It's hard to believe that this is the first article I've written for this blog solely dedicated to Liquor Store, since as recently as last year I identified the band as "The Best Brooklyn Band Who Gigs Regularly in the Area." But times change and shit happens; before this show I hadn't actually seen them perform live in about 6 months, and, until this one-off at Matchless (of all places), they hadn't yet played an area show this year.
As of press-time New Jersey’s Liquor Store boasts six guitarists (at least five of whom definitely can not be heard on these two songs) and a front man who looks like he should be working at one of those chop shops outside of Shea Stadium in 1986. Stoopid with a capital “O,” the Store is a non-stop fire sale/boner party for those of us who felt “Surfin’ Bird” was a little too deep. I know “trash” gets thrown around these parts regularly as a descriptor, but man, Oscar the Grouch meet your new favorite band. The A-side, “Free Pizza” is exactly that; there’s no one who doesn’t like free pizza, but there’s only one band who decided to write a song about it (and you know what they say, even the worst ‘za is pretty good). Snooze you lose, Peter, Bjorn & John. The flip, “Trash Sandwich (Parts 2 & 3)” sams and shams and more than lives up to its title. The white sleeve and generic label are perfect, as these guys give you exactly what you need (songs about food) and not a drip more. Liquor Store just might be the worst band in the world, but they’re the best worst band I’ve ever heard.
I would've agreed wholeheartedly with all of that a few years ago, but since then Liquor Store has transformed into a well-oiled machine, with a stable full of great songs, a consistent band lineup, and road-tested live chops. At this point, Liquor Store is a stellar fucking band, and they rock harder than literally ANY other local act. It's just that simple.
We showed up to the gig right as the band was lugging their shit in through the front door, and we began slugging PBRs immediately. Shortly, the band started their set, and although they were tight as hell, the rhythms were a bit slower than usual - a likely symptom of not having played out enough recently. PLAY MORE SHOWS, MANG!! But as the set went on, I was totally impressed with each of the newest batch of songs which I'd never heard before.
That was good news. Their debut album, Yeah Buddy, was one of '11's best records, and it sounds as though the band has taken a step forward in their songwriting: the licks are still steeped in classic, driving, twin-guitar KrautPunk, but the new stuff has a bit more of an anthemic classic rock flavor. That's nowhere more evident than in the dueling, Thin Lizzy-esque guitar solos, which aren't an entirely new element in Liquor Store's repertoire - although the proficiency displayed in the solos certainly is.
So yeah, great stuff, the set was fun as hell, I can't wait to hear the new record, and I eagerly await the time when it seems like Liquor Store is playing multiple shows every month mere stumbling distance from my doorstep. GET ON IT, DUDES!