The Conversation

Rock Review: Tilts

Rock music, at its heart, is the male brain expressing what’s necessary for pleasure. Is that sexist? Of course it is. Rock music is periodically blessed by women, when they join in, but mostly it’s the product of creatures with dicks. And sometimes, it’s grand, in spite of that.

Hard rock is silly, piggish, theatrical, dumb, smart, meaningful and meaningless. But it’s at its best when it’s real.Tilts is real, from beginning to end.

Tilts is a group that ruts in the ZZ Top swamp of rock - flinging riffs and melodies like arrows.  I contend that their first record is one of the greatest debut discs ever, and their second record (which is out now, called “Cuatro Hombres”, which i believe is French for five donuts) simply repeats the earlier album, with new songs.  It’s AC/DC style. You make a great record? Make it again! With better songs! Or the same songs!  Or the same songs that are different but better. AC/DC did that, until people caught on. Tilts are doing the same thing - but they don’t care if you figure it out or not.

Modern rock lacks male voices - i.e. singers that sound like men. Tilts is a band that sounds like a dude singing about shit, backed up by big riffs, heavy drums, and muscle. To me, they’re Badfinger if they’d listened to Black Sabbath. ZZ Top and Big Star in a blender, if you will.

Andrew Elstner fronts the band, and he also plays guitar for a lovely, vicious band called Torche - fronted by a shy but superb singer Steve Brooks.

Both bands, if discovered by one of those great producers of great records - Ted Templeton, Steve Lillywhite, Jimmy Iovine, Mutt Lange, Chris Thomas, Rick Rubin, whomever - would make them HUGE. They are huge bands patiently waiting for their huge sound to unravel to unknowing ears.

Until then, enjoy both bands before others find out. And then wonder, like I do, how such brutal greatness isn’t grabbed and turned into something that fills stadiums with loud, sickening thunder.


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