YOU WON'T LIKE IT...CUZ IT'S ROCK 'N' ROLL - The Hard Feelings (Dropkick/Beerland)
Everyone has a cousin like The Hard Feelings. You know the type. An annoying, farting drunk who turns up - univited - at Christmas and birthdays. He doesn't bring a present, but he drinks your fridge dry, naturally neglecting to bring his own alcohol, before starting on the top shelf bourbon. His munchies attack depletes your food stocks. His ineptness fucks up your stereo. Not content with ashing on your carpet, he drifts off into a stupor (snoring loudly) and his cigarette burns holes in the leather lounge. An hour later - having pissed his pants - he awakens to insult all your friends before disappearing into the night, taking your 1978 grand final souvenir cap for good measure. His vomit on the front steps attracts the neighborhood dog. His departure involves your letterbox going too...
The Hard Feelings hail from Austin, Texas, and the similarity with your drunken cousin is that you can't ignore either of them. This is rootsy, raucous and rough rock 'n' roll of a considerably high order - the sort of shit they should play on the radio, wherever you are, but you know damn well they never will. Soaked in gin and dogshit and god-knows-whatever-else, this is blustery, rocking blues with a punk edge - and don't we need more of that sort of shit?
The Hard Feelings are testament to the over-driven guitar of John Schooley (ex-Revelators, RL Burnside) who provides vision and voice, the kick-the-door-down work of Trey Robles behind the traps and the in-your-face bass of Willie Camero. Like your piss-soaked cousin's out-of-it antics, The Hard Feelings are impossible to ignore. This disc has been sitting in the car player for some time, demanding persistent re-visiting for a couple of months. It's really grown on me.
Dip into the barrel and feel the rock: "Half in the Morning" reeks of chicken-plucking blues harp and slide guitar that'll make you feel good. "Mule Train Stomp" (you know it) carves up the old standard in a way that'll delight. "Swagger" out-Tatts Rose Tattoo with Wellsian slide. The treacle-thick guitar on "Out of My Way" is your cousin in gumboots on your shagpile carpet - and it's not mud on dem boots. The sparse but building wail of "Societal Dropout Blues" is almost a relief.
The Reverend Wayne Coomers (Head Preacher at the First Church of Holy Rock and Roll and author of the liner notes) reckons this is one of the last real rock records around. Hell, he might just be right. This is Guitar Wolf with songs, Chuck Berry with vomit on his chin and Link Wray without the ponytail. Pleased to meet you, cuzz, drop by anytime. - The Barman
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