Did You Say About Boxcar Satan?
"Damn! Where have these guys been all my life? If the Birthday
Party had been from Texas, they would have been Boxcar Satan!
It's Captain Beefheart played by Black Flag, the Pop Group warped
by the Cows, the Big Boys as carnival barkers! There's something
to be said for Texas punk!"
Maelstrom April 2007
"Boxcar Satan is something like the bastard child of Robert
Johnson and Primus. Without the wacky bass playing, anyway. Saying
that it's catchy in the normal sense of the word wouldn't work,
but I'm absolutely forced to say it IS catchy... somehow — even
when structures and songs are nothing but mere excuses for Boxcar
Satan to play some mean atonal, noisy, and really dirty sounding
riffs. And even when they happen to go against pretty much anything
you've heard produced in the past forty years.What's amazing
is that about half the riffs aren't actually riffs but random
sounding noises made with a slide. Definitely not what we're
used to hearing in modern rock, where everything is coherent
and sing-along. Within the first minute or two, it's hard not
to notice that Boxcar Satan isn't logical, even if they sometimes
try to play a normal chorus. But that's the beauty of it all.
Boxcar Satan doesn't limit itself to dirty, country-influenced
rock. They can also play some Morphine-like slow rock, fun Primus-like
pieces, post-rock (even if quite masked), some metal parts, and
free jazz. Let's just say that Boxcar Satan is hard to handle
and to digest, but it's worth it. It's totally worth it. 9.1
out of 10."
"It seems like they're runaways from Vegas who stole a car,
discovered Tom Waits, Jesus Lizard, Teenage Jesus & The Jerks,
the Melvins, Captain Beefheart and decided to hit a studio (literally)
and record some stuff on the way. Boxcar Satan has every quality
of a very wild rock’n’roll band combined with virtuosity,
great improvs, awesome venom vocals and the kind of weirdness
that makes your head spin for an entire day. Listening to Boxcar
Satan is like being stoned on snake poison. Songs like "Pig
in a dress", "Calamity Jones" and the bluesy freejazzsong "Silent
and Automatic" are a trip through weird America where even
Devendra Banhart is afraid to go. New American Weirdness, part
Deux! One of music’s best kept secrets."
"Boxcar Satan plays a raw style of music that is one part
punk, one part beat poetry, one part roots rock, and one part
noise. It's an all-out assault on their instruments."
Vulture March 2007
"Boxcar Satan's music is based on American roots rock --
although sometimes gone terribly wrong, but that's a good thing.
Like Mojo Nixon, or The Cramps, Boxcar Satan has that cool knack
for all that is wicked, weird, and wonderful. As good as anyone
before them, Boxcar Satan has taken what's great and dangerous
and sexy and true about early rock 'n roll, punk, and some country,
and put it all through a distinctive filter drenched in their
attitude and style, somehow making the result something of their
Corpus Christi Caller
Times Aug. 25, 2006
"This blooze-soaked trio's been in the game since '93 and
take as many cues from Sonny Boy Williamson as they do from Captain
Beefheart. The Boxcar Satan sound deconstructs 12-bar blues and
cranks as much post-modernism into the mix as humanly possible."
Houston Chronicle Jan.
"One of the most enjoyably indefinable bands making a racket
today, Boxcar Satan makes a freaky, scary, Tom Wait-sy mix of
gothic roots music and late ’70s punk rock. The band must
been seen, and experienced, to be believed."
Week Oct. 20, 2004
"Although self-described as "no-account no wave blues," Boxcar
Satan has made a career out of defying description entirely. Some contrived
comparisons: like Captain Beefheart grumbling with the Birthday Party,
or Tom Waits oozing the blues with a prankish devil dancing on his skull
and the Jesus Lizard crawling up his spine. Guitars tickle and squeal.
Vocals grumble, croak and moan. And the rhythm battery swaggers down the
sidewalk like it's itching for a fight. It ain't your typical night at
the punk bar, that's for sure."
