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|Thunder Down Under|
|Live album by|
|Released||August 15, 2006|
|Hot Snakes chronology|
|Drowned in Sound||9/10|
Thunder Down Under is a live album by the San Diego, California rock band Hot Snakes, released in 2006 by Swami Records. It was recorded during the band's Spring 2005 tour of Australia. The entire album was recorded live on May 10, 2005 in the studios of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation for use on the radio station Triple J, and features songs from all three of the band's studio albums.
During this tour the band members had already decided that they would break up on their return to the United States, and made this announcement on their return the following month. Thunder Down Under was released posthumously the following year on guitarist John Reis' Swami Records label. Singer/guitarist Rick Froberg designed the album's artwork while working as a visual artist and illustrator in New York City.
The album received very positive reviews from most critics. Joseph Larkin described it as "a blistering set of songs played down 'n' dirty".Jonah Byer considers it to be not "only a welcome addition to the band’s catalog, but also [...] the most incendiary entry, as well. Recorded live in an Australian radio studio in 2005, the 13 discordant post-everything masterpieces on Thunder Down Under careen into one another like demolition derby participants [...]" Mike Diver went as far as to write that "[e]ven posthumously, Hot Snakes render The Pistols and their sound-alike spawn of today every bit as sincere and passionate as a Louis Walsh-bred boyband." Spin wrote that the album found the band "[s]igning off in feverish style with guitars ablaze." "Every bit as loud, obnoxious, and great as Fear or the Germs, but without sounding retro, Hot Snakes played fast and died young [...]" wrote Jimmy Newlin, "Thunder Down Under, a live recording for Australian radio, is an explosive self-eulogy. Blasting through fan favorites like “Braintrust” and “Suicide Invoice,” [it] is a perfect starting place for new fans and a much-craved new set of recordings for devotees who can’t get enough." A slightly less favorable review came from Jason Crock, who found fault with the fact that the performances did not differ much from their studio counterparts ("weren't their albums essentially live in-the-studio anyways?") and criticized the sound ("The bass is lost behind the clarity of the twin guitars, and the drums are somewhat muffled, nowhere close to the expertly-recorded rhythm section on the band's fine three-album run.") He concludes that the album "fails to capture the group's in-person prowess."
Japandroids picked the album as one of their favorite garage punk albums: "They’re not trying to sound like they existed in 1967, but they have that blood in their veins. They have that same sense of ferocity and wildness about them as the best 60s garage rock records, but played three times as fast, and the singer is screaming instead of singing. [...] [I]t’s incredible. They’re so crazy tight."
Eric "Rick" Froberg is an American musician and visual artist. He was born in Los Angeles, lived in Encinitas, California, and currently resides in Brooklyn. In his musical career he has been the singer and guitarist for the San Diego-area bands Pitchfork, Drive Like Jehu, and Hot Snakes, performing alongside fellow San Diego musician John Reis. Froberg has also played with the Last of the Juanitas, Thingy and Obits.
Drive Like Jehu was an American post-hardcore band from San Diego active from 1990 to 1995. Formed by rhythm guitarist and vocalist Rick Froberg and lead guitarist John Reis, ex-members of Pitchfork, along with bassist Mike Kennedy and drummer Mark Trombino, both from Night Soil Man, after their two bands disbanded in 1990. Drive Like Jehu's music was characterized by passionate singing, unusual song structure, indirect melodic themes, intricate guitar playing, and calculated use of tension, resulting in a distinctive sound amongst other post-hardcore acts and helped to catalyze the evolution of hardcore punk into emo.
Rocket from the Crypt is an American rock band from San Diego, California, originally active from 1990 to 2005, then active during 2011 and again from 2013 to the present.
Hot Snakes are an American post-hardcore band led by Rick Froberg and John Reis, formed in 1999 in San Diego, California. Reis and Froberg had previously performed together in Pitchfork and Drive Like Jehu, after which Reis had found international success with Rocket from the Crypt. Hot Snakes disbanded in 2005 but reunited in 2011.
