Ah, Kim Phuc. Pittsburgh’s own somewhere-between-punk-and-hardcore export that decided to call it a day in 2012 after a handful of singles and one unfuckwithable LP. “Wormwood Star” b/w “Freak Out the Squares” is one of those singles and, for what it’s worth, it’s my favorite of the bunch.
The A-side is built around a bizarro-world Stooges riff before stomping on the breaks for a sludgy bridge, slowly building momentum back up all the way through the end. It’s a great song, and an extended version of it would eventually close out the band’s Copsucker LP. But the real highlight here is “Freak Out the Squares”.
The short intro that leads off the B-side isn’t too far removed from “Wormwood Star”. At 1:15, though, things come to an abrupt halt and, “Hoo-ah!”, we’re off. The next two minutes are a sprint to the finish line. It seems like everybody on record is competing to see who can burn through their parts the fastest. I’d argue it’s one of the best entries into Kim Phuc’s short albeit efficiently fantastic catalog.
You might be hard pressed to actually find a physical copy of “Wormwood Star”, or any other KP singles for that matter. I’d recommend hitting up Mind Cure and crossing your fingers. The band is long gone now, so no more wandering into Gooskis to watch them tear through a dozen songs in under a half hour. If you do get your hands on anything Phuc-related, be glad that you’ve got an artifact from one of the better groups to come out of Pittsburgh in the past decade.