Chicago Reader Oct. 15, 2004
"Upstanding and Indigent is the third full-length from this Texas
band, which propogates a righteous, too-little-heard strain of sounds
from the "new weird America." Muddy Waters and Bob Dylan
have their proper place among the influences here, but so do Captain
Beefheart, Tom Waits and Pere Ubu (as well as the Birthday Party, being
honorary Americans for this purpose). Jarring, swampy strangeness is
the dominant mode -- death-rattle saxophone, bloodhound-howling slide
guitar, fiddle and dead-drunk Cajun accordion -- but the band also
seems more than comfortable playing it (almost) straight on a fervent
gospel tune, "Drunk on the Blood of the Lamb," and a frenzied
version of "How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live?"
Webzine Aug. 4, 2004
"Boxcar Satan from Texas likes to put a dozen styles in the
mixer. They have firm blues and rock roots, but they also don't shy
away from post-punk, cajun, gospel and avantgarde-jazz. At times I
have to think of the structured chaos of The Birthday Party. Other
parts remind me more of the freejazz punk of Victim's Family or the
filthy bluespunk of Jon Spencer. The raw alcoholic vocals are a cross
between Tom Waits and a veteran blues singer. But you'll also find
some authentic Texan gospel on 'Drunk on the blood of the lamb'. A
dirty and bizarre album, but certainly entertaining (if you've had
enough whisky to drink)."
Splendid Webzine March 24, 2004
"This San Antonio trio makes a gratifyingly ugly noise out of junkyard
scraps of punk, blues and unclassifiable weirdos like Beefheart and The
Birthday Party. Buzzsaw guitars and bent buzzing bass lie beneath sandpaper
vocals, creating a scratchy, alien racket that's much smarter than it
initially appears to be. Ricocheting from barroom brawl blues to zydeco
to Twin Peak-ish vibraphonery to pseudo gospel, the band spreads
a layer of grit wherever it goes."
Austin Chronicle Feb. 27, 2004
" The blues may have been born in the Mississippi Delta, but Robert
Johnson's first recordings in 1936 were made at San Antonio's Gunter
Hotel. With their third full-length outing, SA's Boxcar Satan pays a
twisted sort of homage to their fair city's musical legacy with a slam-bang
concoction of blues and avant-punk distilled to its most potent essence
yet. The trio flails about with the tight-fisted ferocity of a Jesus
Lizard or Pere Ubu, but what really distinguishes Boxcar Satan is the
gravelly growl of vocalist/guitarist Sanford Allen. Allen bellows like
the progeny of Captain Beefheart or Tom Waits, and he does so without
it devolving into a fallow affectation."
Now Wave Webzine March 2004
"R.L. Burnside meets the Toadies meets Tom Waits? Just when you
thought bands were running out of unique combos to experiment with, here
comes Boxcar Satan. The guitar slides all up and down your spine, the
drums and bass rumble in a more complicated fashion than you would expect
from (even mutated) Delta blues. Sanford Allen‚s vocals grumble
like an old dog scratching its back on a gravel road. It‚s a fairly
interesting formula, but this trio isn‚t done yet. Interspersed
throughout the swanky, dirty, dim-as-dusk barroom rock is a cacophony
of jazzy interludes and moody breakdowns. A cool supporting cast provides
sax, vibraphone (check out "Ain't
That The Truth"), and several
more elements that deepen the sound even deeper than Allen‚s voice...
Creativity is not dead!"
Impact Press February/March 2004
"Imagine Howlin' Wolf jamming with The Melvins and you get the idea
-- as much as you possibly can have an idea of this. It's beautiful in
its own twisted and dischordant way. Sand-blasted vocals spiraling amid
churning guitars and pulsing drums. Rock and roll deconstructed and rebuilt."
Houston Press, March 4, 2004
"Boxcar Satan sounds like the soundtrack to one of Hieronymus Bosch's
freakscapes transplanted to the depression-era American South. If the
teenage Damien from The Omen were around, he would ditch those
Gregorian chants he was always jamming and get heavily into Boxcar Satan."
