By Matt Phillips
Youth isn’t always wasted on the young. Take the trio that forms Residual Kid — Deven Ivy, 15, Ben Redman, 14, and Max Redman, 13 — for example. The boys spend it with their ears bathed in stuttering guitar riffs and thunderous drums. Later this month, the teenage Austin rock band expands its growing buzz outside of the southwest with two shows at the 2013 Underground Music Showcase.
Formed in 2009 after Ben Redman met “this weird dude named Deven” at an Austin rock camp, Residual Kid has some very teenage-like plans for its future.
“I think just party and have fun,” said Ivy, who plays guitar and sings most of the time. “Go places and do things and talk to people and make noise…”
Before Ivy could finish his thought one of the Redman brothers interrupted him with “break the law.”
And that’s what’s in store for Denver at the end of the month when Residual Kid is staying up past respectable hours in bars on south Broadway.
Residual Kid will play twice at UMS — both times at bars they wouldn’t normally be allowed to enter legally. First, the band will play at 9 p.m. Thursday, July 18 at 3 Kings Tavern. Then Residual Kid will follow that with a 6 p.m. Sunday, July 21 show at the Hi-Dive.
So, what type of music interests guys who are just entering their teens, and why are people paying attention?
Residual Kid’s most recent EP, “Faces,” is a grungy throwback to ‘90s-era alternative rock. Sure, the band is young. But it’d be incorrect to label the tunes as kid stuff. These guys are serious musicians with important ideas about the work. The band played Austin’s Fun Fun Fun Fest in 2012 and shoulders a steady schedule of gigs.
Ben Redman, who plays drums, said right now Nirvana and My Bloody Valentine figure into the band’s listening habits. Those influences are reflected in “Faces.” The record is loud, raw and carries a steady groove thanks to Max Redman’s work on bass.
Residual Kid is in an interesting time-space. The members aren’t just sculpting their image and sound together — they’re developing musical affinities and artistic philosophies together too.
“I feel like our music tastes have really evolved together,” said Ivy, who also mentioned the New York No Wave Movement as an influence.
“We do listen to like a ton of music together,” he said. “I don’t know if we really talk about it more than we just, I don’t know, we skate to music and do everything we do to music really.”
Ivy’s teenage howl on “Lost Cause” — the last track off “Faces” — also appears to betray an angsty indictment of adulthood.
“I’ve been fighting for a lost cause,” he sings over a prolonged, screaming chord that morphs into a Green Day-ish riff.
The line could easily be written off as teenage heartthrob poetry, but that’s not what it is. It feels more like a lament for all those who have moved on, pushed unwillingly by time’s passage, into the obligatory redundancy that is adulthood.
Every teenager wants to scream bloody murder at the world, but Residual Kid is actually doing it.
Plans for a new album are tentative at best. Residual Kid — in customary teenage fashion — prefers to let whatever happens… happen.
Ben: “Yeah, we’re writing songs and talking about it and it’s probably going to happen soon.”
Deven: “But probably not.”
Residual Kid, though, will unleash some new songs on Denver at UMS and the band warned the audience to “bring safety goggles.”
“I really want to hit Denver in the face,” Ivy said. “In a good way.”
“With a guitar… or a cymbal,” Ben Redman added.
Matt Phillips is The Denver Post’s features intern and a new contributor to Reverb.