Brent Hinds, the evil demented soul who helps drive Atlanta, Georgia’s metal beast, Mastodon, is not a man content to spend his off time dawdling. And there is much more to him than epic metal. With Brent Hinds Presents, we get a taste of his two side bands, Fiend Without A Face and West End Motel. Both as completely sonically removed from each other as they are from Mastodon. While they are released together on June 7th as a 2 CD set Rocket Science records, we’ll look at them separately:
Fiend Without a Face ~ Fiend Without A Face
The 13 tracks on the band’s self-titled debut release Hinds inner surfer dude and psychotic rockabilly groove. In fact this record sounds like the soundtrack for the insane mind of Quentin Tarantino. FWOA has been a mainstay on the Atlanta scene for a decade and a half. The band began in the mid-90’s on a lark, in the living room of a friend’s home who happened to have a stand up bass. The guys, who wear veiled Fez’s and party it up like surfer lounge lizards on stage, have created an awesome blend of 60’s tinged beach booming with a demented Brian Setzer like twang and and groove.
The album opener “Calypso” kicks off with a Ray Manzarek french kisses Dracula motif, which quickly gives way to a surfer on steroids “Wipe Out” vibe, before Draczarek closes it out.
Then it’s time to head over to the Tiki Lounge for some “Black Grass” and “Green Slime”. I wonder what’s in such intoxications.
“Cha Cha” begins like some nightmarish elevator Muzak, and then your hangover starts singing to you.
“Get Straight” evens pays a twisted homage to Devo‘s, “Whip It”, in full on cosmic surfer mode of course.
Who needs mind altering drugs when you can simply throw this record on? The whole album is a mix of eclecticism that will take you back to a time that we can all feel good about. Songs like “Tsunami” and “Hot Rod” recall an era without the stressors of the now.
Still there’s a disturbing undercurrent throughout the album, hence the Tarantino reference. I can imagine Rob Zombie hiring Fiend Without A Face to be the bar band for one of his films.
- Black Grass
- Green Slime
- Bank Robbin Bandits
- Hot Rod
- New York
- Don’t Like
- Get Straight
West End Motel ~ Don’t Shiver, You’re A Winner
On the other end of the spectrum, West End Motel offer up seven tracks of tongue-in-cheek Americana. Classic drunk country boozin’. Hind’s describes the project thusly:
“With West End Motel, it’s because I love country and classic country and The Pogues and Tom Waits and Nick Cave, and that creepy vaudeville vibe. I want to express my love for it. I want to ‘get my love on’ in the recordings.”
West End Motel, is the newest of Hinds projects, but he and best friend Tom Cheshire are deeply involved in it. This represents the band’s third recording and a fourth is on the way.
The first of the album’s tracks, “The Confident Wino/…And We Are Here To Entertain You”, draws an image of the band on a stark Broadway stage.
On “Under My Skin” the band takes on a more soulful, melancholy vibe.
“Silly Old Song” opens with a twisted “Landslide” (Fleetwood Mac) type vibe, but any similarity dies there, as the song gets its twang on.
- The Confident Wino/…And We Are Here To Entertain You
- The Devil Called Me Tommy
- I Like It A Lot
- She’s On Fire
- Under My Skin
- Silly Old Song
For those expecting this to be anything like Mastodon, you’re barking up the wrong drumstick. This is complete left field from metal, still it’s Hinds in his creative and fun glory. Mastodon‘s fifth album, The Hunter, will be out later this year. But for those of you, like most of us, have more more than one side, and who simply appreciate music as a whole, you’ll enjoy this set. Hell, you might even love it.