BabySue March 2004
"Anyone who ever loved Captain Beefheart's Clear Spot album
will almost certainly go ape over San Antonio's Boxcar Satan. Not only
is the band's raw and gritty bluesy rock featuring bizarre slide guitars
highly reminiscent of the great Don Van Vliet but the vocals are virtually
identical. Tons of bands have been influenced by the great captain, but
few continue the great tradition with such integrity and style as Boxcar
Satan. While the band may need to develop more of their own identity
as they proceed along in their career, in the meantime, the heavy influence
seems to be working just fine for them (particularly since Van Vliet
no longer creates music and his fans are always still hungry for more)."
The Ox Fanzine (Germany)
"There is (and this is a good thing) no category in which to put
Boxcar Satan. The three young guys from San Antonio simply blend too
many styles. It goes from cowpunk, over to blues or noise rock, and as
far as gospel-like songs. Of course, there are breaks within the songs.
In between, you are reminded of old Cop Shoot Cop, but then the next
piece processes Baltic folklore and blues. The lyrics are completely
twisted, with tales of peepshows, or a story about sinners from the Old
Testament, all packaged into a positive prevailing mood. The mixture,
even with the third listen, had more surprises to offer and I'll continue
to play it more often." (Translation: Marguerite Convery. THANKS!!!)
Buffalo Art Voice, Oct. 9, 2003
"Only a band with a name like Boxcar Satan could smash Delta blues,
no wave, punk and acid jazz together into one distinctive brand of music.
On their latest release, 'Crooked Mile March,' this San Antonio trio's
songs roar with scratchy voices and even scratchier instrumentation (check
out 'See the
Donkey Lady' and the band's cover of Soft Cell's 'Seedy
Films' for proof)."
City Paper (Rochester) Oct. 8, 2003
"Boxcar Satan plays the kind of broke, desperate blues that leaves
some folks a tad uncomfortable. The band deconstructs the blues down
to its bones, devouring it like a juicy Waits Beefheart Tenderloin. The
band throws post-war, Delta and field holler blues into a cauldron already
steaming with rough and wrong lo-fi Americana, exotica and sepia-toned
uncertainty. Picture a faded red velvet electric chair surrounded by
tumbleweeds and strippers and cranked up all the way. This Texas trio
relentlessly challenges musical conventions, both old and new. From Tarantellas
to slow, seductive waltzes and bullhorn-howled rock insanity, Boxcar
Satan is the next rung down that lake of fire Leadbelly warned us about."
Columbus Dispatch May 1, 2003
"The Texas band Boxcar Satan revives the maniacal, throbbing sound
the Jesus Lizard and the Cows unleashed a decade ago."
Columbus Alive May 1, 2003
"Boxcar Satan, on the other hand, promise infinitely more ear-splitting
pleasure. On the San Antonio band’s second album, Crooked
Mile March (Dogfingers), Boxcar Satan recalls the Cows (circa Sorry in Pig
Minor), blending demented blues skronk with horn-blown (free) jazz touches
and sun-dried vocals. Also throwing Roma chanteys and noir storytelling
into the mix, Tom Waits is surely a reference point for these Lone Star
drinkers as well. It’s all emitted in a noisy, natural, un-didactic
argot that’s as riveting as it is unpretentious."
Chicago Reader Nov. 15, 2002
"Don Van Vliet will not be participating in the much-touted Magic
Band reunion at All Tomorrow's Parties in the UK and LA next year, but
if the former Beefheart sidemen want to hire a soundalike, they should
put in a call to Sanford Allen, front man for this San Antonio trio.
Even when Van Vliet was scary, he was never as downright Texas-rattlesnake
mean as Allen gets on his own band's "Crooked
Mile March" (Dogfingers
Recordings). The down-and-dirty groove of "See
the Donkey Lady" sounds
like a Birthday Party B side, and these guys have got one big rockabilly-striptease
streak too. Still they emerge from the same hard-core blues ooze as the
magic band did -- too bad their atmospheric version of "John the Revelator" doesn't
quite pass the Blind Willie Johnson goosebump test."
