Yester-d: "Hold Back The Curse" by HOGPIG
I quit supporting Ozzy the minute i found out that he pissed on The Alamo. He did so on purpose. From then on, I’ve had no further use of him.
That being said, there is no one with an ear and a hormone who could deny the influence of Black Sabbath on this music industry, or, at the very least, the black t-shirt movement.
Case in point: HOGPIG.
This Denton powerhaus of old (last seen at the fabled Last of the Rubber Gloves) is exactly everything that 'Sabbath should have been, and would have been had they been birthed in a Texas prairie fire. Now, I won't front, my first exposure to any song of theirs was actually via a cover of "Heat Car" by the Heelers, but it was no less tasty. There's no such thing as bad bacon, amirite? (sorry, granpa Wile)
So, let's talk about HOGPIG. Specifically, their 2007 album "Hold Back The Curse."
HOGPIG is Colin Carter on drums, Brian Cholewinski and Jason Goodman on guitar, Ian Johnson on bass and vocals. This crop of tunes was recorded at the Echo lab, by the venerable Matt Barnhart and is ten songs with so much unmitigated, blind moxie, so little apology, that you could slither into the stereo room at Car Toys, crank it up, and probably uncircumcise more than one passerby. It is that strong. It is everything that an award-winning IPA wishes it could be: intoxicating, fulfilling, brash, and wholly relevant without context. Because, IPA’s kinda suck. Let’s be honest. But I digress...
With a stark flip of the bird to the Velvet Underground, the lone hatchet on the cover could mean almost anything ...as long as ‘almost anything’ included all the hubris of a Home Depot the week before Father’s Day.
And so it is wholly appropriate that it begins with “Heatcar.” That song, perfectly at home under the opening credits of the lost John Hughes movie set in Texas, is the HOGPIG archetype. It is a churning, melodic thing, as unapologetic as double-dipping the queso. With the shaved-balls line "you ain't goin nowhere/my Camaro's on fire,” it is a Sub Pop"Freebird", in all the best ways. And, again, it's just the start.
From here we go into "Kablooie" ("how things can go wrong on a Saturday night"), straight into “Slag,” with it's math-spit lyrics, bemoaning an ode to an ironically post-flannel hard-luck Baroness. And this record will continue to move you. It carries the same sense of urgency that Run The Jewels currently enjoys and rides like a dragster motor on a speedboat. It will exhaust you. It will make you sprint for booze—not to drink it, but to FCUKING GET THERE.
"Magical Theory" is a wonderfully chunky guitar stuttering to the drums, wordlessly setting us up for "Blade Hits Bone.” And it is here, mid-record, that we begin to find the Voice of the HOGPIG.
Lyrics like "The time is right/for blood tonight" lunge at us, and we have to bubble the wonder 'are these guys serious?’ or are these the best songs that Soundgarden never wrote ‘cos they never actually saw the sun. "Kill The Wolf; Eat the Wolf" further brings the beasting imagery, with more and more guitars. And more. But it’s less punk, less ‘alt’, less chainsaw, more like dirtbiking on the moon. Werewolf songs can easily become cliche', but the chant of "save us all/from wolf to man" will easily head the #werewolfrights movement.
And then it dials back. What I MEAN is "Hammer for One and Two Guitars" takes us from the woods to the blacktop, with this Rob Zombie- in K.I.T.T. tune playing Bandit to the Iceman of “The Switchback,” a song that you won’t realize is about a trucker ’til it’s already passing you. “You light the fire/we’ll breathe the smoke/if you rode for us/you’d already be home.” It’s like ‘Crue’s “Home Sweet Home” but without the hairspray. Simple, not stupid, and well-delivered in the Train Beer vocal that we, by now, could hear nothing else of on this record. “NVD” finally starts to close the door on this album, and does so with EVEN MORE GORRAM GIANT GUITARS, in a everflowing beautiful sludge, like everything that’s right with a chocolate fountain.
This is an album about movement, and wheels. It is bleach on the tires to make the best peel-out clouds, and the 6th beer that’s still...just...cold...enough. Starting with the Camaro in “Heatcar,” right down the line to the rig in “The switchback,” it constantly says "watch yourself to the left." It may say "Hold Back The Curse” but what this white trash war machine of an album is actually saying is to not delay it, but roll around in the beauty of rotted leaves and dare a fire.
HOGPIG songs and albums, including “Hold Back The Curse,” are on Spotify and Bandcamp.
Header image design by Brittany Keeton