SLOT (The Sweet Black Bear) CD
Sometimes Scott Hamilton, who's the head of Small Stone Records, is good for an unexpected release. SLOT is definitely among this surprises, because they have not much in common with hard, bluesy 70's-inspired riffing, what doesn't mean that they don't own a certain kind of heaviness. This album is a compilation of old unreleased recordings from the early 90's, because SLOT split-up in 1995 and they won't reunite, because one of the members died on cancer. That's a real tragedy. It's astonishing, that this band never received a lot of attention during their exsistance, because their songs have a lot of passionate charm, emotional depth and they are performed by excellent musicians. But it's not new, that the mass of consumers are following the latest trend, while real good bands are criminally overlooked. SLOT played a combination that consists of driving basslines, female vocals and psychedelic guitar-sounds, and there have been times when music like this was called Indie-Rock.
Well, anyway, here are a few songs which remind me to early Yo La Tengo, My Bloody Valentine and later Sonic Youth, but nevertheless SLOT have created their own musical identity. The smooth and hypnotic vocals of bass-player Sue Lott fits perfectly to the dynamic and flexible drums, while guitarist Billy Rivkin (R.I.P.) enriches this foundation with an numerous amount of different guitar-sounds, that range from straight riffs to sonic cascades. 'The Sweet Black Bear' include twelve songs, that are rich on variety and even a bit of jazz is flown into their sound what doesn't mean that they really play jazz. It's more that this free spirit is part of SLOT's music, and I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of improvisation was part of their live shows. This is an extremly atmospheric album, which is able to enchant the listener with its emotions and creativity, and it's good to know that this music is now available for anyone. To make is more perfect, the booklet contains informative linernotes from Big Chief guitarist Phil Dürr, who was a good friend of the band.