The Stranger (Seattle) Nov. 20, 2002
"Crazy, noisy, and bluesy, Boxcar Satan sound like a train wreck
between Tom Waits, garage punk, and the Delta Blues. Not a carnage kinda
wreck, but the kinda mess involving a sloppy, silly, good-times-and-gruff-vocals
kinda style that makes whoever's hollering at the time sound sick with
a whiskey flu. There's a little insanity coursing through all these songs,
and the way this San Antonio band refuses to sit still in any one genre,
spinning American roots music with punk noise."
"This San Antonio band (or, as they said, Satan-Tonio) blended hard
rock and Delta Blues to great results. At one point the guitarist started
testifying in this voice that is going to give me nightmares forever.
Here's hoping they come back to Columbus again and again, if only so
I can buy their records. Between them and Trail of Dead, it makes me
wonder what's in the Texas water that makes these bands rock so hard.
I think I need to go on a field trip soon."
Impact Press Feb./March 2002
"On their second full-length release, Boxcar Satan stick with the
winning formula and attack blues, country, jazz, punk and rock, with
plenty of experimentation. The entire album sounds gritty, perhaps recorded
after a night submerged in liquor. They owe as much to noise as they
do to roots rock. Hard to describe, easy to enjoy."
Carbon 14 #21
"Be afraid. So far, the freaky doublespeak evil preacher that kicks
the CD off has freaked out everyone I've played this for. Hell yeah!
Any of you nasty, dirty blues hounds that miss The Cows should already
be onto this trio from San Antonio, Texas. Sounds like these boys have
been on the giving end of a hit for the devil since the beginning of
the way-down, desolate Southern blues. Toss in some of that freakshow
jazz, hobo train rides and punk noise and it's the moving engine of this
band. A heart album that bares Boxcar's tentacles of styles: one minute
a tuned-down bass tub thumper, guit-fiddle finger doodle, the next a
grumbling storytelling rattlesnake on the floor of your car that snuck
in somehow and yer tooling at 80 on a desert road. No wonder these guys
have their city behind them. Hell never sounded so pretty."
All Music Guide
"Boxcar Satan is one hard band to figure out. Combining several
different genres together in one big, fat, noisy sound, the band comes
across as the noise-rock equivalent to Mr. Bungle. Seedier and self-consciously
dumber than Bungle, Boxcar Satan plows through the 13 tracks like a freight
train, giving each song the filthy touch it needs to be truly effective.
"On the Midway" recalls Boss Hog's trademark swagger, while "Best
sounds like Morphine with GWAR's Oderous Urungus on vocals. The real
star of Crooked Mile March may be James Cobb, the man who not only designed
the incredible packaging, but also plays beautiful saxophone on a good
portion of the tracks. The fact that he is not an official bandmember
only makes him that much cooler, although this is one band that is not
afraid to have guests on their album. No fewer than seven extra musicians
pop up at different times during the album, contributing instruments
as un-rock like as accordion and vibraphone. This tendency to experiment
is the strongest aspect of their sound; just when you expect one thing
they turn it on its head and give you another. The album is undoubtedly
abrasive, which does begin to take its toll on the listener toward the
end. Vocalist Sanford Allen has a brutally gruff voice, another aspect
of the sound that may be charming to some but may also drive some listeners
away. But his performance on their cover of Soft Cell's "Seedy Films" is
a sleazy highlight, sounding all the world like Tom Waits as they take
the original song and slow it down to a jazzy crawl. Overall, Crooked
Mile March is one of the more impressive debuts of 2001, and shows a
band with a lot of great ideas successfully manipulating the boundaries
of noise rock."
Under the Volcano #66
"Great experimental American roots music. Traditional Delta blues
played with a white man's "punk rock" angst. Sonic Youth meets Muddy
Waters. Howlin' Wolf meets early Nirvana. Very refreshing. Recommended
as a wonderful companion for a road trip to New Orleans."
"Imagine the sound of an old blues man tossed down an elevator shaft
with fizzing bottle rockets strapped to his chest, howling like a broken
toothed dog all the way down. Psychedelic? No, psychotic..."
