The Cut*Off | The Rorschach E.P.

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Rock: Hard Rock Rock: Modern Rock Moods: Featuring Guitar
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The Rorschach E.P.

by The Cut*Off

Young and fresh old school rock and roll if the school you went to liked the Pixies and loud guitars.
Genre: Rock: Hard Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. adults we know
3:18 $0.99
2. the basement theory
3:10 $0.99
3. magdalene
3:03 $0.99
4. hold me down
2:42 $0.99
5. porcelain
4:43 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
FW Weekly:
As with baking or weight-lifting or “writing,” there’s a right and a wrong way to create ’60s-ish jamboree-style rock ’n’ roll. The “wrong” hit record store shelves a couple of months ago and, as usual, was fawned over by everyone (a.k.a. Rolling Stone and Pitchfork) except HearSay. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s Howl is so fake-y, so gratuitous, so trying-hard-to-be-cool that after one listen, I wanted to sprint to L.A. — where BRMC is based (like, no duh) — and slap each one of the musicians in his pretty, pouty, Gap-model face. The right way to do ’60s-ish jamboree-style rock is à la the cut*off’s new Rorschach e.p., produced by Salim Nourallah at his Dallas-based Pleasantry Lane Studios. All five songs are exemplary, especially “Adults We Know,” a diggable and groovy stumble through a wispy, angsty haze, and “Hold Me Down,” a diesel-fueled workout replete with twangy instrumentation, hootin’ and hollerin’ in the background, hand claps during a breakdown, and a little bullet mic action. (Sample lyric: “It’s five o’clock on Friday, and my pocket’s pretty full / Bottle full of bourbon, everything is turnin’ cool.” Two words: Kick. Ass.)

Dallas Observer:
"If I could make enough with this band to buy a house, some beer and a dog, I'd be happy," says Jake Webster, drummer of the Cut*Off, Cowtown's fascinatingly languid conglomeration of '60s garage/psychedelia and '90s grunge leftovers.

The quartet, together since 2002, got their name from the fact that, in school, each member always did just enough work to make the cut-off point for a passing grade. It's exactly this offhanded attitude toward their music that defines the band. They self-released their debut, Polarity, in 2003, but the members are quick to distance themselves from the effort.

"Those were the first 13 songs we ever wrote," says singer/guitarist Kyle Barnhill. "I have a hard time even playing those songs now."

And while such revisionist history is usually so much "promote the new stuff" ballyhoo, the group's new EP, Rorschach, is such an emotional leap forward that it's easy to ask what caused such a stirring progression. The answer is anticlimactic.

"We just took our time," says lead guitarist Jayson Hamilton, whose prickly tones and well-versed hooks add much to the two- and three-chord workouts on the EP. Hamilton's fine work is quickly apparent on "Adults We Know," a measured and menacing elegy to juvenilia, equal part Sky Saxon and Frank Black.

Claiming the Pixies as their Holy Grail, the four 20-somethings in the Cut*Off are all students or working stiffs, guys who see Black Francis as the embodiment of the nerd who became cool, the unattractive lout who got the last laugh in song.

"Like Black Francis," says bassist Chad Sones, "we're half-assed professionals."

The sound the band conjures up on Rorschach, however, is more indebted to Pacific Northwest grunge icons Mudhoney than to the punky pop of the Pixies. Barnhill's casually sinister vocals on cuts such as "Magdalene" and "The Basement Theory" work well against a rhythm section that barely hangs together, over which Hamilton adds his inventive lead work.

The EP, produced by local mainstay Salim Nourallah, is a compelling tribute to amateurism, the kind of sloth that made the Replacements and early Soul Asylum so relevant and likable. Hitting the road March 2, the band hopes to spread some of that charm heading north on Interstate 35 to Milwaukee and Chicago.

"My dad has a friend who owns a rental car company, and I think we got someone to pay for the gas," says Webster, expressing more of that offhanded, seat-of-the-pants slacker mentality that suits the band so very well. By balancing a commitment to their craft with a blasé attitude about the results, the Cut*Off appears poised for a break that they, thankfully, could either embrace or continue contently without.



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