After nearly a decade of delivering their own high-octane, scuzzed-up take on North Mississippi rural blues as a duo, Left Lane Cruiser have recently expanded into a threesome for their latest studio album, Dirty Spliff Blues (their fifth for Alive Naturalsound Records).
Led by founding member Freddy J IV (aka Joe Evans) on vocals and slide guitar, and now joined by Joe Bent on bass and skateboard slide guitar (yes, he uses his skateboard as an instrument) and Pete Dio on drums & assorted other junk, this three-headed hydra, birthed in either Fort Wayne, IN or Hades depending on who you ask, still whips up the same frenzied mess of trashed-out punk/blues that LLC is known for. But on Dirty Spliff Blues there’s a decidedly more rock ‘n’ roll approach to their mean-ass blues. Songs such as “Tangled Up In Bush” or ” Skateboard Blues” still slink like snakes in the grass, but tracks such as the pile-driving opener “Tres Borrachos,” “Cutting Trees,” “She Don’t Care” and “Dirty Spliff Blues” rock with a newfound intensity, and that’s saying a lot for a band long known for both their intense, sweat-soaked live shows and in-the-red recordings. Of course, LLC’s very backbone – the Blues – is also evident throughout, from the hip-shakin’ groove of “Elephant Stomp” to, well, really just about every damn song on the record.
Any way you roll it – from the new cover art created by renowned artist William Stout to the THC-laced sh*t-kickers – Dirty Spliff Blues smokes like no other Left Lane Cruiser album before it.
Along with their music being featured in the hit television series Breaking Bad and receiving critical acclaim across the globe, Left Lane Cruiser have also toured relentlessly over the years, sharing the stage with artists such as Robert Belfour, T Model Ford, Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires, Bob Log III and many others, and are also regular performers at the Deep Blues Festival now held annually in the cradle of the blues, Clarksdale, MS.
DIRTY SPLIFF BLUES :
"A breathless 40 minutes of brawler blues." – The BLUES MAGAZINE
"Not just dirty, but filthy." – CLASSIC ROCK MAGAZINE
"Transgressive, in-your-face, and unapologetic." – AMERICANA MUSIC SHOW
"This is fabulously tasty filth" – MAXIMUM VOLUME
"The band’s truly broken bad and there’s no looking back." – I-94 BAR
"Their best release yet." – GLACIALLY MUSICAL
"You can practically feel the cannabis resin dripping off the wall while listening to this album, which is even bigger, louder, and dirtier that much of Left Lane Cruiser's previous work." – ALL MUSIC
DIRTY SPLIFF BLUES does exactly what you think it’s going to – and it’s wonderful.
It’s fuzzy, it’s bluesy, it’s stoner rock, it’s got a groove to kill for, but it’s better than that. What makes this a very special record is that if Lemmy from Motörhead played Blues he’d do it like this. It’s gloriously nasty.
This is fabulously tasty filth. – MAXIMUM VOLUME (Rating 9.5/10)
DIRTY SPLIFF BLUES packs one hell of a punch, a breathless 40 minutes of brawler blues that shows Left Lane Cruiser can deliver quality as quantity. – THE BLUES MAGAZINE
There's no doubt about it. DIRTY SPLIFF BLUES by Left Lane Cruiser is all about Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll. And that's pretty much it. But it's awesome in its intensity, drive, and swagger. It's so rare to hear music these days that's actually transgressive, in-your-face, and unapologetic. You know, just like the blues used to be. – AMERICANA SHOW
A rousing clatter that conjures up images of Billy Gibbons fronting the Stooges. – CLASSIC ROCK / High Hopes
Fort Wayne is a haul from North Mississippi. But these Indiana troublemakers put the hammer down and hightail it for the juke joint again on their seventh album. And as usual, they're sportin' a ass pocket of infectious odes to sex, weed, booze and, um, skateboarding -- all served with fuzzed-out guitars, ramshackle drums and a heap of lo-fi Blues Explosion bombast. Light 'em up. – TORONTO SUN
Armed with big, buzzing guitars, relentless drums and threats to "smoke napalm with the bamboo skins," it's a fun, wild ride, and according to singer and guitarist Freddie J IV, it was just as pleasant to write.
"The core group of songs on this record were written at soundchecks during a nine-month period of touring the U.S. and Europe," he wrote. "After a long drive, we would get to the club. Burn one down. Fuckin' jam at soundcheck. Then we had a new tune. It went on like that for a while. This album was written entirely under the guidance and influence of marijuana. No dirty spliffs (joints with a mix of tobacco and pot) were used in the making of this record." – ALL MUSIC
(DIRTY SPLIFF BLUES) Gratifyingly raw, yet soulfully-minded ‘choon. – CLASSIC ROCK MAGAZINE
(DIRTY SPLIFF BLUES) You can practically feel the cannabis resin dripping off the wall while listening to this album, which is even bigger, louder, and dirtier that much of Left Lane Cruiser's previous work. – ALL MUSIC
This album (Rock Them Back To Hell!) rocks full on, this album rocks in a swampy down tempo, this album will rock you sweetly, this album will rock you gently. Left Lane Cruiser takes the collected knowledge that human kind has accumulated on blues, garage rock, punky garage and bluesy garage and compresses it into a dark matter that they then double barrel shotgun blast into your head. Stand out tracks are all of them. Please join the church of Left Lane Cruiser. – GREEN BAY SCENE
An authentic and inspiring updating of the blues-rock idiom for the 21st century. – BLOGCRITICS
The blues is in perfectly unsafe hands. – SLEAZEGRINDER
(RTBH) Arguably their best album to date. – NO DEPRESSION
The Indiana duo - Evans handling guitar and vocals, Beck banging those drums - came out of the blocks with total raucous abandon on their third album, reminding us that when the songs are right and the energy levels high, there is nothing like electric blues. - Joel McIver / The BLUES MAGAZINE
(PAINKILLERS review) 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 one off provides the relief its title promises. – ROCK & RAP CONFIDENTIAL
Rock Them Back To Hell has basically startled me with how good it is. Highlights of the album are…everything…especially Juice To Get Loose (check out some of that Indiana beer that is mentioned), Paralyze Ya, and Electrify. It’s a class act and is most definitely going to rank high on the year end list that is quickly filling as we head into the final quarter of the year. File under: Not To Be Missed. – The RIPPLE EFFECT
This rocks MC5-style, which means all the noise drummer Bren Beck and Freddy 'Joe' Evans IV can make while holding down a stomping blues-rock tune. - CLASSIC ROCK
Their new album Rock Them Back To Hell delivers dangerous raucous rock with a mix of steel belt machinery and southern hard liquor. This power duo demolishes the rules and grabs you by the throat and shakes you until you submit. Hailing from Fort Wayne, Indiana Left Lane Cruiser brings the heavy sound of middle America and stripped-down jams that are as tough and sharp as a midwest pool hustler’s gaze. – RUSTZINE
The 10 Best Country & Roots Songs From BREAKING BAD : Left Lane Cruiser “Waynedale” – Season 3, Episode 8.
