Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Rose Tattoo
Blood Brothers

It’s easy to have mixed feelings about Rose Tattoo. On the one hand, it’s arguable they’ve never really put out a bonafide killer of an album – a few tunes, certainly (Rock N Roll Outlaw, Nice Boys, maybe Bad Boy For Love), but not any truly landmark full-lengths. But that can be to the Aussie titan’s advantage – the band is, 30 years after its inception, able to continue on without embarrassing itself by never having to live up to the high standards of its early career. The point being: Blood Brothers is a marble solid slab of street-level hard rock that easily satisfies those of us with a sweet tooth for this kinda thing, but it’s no timeless classic. The tunes are just memorable enough, the guitar work is decent, if not sterling (late slide wrangler Pete Wells is missed) and, frankly, the band doesn’t really have any dinstictive personality outside of Angry Anderson’s razor-edged howl. But if you’ve got a taste for butt-beating tracks like Black Eyed Bruiser, Man About Town and the almost ridiculously lascivious Lubricated, you won’t have any complaints.

- Michael Toland

Zodiac Killer

A Texas take on the Confederacy of Scum metalpunk sound, Buzzcrusher blasts beer bongs and batters butts with brawny bashing that leaves bruises. This is some ugly shit circa the mid-1990s, when not too many Austin acts were feeling the fury – no wonder the quartet didn’t last long. This disk consists of its 1995/1996 recordings, including the infamous Pissed Again , Scoring Dope From Bikers, Muffler Burn and the band’s take on State Violence State Control by British punk legend Discharge (an important influence). Fourteen songs of good ol’ fashioned Lone Star rage in 26 minutes. Can’t beat that with a tire iron.

- Michael Toland
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