Twisted rockabilly, blues and rock from Jon Spence
Jon Spencer and Matt Verta-Ray's latest opens with a crazed rockabilly tune that stomps, sputters and echoes like Charlie Feathers caught on a distant late night AM radio skip signal. It's distorted and twisted by the atmosphere, but comes blasting right through. The electric blast of edgy rock lunacy defines a crucial element Heavy Trash vibe, and even when their rockabilly is more straightforward walking bass lines and drumsticks-on-the-rim, they turn psychobilly for the Cramps-meet-fratrock ";Way Out"; and the Ramones-ish of ";I Want Oblivion."; <p> But demented rockabilly isn't this duo's only forte. ";Outside Chance"; kicks up the mid-60s British invasion riffs of the Pretty Things and Kinks, and the ";They Were Kings"; rides the nitro-fueled blues of The Gories, Cheater Slicks or less recent antecedents like George Thorogood. Eddie Cochran runs headlong into Buddy Holly and Bobby Fuller on ";Crazy Pritty Baby,"; and the tic-tac guitar and slapback echo of ";That Ain't Right"; are pure Johnny Cash. ";Double Line"; is deconstructed swamp blues with acoustic and electric guitars intertwining like '70s Stones, and the sermon of ";I Want Refuge"; gives way to an energetic 30-seconds of Bo Diddley beat before the downbeat soul ballad ";Crying Tramp"; emerges from a hail of feedback. The album closes with an impressionistic Tom Waits styled slow blue monologue. <p> What ties all these sounds and eras together is a certain elementalness; Heavy Trash plays upon the turning points and critical confluences of rock and it's various tributary inputs. Recorded in three studios with three different backing bands (including The Sadies in Boston, a studio full of Danes in London, and a regular New York crew in the Big Apple), the foundational rockabilly of Spencer and Verta-Ray are both indulged and stretched beyond recognition, making these sides even wilder and more adventurous than their 2005 debut.
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