Akron, OH (August 31, 2022)–In the bygone and halcyon era of mass vinyl, cassette and compact disc consumption, there existed a certain tried-and- true career trajectory for rock-n-roll acts. The seminal, or some may argue terminal, live album was in many ways a final frontier. Unless, of course, one counted greatest hits collections. Which, of course, no one ever did.
Akron, Ohio-based Brian Lisik grew up in that era, so the inevitable live album, following his eight previous studio releases and another currently in the works, is not a shocker in and of itself. The ferocity, irreverence and fresh relevance of the captured performance, however, belies the fact that this is not a brand new band chomping at the bit and hungrily clawing for its rightful place at the proverbial alter of rock.
Brian Lisik & Hard Legs: Hotsy-Totsy! (out October 21 on Cherokee Queen Records), co-produced by Don Dixon (REM, Smithereens, Counting Crows, Matthew Sweet) and recorded during a particularly fiery set at Akron’s Rialto Theatre on the eve Lisik’s most recent birthday, assumes its place in his established musical canon while hinting, not so subtly, that there is still plenty of gas in the tank.
Kicking off with a punishing barrage of guitar feedback and machine-gun drums, Lisik and his current minimalist backing band of guitarist Robb Myers and Bizarros-alum Martyn Flunoy on drums take no pains to make Hotsy Totsy! a radio singles retrospective, opting instead for a sonically brutal alt-rock attack more reminiscent of the late ‘90s scene Lisik cut his teeth in with Akron-Cleveland-based underground darlings, The Giants of Science. To wit, this may be the full album that band never got around to recording.
Pummeling the audience with an opening salvo of “The Poor Kids,” “Hey Zelienople!” and “Monk” – a vitriolic new composition with a chorus made for fist-pumping sing-a-longs (so long as no one’s grandparents are in the room) – Lisik and company finally come up for air with an unfeigned reading of the humorously heartbreaking “Bye Bi Love” before turning the guitars back up for high-octane takes on the 2015 ode to boredom, “Normalcy,” and “(Erebus Goes) Overboard,” “Happy All The Time” and “Junior High School” from 2020’s Gudbye Stoopid Whirled before closing the blistering set with a 5-minute magnum opus rendering of Lisik’s 2021 single, “Sights.”
Equal parts flippant and devotional, Hotsy Totsy! also finds Lisik tossing out a dizzying array of random pop-music interludes throughout – from The Troggs and The Drifters, to Mac Davis and Brenton Wood – appearing and disappearing as wacky musical menageries with head-scratching abandon.
If Lisik’s most recent album release, the largely low-key Gudbye Stoopid Whirled that Elmore Magazine called a “tasty bare-bones hash of timeless folk-pop and rockabilly, shaggy garage-rock edge and power-pop sparkle,” was his sweeping indictment of the vapidity of pop music’s current landscape, Hotsy Totsy! in many ways inserts the exclamation point.
Americana Highways called it an “incendiary concert set…occupying a sweet spot between garage rock and power pop and making a much bigger sound than you’d expect from three people.”
Far from a literal career retrospective, the album still manages to touch on Lisik’s most noteworthy musical tomes, both original and inspired, in ways that almost accidentally make Hotsy Totsy! his most honest and unguarded to date. The vibe provided by a roomful of true believers sharing that experience makes it even more poignant, as Lisik & Hard Legs ignite a 40-minute sonic forest fire, leaving nothing but the raw, charred, profanely pulchritudinous essence of his sound.
Publicity: Mike Farley/Michael J. Media Group/608-848-9707/ firstname.lastname@example.org