Hot Snakes


Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Hot Snakes – “Hatchet Job” from Audit in Progress (2004 Swami Records)


It’s a funny thing: Drive Like Jehu played a one show reunion on Sunday night in San Diego. I was excited to go, then ended up traveling to Minnesota to be with family instead. The first Shuffler of the week gives me another John Reis project, Rocket from the Crypt, and today, hot on its heels, I get Hot Snakes.

I absolutely love Hot Snakes. A friend has a story about seeing them at CBGB’s or ABC No Rio or somewhere like that in New York. I don’t have a story like that, and I wish I did. What I love about Hot Snakes is that they marry perfectly, in my opinion, John Reis’ love for American rock and roll with the frenetic energy of punk rock. Add to that the kind of reappropriated vintage artwork shown above and a zany sense of humor that yields songs about carbohydrates and the like, and I’m all in.

And good God, those hooks. The changes in the bridge (you know you don’t have/forever/hatchet job/you know I don’t know whether/it’s a job/or what I like) are riveting. The lyrics aren’t earth-shattering or anything — somebody’s happy with their vocation, and that’s nice — but there’s not a whole lot else to be gleaned, and that’s fine. That’s not what the Hot Snakes are for.

I touched on this yesterday as well, but for me, I much prefer John Reis when he’s not performing lead vocal duty. Rick Froberg‘s vocals bring to mind the very best parts ofDrive Like Jehu even though the soundtrack is pretty different, and that’s a pretty great throughline to get down to. It also maybe explains why I much prefer the Obitsto the Night Marchers.

Hot Snakes are windows down, pounding on the steering wheel, singing along at the top of your lungs American punk rock, and this song is no exception.