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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

CD Reviews: May/June 2006

CD REVIEWS May/June 2006
DC Larson

(All reviews copyright (c) 2006 Rockabilly Magazine, reprinted by permission)

The Royal Crowns
"After Dark" (Royal Crown)

Great White North hepsters contrive heat from
coolness. Gently rhythmic, good-humored.
Swaying steel guitar lends particular piquance to
nimbly-twanged Gretsch, stolid standup and
busily ambitious drums. A train called rock'n'roll.
All aboard.

The Hypsterz
"Live At the Longhorn" (Bomp)

1980s Minneapolis quadrophonics who
reread vintage R&B and garage punk
classics with Ramones-era conciousness.
High-speed, guitar-led, austere sonic
bombardments. Fiercely and defiantly
boisterous. Reissue includes their live
(and only) discs, 1979's "Hypsterz Live"
and 1981's "Hypsterization," plus 15
hitherto unreleased live tracks and three
new 2004 cuts. The hardest working live
band of the era. I was on that scene
and I know.

Easy Bill & the Big Beat
"Stay Tuned!" (Rhythm & Roll Enterprises)

Not unlike a sideshow medium raising
dormant spirits amidst low-rent games of
chancery, Easy employs his guitar to evoke
decades-still Blues and R&B voices,
testifying in dance-worthy and salacious
ambiance. Of course, carnys are merely
conning. "Stay Tuned!" bespeaks an
authenticity grifters can but pretend at.

The Living End
"State of Emergency" (EMI/Capitol)

Australia's burning. As apparent as ever
on their new CD, this volatile trio weds brash
punk anthemic spirit with topical and acidically -
critical social commentary of Clash-like
universality: "Sick of all the laws/and we want
more." 14 melodic Molotovs hurled with insight

Th' Legendary Shack Shakers
"Pandelirium" (Yep Roc)

An intriguing odyssey through a
kaleidoscopic funhouse mirror of
angles, influences, perspectives and
creative strains. Old European muses
like polka share dance-floor real
estate with American rock'n'roll
exuberance. A rewarding United
Nations of song, with boundless
(and boundaryless) adventurousness.

Various Artists
"Liquor Brand Vol. 1" (People Like You)

Rival primal urges to create and to destroy enjoy
joint expression in psychobilly. None of which
discounts the mongrel genre as legitimate art, if
of a specifically inartful demeanor. Assembled here
are 20 mayhem squads of varying bent -- some
mellifluent, others corrosive, but all of lethal calibre.

Stitch Hopeless & the Sea Legs
"Stuffing Coffins Since '77" (Psychobilly US/
Hairball 8)

As magnetically-revolting a psychopunk endeavor
as you're likely to witness above-ground. Relentlessly
buzzing guitars and storming rhythm section offer
hateful backdrop for growled/shouted/sneered
antisocial rants. More kicks than a backyard cage

"Dark 'n' Mighty" (Psychobilly US/
Hairball 8)

Rampaging in throes of metallic psycho
distemper unforgiving, seedy apostles of
angst rage against the human machine. Musings
broaching poetic spheres luxuriate against rash
thrash countervail. Existentialism gone wild. (sic)

Alan Vega
"s/t" (Ze/PVC)

None since have surpassed this compellingly
adventurous 1980 rockabilly fireworks/
moderne techdrone crossbreed. Ex-NYC
synthesizer/vocals duo Suicide frontman Vega
took his signature Brando/Elvis/Iggy stance and
street corner poeticisms to uncharted climes.

Warner Brothers in 1996 retitled this "Jukebox
Babe," coupling it on CD with Vega's 2nd solo
disc, "Collision Drive."

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