Punk rock has taken many strange, often exhilarating forms since its gobbing and bleeding birth in the mid-'70s. One of the most impressive recent bends in its slippery definition has come by way of everything and anything associated with Rocket From the Crypt, the revolutionary punk collective from San Diego. Over the past decade, RFTC and its various offshoots (Drive Like Jehu, Back-Off Cupids, Black Heart Procession, and Stacatto Reads, among many others) have all shown an incredible sense of depth and variety, rarely attempting anything that has been done by any other incarnation of the band -- or by anyone else, for that matter -- staking out familiar but ultimately unique territory.
The Hot Snakes are further evidence of Rocket From the Crypt's potent genetic reach. Featuring RFTC guitarist John Reis (Drive Like Jehu, Stacatto Reads), drummer Jason Kourkonis (Mule, Delta 72), guitarist Rick Froeberg (Drive Like Jehu, Pitchfork), and bassist Gar Wood (Beehive & the Barracudas), the Hot Snakes offer snarling punk that lies somewhere between the shuffling blurt of the Strokes and the Hives and the primal snot-rock classicism of the Stooges and the MC5. On its sophomore album, the recently released Suicide Invoice, the Hot Snakes rumble and rock through an uncompromising set of pummeling punk revisionism, from the Gang of Four-tinged "I Hate the Kids" to the Bakersfield-meets-London thrash of "Gar Forgets His Insulin" and the Ruts-meets-XTC burn of "Paid in Cigarettes." Oddly enough, having all these children running around doesn't seem to distract the parents -- the Hot Snakes' current tour is overlapping only slightly with the writing and recording of the new RFTC album, slated for this fall on Vagrant. See them before they turn into something else.