I’m always stoked when TSOL come around. This LA punk band got started at the dawn of the 80s by fusing that early American hardcore punk sound, what with the stripping down and the speeding up, with a dark, doomed consciousness that soon took them in a far more gothic direction–at a time when goth wasn’t even really a thing yet. Early work like Dance With Me and Weathered Statues EP was unassailable, but after the band first lost legitimately troubled frontman Jack Grisham and, by the late 80s, became a shadow of their former selves with zero original members, it seemed as if their legacy had been irreparably tarnished.
Fortunately, the original members reformed, successfully reclaimed the rights to their band name, and began making new music around the turn of the 21st century. After their second reunion album, the excellent 2003 LP Divided We Stand, the band brought back Greg Kuehn, who had played keyboards on their 1984 LP Beneath The Shadows.Kuehn’s additional textures once accentuated TSOL’s goth vibe, but today they give the band a bluesier feel, as can be heard on latest LP The Trigger Complex. While TSOL aren’t still the same band in 2017 that they were in 1981, they still have a ton of talent and a wealth of great songs to draw from for a killer setlist. Missing them next Tuesday at Strange Matter is just as inadvisable as missing them in LA 35 years ago would have been.