Hoaries – Rocker Shocker, Texas Noise or The Gritty Midwest

This Genre-Bending Noise Campaign From Hoaries Brings Their Progressive Garage Sound To A North Texas Level

Photo: Andrew Sherman contributed photo | Hoaries

By: Forrest Cook | En La Calle on the Street
If rock and roll isn’t animalistic, it’s not rock and roll then, is it!? DFW’s Hoaries, for one, has been pinioned as a group of slithering neanderthals.

For fans of The Bronx, and The Murder City Devils, Hoaries newest release Rocker Shocker is now out on Reptilian Records. It sinuates along the “mature punk rock” category with rattle-snake movements whose venom could represent a culling of the midwestern sound or a push back, at least, to further beyond the Red River. 

Ok, so considering the title of the LP maybe “mature” is the wrong word, but a colloquialism popularized by KNON’s lovely Miss Kathy, “grown folks music” can be applied to the genre. The interweaving of instrumentation on Rocker Shocker provides original sub-sequences as polyphonic counterpoints permeate each pattern – not exactly telling of Paleolithic musicianship. Still, that argument is muddled by coinciding imagery of bloodied guitars and flies circling dung heaps. 

Think if Sonic Youth’s baptismal offerings had a baby counter-blessed in the satanic furies of a black order Texas priest. Post-Hardcore inflections like remnants of Fugazi bring to mind the melodic structures of Planes Mistaken For Stars interspersed with mid-tempo avant-garde breakdowns – or a southern Telecaster (or two) modulated Dillenger. 

Rocker Shocker is a full-length follow up to Hoaries  split 10” on Reptilian Records with Beige Eagle Boys that was released in March, earlier this year. Reptilian also released a collection of self produced EP’s recorded in Fort Worth’s Cloudland Studios from 2017-2018 titled Crudforms 1-3 in July of last year. The Baltimore-based label has previously released albums from notable acts such as Pig Destroyer and The Dwarves. 

The new LP opens with a thump and an algebraic build up extending from the band’s percussion seat, Clay Stinnett. Drum fills and hypnotic bass kick percolate the opening track to diagram the rhythmic patterns that pervade subsequent to their highlighted exposé in the overture. 

The stacking drums are paralleled in tonal buzz like a honey bee worked weary and “I’ve got a room at the plaza” are lyrics referring to the sweet honeycomb in the hive. Only to be reworked in a dreary sludge that at times prevails – as in “Morning After Pal”. Breaking down and reconstructing tempos engulfed in airy, half-baked guitars are detailed throughout the album. Hoaries has processed that formula well and built with it a substantive collage of their own design.

Hoaries Frontman performing with White Drugs at Growl in Arlington TX | Photo @juantoknowphotography

Dead notes and siren sounds signal the chaos-driven acuity of the LP’s midsection on “Permanent Meltdown” and the spiral sequencing of “Pearls” reels like an uncoiled top refusing to lie down. Jeff Lelland (also in Denton’s White Drugs) leads the band on vox and guitars and despite line-up changes has kept things familiar – this year enlisting his long time White Drugs crony Chris Breit, and Bobby Weaver on bass – formerly of the 90’s alternative band, The Paper Chase. Lelland describes both players as highly complementary to himself.

The drummer, Stinnett is also a well-known figure head in the Dallas music scene. Previously in Boom Boom Box and Creepeth, he too played with Lelland in an early 2000’s project called History at Our Disposal. The Stinnett name is also familiar to the DFW art scene. He has designed artworks for popular releases of many Texas acts such as The Hickoids and Street Arabs upcoming group Uncle Toasty and is the artist behind the “Big Texas on Fire” collectionsprinkled around the metroplex and favorite Dallas-area haunts like Doublewide. 

Releasing Rocker Shocker amid a pandemic was beneficial in the self-professed “grey-hairs” point-of-view by alleviating urgency and allowing the group to settle in and take their time. 

Hoaries is comprised of seasoned musicians backed by a long lived independent label. Other nervousness about the situation was easily quelled outside of the general unease any band may experience at recording time. 

Lelland’s lyricism is best described falling in the Buzz Osbourne/Kurt Cobain school as “open-for-interpretation”.

“I’ve got one foot in that club,” he says, “but I’d be lying if the pawn shop free-association I employ didn’t lead to a pattern.” With unskewed importance, lyrics are the last piece of Hoaries’ songwriting process. That could indicate a backseat rider, or a totem head. Either way, his investment is paramount. 

“I play, write and record because I don’t have any other choice. I’m a miserable asshole when I don’t and my emotional health plummets.”

Hoaries’ music presents a challenge to mainstream trends. It stirs the pot in tight dissonance as an apropos vuelve a la vida to a dying scene! Whether in effigy for over-lauded pretentiousness or as a portrait of an old man yelling at a cloud – that, dear reader, is inevitably up to you. 

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