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Band : The Hot Rails
Album title : Single Entendre (+ To Hell With The Hot Rails)
Label : Own release(s)
Distributor : /
Release date : 27/03/2010 (?)
Release : CD (x 2)
 
Gee, the promo sheet's story for this band was just too freaky for me to withhold it from our readers, so here goes: “As the legend of The Hot Rails would have it, frontman Ken Janssen wandered from the mountains of Illinois to the deserts of Oregon to the open ranges of our nation's capital; from the jungles of Central England to the frozen tundra of Northern Italy; until returning to the rain forests of the north shores. There, the meaning of his existence was revealed to him by a beautiful woman...with eight legs...and snakes for hair – to ensure that mankind goes out in style. Janssen, the laziest man in show business, recruited four superheroes of Rock to drink beer, make records and hopefully teach a few hipsters that it's OK if you don't take yourself too seriously. The Hot Rails have somehow managed to bring their booze-addled antics down to DIY SXSW in 2008 and 2010, with regional tours threatening to drive audiences and the band themselves to the brink of deafness, if not annihilation. They've also taken the burgeoning Cleveland Scuzz Rock scene by storm, playing sold out shows with a wide range of acts from Ted Leo And The Pharmacists to Gil Mantera's Party Dream; from L.A. Guns to The Electric 6 and from Mooney Susuki to Fastball.”
 
Wha's all that mean? Well, simply that after a couple of years of traveling until he was just passed 30, singer Ken Janssen settled in Cleveland, Ohio where, at first, he joined '60s Garage band The It*Me. The experience gave him the inspiration to create the stage antics for which he'd become famous throughout Cleveland. Later, with the help of guitarists/ backing singers James Rychak and Dave Molnar (the latter previously of The It*Men, Dreadful Yarns and Expecting Rain to name but a few antecedents), bassist/ backing vocalist Nick Licata and drummer Charles Druesedow (another It*Men collaborator, also of Dreadful Yarns and New Lou Reeds), he wrote and developed a first batch of songs, drawing influences from AC/DC, Blue Oyster Cult, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy, Uriah Heep to create their own twin-guitar type of '70s Bluesey and dirty Hard Rock...recording a first 9 songs for their self-released 2007 debut album To Hell With The Hot Rails, with lyrics by Jannsen telling tall tales of “...youthful boozing, amateur porno-flavoured debauchery, unmentionable pills, packages and powders...neither condoning or condemning...” (citation from band's bio at MySpace).
 
Along the way to their new album (again recorded in co-production with Mark Klein), the band lost Dave Molnar, whom still participated in the creation of 5 of the new album's 8 songs...and recruited one David Paolucci to replace him. The new man has apparently been of no influence of any possible stylistic changes, because the new album is very much in the same style as the debut. The difference between the two albums comes in a much nicer sound overall. Apparently, experience, or possibly a better studio...better equipment?...have made for a far cleaner sound. Not that the music isn't any less “dirty” than it used to be, but it simply comes over far more efficiently than on the debut (and I can tell, because we were sent both albums, see!). With the other guys frequently aiding out in the vocals, occasionally even to somewhat chaotic but calculated effect, the overall dirtiness is simply enhanced! Great stuff this, as you will be able to witness for yourselves by listening to the songs posted at myspace.com/hotrailsmusic. Definitely my favourite band in this batch, and one worthy of being named in the year-lists!!!
 
98/100