Epicenter Online Magazine
"Boxcar Satan is a Texas trio whose latest 13-track release finds
them crossed in between a honky tonk and a moshpit. Imagine Clutch if
they hailed from Texas, all heavy and jaded, yet being able to holler
and hoot like Hank Williams, and Boxcar Satan is what comes out (See
The Donkey Lady). Dissonant and atonal at times, but on purpose for art's
sake, Boxcar Satan is a rough ride for those that can't grasp the band's
left of center direction, but if you can sit through the Primus-like
oddity (The First Half), you'll find some soulful Tex-Mex guitar work
that'd make Stevie Ray proud (Hellhound
Express). Add some 60's sheik,
complete with horns and xylophone for texture (Best
Be Gone), and you
get an eclectic outfit capable of unsettling the West for good by throwing
things like Middle Eastern melodies in their stomping Texas two-step.
Boxcar Satan may challenge your musical sensibilities a bit (Boxcardo's
Hideaway), but when they decide to rip out, they do so in grand fashion
(Your Money Or Your Life)."
Reglar Wiglar #14
"They're back! Still singin' them devil songs. Tom Waits goes to
Hell to jam with a twisted devil rock punk band, that's what this train
ridin' crüe from San Antonio, Texas sound like. Don't mess with
Blank Generation Webzine Nov. 2001
"A cool Jon Spencerish blooze/jazz/noise fuck band. Tight as hell.
Makes a decent bridge between, say, Jonestown and JS, I guess."
Underground Sound #27
"True noisy garage punk. 'Devil
Times Five' is a true classic if
not for any other reason than the riff. Lots of Boxcar Satan is hoe-down
punk boogie, complete with guitar leads. 'Sterno' is the ultimate ode
to the poor sods down on their luck, with Sanford Allen's biting guitar
riff and Iggy style vocals. BS also lay down quite a few other songs
here about drinking, losing one's mind and death, the three top subjects
for all reality bands. You don't get this kinda knowledge in class. The
saxophone on cut 6, 'Hatchet
For A Honeymoon', sets the stage for another
slinky guitar piece, and another song about drinking. One of the albums
highlights. Don't know if Boxcar Satan will ever make it to the Rock
N Roll Hall Of Fame (the underground greats usually don't), but they
would undoubtedly be the top draw on the skid row side stage. Bottom's
Reglar Wiglar #14
"Boxcar Satan is armed to the teeth with a brand of spastic and
frantic brand of devil rock."
"If I was cast down into Hell, I'd become a stripper and the only
music I would dance to be would be by Boxcar Satan. They make a style
of music that possesses one's body to move in a way no other music can."
"Boxcar Satan like their guitars muddy and their vocals a la Howlin'
Wolf. It's not far from the Blues Explosion: the same 'take it, break
it, and make it different' credo applies to these difficult, jerky, noisy
bastardized blues tunes."
"Boxcar Satan will steal away your children and your more tasteful
works of fine art, but not before clearing out your liquor cabinet and
receiving a moist warm kiss from you, its willing host. Sometimes it
hits you like a Laughing Hyenas Cecil Taylor speedball and other times
it's more like a Monkey Wrench Scratch Acid cocktail - maybe a Poison
13 Charles Gayle enema. Throaty vocals, precise power drums, gruff heavy
bass, sharp dissonant guitars and plenty of Texas-style weirdness make
Boxcar's 1999 CD, 'Days Before the Flood' (Compulsive Records), noteworthy.
Stand-out tracks include 'Devil
Times Five,' 'Sterno,' 'Hatchet
for a Honeymoon,' 'Snake Oil,' 'Hard Time' and a refreshing version of Screaming
Jay Hawkins' 'Feast of the Mau Mau.'"
Austin Chronicle Aug. 25, 2000
"In a musical world where much of what passes for aggro-catharsis
is overproduced and safe enough for NOW compilations, San Antonio's Boxcar
Satan steamrolls through the vacuum with a pungent blend of Texas punk,
chicken scratch blues and free association. The trio's twisting, turning
assault is sun-baked and liquor-drenched, but they never allow that discombobulating
combination to lull them into a sense of complacency. 'Nag' begins with
a perfectly evil bass groove, but just when you're starting to feel it
go to your head, they change up and lay into you with a series of dissonant
dagger jabs. While Scratch Acid would seem to be the most obvious reference
point, Boxcar Satan also evokes a distinct Captain Beefheart vibe with
low, croaking vocals and Dadaist lyrical content. 'Hatchet for a Honeymoon'
fuses these two elements in a particularly disturbing manner, while 'Snake
Oil' utilizes a bleating sax solo to flirt with free jazz. Despite these
relatively obtuse tendencies, the band never lets its sound degenerate
into pure noise. They may be knee-deep in the river bottom, wildly flailing
about in all directions, but Boxcar Satan never loses their fundamental
grounding in the demon-chasing Delta blues."
