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Jan 23, 2018







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 Dishwalla, Juniper Road (self-released)

The reason today’s kids make fun of ’90s grunge bands the way Aughts kids made fun of ’80s hair-metal band is that they’re essentially the same thing. If you had to pick your poison, would it be lyrics pandering to girls and beating up stuff (the ’80s) or word-salads revolving around girls and half-baked existentialism (the ’90s)? This Santa Barbara five-piece band singlehandedly typefied the grunge-pop zeitgeist with one 1996 hit that had it all. It sounded like a po-faced, dead-bang cross between Live and Pearl Jam, and there was the counterfeit monotheistic indulgence, but more importantly its title was “Counting Blue Cars” even though everyone on Earth figured it was called “Tell Me All Your Thoughts on God,” since that was the hook line. 1990s bands loved that trick, making people walk around saying “But I thought the title was such-and-so” — it was the only real punk thing about grunge. And thus, catching up with these guys now, 10 years after their last proper full-length LP and with a new singer aboard, they’re a DIY thing, which has actually done them some good. Opener “Sirens” combines woozy mud-rock and early Cult into a stoner-rock joint evoking a commercial-minded Trail of Dead; “Give Me a Sign” is a workable, pretty nice ballad that gives the drummer some exercise. Good on these guys for not trying to revive an expired idea. A- — Eric W. Saeger




CD Review 5/3/17
Black Lips, Satan’s Graffiti or God’s Art? (Vice Records)

05/04/17



 As you know, this Atlanta garage-rock juggernaut totally rules, not just because they barf and get naked on stage like New Hampshire’s own dear departed punk god GG Allin (whom they idolize), or because they’re on Vice Records (yes, the same Vice organization that operates the best news show on TV) but because they know the responsibility a band takes on when they call themselves a garage band. They don’t rip off the Rolling Stones from the get-go the way they did on their last record, 2014’s Underneath The Rainbow, but they do rip off Screaming Lord Sutch (“Occidental Front”), The Association (“Can’t Hold On”), JayZ (the munchkin voices on the otherwise shagadelic “Crystal Night”) and Flaming Lips (look at the album cover, come on, it’s worse than ever). All of this is delivered with Sledge-o-matic levels of distortion and un-pro-ness, off-key interludes, the usual. They have achieved perfection at last. Again. A+ — Eric W. Saeger

 





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