Reasons I love Pretty Handsome Awkward: 1) the percussive guitars and roaring drums and 2) it sounds like one-half of every rage-fueled break-up conversation ever, the one you probably shouldn’t have with the actual person you are leaving / has left you because you might sound a tiny bit unhinged, but good lord does it ever feel good to vent your spleen.
As it happens I heard it for the first time in the aftermath of a split. I wasn’t angry so much as numb, overwhelmed, and directionless, and in many ways it was like a big blinking arrow that said When In Doubt, Follow The Sound of the Electric Guitar. Not long afterward I fell face-first (back) into rock and roll and, well, suffice it to say, I feel a lot better now.
The Used have been a band since 2001; Pretty Handsome Awkward is from their third record, Lies for the Liars, released in 2007. They are currently label-less, but still working on their fifth record, which may possibly be out later this year.
Other things to know: Pretty Handsome Awkward coincided with singer Bert McCracken’s blond period, and when he is blond, he looks startlingly like Kurt Cobain. It can be a little bit dislocating, so, you know, brace yourselves. Also, embedding is (again) maddeningly forbidden, but you can watch it here.
Alternatively, you can watch this one for Empty with You, which is from their last record, Artwork, released in 2009. The guitars are just as killer, and McCracken looks like himself again!