Reviews + Write-Ups

From No Depression / SSKTDA

The Dead Volts are getting creative with the release of their debut album, We Are Already Dead, on Twang N Bang Records. The San Luis Obispo, CA quartet plans on a December 5, 2014 release date and, rather than the run-of-the-mill peddling of CDs at shows and all things social media, the Dead Volts concocted a plan to release the record in streaming and downloadable versions for free at their Bandcamp site. Not stopping there, it will be available on every other streaming platform on the ol’ interwebs, plus a vinyl pre order, via a Kickstarter campaign, to deliver the record in all its waxy, analog beauty for your turntables.

We Are Already Dead is set to release just five days before what would be the fourth born day of the band itself. After honing their twangy rock sound along California’s Central Coast, the Dead Volts have amassed opening slots for some of their (and my) favorite bands including Drag the River, Lucero, and Two Cow Garage. The latter’s frontman, Micah Schnabel was immortalized in a song written and sung about him by Patrick Hayes, who handles vocals and guitar here, and writes a damn fine song. Hayes is flanked by Keith Kurczewski on lead guitar with Pete Robbins and Mark Folkrod rounding out the rhythm section on bass and drums, respectively.

The band describes itself on its Facebook page: “Straight-forward guitar rock with some twang, amps turned up just a bit too loud in a failed attempt to overtake the crashing drums, a few brews and a bit of the whiskey, 2min songs played at breakneck speed followed by a few old sad songs, that’s what we’re shooting for.” They’ve shot a bullseye in that regard — the disc has plenty of beautiful, squelching guitar solos nestled into face-punching rock song packages, peppered with just enough sad songs and twangbanging. There’s even some back and forth solo trade-offs, reminiscent of the two-headed, dragonfire solos of Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley at a 40 Watt, Drive-by Trucker show. Chock full of loud guitars, thundering rhythm and percussion, and anthem-type songs the likes of early Uncle Tupelo after a Minor Threat binge.

Overall, this is an extremely impressive debut effort. I myself plan on getting involved in the Kickstarter campaign. You have just 13 more days to do so as the Dead Volts have already met their goal to bring us the record on vinyl. There’s some super cool packages including koozies, soundchecks, and backstage opportunites, even a guided tour of the Central Coast’s best breweries for frothy libations and good times. Long live rock and roll.

+Words: Scott Zuppardo+


From Nine Bullets .net

It’s time for me to catch up on some releases that I damn well should’ve written about last year. Life got busy and I put off telling you about some amazing music. We Are Aleady Dead was an album that I was looking forward to long before I even knew what it was going to be called. You see I’ve been following Patrick Hayes around the internets for quite a while now and Twang N Bang record (Patrick’s label) has yet to disappoint so when I found out his band was putting out a record I got pretty damn excited. As it turns out that excitement was well justified.

This is a well put together rock album that doesn’t apologize for the distortion or proudly showing off the band’s influences. From the rockabilly vibe of the namesake track to naming a song for Micah Schnabel, these kids are proud of where they come from and they damn well should be. This is the sort of album that ministers to a part of my sould that I frequently neglect. I mean, it’s all well and good to cry over a John Moreland song, or miss your sweetheart to Caleb Caudle, but sometimes you just need to rock n roll. It’s something we should all take to heart. Now that’s not to say there’s nothing to see here, from a lyrical standpoint, quite the contrary. These kids aren’t slouches in the lyric department and really, as much as the rock n roll is fun, the lyrics are much more in my usual vein, you know, dark and a little introspective. The Dead Volts just do it with a little less acoustic guitar and a lot more distortion.

There’s pretty much no excuse not to give this one a place in your rotation because you can get it for however much you want to pay on the Twang N Bang Bandcamp page. Be sure to follow The Dead Volts on Facebook as well because I have a feeling there will be a lot more good stuff come from these guys.   – Romeo Sid Vicious


From Empty Bottles and Broken Souls

When garage punk influenced Twang-Rockers the Dead Volts proclaim “We Ain’t Dead Yet…” in the opening lines of their album “We are Already Dead” – they sound very much alive. So alive in fact that this reviewer began to dream he was listening to them in some CBGB type club just as they were starting to flip off willing patrons with a line outside the door.

Fans of post punk rock ala the Replacements, Husker Du and early Soul Asylum will go bat shit crazy for these guys. Hell, the first two tracks had me downright giddy in my advanced age. I haven’t heard this much honest to goodness cowpunk energy in a long damned time. HELL YES! I needed this album.

Sprinkled with twang, baptized in the garage and amps turned way the hell up past 11…this band simply kicks ass. Faves include the psuedo-rock/country waltz of “Alaska” will have me searching for my dusty Gear Daddies cassettes with glee sometime after midnight. Goddamn! It’s good to hear energy like this. It’s a deluge after a long drought of drab alt-country if you ask me…the Dead Volts are doing it right with inventive time changes, screaming guitars, powerful vocals and strong melodies. “Late Again” might be the best Paul Westerberg song I’ve heard in years…and the guy didn’t even write it. Now that I think of it…did I jump in a time machine when I started to spin this album??? (looks in mirror…nope…no spiked mullet and Clash T-shirt.) Songs like “Don’t Wait Up”, hell EVERY track on this album are a welcome punch to the ears and a punch to the proverbial gut. If I wore a bra I’d take it off and throw it at these guys’ feet (…just let that picture sink in.)

I highly recommend this album. It’s one of the best I’ve heard all year…and one of the few I’m rating 5 out of 5 stars. Call me sentimental. Tell me I’m living in the past and relishing it to damn much. I don’t care…Alt-Country Rock has been way too serious sounding for way, way too long. It’s about time bands like the Dead Volts showed up to breathe some life back into tired and worn out genre. Now all this old man needs is someone to shove…Nah. To hell with the good old days, right boys?

Mathew deRiso is an unknown singer-songwriter stuck somewhere in between Iowa and South Dakota and is an exclusive contributor to Empty Bottles and Broken Souls.