Made up of members from Drive Like Jehu, Rocket from the Crypt and the Delta 72, Hot Snakes always delivered the goods, living up to and often surpassing those precursors. Putting the “rock” back in indie-rock, the Snakes thrived on riffs that swirled and stabbed while backed by frenetic drumming faster than a speeding Black Flag. Above the chaos, Rick Froberg screamed hilarious, angry songs like “I Hate the Kids” and “Audit in Progress.” Every bit as loud, obnoxious, and great as Fear or the Germs, but without sounding retro, Hot Snakes played fast and died young: three albums in four years, with just a handful of tours. Thunder Down Under, a live recording for Australian radio, is an explosive self-eulogy. Blasting through fan favorites like “Braintrust” and “Suicide Invoice,” Thunder Down Under is a perfect starting place for new fans and a much-craved new set of recordings for devotees who can’t get enough. Most of the Hot Snakes albums were recorded live in a garage to begin with, so casual fans may find Thunder Down Under inessential as the songs don’t sound that much different in this format. But there’s not a disappointing moment to be had, even during the goof-off Dead Milkmen-style jam “RNR Will Never Die” (even at the band’s most half-assed, they still kicked ass). All the Snakes’s best songs are here: the yelping D.I.Y. manifesto “Kreative Kontrol” (“I’d give up sex for creative control”), the relentless “Think About Carbs,” and the nearly gorgeous “Plenty for All,” which captures a band as catchy and warm as insane.
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