REVIEW: The Insurance Salesmen/Dortmunder Gold

Death of the Insurance Salesmen cover art

It isn’t that hard to put out an album for people. Technology can allow for instant gratification of new music. It is a great thing, but I find that it can make finding new, awesome bands a little overwhelming. But it makes finding hidden gems that much more special.

This week’s case in point: The Insurance Salesmen’s latest, Death Of The Insurance Salesmen. If you don’t live in Cleveland proper, you may not have gotten an easy opportunity to stumble upon this band. Which is, to quote John Waters, a dirty shame. The band is made up of a group of fantastic, multi-dimensional musicians. Yes, it’s a guitar-driven record, but the splashes of horns, harmonica, and the great machine that is the Hammond organ add color and detail.

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There is a riff in the first song “Absolutely Fireproof” that reckons me to think of “96 Tears” by ? and the Mysterians. I’m not sure why, but it is definitely not a bad thing. It certainly showcases the organ playing.

“Partying On” could be described as Andrew WK’s oeuvre in a song with lyrics like “when the sun goes down forever, we’ll be partying on”. Additionally, those lines pretty much sum up the record. It’s one that you could put on at a party going to the apocalypse; one that might cause the end of the world to be met with the best dance party ever.

“The Monorail Doors Opened Up” is kind of a freaky song, with a long buildup to each chorus, which makes it feel like the listener is getting abducted into an alien party. Organ-playing aliens, but still. Considering their last record has a pair of malicious chalices on it, it’s clear that the Salesmen fly their freak flag with pride, and frankly, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

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Death Of The Insurance Salesmen does have an overall 60s surf rock/AM gold vibe. However, unlike so many “indie” bands that seem forced and contrived to me, the Insurance Salesmen are pure and genuine in their efforts.

Does all of that sound good? Check out the record yourself, and also check out my trip to Cleveland that I took last summer, and see if it doesn’t make you want to check out the Rock and Roll Capital of the country yourself!

THE BREW: Dortmunder Gold- Great Lakes Brewing Company

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Brewing since 1988, the Conway brothers of Cleveland Ohio have been mastering their craft for over 25 years. Lagers are tough, but when made well, they are delicious. In my opinion, they really are the original session beers. Dortmunder Gold was one of the first beers that Great Lakes brewed, and it was quickly proven to be a well-made beer, winning its first gold medal at the 1990 Great American Beer Festival and several more at the World Beer Championships in more recent years. It’s fairly simple for ingredients- with two hop varietals, Cascade and Mt. Hood, and two malts (Harrington 2-Row and Caramel 60). So it tastes slightly sweet, and will have some familiar flavors, but it’s very drinkable.

THE PAIRING:

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I wanted to choose a beer that was local to the Cleveland area for this one. Great Lakes Brewing is only distributed in about 15 states across the country. So like the Salesmen, their beers can be a hidden gem if you don’t live in a state that widely distributes it. Where it is found, however, The Dortmunder Gold lager is accessible to the masses. When I went to Cleveland, I found it in many bars, not just ones that specifically stressed craft beer. Although the Salesmen definitely have a sound that would appeal to those of the indie rock/college radio persuasion, I feel like just about anyone could find some positivity in their tunes.

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2 thoughts on “REVIEW: The Insurance Salesmen/Dortmunder Gold

  1. Wonderful review of “Death of the Insurance Salesmen”. I think they’re quite interesting, but then, I’m a little biased. The “other guitarist” is my son. Cheers.

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