[NHM] New Haven Music


June 2011 NHM Artists of the Month – Snake Oil, Old Man Lady Luck

So, eleven days into June and we’ve finally selected our Artists of the Month (yeah, we know, about time!). Without further delay, the NHM Artists of the Month are….(drum roll, please)…Snake Oil and Old Man Lady Luck!

‘Snake’ who? ‘Old Man’ what?

Snake Oil is a new instrumental collective spearheaded by drummer extraordinaire Jason Labbe. Comprised of current and former members of Weigh Down, Titles, The Mountain Movers, Atrina, Charles Burst, Latitude/Longitude and Meridians (among others), Snake Oil was initially conceived as a recording-only side project to Labbe’s former main band, Weigh Down. After Weigh Down ran its course, Labbe began dedicating more and more time to working on Snake Oil, in the process bringing in a dozen or so musicians to assist on the project. After a few months of production, the collective had finished a cache of recordings which ultimately formed the running order of Snake Oil’s fantastic self-titled debut album.

Self-released by the band this past Tuesday (June 7th) in vinyl and digital formats, Snake Oil is nothing short of a revelation for those unfamiliar with Labbe’s never-ending well of creativity. Beats (both acoustic and electronic) collide off bass grooves, guitars, keys, synths and percussion with utmost ease as if the instrumentation itself were always meant to be combined in this way. Equal parts funky and spacey, Snake Oil is the rare instrumental album that keeps your attention throughout and doesn’t let go until the final drum hit. Its as if your mind and ears have no other choice but to submit to the aural sermon that is Snake Oil, blindly following each snare roll and bass lick ad nauseam. No other God or stimulation required. Of course, this is not to suggest that Snake Oil overstays its welcome at all. At 9 tracks and just over 30 minutes, Snake Oil avoids the common instrumental album mis-step of overwhelming length, instead focusing on quality not quantity. And with a production this adept at sonic placement and attention to detail, each subsequent listen yields more rewards. Be sure to pick up a copy via the band’s website snakeoilsounds.com or at Redscroll Records. In addition, you can catch Snake Oil live next Friday, June 17th at Cafe Nine as they celebrate the album’s release with fellow locals Atrina and DJ Shaki.


Photo by Miss Angie Chambers

Old Man Lady Luck fit the definition of ‘power trio’ to the T. Featuring members of gonzo-riffsters like the Vultures, Bloarzeyd, Humanoid, Murdervan, The Black Noise Scam and Atrina, Old Man Lady Luck knows how to bring the rock (and also the roll). With this said, don’t expect to hear some kind of boogie-woogie old-time music or an endless barrage of guitar pyro-technics, these guys are HEAVY (with all caps). Inter-changing between funeral pace doom and mid-tempo evilness, Old Man Lady Luck succeeds well at keeping things interesting. Their willingness to experiment with and evolve their riffs especially helps to break up any monotony created by tempo and tone. Although all three members are locked in throughout, bassist Warren Brelsford and guitarist Phil Law seem particularly well paired, playing off each other with ease. In addition drummer Andre Roman’s propulsive percussive work never lets the band’s songs become too sedentary.

This past May, Old Man Lady Luck celebrated the release of their debut self-titled album with a now rare Sunday performance at New Haven’s BAR. Recorded in Chicago with legendary producer (sorry, ‘engineer’) Steve Albini (and mastered by Bob Weston), the album is comprised of six tracks, all untitled. The production and performance is warm, full and crisp, showcasing the band’s unique interplay and dirgy sound in a way that only Mr. Albini could capture well. Be sure to pick up a copy on vinyl via the band’s Bandcamp page or, if you need your fix quicker, download a digital copy free. Old Man Lady Luck will be performing tonight as part of a four band riff-fest at New Haven’s Cafe 9 along with Skeletons In The Piano, VRSA and Treebeard. Bring earplugs and a neck-brace.

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