Pow Magazine

Down and Outlaws Above Snakes Review by Richard Murray – July 14, 2016

Pow Magazine's Down and Outlaws Above Snakes Review
Pow Magazine’s Down and Outlaws Above Snakes Review

Dust covered blues rockers Down and Outlaws are one of the best bands out of San Fransisco. They’re comprised of Peter Danzig, Kyle Luck, Chris Danzig, and Jon Carr. Their first ep Backwards from the Dead dropped back in 2014 and immediately painted the raw, broken toothed blueprint for what was to come. That rawness and fire has been rekindled and slightly cleaned up for their 2016 debut album Above Snakes. It has to be noted this was recorded in one week’s time. That extraordinarily short amount of time would lead most to think of this as a sloppy, barely held together mess of an album; but Down and Outlaws show their talents by giving us a frantic, raw, powerhouse. Like a bloody and bruised biker gang leader flowing with enough charm, character, and brutality that you’ll be more than willing to listen to the tale of the fight that proceeded.

The entire album has a garage rock energy that permeates every song beginning with “Roll that Stone”. It opens the album when a frantic beat that ceaselessly marches on, never letting up. “I Don’t Care(I Don’t Care)” is a sprawling, reckless anthem for true creatures of the night. “Lay Me Down” may have quiet opening that slowly builds its wonderful guitars, that are contained by the drummer with the precision of a lion tamer. It’s about at this time that I notice each member perfectly compliments each other. Everything fits. Everyone is keeping everyone in check. The Stooges are summoned for “Fever” not just in energy Clashing with a vaguely androgynous take on a night out at a bar. “Ways She Rolls” drips with blues psychedelia as each note flows seamlessly into the next. A tale of lust and drugs has been wondrously woven for “Backwards from the Dead” which features a harmonica solo that may impress the loneliest inmate serving a life sentence. “Gone”, my personal favorite, sees the softer, almost reflective, side opening up with these mesmerizing effects that are dizzying perfect in execution. This embodies the effects of finding a peace of mind from a bottle or whatever you choose. Perfectly ending the collection of stories is even more somber “Every Time I Use You”. A folk blues drenched in that amazing harmonica, true heartbreak, liquor, reefer, and regret. Some sad bar patrons you can’t wait to get away from. And some you want to live vicariously through. This is the latter.

And at the end of this album filled with rough around the edges playing at ever turn I realize something. This a filth themed collection of stories. These are the stories you’re not proud of. These are the stories of a life that’s interesting to hear about. Drug fueled and brutal. Everything fits perfectly.

Rock on. Live your life. Remember your bruises. A clean life will never be as interested as a life covered in blood, sweat, and excess.

Richard Murray, Pow Magazine
rdmurrayiii at gmail dot com

UPDATE, 07/14/2016: Pow Magazine’s video review and music coming next week on Pow Ello!

I've been interested in music since a very young age. I was prone to ear infections when I was a baby and after long sessions with a doctor it was determined I would be deaf at a very early age from scar tissue. As a result my mother when play avant-garde music to me so I could hear a myriad of different sounds before that happened. Much to everyone's dismay, I could hear perfectly after the ear infections ended. But, my mom had inadvertently been put on a path of musical enlightenment. At 14 my 20 year old sister was attending Modest Mouse in Omaha, Nebraska with The Shins as an opener. I begged her to take me with her and she decided that would be my birthday present and took me. I was completely blown away by the experience. I wanted more and more of any live music I could find. But...living in Wellington, Kansas my options were a tad limited. I attended Weezer, Nine Inch Nails, Ladytron, Placebo shows but I was getting bored with everything mainstream. But everything changed when The Kills rolled through Kansas City. Seeing their dirty, smoke filled performance at The Midland Theater led me to look up more bizarre bands and further down the rabbit hole to finding newfound favorite such as Wolf Eyes and Slint. I began studying how exactly each genre made me feel. How each song sets a mood and tells a story. When I was about 26 I began writing for The Burning Beard. A doom, sludge, and heavy metal magazine based out of America and England and began my writing career. I met Dennis Gonzales at the 2014 Austin Psych Fest and we made a friendship centered around music. The next year we met again at the same festival and which led me to telling him about how I'd begun writing. He was interested to read my stuff and after a very short conversation he decided to let me on as a writing for POW! Magazine. Through his guidance my music spectrum as broadened significantly and I look forward to what I can hear in the future.