The Toadies bringing back memories
As I sit here typing this with my backwards newsboy cap, black framed glasses and Doc Martens on, I am feeling a bit nostalgic for my college years back in the early 90s. This is the period in my life that was overrun with the fuzz-buzz onslaught of distorted guitars and self-loathing lyrical prose that was putting the proverbial nail in the coffin of my hair band metal adolescence. The Seattle grunge scene had taken over the Aqua Net with the Mr. Rogers sweater. As angsty as it started it was quickly becoming a “tan” washing of the popular dorm room party though. It was everywhere, you couldn’t escape it. As much as I got sucked up into this Prozac fueled swell, I noticed a life raft from the big ol’ state of Texas…and that life raft was The TOADIES!
If David Byrne and Tom Waits had a baby it might just have been the band The Toadies. It was bitter and sharp with snide lyrics but with an underlying aggression that was bound to jump out and hurt itself. And I don’t mean the stereotypical depression filled hurt, this was an underlying rage that was fueled by an oppressive environment. Maybe that hurt was the kind of hurt that came from a larger than life expanse that was their home state of Texas with all its cowboy toughness and overbearing religious ideals. Hey wait, that sounds like the start of a great blues song doesn’t it?! Well there you have it, the part that has always separated this band from the rest of those horrifically ironic precursor is the bluesy overtone and that…is the best part.
Flash forward 20 years (damn did I just type 20 years…ooff) and The Toadies are still sunk into that couch on the front porch, staring at you as you slowly drive by looking for the next big thing in music. Maybe your edgy riff of the mid 90s is gone and you have grown up and into the mortgage filled blues. I bet you reflect every once in awhile though where the dreams of your 20s have gone. Let me tell you something, The Toadies are still right there with you. They are still there making music wondering where you went since “Rubberneck” back in ’94.
Even though their old label Interscope Records turned up their nose on the second album Feeler, The Toadies are recruiting new worshipers on Kirkland Records. Yes they released No Deliverance in ’08 and re-released “Feeler” in 2010, but it seems some of their followers have lost faith in their soulful song. Well this band might just have something now that they should revisit them for. Their new album Heretics is a bit more of a thought out and introspective statement it seems. It is sonically the years catching up with the youthful resistance. Some diehards might ask, “Is that a bad thing?” The answer is, absolutely not!! It is relaxed and rich with what they hinted at way back in ’94…their Texas bluesy roots. The broad scope in tracks like the “Rattler’s Revival” and “In The Belly Of A Whale,” whisper at the turning of a leaf, a methodical drive towards a new beginning regardless of false profits. Yes they revisit hits such as Blondie’s “Heart of Glass” and their own “Possum Kingdom,” the slowed down tempo and mournful sound changes our previous notions of what this group was all about.
It appears that after all the years, The Toadies have come into their own. It’s funny how time does that to us all isn’t it…
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