Sizzling Snakes started as a aspect venture, however you possibly can simply as simply body the band as John Reis getting again on his bullshit. Reis, a punk-rock lifer from San Diego, had skilled the best success of his profession fronting the soulful, brass-blasted rock ‘n’ roll band Rocket From The Crypt all through the ’90s. RFTC have been comparatively accessible as punk bands go; they weren’t poppy to a Inexperienced Day extent, however due to their free, playful tackle storage rock — and possibly particularly due to that horn part — they have been primed to explode in a means none of this man’s different bands ever have, particularly as soon as punk, ska, and swing went mainstream halfway by means of the last decade. At my center college they have been “opened for Foo Fighters” well-known.
However Reis had a background in darker, extra aggressive strains of punk. As a young person within the ’80s he performed within the post-hardcore band Pitchfork with singer Rick Froberg, placing a West Coast spin on melodic hardcore bands like Squirrel Bait and the dissonant experiments of Sonic Youth and Mission Of Burma. When that band resulted in 1990, he concurrently launched RFTC and Drive Like Jehu, a brand new collaboration with Froberg that saved pushing the outdated Pitchfork sound into gnarlier, rangier territory. Within the early ’90s, Drive Like Jehu carved out an aesthetic that helped to outline emo and math-rock however, in distinction to the daintiness generally connoted by these style tags, by no means ceased to sound brutal. Though Reis acquired Jehu signed to Interscope together with Rocket For The Crypt for the discharge of 1994’s Yank Crime, the previous band quickly glided by the wayside because the latter’s recognition exploded within the latter half of the last decade.
Regardless of that surge, RFTC discovered themselves dropped by Interscope and on hiatus in 1999, at which level Reis determined to lean again into his nastier aspect. This impulse begat Sizzling Snakes, a reunion with Froberg that streamlined their outdated post-hardcore sound into one thing burlier and extra direct, knowledgeable by ’60s storage rock just like the Sonics and the sweeping punk epics of the Wipers. With Reis wrangling his guitar riffs into tight, jagged outbursts and Froberg angrily howling out entrance, the band debuted with 2000’s Automated Midnight, the primary launch on Reis’ new label Swami Data. That’s a rad file, however Sizzling Snakes correctly kicked into gear with their sophomore LP, launched 20 years in the past this Saturday.
Suicide Bill is without doubt one of the hardest storage rock information you’ll ever encounter. It makes anger and cynicism sound like a lot enjoyable. It makes me need to begin a fistfight in a mosh pit after which one other fistfight with my ambulance driver. For simply over half an hour, it makes aggro, workmanlike, minor-key guitar rock really feel like not solely the very best music on the planet however the solely music on the planet. It’s proof that even probably the most delinquent, abrasive, black-comedic songs could be common into anthems. Sizzling Snakes have been so sizzling right now, in truth, that there’s hardly a observe amongst these 12 that doesn’t really feel anthemic. Behold the perfection of the shape.
The band units the tone immediately with the pounding, discordant “I Hate The Children,” a music so contagious in its contempt for youthful generations that it has turn into a mainstay of this web site’s remark part. “No person does something fallacious!” Froberg shouts in jest. “No person is a dilettante!” Sizzling Snakes flip the darkish humor inward on “Gar Forgets His Insulin,” a fantasy in regards to the downfall of bassist Gar Wooden that put this group in keeping with the equally scathing Mclusky, ragged forebears the Replacements, and, I assume, juvenile pranksters like blink-182, who Jehu drummer Mark Trombino famously produced as a part of his profession pivot to big-bucks mall-punk. From there, Froberg continues to fixate on morbid disgust and frustration, constantly transmuting irate yelling into hooks — and infrequently, as on penultimate stunner “Unlisted,” pivoting to precise melody with out shedding his chunk.
That music is without doubt one of the many on which Reis and Froberg present out, weaving tangled webs of low-end guitar and resolving them into densely harmonic chord riffs. The spindly virtuoso taking part in on “Suicide Bill” is much less overtly poppy however no much less magnetic, riffs crammed into each pocket of free area with out ever sounding noodly or overbearing. They knew when to maintain it easy, too, just like the bluesy choogle on “Why Does It Damage” that splits the distinction between Black Flag and the Cramps. Behind all of the guitar fireworks, drummer Jason Kourkounis, then of the Delta 72 and shortly to depart for Burning Brides, thwacks the shit out of his toms and snare but brings a nimble contact to tracks just like the organ-infused “Paid In Cigarettes” when wanted. Not that any of those songs keep reined in for lengthy; the jet propulsion Froberg hollers about on “LAX” may simply as simply consult with the best way Sizzling Snakes obtain liftoff time and again.
The band cranked out another album, 2004’s Audit In Progress, earlier than breaking apart because the members pursued one other wave of initiatives just like the Sultans (based concurrently with Sizzling Snakes), Obits, and the Night time Marchers. Sizzling Snakes acquired again collectively in 2011-2012 for some high-profile exhibits and once more for a reunion album referred to as Jericho Sirens in 2017-2018. Reis continues to type new bands to today, most just lately Plosivs with Pinback’s Rob Crow. He even launched his first official solo album as Swami John Reis this yr. The universe of associated initiatives is huge. However for me, all of it revolves round Suicide Bill, the vicious, adrenalized, bitterly humorous pinnacle of this crew’s profession.