The Bremen Riot
Reviewed by Michael Toland, Fri., Jan. 31, 2014
Austin's been blessedly free of supergroups since the reign of the ARC Angels, but that doesn't mean a group of likeminded pals shouldn't kick out a few jams. Longtime local fixtures, barroom bard Mike Nicolai and explosive rock quartet Grand Champeen found common ground in Midwestern power pop and created the Bremen Riot as an excuse to indulge. Champeen has long been obsessed with being the Austin version of Soul Asylum, but the infusion of former Minnesotan Nicolai and his everyman vox and songwriting pushes the rockin' roll to new levels. Taming the beast without crushing its spirit, Nicolai focuses the blaze of "Ruthless" and "Silver Wall," emphasizes the winsome pop of "How's Your Lunch," and adds jangle to "Keep Your Head" and "Easy, Joe!" Welcome sloppiness empowers the pub punk of "Scenes From a Hot Tub" and "Land of 1000 Dancing Pills" keeps faith with the Riot's anarchic live presence.