The golden glow of nostalgia can make it hard to objectively reflect upon the musical past.
While Rubberneck, the 1994 record that catapulted Toadies out of the Axis Club and onto the world stage, is very much of a piece with its early ‘90s contemporaries (crunching guitars, oblique lyrics masking existential angst, a frontman capable of blood-curdling howls), the Fort Worth rockers also clearly seized their major label opportunity and wrestled that sucker to the ground without hesitation.
That’s all a long-winded way of saying, look, Rubberneck felt like a sledgehammer to the temples in 1994, and these songs hit just as hard 20 years later. Vaden Todd Lewis, who can still scream with as much tendon-tightening force as he did two decades ago and drummer Mark Reznicek are the lone original members still hammering away — lead guitarist Darrel Herbert and bassist Lisa Umbarger left years ago — and as Reznicek told me last year, the band scarcely thought Rubberneck would have the impact it did.
“Honestly, when we were recording Rubberneck, most of us figured this is our one shot for an album, and we’d end up going back to our day jobs,” Reznicek said last fall. “The fact that 20 years later, people still come out to see us and we’re still active and playing — I feel amazingly lucky and blessed to be able to do that. All of us do.”
To mark the 20th anniversary of Rubberneck, Toadies’ current label home, Kirtland Records, is re-releasing a remastered version of the album on CD and vinyl Tuesday. Rounding out the record are five, previously unreleased B-sides and live cuts. The band will headline Homegrown Festival in downtown Dallas on May 5, and it is bringing its Dia de Los Toadies festival back to Panther Island Pavilion on Sept. 12-13.
Darrin Kobetich, ‘Sidetracked: A Soundtrack for an Imaginary Motion Picture’
Fort Worth instrumentalist Darrin Kobetich describes the music he makes as “anti-folk,” which gives the impression of creation by subtraction. Nothing could be further from the reality — Kobetich, an immensely gifted musician and inventive composer, follows his compelling 2012 LP The Longest Winter with Sidetracked, a record positioned, as its subtitle indicates, as a fictional soundtrack for a nonexistent film. Taking that approach allows Kobetich to stitch together seemingly disparate moods — the ominous, roiling chords of the expansive opener, The Order Within Chaos, contrast sharply with the gorgeous melancholy of When the Rain Finally Came and the swamp noir echo chamber that is Banjer in the Bayou. Atmosphere fused with peerless musical skill makes getting Sidetracked endlessly enjoyable.