Fort Worth Weekly April 2-May 4 2000
"Devotees of Scratch Acid and the Birthday Party, Boxcar Satan throw
rough-hewn blues riffs over jazzy drum fills and basslines that wriggle
like a kitten with a broken back to create a thicket of sound that is
as wild and threatening as the densest Brazilian jungle. The band panders
to no one's idea of radio-friendly riffs but continued exposure to their
roiling maelstrom of sound does, albeit slowly, begin to reveal the music
secreted behind the jagged edges and fierce barbs. The initial impenetrability
of Boxcar Satan's aural assault can be a little daunting. And it's meant
to be. The Satans want to be seen as an antidote to the grinning, all-singing,
guitar-playing alternarock pop bands that have been popping up in the
charts like pimples on a teenager."
Salt for Slugs Vol.3, No.4
"Close the door and put on you seat-belt. This highly charged offering
from one of San Antones' best bands will take you for a ride. A well
balanced mix of frantic, yet solid guitar work, a kick ass rhythm section
and at times a Tom Waits-ish growl makes songs like 'Devil
'Snake Oil' and 'Toothache' personal favorites. These guys have been
main-stays in the central Texas scene for the last couple of years, and
for good reason. 9 high-hard ones out of 10."
"This starts off with a slide guitar intro, then immediately progresses
into a noisy, jazzy, off-kilter bluesy cacophony that, if played too
loud, would compress the brain and cause it to burst like a ripe pimple
on a hot Texas summer morning. More simply put, this sounds like Howlin'
Wolf fronting Scratch Acid. Their cover of Screamin' Jay Hawkins' 'Feast
of the Mau Mau' is fabulous. A good mind fuck that fans of the Cows and/or
Jesus Lizard might like most. Highly recommended."
Jersey Beat #66
"Wow! Try to imagine the Flying Luttenbachers combining forces with
early Butthole Surfers plus a healthy dose of Mississippi Delta blues
influence, and you will just barely begin to comprehend the noisy brilliance
of Boxcar Satan. These three riotous Texans bury you in a hail of bluesy
riffs, barbaric drumming and thick bass before launching into experimental
noisescape territory. The guys can produce some thick and tasty music,
such as the hypnotic groove of 'Devil
Times Five,' but more often, the
band begins with a sturdy base and simply creates from there. Sanford
Allen is out in front of Boxcar Satan, both with his guitar squall and
gritty vocals. Drummer Mike James and bassist Daniel Edward are rock
solid, chugging along, creating a bruising wall of sound that Allen repeatedly
grinds his guitar against. Boxcar Satan are beautifully disturbing on
'Hatchet for a Honeymoon,' a slower, denser track utilizing slide guitar,
but the real joy lies n trying to fight your way through the fuzzy, jack
hammer punk/noise/blues/hybrid monstrosities 'Snake Oil,' the instrumental
'Left Ear' and the outrageous 'Last Legs.' All this plus a version of
Screamin' Jay Hawkins' 'Feast of the Mau Mau' and a bonus track. Bizarre,
obnoxious and great!"
Law of Inertia #7
"Boxcar Satan hails from San Antonio, Texas and plays a gritty blend
of noise and blues with a touch of punk. What exactly does that mean?
Imagine a really dirty bass, distorted slide guitar and screeching harmonica
jamming together violently. There is also occasional saxophone or piano
thrown into the mix. If you're a fan of old blues artists like John Lee
Hooker but also enjoy noisy garage punk then this is the CD for you.
