Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Black Widows - Live on KXLU

The Black Widows
Live on KXLU
Panic Room/Vital Gesture

Looking for instrumental rock that’s a mindless display of technical virtuosity and is basically bad prog metal in search of a singer? Then this masked L.A. combo is not for you. The Black Widows (some of whose members have done time in the BellRays, the Mighty Grasshoppers and the Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs) instead pledge allegiance to the spirits of Davie Allan, Dick Dale and Link Wray on Live on KXLU – part surf groove, part biker roll and all intensity. Not to mention a fetish for grade Z movies that exist only in the band’s imagination – check out the rocking Junk Zombie and Dr. Cyclops or the raging Black Summer and Shock Trooper. The band gets tender on occasion, as on Electric Mistress, though even that tune is tinged with unsavory connotations. But then, the Widows do proclaims this LP, recorded live on satellite radio, to be 38 Minutes of Evil !!!!!!! (Exclamation points theirs.) I don’t know how evil it is, but an old-fashioned rock & roll party? Live on KXLU is most definitely that.

- Michael Toland

The Painkillers - Feel the Pain

The Painkillers
Feel the Pain
Off the Hip

All I really wanted was a really good time moans the magnificently named Joe Bludge mournfully in On a Lyric by Robert Herrick (no, I don’t know who that is, either), and that sums up the attitude driving this Perth duo’s third record Feel the Pain. (Former Hoodoo Gurus skinpounder James Baker mans the traps.) Armed with a battered acoustic guitar, Bludge spins tales of lovers, losers and loners with nothing to their names but hard luck, woe and debauchery. Coming across almost like Jonathan Richman if he’d grown up in Perth and never lost his love for the Velvet Underground, Bludge parts the curtain betwixt performer and spectator, plopping his rockers (Lipstick), ravers (Leave Me Alone) and rants (Gamblin’ Bar Room Blues) right in your lap whether you like it or not. In Bludge’s world, the catchy folk rock of Memories isn’t a celebration of the past, but a desire to purge the offending thoughts so they don’t kick up any emotional shitstorms. The Painkillers aren’t noisy, particularly – they just cut the crap and tell their stories with little regard for niceties or etiquette, and that makes this pain worth feeling.

- Michael Toland
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