Archive for the ‘Serum’ Category


Posted: November 19, 2014 by Soda in Los Angeles, Serum

One of the main things I wanted to achieve with this blog was exposing people to different bands/artists that might not have ever been heard of, while at the same time, being able to tackle acts that, well, everyone may know. I want to romanticize newer records and older records just the same, as that’s how I often feel about music in general, just really attached to it like a love affair. For the most part since I started these musings I’ve stayed mostly current, so I’m going to take the opportunity for this installment to talk about a record from 2001 by a band called Serum.

In all honesty, I don’t know so much about this band; back in ‘01 I was given a promo of their self-titled debut. It was a one sheet promo with no information inside about the group or members, etc. The only information was on the back cover which basically addressed the production and the label they were on, Brick Red Records, which I was actually familiar with because I was into another artist from this imprint called Math & Science, which is a total opposite sounding performer in relation to Serum. And really, I’m not quite sure if this CD was ever properly released as I’ve only ever seen promos.

Anyway, I took the record home and obviously liked it enough to add it to my collection. It really wasn’t until a few years ago that I revisited it and got heavily into them and this great, lost recording. By this point, they were done, their site was defunct and well…it’s been hard to dig up much about them at all.

It’s a drag how so many awesome bands never get found out; luckily I keep my nose heavily to the underground and often make great discoveries. Not sure how big they were back in 2001 or so in Los Angeles from which they hailed from. I imagine it was hard for them to really find their niche in the Alternative/Rock world given the sound they so perfectly projected which was somewhat borderline Psychedelic Classic Rock while maintaining an Alt Rock vibe.

Serum gave us an 11 track self-titled record that almost at times sounds like a glorified demo. It’s raw and under produced, but I mean that in the fondest of ways. There is a charm and subtlety here that was captured and put down onto tape in such a gracious fashion. The whole album sounds like it was done through old combo amps and vintage everything. Singer Erwin Herceg’s voice and delivery channels both Shannon Hoon and Janis Joplin fondly as he sings “Through love I learned to fear, through fear I learned to hate, through hate I learned to love, all over…all over again,” in one of the many stand out tracks, “Bleed”. His whole vocal performance on the album is delivered in such gravelly soul that it kinda warms your heart. Erwin’s approach is both tender, and humble.

Serum Album Cover

Serum Album Cover

Back to the whole psychedelic vibe, another true champion of a song, “Rocket Scientist” gives us one of the best gang vocal hooks I’ve heard in the past 15 years, “Take me to that magic place where mosquitoes sing and the ants all dance, and all the fish walk around with a smile. Where the sky is green and the grass is blue and you don’t have to take off your shoes just to sit, and talk for a while.” A fun and jangly piece which again is delivered in such an endearing fashion by the entire band, you really get the idea that they were completely content with the musical offerings on this album; it’s not showy or overly complex and therein lies the appeal.

An interesting tidbit about this LP is the secret track titled for the bands namesake, “Serum”. It’s probably the best sounding and most polished song on the whole record. Could be they finished the album and threw this on last minute, cutting it at a different studio with a different producer or engineer, who knows, it’s almost puzzling but it’s just so damn sweet and leaves you so grateful for another song, indeed craving a second album.

Although I was unable to dig up much about Serum online I did find that two of the members, Singer Erwin Herceg and instrumentalist Dino Malito had gone on to collaborate on a project called Captain Black Heart (not even sure if this partnership is still active) in which I still need to dive into and am excited to do so as more music from these guys is a joyful thought.

So, if your interest is peaked, hop onto Amazon and grab a super cheap copy of the Serum record and treat your ears.