Punk blues duo LEFT LANE CRUISER has teamed up in Detroit with JAMES LEG (BLACK DIAMOND HEAVIES keyboardist and howler) for an album of incendiary cover tunes (Junior Kimbrough, Bob Seger, Hound Dog Taylor, Taj Mahal, John Lee Hooker, and more!). They are joined by Jim Diamond on bass, with 66 year old bluesman Harmonica Shah on harp, and the result is just what the doctor ordered, a hard-rocking gritty album to beat the blues!
It is a pretty great trip. Part of the reason why Painkillers works so well is that the players clearly have a reverence for the material they’re taking on, but not so much that they’re out to merely give rote readings of the songs. – POPMATTERS
The duo’s manic turkey-on-meth-in-the-straw M.O. has been replaced in spots by down-low blues that can only be described as a tad more gutshot than their typical fare. Glad to report that this gamble pays off in spades, thanks at least in part to the personage and organ stroking skillz of Reverend James Leg of the Black Diamond Heavies. – MOKB
Two blues rock duos, one from Fort Wayne, Indiana and the other from Nashville, meet up in Detroit and, with some help from Harmonica Shah, record a set of covers by the likes of Led Zeppelin, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, and Jimi Hendrix. Muddy but not sloppy, fierce but somewhat respectful of its sources, its subtleties are loud and lived-in as they exceed the speed limit on the expressway to your heart. Blues as attitude more than ritual, this oneoff provides the relief its title promises. – ROCK & RAP CONFIDENTIAL
Painkillers is sunburn, moonshine, six-day stubble and hillbilly breath. Just be warned: once you’ve finished that whiskey, you may need a paracematol. – CLASSIC ROCK
Painkillers is drenched in distortion and has a great live feel. Nothing is over-done or over-produced, and the songs although covers feel their own. They really used the cover record to their advantage. – STEREOKILLER
Painkillers suggests an overdriven, punk-infused variation on Canned Heat’s old formula, and if they’re never going to get to cut an album with John Lee Hooker, at least they have the good sense to see that their boogie isn’t endless, and for 35 minutes, this is a house party worth a visit. – ALL MUSIC
The main draw of either Left Lane Cruiser or James Leg aren’t so much the songs they write, it’s the ragged, rough way they deliver them. All the same, Painkillers makes its case because they tackle the covers in the same way. – SOMETHING ELSE
A combination of reverence toward the progenitors of the blues and a spirit of pure enjoyment that is rare to find.This is a fun record for anybody with a taste for the blues. – WYMA
If Robert Johnson took a midnight stroll to meet the devil at the crossroads and exchange his soul for the blues, this collaboration between punk-blues label-mates Left Lane Cruiser and James Leg sounds like they’ve got a direct line to the fiery pits of hell. – Happening Magazine / SHINDIG!
Left Lane Cruiser and James Leg have released a snarling little cur dog (balls intact) of a party album called Painkillers. Ten wicked cover songs. Mama told Papa…This is the summers rock n’ blues wigout, man…got to boogie! Painkillers is the soundtrack of a beer and Scotch-sodden county-line joint. It vibrates with dirty, ‘stonesy, grinder blues. My classic rock. – DEEP BLUES