Throughout this endeavor of writing reviews, we have befriended some of the musicians whose material we covered. When the conversation turns to music today, the question arises on both sides: “I’m a little jaded on modern music (since my musical growth really hasn’t changed since I was 16) who should I be listening to?” Usually we cull our list of “top discoveries” of the year and depending on tastes, recommend group X or Y, but it is always audience specific. It would be nice to have that band to pull out of your back pocket for anyone. A musician’s musician, if you will.
Seattle’s In Cahoots may just be that band for me. After listening to their EP Boxed Wine Country, my first thought is: “what’s wrong with boxed wine? It is an incredible value!” My second thought is: “oh, these folks eat, drink, and breathe rock ‘n’ roll.” The opening riffs of “Waking Up” exude 70s punk, complete with Christina Cramer’s vocals punching through the lo-fi sound, then Brad Judy’s wailing guitar solo pull the song into classic rock territory. “Secret Handshake” does not let up at all, with a heavy crunching punk riff led by Rich Huston’s rumbling bass and Dave Crossett’s crisp drum fills while Cramer laments the “who’s who” nature of the music scene; each artist is a master of their own domain. The song is aggressive and catchy as all get-out and it is no surprise “Secret Handshake” won best Heavy Rock Song from the 2013 NWME Awards.
The 6 tracks of Boxed Wine Country play out like a clinic of how a classic punk rock should sound. I spend the whole album pining for an 8-track player in my car and a ringer t-shirt with a horribly silk-screened Han Solo on it. It may have been the decade of malaise, but the 70s had a fantastic rock sound, and In Cahoots has found a way to stopper it in a bottle and pull drafts in large gulps. By the time “Bloodless” closes out the album, I’m left thinking “what just happened? I need to go back and listen again.”
Never flashy and clinical to it’s core, Boxed Wine Country should be shared with anyone and everyone who cares about rock ‘n’ roll. Run over to their bandcamp page and throw down a few bucks to get this album and keep it in your back pocket. As Cramer says “I’m telling everyone about you,” and I’m going to make sure to tell everyone about In Cahoots.