While it's pretty repetitive, it does a good job of flowing from a mellow
bluesy sound to really intense, insane jams and back again. This is really
original and this band sounds like they'd be great to see live. I would
love to see them onstage, jamming until the sun comes up in a smoky bar
in the heart of Texas."
Luna Kafé e-zine Full Moon 34
"One of my first initiations into the world of San Antonio rock
was through Boxcar Satan, back in one of their earliest configurations.
That was seven years ago. And after nearly nine years of playing and
packing the denizens in at Tacoland, and whatever other club has had
the honor to fall to the wayside of time since then (places like Winner's
Circle, Sluggo's, Wacky's are first to rise up like Shiner Bock-embalmed
zombies in my head), here is Boxcar's first digital full-length release,
following two singles, and some bit roles in local comps. And to those
who have ever had the pleasure of their ears getting blasted and smashed
in by Boxcar's live shows, the CD will be a pleasant reminder of lost
weekends, but only if the tinnitus ever gets turned down any lower than
10 on your own amped head. The intro is a small collage of knifed Dobro
and Balinese monkey chants, which at the point of spinning out of control,
instead drops you into the collapsing lung tightness of Nag. Mike James'
bashing threatens to smash apart the drum cage, bringing down the skeletal
blues structure in the process, only to have everything emerge tight
'n shiny on the other side. Sanford Allen shatters his glass fingers
everywhere, spitting trebly and trembling twisted crystal shapes that
add prickly barbs on top of the rolling thunder of Danny Edward's bass,
which swings bloody and hard right in front of your swollen, stolen face.
The live shows and the shoddy PA systems always have covered this fact,
but Sanford's voice, once elevated over the din of racket and skronk
of the live shows, proves that he has as big of a hunk of Van Vliet's
tracheotomotized trout mask throat as anyone in the field. And just wait
until he peels off the gorilla suit and slurps the elbow soup of Screamin'
Jay Hawkins' frenzied Feast of the Mau Mau for the CD's (and most live
shows') finale. Days Before the Flood stays pretty close to the roots
which grow from the beer-blackened floor of their live shows, allowing
for the most lucid annunciation of Sanford's croak and sneer ever captured
by ears in daylight, and exposure to the apocalyptic rumbles of the band
at not so dangerous levels, as well as some sugar and spikes from the
sax and piano of James Cobb on a few tracks. Now the warnings of what
really happened in the last days before the flood (mind you that San
Antonio is a river city, prone to being drowned come every hard rain)
can be made out over the bloody din."
Ink Blot Magazine Cream of the Crop 4
"Radio friendly? Nope. That's why we like it, folks. Picture a project
involving The Jesus Lizard and Jon Spencer with an even stickier, more
cemented feel. Boxcar Satan are the sound a dumptruck makes as it unloads
all over your convertible - while you're in it - and you laugh hysterically
at the cruelty of it all. There's a heavy smell to it; it's gritty and
chunky and it really makes you want to shower. Infused with blues, punk
and miles of crunchy rock guitar, songs like 'Hard Time,' 'Sterno' and
'Snake Oil' will make you pick up that bottle and want to make love to
it all night long. Incidentally, Boxcar do the greatest cover of Screamin'
Jay Hawkins' 'Feast of the Mau Mau.' You've never heard monkey calls
like this before. Days Before the Flood was actually recorded a few short
days before a massive flood of biblical proportions tore through these
Texans' town of San Antonio, proving perhaps that Satan is being channeled
through the bilious music of Boxcar Satan. If that won't make you go
out and buy their record, I don't know what will."
San Antonio Current #486
"Somewhere between the last Yarbirds' album and the first House
of Blues, we lost sight of what the blues really are. It's not all mean
mistreaters and back-door men, stylistic clichés and stock phrases,
but the realization that life is a rigged game and it's our duty to cheat
as much pleasure from it as physically possible. Boxcar Satan understands
this, and with their full-length release, Days Before the Flood, realigns
the music with the message. Fear, desperation, rage, exhalation, and
joy - that's the blues. And though it may not sound like any blues we've
ever heard, that's the feeling Boxcar Satan captures in their music.
