Ahh yes, the Shoes, baby! Richmond, VA's CEMENT SHOES lay down eight new tracks on, "Too", their debut album. If you're new to Da Shoes, their debut 7" single on Feel It in 2018 left both reviewers and punk/hardcore millenials utterly confused and divided. The sage journalists at Razorcake even exclaimed, "This is the kind of genuine hardcore punk that could reach a pretty damn wide audience if the world were a different place." Well, it's 2019 now and the world hasn't changed one degree for the better, buddy! Thankfully, Cement Shoes have returned to drive the point home with their finest-and-fullest-sounding record yet. The Shoes are truly cooking with gas now, bringing the best elements of snappy 80s punk/HC and 70s hard rock to sonic fruition, with the necessary tongue-in-cheek sense of humor intact. "Too" presents itself as a sonic rendezvous where the '83 LA cast of punkers from "Suburbia", "Funhouse" era Stooges, Alice Cooper Band, Totalitär, and Cider are all invited. The whole room reeks of cheap beer and reefer, wah pedals lie on top of dirty shag carpet, and Joe Pesci is there to emcee the whole thing. Confused yet? So are we. But screw it, here's an album that sounds as timeless as the precious tape it was recorded on. A smoldering effigy to the way rock music used to simply exist and excite, and a shining example of where the unlimited data of the aughts can actually be stretched.
Our take: Debut 12” from this Richmond band featuring members of Fried Egg, Brown Sugar, and heaps of others. I could be brief and say that Cement Shoes sound like a band influenced equally by 80s hardcore and hard rocking US proto-punk, but that isn’t the full picture. There’s some intangible quality of Cement Shoes’ music that I can’t seem to put my finger on… a slithery, seedy weirdness that sounds like no other band. The riff-tastic, anthemic “Mine Mine Mine” is the record’s highlight for me, but even when Cement Shoes are laying into some straightforward 80s hardcore bashing they sound totally singular. I don’t think I can do any better than the label’s description of their sound: “a sonic rendezvous where the ’83 LA cast of punkers from “Suburbia”, “Funhouse” era Stooges, Alice Cooper Band, Totalitär, and Cider are all invited.” Too also has a warm sound befitting its 70s rock influences (they recorded it at the same place as the Fried Egg LP, live to analog tape) and artwork that’s as head-scratching as the music. Cement Shoes are a band that’s too weird for this world, but if you live on the fringe, this might be your soundtrack.