Hex Dispensers, The "S/T" LP
Side A: H.D. Local 23, Are You An Assassin?, Evil Eye, Channel 13 Is Haunted, Down In The Park
Side B: Insomniack, The Crone (99 Cats), Tentacles!, Forest Ray Colson, Arsenic Milkshake
JERSEY_BEAT.com Magazine(USA) AUG 2007 A furiously raucous blast of pure go-for-it hard-crunching dynamic rock'n'roll powerpop noise, done with a stirring sense of sheer fun and aggressive vitality that's impossible to either resist or dislike. The relentless jackhammer drums, snarly shouted vocals, grinding hacksaw guitars and heavy churning basslines create a fiercely raw, surging and unstoppable forward-ho sound which explodes from the speakers with a positively infectious joy and energy that's really something to hear. A total treat. (JW)
HIGH_HEELS_SLUT.com Magazine #6 (BELGIUM) AUGUST 2007 This Damn Town is one of those bands I really have a soft spot for in my hard, so when they put this one (temporarily?!) to rest three of them moved on to the Hex Dispensers: Alex Cuervo (Blacktop, Feast Of Snakes and a whole bunch more), Alyse Mervosh (a.o. the W.I.N.K.S.!) and Tom Kodiak (Kodiaks, Dirty Sweets). Needless to say I do had to hear it, so I bought this debut release straight away without having heard one single note of the band and right now I do fucking know why I needed this record and why you ALL should buy it as well: the Hex Dispensers just delivered a smashing and sizzling piece of thick black wax that will end on top of your fave list without any doubt. At times some This Damn Town melodies shine through, but all soaked in heavy fuzz and raised on an Oblivians menu. All of this got captured on tape in an excellent way by Mark Ryan from the Marked Men, who doesn’t only know how shit like this has to sound but who’s also got the skills to actually do it as well. You’re in for ten hit blasts that should be played all day long in whatever place and state you are. Ten downright excellent songs like “H.D. Local 23”, “Forest Ray Colson”, “Channel 13 Is Haunted” or the truly amazing “Are You An Assassin?”…I’m hooked, I’m hooked, I’m hooked!!! Obviously an interview was sent over straight away, so if you don’t see it featured here: we’re not the ones to blame!! (WC)
LEFT_OF_THE_DIAL.com (USA) AUGUST 2007 Mastered by Jay Reatard and produced by one of the Marked Men (who these lads resemble, though with dirtier, more scattered, slightly less amped-up Dickies-inflections) until all the fuzz is tightly compacted and rolled out at 78 rpm, this bastardized, but hooky pop has members stretching back into the folds of Dirty Sweets, Now Time Delegation, Gospel Swingers, and a hundred more, it seems. Granted, there’s not a lot of variation here, but I do enjoy some of the tags they’ve garnished from reviewers: “blues-poisoned power pop,” “evil pop and arsenic rock,” and so forth. At best, they are tinged with rough’n’ready melodic prowess and are catchy as hell, like “Forest Ray Colson,” bemoaning the death of an Okie by the quick force of the almighty police. But then the short curtain call of “Arsenic Milkshake” resembles all that Estrus rock from the 1990s and could be the cousins of “cemetery” rock, shimmy shammy rock, handclap 1960’s Sonic-powered (hmm, replace strychnine with arsenic, anyone?) punk. “InsomniACK” (nice explosive play on words) reveals the unholy jitteriness, frustration, and madness of lying awake with your heart pounding, replete with voices in the head and feeling like a “whirling dervish” as you spin in bed under the glare of a “clock full of hate.” It captures the schizo feeling with percolating pounce and punch. “The Crone” unleashes the hex and vexes of a man bent on repaying the asshole who killed his dog, but first he must devour “magpie, firefly, rattlesnake, and vulture pie.” Or perhaps that’s the cursed rime with which he fogs the man’s life. Who ever guessed “meow meow meow” (I think that’s what spills from the chorus) would capture the voodoo/witch doctor sentiment and animalism. It’s back to the Estrus rock on “Tentacles,” with its wall of sleaze-guitars and Oblivians gone slightly pop manners. Thru the “deep dark woods” the “milky white tentacles” the color of “sun bleached bones” lies in wait. It’s the folklore of haunted forests, all the allegories of Puritan worries mixed with drive-in, B-movie schmaltz. Then there’s the Cramps TV set allusion on “Channel 13 is Haunted,” another Misfits meets b/w horror movie set of inferences beneath bubblegum grime pop. Tambourine shake’n’bake haunts “Are you an Assassin” but underneath that jangling belly is the sweet gal who crashes into your life but might just be a “hunter getting in position…tracking every move.” The paranoia is thick as rancid malt beer, and even the rare gesture of a softblow guitar solo can’t offer reprieve from the surge of “tell me baby baby” fear that comes when she waits “like a spider for a fly.” In all, imagine a Nashville-born version of the Vibrators, hooked on matinee movies and voodoo reflux.