While South Jersey post-emo rockers Ditz had a relatively quiet 2020, they seem poised to take 2021 by storm. They’re starting the year off right with the Programmed to Suck EP which dropped this Sunday. The two song EP dropped along with some new sweatshirts, t shirts, and a run of cassettes that will feature Programmed to Suck on one side and on the other side will include their 2017 EP Same, Same along with two 2018 loosies “Big Bug” and “Crudweiser”. I had the chance to see Ditz play in Tom’s River with Caveart, Origami Angel, and Cheem back a century ago in December 2019 and I’ve had “Crudweiser” stuck in my head since, its an anthem for the house party/basement show kids who feel equal parts appreciation for their friends and a deep longing to get up out of New Jersey. They absolutely rocked the Clubhouse that night and sounded like a band whose crowds would steadily be growing with every show they did.
The two songs on Programmed to Suck make for a good introduction to Ditz for new fans as they highlight a little bit of everything the band does so well. Todd Hoisington’s voice is as dynamic as the tracks call for, starting off “Cockroach” in a full throated scream before letting the gang come in for a calming harmony. He later warbles through the track, or should I say traAaAaAaAack, using his voice like an instrument in a way I hadn’t heard in quite some time. Their guitar work is tight and twinkly throughout, speeding up and slowing down and speeding up again with Todd and Johnny Napoline providing some dueling complimentary riffs. However it’s truly Luke Chizek’s precise and steady drumming that keeps the band together as they rocket back and forth. The two tracks roll into one another seamlessly with “Birdbrain” picking up with the manic energy that “Cockroach” had left it off with. Ditz have the same laissez-faire attitude to song structure that Connecticut DIY greats Queen Moo have. You never know what might be around the corner; Massive anthemic screams can drop down to a quiet crawl that can slowly pick back up speed and ferocity. However the tracks feel cohesive even with their multitude of movements and changes, things never feel too chaotic as Ditz is always clearly in complete control. Both songs are a tad remorseful, with Todd singing about spilling a beer on and thus making a fool of himself in both tracks. “Cockroach” is a bit more introspective, with Todd wishing he could learn to love himself and his friends despite their collective shortcomings. On “Birdbrain” he rather seems to just be lamenting when times were simpler including the most memorable line of the whole EP, “I miss being thirteen writing shitty hardcore songs in your parent’s basement.”
These two songs were originally recorded for a split that unfortunately wasn’t meant to be but I couldn’t be happier that the band pushed through and released them on their own. They fit incredibly well together, working as one long song with a two second intermission. While they were quiet last year, Ditz spent all of 2017 through 2019 building a loyal following in South Jersey, rocking every basement that would have them and releasing a string of solid EPs that quickly made them local favorites. On Programmed to Suck the band feels like they are in total command of their powers and seem poised to take the national virtual emo world by storm. Hopefully this EP is just a tasty little appetizer for more music on the horizon.