Taking Meds - Dial M For Meds


Punk’s most stubborn band is finally ready to play nice. Well, not quite. But Taking Meds have written one of the best and most welcoming guitar albums of the year, without sanding off all of the edges that makes this obstinately singular band so compelling in the first place. If you’ve ever felt like a total outsider in a room of people who share your interests, a weirdo in a subculture that’s supposed to harbor the weirdos, or maybe you just really love loud guitars and big choruses–you need to hear Dial M For Meds.

Taking Meds have staunchly been themselves since forming in 2013. Starting out as a twisting and technical amalgamation of mathy emo (Braid, Faraquet) and the most head-scratching signings of the ‘90s rock boom (Chavez, Jawbox, Polvo), the New York-based group often found themselves in unconventional positions like: The Poppy Band At The Hardcore Show, The Aggressive Band At The Pop Punk Show, The Shredder Band That Isn’t Metal–or most simply, The Uncategorizable Band. “We were coming out of being in [our previous band] Such Gold, and we were writing these weird sort of emo-tinged indie rock songs,” vocalist/guitarist Skylar Sarkis explains. “There wasn’t a lot of intention in it yet. I was so excited to have this new outlet, but I was also living in New York City, with a full time job, having problems with alcoholism and drug addiction, and falling into a bit of an identity crisis.” The band released their 2016 debut, My Life As A Bro, and slowly but surely Sarkis and Taking Meds began to change course. “I was miserable because I wasn’t doing more with music, so by the summer of 2017 I decided I was gonna quit my job and get sober,” Sarkis says. “I quit the job but didn’t get sober…first I burned through my savings and then a couple credit cards, but eventually I did get sober and we started touring more.” 2019 saw the release of their aggressive sophomore LP, I Hate Me, and the group’s reputation for imaginative riffs and Sarkis’ cuttingly sardonic lyrics began to grow.

In 2021, in the midst of the pandemic, Taking Meds released Terrible News For Wonderful Men, a more tuneful record that firmly cemented them as a cult favorite, an If You Know, You Know Band. “That record was a bit of a shift for us,” says Sarkis. “It made me realize I wanted to try and invite more people to the band and hone in on what I think is our strong suit: having really accessible melodies over not very traditional chord progressions. I think we’ve always been really confident in our technical abilities and now we’re just as confident in the more classic songwriting sense and want to really highlight that with the new record.” The result is Dial M For Meds, a Taking Meds album that manages to be instantly catchy and accessible while still having the teeth and eccentricity that longtime fans have come to expect. “My whole life I’ve been thinking I need to be the guy who says he doesn’t give a shit about what anyone thinks and only makes music for himself, but of course I want people to like it,” Sarkis admits. “Actually connecting with people is a huge part of why I’m attracted to making music. I do give a shit.”

Recorded with producer/engineer Kurt Ballou (The Armed, Joyce Manor, Code Orange), Dial M For Meds finds Sarkis, guitarist Ben Kotin, drummer Noah Linn, and bassist James Palko stuffing every song to the brim with enough earworm melodies to make Bob Mould and Evan Dando proud. The ten tracks are crisp and direct but also pack a punch, and Kotin’s inventive leads are sure to intrigue anyone looking for a new guitar hero. And through it all, Sarkis delivers cynical, hilarious, and deeply human commentary on spending your adulthood in a fickle subculture where you’re chasing the often intangible high of creative pursuits.

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