John Reis and also known by the pseudonyms Speedo, Slasher, and The Swami is an American musician, singer, guitarist, record label owner, and disc jockey. He is best known as the singer and guitarist for the rock band Rocket from the Crypt, which he formed and fronted for the entirety of its career from 1990 to 2005. Prior to this he was the guitarist in the post-hardcore band Pitchfork, and also played in Drive Like Jehu during the early 1990s. In 1999 he formed the Hot Snakes, and in 2000 also formed the Sultans, in which he sang and originally played bass before switching to rhythm guitar. He played in both these bands until their breakups in 2005 and 2007 respectively. He also released a solo recording under the name Back Off Cupids, which was recorded in 1994 but not released until 1999. Over the years he has performed in many other musical acts including Conservative Itch, Stacatto Reads, Custom Floor, and Beehive & the Barracudas. He is the owner of Swami Records, a label he founded in 1999. He frequently works with bands in a studio capacity and releases albums by many southern California groups through his label. He also hosts the "Swami Sound System" program. Reis remains an influential figure in the San Diego underground music community and is currently performing with a new band named The Night Marchers.
The Sultans were an American rock and roll band led by John Reis, formed in 2000 in San Diego, California and disbanded in January 2007. Over the course of the band's lifespan they released two full-length albums on Reis' Swami Records label. The band took pride in their "stripped down" rock and roll approach, using a simple guitar/bass/drum structure and recording quickly using pre-used equipment and borrowed instruments in order to maintain a loose, spontaneous feel.
Pitchfork was an American post-hardcore band formed in 1986 in San Diego, California and disbanded in 1990. They are most well known as the first "real" band of guitarist John Reis, who would later gain fame as the frontman in Rocket from the Crypt, and as the first collaboration between Reis and singer Rick Froberg. As an aspiring visual artist and illustrator, Froberg provided most of the band's artwork while Reis developed his studio skills by acting as producer on their records.
Mario Rubalcaba is an American drummer from San Diego, notable as a member of numerous rock bands including Clikatat Ikatowi, Thingy, Rocket from the Crypt, Hot Snakes, Earthless, the Sultans, and Off! He has also played on albums by The Black Heart Procession and Pinback and was formerly a professional skateboarder.
Eucalyptus is a studio album by the post-hardcore band Pitchfork. It was released in 1990 through Nemesis Records and re-released in 2003 by Swami Records. The album is the band's only full-length studio album. It was produced by guitarist John Reis and its artwork was created by singer Rick Froberg, who at the time used the stage name Rick Fork.
Automatic Midnight is the first studio album by the San Diego, California post-hardcore band Hot Snakes, released in 2000 by Swami Records. Both the band and the album began as a "side project" for John Reis in June 1999, during time off from his main band Rocket From the Crypt. Reis wrote and recorded a batch of songs in San Diego with Delta 72 drummer Jason Kourkounis. To provide vocals for the tracks Reis called in Rick Froberg, whom he had played with in Pitchfork and Drive Like Jehu from 1986 to 1995. Most of the material from these sessions was used to create Automatic Midnight, which became the first release for Reis' newly formed Swami Records label.
Suicide Invoice is the second studio album by the San Diego, California rock band Hot Snakes, released in 2002 by Swami Records. It was recorded in a similar manner to the band's previous album Automatic Midnight, with guitarist John Reis taking time off from his main band Rocket from the Crypt. As a visual artist and illustrator singer/guitarist Rick Froberg provided the album's artwork, while Reis released the album through his Swami Records label.
Audit in Progress is the third studio album by the San Diego, California rock band Hot Snakes, released in 2004 by Swami Records. It was recorded in a similar manner to the band's previous two albums, with guitarist John Reis taking time off from his main band Rocket From the Crypt. In comparison to the band's previous albums, Audit in Progress is more aggressive and primal. Audit in Progress would be Hot Snakes' final studio album till 2018's Jericho Sirens, as the members decided to disband following a tour of Australia in Spring 2005.
