When I posted a picture on Instagram inviting bands to sendme some music, I got plenty of “likes” from plenty of bands. However, as usual it was lots of people fishing for follows rather than having the balls to say, “yeah here’s my music listen and write about it”.
That is, apart from Slumlord Radio. What they didn’t know was I’d previously checked out a video of them on YouTube and really enjoyed it, so was very pleased when they came knocking with an album for me to listen to.
Who are they?
Slumlord Radio are made up of Tommy “Capt. Hollywood” Erickson on vocals and guitar, Matt “Rattlesnake” Claucherty on drums and Mike “Ace” Todd on bass and hail from Grand Rapids Michigan.
They blend various styles from hard rock, grunge, metal and stoner with a sprinkling of some pop hooks for added audible pleasure.
The vocal delivery is at times Cobain-esque with the addition of some happy gas and a more positive outlook on life. There is plenty of vocal input from the bassist with lots of chant style choruses that will envoke audience and in my case listener participation.
As a band they are musically astute throughout. Although there is a comedy element within the bands’ output, they clearly take their playing very seriously and thusly produce some great musical moments.
The Album – Too Pretty for Tijuana
The intro to the album really sets the tone with the first of three insights from the albums Cowboy narrator! This is going to be fun.
First up, the single “Bullwhip”. The genius thing about this song is the mixture of the poppy hooks and tunefulness musically, that leads into an out and out heavy riff driven musical interlude. It’s a mixture that transcends genre’s, but in a way that works (let’s face it, it doesn’t usually work). Plus the video is balls out fun!
Debonaire Dolomite, has a stoner riffing lead guitar line. It plods along nicely while informing us “hustling is harder than it looks, gotta know how to cook the books”. An important lesson to all aspiring business entrepreneurs!
Southpaw with it’s intro that feels like you’ve been left in the desert, licking sand, breaks into a foot thumping, head banging stormer. It’s driving force is the brilliant drum work, which is hard hitting and takes many different twists and turns. The solo and breakdown just top off this brilliant track.
Choke 66 has one of the most infectious riffs I’ve heard in a while. I keep finding myself tapping my foot and doing my rendition of it. It sounds great to me but I’ve been getting funny looks while in the supermarket looking at vegetables, especially as reproducing it requires a lot of tongue work.
This leads into the faster paced and brilliant Fort Knox. Full of great riffs and energy throughout, only slowing down briefly to let you catch you breath before starting up again. A great close before the proclamations of moistness from our Cowboy narrator. And I have to agree with him!
This is an extremely strong release throughout with such a great mix of styles executed brilliantly. Slumlord Radio are deserving of more attention and coverage. In a rock world where massive bands are getting away with recording the same songs over and over and getting hailed as genius (I’m looking at you Foo’s and Chilli Peppers) here is a band blending styles successfully, writing good music and having a laugh with us all while doing it.
This album is available, along with their entire back catalogue, from bandcamp, and you can NAME YOUR PRICE, so I’d suggest you get along and download the lot, put it on, drink some beer and have a party (naming a price if you can).