» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Hot Snakes
Suicide Invoice
Swami Records

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
Christ almighty, does no one remember the band Bluetip? To say that Hot Snakes sound like Bluetip would be a bit of a misnomer, but to say that they're equally as "WHO THE FUCK CARES?!?!" would be dead on. Yeah, okay, this is slick and spunky, well played and well produced, mixing the garage flavor of lube and rock with the contemporary technical flourishes and bombast that have helped to make And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead a staple on late night talk shows, but if you're still listening to Suicide Invoice with the starry-eyed interest most hipsters have shown this album by the time "Who Died" you need to seriously get out a bit more. Seriously.

I loved the beloved (yes, true) Pitchfork as much as anyone who was old enough to form politi-rock opinions in the post-Madonna world of the early 1990s, and I have no doubt that in the testosterone frenzy of the first Bush administration I would have been all over Suicide Invoice like a bikini salesman in Malibu. But the fact of the matter is that with a pedigree that consists of bloodlines from Rocket From the Crypt, Drive Like Jehu and The Delta 72 combined with the most potent of indie hype machines, the new album from Hot Snakes falls short of expectations. I hear the garage influences of west-coast surf classics in the title track and "Paid in Cigarettes", but all of these guys have been playing in the land of Brian Wilson for years, so that comes as no surprise, especially from a band with John Reis as a member. By the time "LAX" gallops from the opening to closing gates without so much as a blink (two speeds: go! and go faster!) my eyes are beginning to tear like I'm strapped to the nose of a V2 rocket, but it's almost twenty minutes into the album and I've already heard just about every lick and chord the fantabulous foursome can muster up, twice over.

Hot Snakes remind me of Bluetip in so many ways that it is scary - gross potential, pathetic realization of said potential, and continuous repetition of the same old tricks. Yeah, if I were barreling down the 101 in a Mustang Cobra with the T-Tops out and my mullet flowing in the wind I'd be creaming my flood-cuffed jeans over Suicide Invoice. But that just isn't the case right now, as I think I outgrew this album 5 years ago.

Don't get me wrong (please, don't) because there are moments- such as the fantastic "Unlisted" when Hot Snakes retain their trademark sound and mix it with an almost cinematic quality that renders the track the soundtrack to the summer. Hot Snakes blow Rocket From the Crypt out of the water, in my humble opinion, and they cast a serious shadow of doubt on The Delta 72 (the drumming is much more creative within the restraints of context on this album). But as early as the second time through this album, I'd swear that I've heard "Ben Gurion" at least a handful of times before. There are a certain group of people that this album was made for - namely guitar techs, car enthusiasts, tattoo artists and those who think Drive Like Jehu is one of the greatest bands of our generation - but outside of that niche, this is just another, west-coast version of Bluetip.

Reviewed by Clifton Gates
Currently sleeping on beaches in Costa Rica, Clifton Gates is an occasional contributor, editor, idea springboard and moral crutch to LAS magazine.

See other reviews by Clifton Gates



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