Peel Sessions is an EP by the San Diego, California rock band Hot Snakes, released in 2005 by Swami Records. It was recorded in the Fall of 2004 while the band was on tour in the UK, for broadcast on BBC Radio 1's John Peel program. Hot Snakes would be one of the last groups to record such a session, as Peel died shortly afterwards. It is also the only Hot Snakes release not to feature artwork created by singer/guitarist Rick Froberg.
Ghost Ship is the first album by the San Diego, California, rock and roll band Sultans, released in 2000 by Swami Records. Both the band and the album began as "side projects" for John Reis during time off from his main band, Rocket from the Crypt. This was also the time at which Reis formed Hot Snakes. Reis collaborated with drummer Tony Di Prima, bringing in Rocket From the Crypt guitarist Andy Stamets while Reis himself played the bass guitar. The band chose the name Sultans for the project and recorded an introductory EP and Ghost Ship, both of which were released that year on Reis' newly formed Swami label. As Reis has a tradition of using different stage names or pseudonyms in his various projects, he chose to be known as "Slasher" in the Sultans, while Stamets chose the nickname "Black Flame".
Shipwrecked is the second and final album by the San Diego, California rock and roll band Sultans, released in 2004 by Swami Records. When the band reconvened to record the album in November 2003, original guitarist Andy Stamets chose not to rejoin the group. Singer/bassist John Reis took over the guitar position and his brother Dean Reis joined the band on bass, taking the stage name "Black Velvet."
Live from Camp X-Ray is the seventh studio album by the San Diego, California rock band Rocket from the Crypt, released in 2002 by Vagrant Records. It was the band's final studio album, as they broke up on Halloween 2005. Contrary to the album's title, it is not a "live" album but rather a studio recording.
Dan Sartain vs. the Serpientes is the third album by the Birmingham, Alabama rock musician Dan Sartain, released in 2003 by Swami Records. It was Sartain's first commercially available album, his previous efforts Crimson Guard and Romance in Stereo having been self-produced and self-released. Several tracks from these albums were re-used on Vs. the Serpientes, while others were re-recorded. Several additional musicians from the Swami label recorded on the album, including members of Rocket from the Crypt, Hot Snakes, Sultans, Beehive and the Barracudas, and The Heartaches.
Obits was an American rock band formed in 2006 in Brooklyn, New York. The band members are veterans of other independent rock bands: Guitarist/vocalist Rick Froberg was previously a member of Pitchfork, Drive Like Jehu, and Hot Snakes, and guitarist Sohrab Habibion was a member of Edsel. The band has released five singles and three albums, I Blame You (2009), Moody, Standard and Poor (2011) and Bed and Bugs (2013).
See You in Magic is the debut album by the San Diego, California rock band The Night Marchers, released in 2008 by Vagrant Records and Swami Records. The Night Marchers are the latest musical project of singer/guitarist John Reis, previously of Pitchfork, Drive Like Jehu, Rocket from the Crypt, the Hot Snakes, and the Sultans. Reis announced the group's formation in August 2007, after all of his previous acts had broken up by January of that year. The band also includes Beehive and the Barracudas guitarist Gar Wood, CPC Gangbangs bassist Tommy Kitsos, and former Delta 72 drummer Jason Kourkounis. Wood and Kourkounis had previously recorded and performed with Reis in the Hot Snakes. The band members are credited on the album using pseudonyms that they had used in their previous acts: Reis is credited as "Speedo", Wood as "Dner", Kitsos as "Skitsos", and Kourkounis as "Jsinclair".
Moody, Standard and Poor is the second album by the New York City-based rock band Obits, released March 29, 2011 through Sub Pop.