Must Hear Music
Reviews Archives
Bargain Basement
Music DVD
Send Us Mail
Contact Us

Speedball Baby
The Blackout
In The Red

They say you canít shoot up alone. Thatís what happened to Dee Dee, The Bird, and Lady Day. Actually, they probably had company that cut out when they found out how strong the rock was cut. But the problem with going to a shooting gallery is that you inevitably end up next to some golden arm who wants to talk your ear off about how he just wrote the other 600 stanzas of Kubla Khan when what you really want during your nod is the disturbing soundtrack The Blackout to entertain your dark humor and dastardly thoughts. Itís a walk through a thin-walled derelict hotel picking up snippets of stories that you have to piece together. The disjointed ramblings will quickly become conversational in-jokes between you and your supplier. This disc is unique unto itself, but pieces of it warrant comparison. So bear with me while I bear witness.

The beat poetry parody of "3/4 Man" is laid across a dark opium dream that starts mid-sentence. Burroughs and Beck are equally represented in the space-lounge styling of this narcotic tale. "Hanky Joe Digger" is a delta blues number as done by The Birthday Party. When old-time religion meets Old Crow, this is what rolls off the revivalistís forehead in toxic flammable droplets. An all out garage R&B call to "Do The Blackout" forces a comparison to The Stooges, which is carried over to "Wanna Scratch It?" A beat like a dripping faucet and remnants of overheard conversations sound like they were compiled by Mark E. Smith hisself. "Pimp Hand Strong" borrows some Stones posturing, while the intoxicated "Asphalt Blues" shares their fascination with Puerto Rican girls. The paranoid rockabilly on "Bee In Flight" is a spooky Cramps throwback.

A bumper-sticker preacher on "The Diddler" testifies, The moon begins to rise/All yellow and fat/Like a Flannery OíConnor moon/I can see it with my one bloodshot eye. The deep drums keep it lively like a creepy Dillards backwoods jamboree. Thereís no doubt that "Blackjack" was inspired by Colorblind James Experience. The country swing is for the sake of one very obvious joke. But as comedy is all in the delivery, the payoff is worth it even though you saw it coming. Tom Waitsí schtick runs through the torch song "Cash Cow." You have to listen close, or you might take the slow jazz serious. "The Termite" throws the whole record for a loop with its club-funk. I expected the B3 Hammond eventually, but I can do without this song. Perhaps itís a reference point so we know the act is tongue-in-cheek. The deconstruction "Nine Eleven" bridges the gap between Revolution #9 and The Fall. Whatever the true "Jack Martin Story" is, their version boasts a Long Cool Woman barhouse feel and the great dangling line, I hear you go to bat for the pink team/No, I just likes to hugs people.

These guys are self-assured with their style selection and they can set a fine mood. The hilarious lines they spread around make you forget to notice the stellar playing. They could have played it straight and made a real nice retro record, but they had their sights set much higher. I guess itís like that Ween country record except creepier, funnier and with better musicianship. And I guess some Jon Spencer cat helps out for a minute.

On a scale of brand-name junk: If one is Gold Bond Powder, and ten is Cold Swan; The Blackout scores an eight: K-Ration.

ó Ewan Wadharmi

Track Listing:

  1. ĺ Man
  2. Hanky Joe Digger
  3. Do The Blackout
  4. Wanna Scratch It?
  5. Pimp Hand Strong
  6. Bee In Flight
  7. Asphalt Blues
  8. The Diddler
  9. Blackjack
  10. Barettaís My Handle
  11. Cash Cow
  12. The Termite
  13. Nine Eleven
  14. Jack Martin Story
  15. Cash Cow (Reprise)

Talk Back
post in the webboard
e-mail the chief

Like this article?
e-mail it to a friend!


Mike Doughty

none now

South By Southwest 2014
David DeVoe

South By Southwest 2013
David DeVoe

Red Hook Music Festival
George Dow

SXSW 2012
David DeVoe

Our Favorite Records 2011
Hybrid Staff

Rachel Fredrickson

Rachel Fredrickson

Warped Tour 2011
Rachel Fredrickson

Eddie Spaghetti
Melissa Skrbic-Huss

Murder By Death
Mike DeLeo

Mike Doughty
Boulder, CO

Denver, CO

Imagine Dragons
Denver, CO

Cambridge, MA

Young Magic
Denver, CO

Warped Tour 2012
Denver, CO

Denver, CO

Mike Doughty
Denver, CO

Kansas City, MO

Other Lives
Lawrence, KS

Los Campesinos
Boston, MA

The Civil Wars
Lawrence, KS

Ha Ha Tonka
Lawrence, KS

Lawrence, KS

hybridmagazine.com is updated daily except when it isn't.
New film reviews are posted every week like faulty clockwork.
Wanna write for hybrid? Send us an e-mail.
© 1996-2009 [noun] digital media. All rights reserved worldwide. All content on hybridmagazine.com and levelheadedmusic.com is the intellectual property of Hybrid Magazine and its respective creators. No part of hybridmagazine.com or levelheadedmusic.com may be reproduced in any format without expressed written permission. For complete masthead and physical mailing address, Click Here.