cadallac man cvrCadallac Man – Kevin K (Vicious Kitten Records)

Around these parts, Kevin K records are like a comfortable pair of slippers: You slide in and feel at home with his slashing or chugging guitar and mewling vocal drawl. This record is sized extra-large with 26 songs putting it in the realm of what used to be called a double album.

For the uninitiated (and shamefully there still are some), Kevin K is a Buffalo, New York State raised, New York City-tempered veteran of the Lower East Side-CBGB scene, who remains musically true to that long-gone playground. This is his 33rd album of gritty, street-level rock and roll, and it’s more of the same.

“Cadallac Man” (yes, we know that's not how you spell the car but being sued for copyright is expensive) is a solo record in all senses. It’s Mr K playing everything; at times the engine room is superfluous to his voice and serrated-edge guitar. The end result resembles Neil Young’s “Le Noise” - but with tatts.

This is an album about many things but mostly change: Kevin’s old man, World War II veteran Alvin, passed a year ago, so he upped stakes from his long-time base of Florida to make a new life in Michigan. Now, there’s a climate change. The album also marks K’s move to five-string open G tuning, a la Keef, a set up deployed on a few of these songs that Kevin says took him a while to master.

Its maker thinks of “Cadallac Man” as his “Exile On Main Street” and there’s a similar sprawl, if not the same dark and dank sound or instrumental variety. There’s Stonesy swagger to burn though, with guitars alternately coming at you from the right and left channels.

Many of the lyrical themes remain familiar: Loss, drugs, the demise of old scenes (“1989”) and loved ones (“Every Night I’m Dreaming”, the beautiful “I Miss You”) are prominent. There are lockdown songs (“No Respect”) and no prizes for guessing what “No Ramones” is about. 

Move aside Jennifer Love Hewett – it’s billboard queen Angelyne’s turn in the song of the same name. It’s a keeper. Listen closely elsewhere and you’ll hear bits copped from the Ventures and the Stones.

Crunching riffs abound but don’t expect precise picking – the Kevin K style is a thickn wall of chords augmented by distinctive Thunderesque slipping and sliding. Session men (or women) and purists may recoil, but his tone and feeling counts for much. These songs breathe, their choruses and melodies nestling within.

If you’re a newcomer and in Australia then this is as good as any place to dive in. The label is in Canberra so it won’t cost you and arm and a leg in postage. If you're overseas, let MKD Distribution be your guide. It’s also fitting that “Cadallac Man” is part of the rebirth of Vicious Kitten Records, the imprint that has consistently championed Kevin K’s music down the years, and that of Jeff Dahl, Mr Ratboy, Hiroshi The Golden Arm, Freddy Lynxx and many more. 


Buy it in Australia

Buy it overseas