I remember the first time I was in LA, around 1989, as a teenage fan of the LA scene I had to see all of icons of the time: The Whiskey, Hollywood and Vine, the Capitol Records tower, Mann Chinese Theater and have lunch with my brother at Hard Rock Café. The decadence! At the height of the era, Hollywood was the mecca, and getting ‘signed’ was the ultimate goal of every musician hopping off that bus with guitar in hand. And why not; with the population of the state of California the same size as Canada, you have a massive market without having to go too far. It was the Scarface era of rock music! Big hair, spandex pants, it was hard to tell the sexes apart, and at times, with the saturation of the genre, it was hard to tell bands apart from each other as they all drank the known formula to success. Thank god those days are over…
Enter Chop Suzy, a post hair-band-apocalypse phoenix that shakes the over commercialism that still makes Hollywood stink to this day and hits you in the face with pure awesomeness. I don’t care how ‘Jack Black’ I sound, but it is refreshing. At Neocanta, we’ve tried to carve our niche with an indie focus, and we get a lot of interpretations of ‘indie’ that is pure boredom on a plate. You won’t find that with Chop Suzy, I promise you that. It’s been stuck in my car CD player and since my car died it’s been stuck in my short list rotation for home blasting, I love it that much. It’s a well-produced, well written, well performed album that balances enough nods to pay respect to past genres like stoner and rockabilly and yet finds its own corner to be in and stand practically alone. Running along the same wires as old Monster Magnet, a sprinkle of The Doors, and a light a candle or two in your shrine to La Muerte, hang some fuzzy dice on your rear view, put an 8 ball on that shifter in your coupe and crank it up, the album is the perfect soundtrack for your hot summer night party, a road trip, or battling the zombies of mainstream radio.
From the first drum hits of the anthem “The Master”, the quarter mile drag of “Can’t Catch Me”, to the rockabilly driver of “Cheyne Stokes”, the first quarter of the album pulls you, hands you a stiff drink, and welcomes you to an underground party. I love the guitar through the speakers hitters of “The Gift” and “Death March”, and the haunt of “Nigel” takes you to a voodoo backwoods swamp vampire groove that Anne Rice would be proud of. The open road “Diamond Kitty” reminds you that the joy is in the journey, not the destination. “Cinderella” the song shows up with her sleeved tattoos, sun dress and green docs attitude, and keeps pounding with a space warp “Cyclops Pig”, to the milkshake & bourbon “Woulda Coulda Shoulda”. Did those last three just happen, or was that my last date….?? Music should do that to you, and rarely these days does it, but it should take a life of its own and let the listener see the colours of the music and weave the story for themselves. Chop Suzy never force feeds anything down your throat, other than that urge to move your head or tap your foot which naturally happens with good music. Like “A Love Song”, reminds me of the tapestry of Screaming Trees, with the punching walk of the bass and the glistening slide guitar. The final track, “Devil’s Own”, feels like the southern river revival encore and less like a title track, as a salute to Album Rock, a reminder that there’s everything right with dropping an album and experiencing the emotional highs and lows, fasts and slows, as a whole ‘sum of its parts’ of the fabric of the story and not just 99 cent hit after hit.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 🙂