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–Slumlord Radio: Too Pretty for Tijuana, 2015, Honeyock/Silver Maple Kill Records (Local West Michigan Spotlight)

–Slumlord Radio: Too Pretty for Tijuana, 2015, Honeyock/Silver Maple Kill Records  (Local West Michigan Spotlight)

Nothing is ever new under the sun, right? At least, that’s how the pithy old adage goes; generally speaking, though, it rings true in this digital-media age of musical oversaturation. With thousands and thousands of bands and artists out there to be viewed, streamed, and downloaded, listener fatigue is understandable and common. That mythical combination of originality and old-school cred, however, is not so commonly found in today’s heavy rock scene.

That’s what’s makes Slumlord Radio such a joyful revelation. The high-energy Grand Rapids-based band (“via Stockholm Sweden”–Tommy Erickson’s onstage opening banter) have been playing their unique brand of hard rock since 2010. They’ve made a name for themselves locally and regionally with their kinetic, humorous, and exorbitantly fun live shows. With Slumlord Radio, one hears an uncanny conglomerate of hardcore punk, stoner doom, sludge, classic metal, and yes, even some power pop. Slumlord’s sundry stylistic concoction works extremely well, though, because the songs are well-crafted, memorable, and catchy as all get-out.

Anchored by singer/guitarist Tommy “Capt. Hollywood” Erickson, Slumlord Radio is as prolific in the studio as they are active on the stage. They already have several releases under their belts, including three albums of new material. Their latest full-length, 2015’s Too Pretty for Tijuana, sounds like Metallica and Motörhead married Black Sabbath and gave birth to the Ramones and Iggy Pop. Erickson delivers the crunchy sonic wall of guitar riffs throughout, while drummer Matt “Rattlesnake” Claucherty and bassist Mike “El Ace” Todd maintain the jammable — yet often danceable — grooves.

Take the video single, “Bullwhip,” a raucous mid-tempo groover that features a crunchy riffs and an infectious chorus: “If you started a cult, I’d be the first to join.” Indeed. Next up, “Debonair Dolomite” grinds along in a fuzzed-out, slow shuffle. Tony Iommi and Crazy Horse-era Neil Young would be proud. Erickson’s raspy-yet-tuneful vocals, coupled with some perfect-for-SNL cowbell, complement the muscular riffs. The headbanging “Southpaw” opens with some brooding clean arpeggios before unrolling a deliberate, stomping groove that is sure to please fans of Sabbath and Black Label Society. 

Other highlights include the slowly galloping quasi-title track, “Tycoon,”  (“You’re too pretty for Tijuana!”), the metallic stoner doom of “Choke 66,” and the  harmonized guitar workouts on prime display on “Fort Knox (2015). Overall, the inherently catchy riffs and vocal melodies hold Slumlord Radio’s disparate musical elements together like Krazy Glue. My only complaint is the whole thing ends a bit too quickly for Tijuana.

Checkout their new 2017 single and video, “Holy Smokes,” which is as entertaining as it is hard-rocking. Don’t miss Slumlord Radio on stage or on Bandcamp, either; by far they are the most original and fun Stockholm band that’s not from Sweden one will ever hear.–Jonathan Kollnot

–Tracklisting: 1). Intro 2.) Bullwhip 3.) Debonair Dolomite 4.) “Southpaw 5.) Intermission 6.) Tycoon 7.) Choke 66 8.) Fort Knox  (2015) 9.) Outro

Slumlord Radio (2017): Tommy “Capt. Hollywood” Erickson, Vocals/Guitar; Matt Claucherty, Drums; Mike “Ace” Todd, Bass; “Dangerous” David Flynn, Guitar.

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~ by jonnyboyrocker on December 10, 2017.

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