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    Album Reviews: Damage (Enhanced) by The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

    He may have taken his name off of the band's moniker, but the Blues Explosion still belongs to Jon Spencer. A neo-Elvis to end all neo-Elvises, Spencer has commandeered his post-Pussy Galore career through a music scene hypnotized at times by grunge, electronica, boy bands, nu-metal and white-hop without missing a scream. Along the way, he's released some incendiary albums like Orange and Now I Got Worry and made friends with artists as diverse as R.L. Burnside and Dan the Automator, the latter of whom returns once again for the Blues Explosion's latest disc.

    Damage slots right into the sweat-drenched groove Spencer, guitar whiz Judah Bauer and drum dynamo Russell Simins have turned out since the last Bush left the Oval Office. It's filled with badass tracks and guest turns. DJ Shadow and avant-jazz sax man James Chance hop on board to phreak the steamy "Fed Up and Down Low," while Public Enemy's Chuck D drops in on "Hot Gossip" to help Spencer school suckers on the War in Iraq, democracy and change ("Get on up/and shut this shit down," Spencer pleads). For dessert, ex-Tricky chanteuse Martina Topley-Bird steps in to add the sultry backing vocals usually reserved for Spencer muse Cristina Martinez or Luscious Jackson's Jill Cunniff to "Spoiled" and "You've Seen My Baby." It's a smorgasbord of sound and sweat in the true Blues Explosion sound, and it couldn't have come at a better time. - Scott Thill, Morphizm.com

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