When people outside of Kansas think of the music scene two and a half cities really come to mind: Lawrence, Kansas City (which counts as half since most of the city is in Missouri), and Wichita. Dozens of young bands hail from secluded rural and suburban wastelands that litter the state and that is what makes the Kansas music scene what it is. King Slug is a band that hails from El Dorado, KS, a small town some miles outside of Wichita, and their new two part epic “Citrus Cloacas/Toad Trials,” paints an eclectic picture of a band finding their style in the middle of the country.
This is not the band’s first recording; they already have a whole album under their belt- giving the band the space to experiment and really hoan in on their own unique style. “Citrus Cloacas/Toad Trials,” is a stunning testament showing where they are now as artists as well as an exciting teaser for their upcoming record that will be released through Not Swell Art Collective.
The band doesn’t take from conventional music popular in the indie scene today. The pedal work is there but it’s not shoegaze, there is complexity in composition, however it’s more human and less brainy than math rock. The first part, “Citrus Cloacas” sounds like it belongs on the Misfits classic “Walk Among Us,” with it’s fast paced backbeat, booming and consistent bass and thrashy guitars. Throw in Rodney’s “Danzing Howl” over the music and it sends the listener bouncing up and down to an infectious backbeat before the song brilliantly transitions into “Toad Trials.” While “Citrus Cloacas” sounds like it belongs on an 80s punk record, “Toad Trials” borrows inspiration from some of the best records of the 1960s- showcasing the bands’ shameless flirtation with blues rock. “Toad Trials” is much slower paced than “Citrus Cloacas” which helps give the listener time to process the change. It has all the dirtiness and grittiness of the former part but offers a whole new set of dynamics, reminding us that King Slug is capable of exploring so many more dimensions than what is typical in today’s indie rock. The whole track blends punk and blues together in way that most bands can’t pull off without being cliche.
The single sounds like no other band in the Wichita underground and sticks out compared to bands on a national level. It is a sound that can only find itself somewhere that is secluded from what is considered “cool” in the music scene. Instead of paying attention to the shirts they see when Code Orange comes to town, King Slug pulls on their Pink Floyd t-shirts, gathers their tastes from classic rock radio nostalgia and what you get when all of the musical movements in the country meet in the middle: Top of the line, no-fucks-given garage rock ‘n’ roll tinged with elements of blues, punk, psychedelic and indie.
-Carson Schneider (NSC)