It was just a couple weeks ago that I was listening to a compilation of late 1980s and early ’90s grunge music over and over again, trying to find something original to say about the movement that came and went about as quickly as Napster. After going through the thing about three times and staring at a few silly lines, I needed a change of pace. I also had plans to write about The Vibrolas, a Louisville band who are really into cars.
I played the album, From Parts Unknown, at high volume through my crappy old Kenwood receiver, and an involuntary nodding of the head began almost immediately. Grunge again captured my thinking, specifically Mudhoney and Skin Yard. Like most songs on that grunge comp (which eschews the blockbuster acts like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden or Alice in Chains), The Vibrolas’ tunes were lo-fi and dirty, super-heavy musings on subjects that weren’t world politics, relationships with women or men or spiritual sojourns with hackneyed “life exploration” themes. They were sludgy stoner anthems about cars and high-voltage punk rock anthems a la The Misfits.
The Vibrolas’ sense of self seems more aligned with The Ramones. The album’s cover, for instance, bears a bright purple-and-red-based cartoon of the three band members driving hot rods, tongues wagging, mouths agape; one is dressed as some kind of gut-bucket pirate. This is a band with refreshingly little ego, three people clearly confident enough not to take themselves too seriously, and that’s like a cold rag during a fever.
The band’s been one for seven years now, and this 12-song collection is sadly their only official output so far. Bassist Leila Coppala and singer-guitarist Chris “The Blizzard of Hoz” Hosner are married, though the band came before the love, Leila says. Andy Johnson, aka “The Driver,” is the band’s crushing drummer.
The whole band recently answered LEO’s Five Important Questions. Their CD release-cum-tour kickoff party is tomorrow at the Rudyard Kipling.
LEO: If you were Mayor, what would you do to help promote people like you in this city?
Vibrolas: Spend $5 to go to a local rock show and have a beer with the commoners.
LEO: Which Louisville musician needs to get more attention?
V: Besides us, you mean? The Defilers. Those guys can really rock.
LEO: If music were food, what would yours be?
V: Fried okra. Not something you see every day, but quite tasty. Plus it has a funny/cool name, like we do.
LEO: Tell me about one of your favorite works of art aside from your medium?
V: Chris’ artwork that he does for the band (flyers, T-shirt and album art, etc.). Very detailed, very humorous, usually car-themed!
LEO: What do you want to say that you know you shouldn’t?
V: I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing.
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