Bad Optics announce ‘Pax Americana,’ release single “Turnscrews”

Bad Optics’ ‘Pax Americana’ (cover design by Jacob Kaiser)

Bad Optics has been biding their time, recording and then re-recording their debut full length after a lineup shakeup and then the pandemic, during which they performed a few live streams and then began playing live again as venues slowly opened up. They used the downtime wisely, honing a new sound that in no small part comes from the contributions of Bad Optics’ new band members. Bad Optics is finally ready to reveal their new sonics to the world via Pax Americana, which releases on January 21, 2022. Seattle Music Insider is proud to announce the lead single and video off the album, Turnscrews.”

“Turnscrews” is an angular and angry song, one that portends what Pax Americana is all about. The guitars of J. Hidell and Max Stephens are prickly, and Hidell’s vocals alternately drip with acid and hit like hammers. It’s the rhythm section that provides a thread to follow. Joshua Ihler’s drums are herky-jerky yet consistent, and Stephanie Jones’ bass curls around, snake-like, weaving it all together. The lyrics contain a lone dose of humor in the chorus, quoting Mindless Self Indulgence’s “Shut Me Up,” with Ihler singing “the bass, the rock, the mic, the treble.” But it fits, weirdly, with “Turnscrews'” rant against capitalism, “a cycle designed for those who are in the know.”

The video for “Turnscrews,” directed by the band and edited by Ihler, serves to further illustrate this message, as a faceless office worker is harried to his wits’ end by Bad Optics (literally faceless). He finally ends his tenure in total frustration and the band members destroy his desk, but he and the desk are summarily replaced with a new worker and fresh furniture; undoubtedly he will suffer the same fate as the previous sad sack. The “Hang In There!” kitten desk photo adds a wry touch.

Bad Optics is performing a show on January 21, 2022 at The Clockout Lounge to coincide with the release of Pax Americana with support from Black Ends and Actionesse. We hope that you understand that this is a screaming lineup of bands, and that this fact combined with the fact that there is divine deep-dish pizza at The Clockout makes for a very compelling reason to grab tickets ahead of time. You can purchase them here.

Watch “Turnscrews” below:

Christine Mitchell has been poring over album liner notes pretty much since she acquired the skill of reading, and figured out the basic structure of rock songs at an early age. Whether it’s the needle popping into the first groove of the record, the beeps that signal the beginning (or end) of a cassette tape, or digital numbers ticking off the seconds from zero, music brings Christine happiness, ponderous thought, opportunities for almost scientific study, and sometimes a few tears. When she started attending live shows two decades ago, a whole new piece of the puzzle clicked in and she has been hooked ever since.