -- and if there's a band that deserves preservation on LP, it's the Exbats. This combo (which usually features just Inez and Ken, with Matt Rendon sometimes sitting in on bass) isn't exactly blazing new trails with their stripped-down and simple take on first-era punk rock, but there's a fire and sense of fun in their music that's all but impossible not to love. The songs in this collection are good sugar-rush fun while sometimes showing off a big portion of heart and soul on tunes like "Maximum of Happy" and "Hercules." As family groups go, the Exbats are funnier than Oasis, cooler than Donny & Marie, and they rock better than either of them. If you're looking for a way into their catalog, E Is for Exbats is an excellent place to start. Share it with your folks! ~ Mark Deming