Dirty grooves from Michigan, that prove, as Kid Rock once (nearly) said: “it ain’t bragging if you back it up”
Here’s a top tip for ya. If you want your band to be considered for review on MVM, this isn’t a bad way to go about it. A couple of weeks ago, an email arrived with us, from a chap called Tommy, amongst other things it said this: “Our band is called Slumlord Radio we are a dirty gnarly, action band from Michigan. We released a new album entitled “Too Pretty For Tijuana”, it’s loud, rowdy, and sweet enough to make even the late great Lemmy crack a smile.”
That’s a start, then to guarantee a review you could actually back it up by meaning every word.
Let’s cut to the chase, the eight tracks on “…..Tijuana” (six if you don’t count the intro and outro) are absolutely superb. They swing huge hay makers, they groove in mighty ways, they grind like lives depend on it, they annoy the neighbours and at the same time delight everyone who still likes to pretend they are in the Sons Of Anarchy when in fact they are sipping their Cocoa and hoping for an early night.
Certainly there’s the feel of a biker gang about “Bullwhip” – with its key line of “if you started a cult I’d be the first to join”. It’s like all those great underground bands that mixed rock and punk, back in the early 1990s when we were all supposed to like grunge but some of us thought it was dull.
There’s another important lyric contained in the opening track, “things seem worse than ever” growls the aforementioned Tommy, “but that’s ok, they’re just as bad as they’ve always been….” and once you’ve taken onboard the very reasonable point that the more things change, the more they stay the same (as Cinderella once said) then surely you just get on with making the best of it – and in that case you might as well as make this your soundtrack.
“Debonair Dolomite” gets bonus points for its Clutch-isms and for including a cowbell in its mix and even more for taking a superb left turn in the middle. “Southpaw” does the same, as if to say these boys don’t want to be cast any more as the last outlaws in town, and it becomes a proper stoner rock slammer for seven minutes – and given that SR write lyrics rather unlike anyone else’s, we shouldn’t be surprised that during its course we are hitting people with two by fours and singing along to the idea that it doesn’t matter if you win, just that the other person loses more.
Clearly attention span isn’t something that Slumlord Radio are too fused about, as “Tycoon” rattles along like The Shrine, and there’s more doomy feel to “Choke 66”, while something primal is at work in “Fort Knox”.
It’s possible that there’s been bad music from Michigan, although Lord knows when. This most definitely lived up the star billing from their home state. Slumlord Radio, as the name suggests, are the filthy underbelly, but they do something thrilling. Tune in and enjoy the ride.