(PAINKILLERS review) 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
Known as Left Lane Cruiser, the duo of Freddy J IV and Brenn Beck defines its music as “voodoo hillbilly punk-blues”. Whatever that might be exactly, it’s actually a pretty apt description of the combination of thrashy, scuzzed-out guitar and trashy, bashed-up rhythms on Left Lane Cruiser’s latest outing, Rock Them Back to Hell. The new album is as resourceful as it is energetic, especially making an impression with found-sound percussion supplied by paint cans and trash cans. Wrap it all up in cover art by William Stout, known for his work for Return of the Living Dead and Pan’s Labyrinth, and the over-the-top tone and feel of Rock Them Back to Hell is more than complete. – POPMATTERS
Approaches things with a frenzied roar that makes paint curl and shake its ass. From the first track, "Zombie Blocked," clear through to the last, "Righteous," Evans sings like he’s gargling cigarette butts and ashes on the midnight train to nowhere, while Beck pounds out rhythms that could make cement crack. This is what Left Lane Cruiser do, stomping across the sonic landscape like they want to shear off every blade of grass. – All MUSIC
There’s good slow blues here, too – "Coley" is one where they dial it back a bit, and it’s got some pretty acoustic work. But the guitar playing on tracks like "Jukebox" and "Paralyze Ya" is incendiary, and there’s no way you won’t test the max volume of your speakers while listening to this album. It’s not a headphone album, it’s a "loud in the car" or "disturb the neighbors" kind of album. – WYMA
Freddy J IV’s squalling vocals and Brenn Beck’s "trash" drum kit (it really is made of trash) create an unearthly sound that’s simultaneously sublime in it’s perfection and unholy in its blistering sensuality. – ADOBE & TEARDROPS
While I was listening to Left Lane Cruiser my daughter came in and told me to "turn it down, Dad". I love it when that happens. - Hugh Fielder / The BLUES MAGAZINE
(PAINKILLERS review) 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
"Giving Tree" is the lowest of low down groove, a dirty diamond of rough, aching, swirling James Leg keys back-dropped by muted and fuzzed slide shimmer guitar. A voice, still growled in pure soul underneath, wounded and in love, lost and rambled, fighting through the sonic din. It’s a stunner of a song, and nothing like we’ve heard before by these cats. A revelation. – BIG ROCK CANDY MOUNTAIN
Junkyard Speed Ball is an unholy union of country, blues, punk, and rock at the mercy of a duo that share a musical connection that culminates into one Hell of a record. – The SODA SHOP
This duo is helping lead the way for the blues rock counter-cultural movement. – BOSTON BLUES SOCIETY
Left Lane Cruiser’s musical growth and expansion, conjoined with a Hi-er-Fi’d production, and a hard thoughtful attack bring all elements together to cause the stars to align and explode all over Junkyard Speed Ball. – DEEP BLUES
A pitch perfect definition of what I love about the Deep Blues scene and it’s tattooed kids putting their own punk skin on the Mississippi Delta. – NINE BULLETS
From the greasy slide-guitar-and-drum-pummeling intro to opener “Crackalacka”, you either jump in and let Left Lane Cruiser take you on a hell-raising hayride or plain get out of the way because Freddy J. Evans IV (guitar/vocals) and Brenn “Sausage Paw” Beck (drummer/“trash”/vocals), a powerhouse duo out of Fort Wayne, Indiana, are roots-music revolutionaries who take no prisoners on their second outing for Alive Records. Following 2008’s Bring Yo’ Ass to the Table, All You Can Eat assimilates the Mississippi Delta blues laid down by guys like Big Joe Williams and Son House and cultivates it into a country punk ‘n’ blues speedball. “Hillgrass Bluebilly” is a frenetic juke-joint stomper that finds Freddy J IV hollerin’ out a reference to the Who’s “Squeeze Box”. “Ol’ Fashioned” is a country-picking blues flashback with washboard, while the primal trio of “Black Lung”, “Broke Ass Blues”, and “Putain!” finds the boys strutting through stoner-blues country with bravado. It doesn’t get a lot better than this. – Alan Brown / POPMATTERS
They take elements of some of the most basic but timeless forms of American music and make it their own. I’m not big on the New Age Country and Hellbilly movement but I have my ears open. – STEREOKILLER
Left Lane Cruiser is the real deal. They are blues at its best, filth at its finest, with just two men who are evoking enough inner demons to populate an entire circle of hell. – DISC EXCHANGE