Mike and Daniel carve primitive, subterranean rhythms on bass and drums
that Sanford's guitar fills in with errant shards of noise and sheets
of slide hysterics. The result is a delicate balance that threatens to
topple at any moment. But it doesn't collapse, and instead creates nervous
tension as the perfect canvas for Boxcar's desolate stories. From the
lover-as-killer saga 'Hatchet
for a Honeymoon' to the nihilistic fantasia
of 'Cutting Out,' Days is a series of increasingly desperate moments.
Each song bring the listener to a point where options are few to none,
and there is no room for indecision. We hear this in Sanford's Wild-Turkey-'n'-Lucky-Strikes-rotted
voice as he wrestles the music, rides it, and tries to come to peace
with it. Sometimes he wins. On 'Last Legs,' his alpha-male growl keeps
the noise around him at bay. Sometimes he loses. Screamin' Jay Hawkins'
sinister 'Feast of the Mau Mau' reduces the singer to endgame gibberish,
and leaves him squawking a demented call-and-response with his own guitar
that goes beyond language or coherent thought. Down but not beaten, Hank
Williams' 'I Saw the Light' closes the whole affair. Yet, as if vindicating
the horrors that preceded it, guest vocalist Patrick Sane sings not like
a saved man, but one who has found God from the bowels of hell and isn't
entirely upset about missing his maker. Salvation offered and refused
- it says a lot about the band. Boxcar Satan doesn't make noise for it's
own sake, or because it's easy or fashionable. If anything, Days
Before the Flood is a rare case of musicians provoking their music to a fight
and then dealing with the consequences. Win or lose, it doesn't matter.
The struggle is the story."
Jim Beal, San Antonio Express-News
"So, you might be asking, how does Boxcar Satan sound? The Trio
of Danny, Bass; Mike, drums; and Sanford Allen, guitar, vocals, makes
a style of music that has been described as 'Texas-bred noise.' That
doesn't quite sum up the Boxcar Satan experience. Imagine one of those
large cement-mixing trucks. Into the payload part of that contraption
dump elements of Pere Ubu, Lightin' Hopkins, the Birthday Party, John
Lee Hooker, Sun Ra, the Barbarians, the Legendary Stardust Cowboy and
maybe even the Ramones. Add a very large helping of pure old Texas maverick
sensibility and the exploratory urges of a mad scientist. Dump it out,
turn the volume up to 11 and get ready for the rumble. 'Hard and fast
is great,' Allen said, 'but you have to mix it up a little.' The Boxcars,
named by former Boxcar Satan bassist and current Evil Mother Patrick
Sane in honor of a childhood boogie man born in Allen's fertile imagination,
do mix it up. 'Days Before the Flood,' recorded at Tribal Studios by
Chad Garrett and Bobdog Catlin just before the big floods of last fall,
features a pile of originals and some very hip covers. A spin of tunes
such as 'Hatchet
For A Honeymoon' and 'Snake Oil' gives listeners the
idea they've latched onto a group that's not particularly interested
in following anyone's trends. And when you get to the covers of Skip
James's 'Hard Time,' Screamin' Jay Hawkins' 'Feast of the Mau Mau' and
the Hank Williams/Luke the Drifter 'I Saw the Light,' you come away with
the idea that the members of Boxcar Satan are equal parts irreverent
fans and full-speed-ahead musical maniacs. If Screamin' Jay ever has
the opportunity to hear the Boxcar's rendition of 'Feast of the Mau Mau,'
he's going to be so proud."
Maximum Rock & Roll
"Boxcar Satan takes a chuggy approach that's definitely more in
the Minneapolis (and even Chicago, since we're mentioning major American
cities) vein as opposed to Seattle. Cool slide and harp."
Punk Planet #21
"Very weird fuzzed out rock with slide guitars and harmonicas. Weird
Etch Magazine Vol.4, No.1
"Fine bass-heavy...AmRep-ish thing a la The Cows or something akin
to that sans the goddamn bugle. Boxcar Satan weasels in a bunch o' God-awful
harmonica, luckily it's drowned out by evil bass drone. I like it a lot.