Friday, February 18, 2011
Lost My Mind
Left Lane Cruiser have a new record out, Junkyard Speed Ball. You need to own it, and we'll tell you why below.
Have we mentioned Deep Blues Fest 2011? Oh, we have? Well, get used to it. 'Cuz we've got much more to say, and we expect each and every one of you to make the trek. We'll give you some free shit. How can you refuse? Oh, and Left Lane Cruiser are gonna be one of the headliners. And, of course, we interviewed Left Lane Cruiser awhile back. Check it out before reading further, if you're so inclined.
But we're here to talk about the new record, which is a filthy sounding slab of corn-punk blues, a rhythmic and greasy scrap heap of groove and buckshot barrel loaded raceway boogie. Junkyard Speedball kicks off with "Lost My Mind"... a wheezed out dust blown harmonica, gasping for air over drummer Brenn "Sausage Paw" Beck's insistent kick drum. 11 seconds of that and then guitarist/vocalist Freddy J IV blows the whole moonshine still to shit heaven with the nastiest henpeck slide geetar, rollicking ferociously down the burnt-out twisted backroads, Beck's drums suddenly in a martial manic frenzy. Freddy J IV's vocals come blasting in, a wilderness soul howl and quake, the last prophet, voice seared in rye and chaff. The song is a pounding raver, slink-shimmied and sleaze sliding. Most bands couldn't match this over an entire record, and this is just the first song.
Mostly, Left Lane Cruiser is a two-piece, which works brilliantly for them. But on this record, they're joined on four songs by the very Reverend James Leg (of the equally essential Black Diamond Heavies) and his prodigious Fender Rhodes keys. "Cracker Barrel" is the raver amongst his contributions. Of the other three, "Pig Farm" is the late night regret song, "Hip-Hop" is the deep funk epic, a mix of loping dirty beat, fuzzed guitar, and 70's night shift piano workout, and "Giving Tree" is the masterpiece.
"Giving Tree" is the lowest of low down groove, a dirty diamond of rough, aching, swirling James Leg keys back-dropped by muted and fuzzed slide shimmer guitar. A voice, still growled in pure soul underneath, wounded and in love, lost and rambled, fighting through the sonic din. It's a stunner of a song, and nothing like we've heard before by these cats. A revelation.
The rest of the record is high point, followed by high point, nasty (again) and loud, driving and slathered butter'n'pork rawk. Themes appear...the road ("Road Again"), as befits their name, and food ("Cracker Barrel", "Pig Farm", "At The Denny's"). That the sheer sonicness of their sound can be fed through an AM radio dial in your '72 Chevy Nova or slapped down on yr turntable when you want yr latest house rent party to get sweaty is a given. That they've fed the Blues through a blender and come up spittin' nails on the other side is a given. That what they do to the guitar and drums aesthetic is probably illegal in most states is a given. That Freddy J IV's vocals are a shattered glass yowl of stomped larynx glory is also, and again, a given. But what's missed most, and what is most important, is that Left Lane Cruiser is a Soul band. As informed by Mississippi, they've got a little Memphis in 'em as well. And, of course, as befits the name, a thousand or more miles of gravel in the headlights and in the rearview mirror.
Junkyard Speedball is the record. Left Lane Cruiser is the band. We can't recommend 'em highly enough.
Left Lane Cruiser: The Giving Tree (mp3)
Left Lane Cruiser is gonna be here in Chicago on March 12th, at Morseland. If yr in the area, come check 'em out, and say howdy. We'll be there, supporting independent bands, locales and ideals.