Becky Lee & Drunkfoot, “Hello Black Halo” LP

cover-becky-lee-and-drunkfootIf the Dead Weather is when Jack White backs the Kills, then Becky Lee And Drunkfoot is the equivalent of Alison Mosshart fronting the White Stripes. Becky Lee and Drunkfoot is Becky Lee and her one-woman blues band. It’s a little dry and basic, although Becky Le certainly has a pleasant enough voice.

While I’m not suggesting that a female-fronted act is less intriguing when the frontwoman isn’t sultry as a generality, I will suggest that if Ms. Lee rocked something other than country church vocals, Hello Black Halo would certainly be more entertaining. It may simply be that when you’re playing a drum kit and guitar simultaneously, some form of emoting has to go out the window.
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Hank Haint, “Blackout” LP

cover-hank-haintI’m usually a little skittish about one-man band blues stuff, especially on Voodoo Rhythm. Sometimes you get psychotic weirdness that’s wonderful, a la the Reverend Beat Man. Often, you get off-key, white boy blues like Delaney Davidson. It’s this lack of assurance that gives me pause every time I push play on anything from the label carrying the “one-man” tag.

Hank Haint‘s debut LP, Blackout, is exactly what I want in a one-man blues band. I want it dirty, I want it scuzzy, I want it stomping, and I’d like it to be the sort of thing I’d sing along to when I was a little drunk. Haint succeeds on all levels.
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Roy And The Devil’s Motorcycle, “Tell It To The People” LP

cover-roy-and-the-devil-tell-itDon’t get me wrong — I love me some crazy-ass psychedelia. Sometimes, however, shit can get way too busy for its own good.

“I’m Allright,” the second track on Roy And The Devil’s Motorcycle‘s new album, Tell It To The People, gets nuts with reverb and echo thrown on vocals, guitar, and harmonica. After a point, it’s just like being stuck inside a bad trip, wondering, “When is it all going to end? Please make it stop,” rather than marveling at the wonder of the music.
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Die Zorros, “Future” LP

cover-die-zorrosWhile Voodoo Rhythm might drop the occasional bomb, it seems that anything released featuring label head Beat-Man is a gem. In some cases, that gem is a diamond in the rough – emphaiss on the rough. Such is Die ZorrosFuture, a strange journey through originals and covers in what the label accurately terms a “Farfisa Organ Fiasko.”

Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab” is stripped down to its instrumental components, with the only lyrics being “No, no, no.” It’s a deconstruction that continues on through the rest of the album – the only words in their strange surf version of “Paint It Black” is the rhythmic chanting of “black.” The whole thing plays like a warped version of lounge music, from a world where LSD is passed out like after-dinner mints and absinthe gets tossed back like PBR. The covers are familiar enough once your ears catch onto what’s being done to them, but the twists come fast and furious.
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Pairing brigands with brigands, both literary and musical

cover-movie-star-junkies-poison-treeSurprisingly, I’ve never paired music with literature before, but having recently discovered author Jesse Bullington‘s excellent debut novel from 2009, The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart, I felt the need to suggest the perfect musical accompaniment. If ever there were a band to soundtrack the terrible, violent – and vilely, terribly violent – tale of the graverobbing brothers from Germany, it would be Italy’s Movie Star Junkies. Their debut, Melville, is obviously literary in its inspiration, and the appropriateness of the pairing only grows from there.

The band sounds like a ramshackle, broken-down bunch of musicians, living off a cask of some liquor in the basement of a falling-down old castle. Their music, which on Melville had a slightly whimsical bent, has only taken a turn to the darker with last year’s sophomore release, A Poison Tree. Songs talk about death and dying, and what more could one want for a novel that, in its first chapters, features the brothers Grossbart hogtying a man, and then burning his baby daughters alive? And these are your protagonists, no less.

book-cover-the-sad-tale-of-the-brothers-grossbartMovie Star Junkies are the sort of band who might play at Tom Waits’ wake. Their sound is akin to a funeral dirge, yet the elements of early Black Lips’ flower-power psychedelic garage temper everything with a sense of uncertainty. There is the possibility that everything will work out in the end. This is a necessary bit of hope to maintain, considering the brothers, over the course of Bullington’s novel, repeatedly come to the brink of death or destruction. Battles with demons, witches, rogues, pirates, the Church, and more, all stand in the way of the two making it to Gyptland, where they hope to make their fortune.

Hit up Voodoo Rhythm to get both of the Movie Star Junkies’ full-lengths, and throw them on while you dip into plague-ridden 14th-century Europe and cross its length with a pair of murdering, stealing, drunken, and yet strangely pious brothers. A word to the wise: the back of the book features the warning “Contains strong language and scenes of graphic violence.” This is quite true. Be forewarned if you have a sensitive constitution or are easily offended.

Bullington released his second novel, The Enterprise of Death, earlier this year.

The Pussywarmers, “The Chronicles of…” LP

cover-pussywarmersThe Pussywarmers
The Chronicles of the Pussywarmers
(Voodoo Rythm)

There’s a certain tendency to lump together all the bands of that late ’20s / early ’30s stripe into one big “retro” camp. Be it the Squirrel Nut Zippers, the World/Inferno Friendship Society, or – in this case – the Pussywarmers – the bands take the doo-wacka-doo of hokum acts, the hot jazz sound of Parisian combos, and elements of early folk blues, and infuse them with a bit of punk flair.
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The Juke Joint Pimps, “Boogie the Church Down” LP

cover-juke-joint-pimps-boogie-chruchThe Juke Joint Pimps
Boogie the Church Down
(Voodoo Rhythm)

What you’ve got hear is a split album by one band. On the a-side, you’ve got the Juke Joint Pimps doing their usual two-man blues thing. The duo sounds an awful lot like the Black Keys, right down to frontman Mighty Mike sounding so much like Dan Auerbach, it’s scary. “Delta Trip” is vintage Keys, and could’ve been billed as a lost track off The Big Come Up without anyone being the wiser.
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