Album Reviews: Heavy Trash by Heavy TrashIt's been hard not become familiar with Jon Spencer over the last few years, mostly because the endlessly energetic frontman of the band named after him, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, couldn't help screaming out his troops' name on almost every song, especially on the badass Orange. But recently, he's decided to actually write coherent (albeit raunchy) lyrics and detach his now-popular name from his groups, including his former band (which now simply goes by Blues Explosion) and this inspired side project with Matt Verta-Ray of the underrated NYC indie-rock outfit Madder Rose.
Heavy Trash is a Gotham City matchup that works well, even if it owes more to the Southern roots rock of Elvis, Carl Perkins and others. Spencer has always channeled Elvis more than Iggy, even though his previous band's high-octane teardowns of blues-rock owed more to The Stooges than Scotty Moore. But he's hit his wiggle stride on this throwback collection of three-minute roots-rock nuggets, all but one of which he penned with Verta-Ray. Which is another way of saying that just because exercises in unrestrained boogie like "Yeah Baby," "The Hump," and "The Loveless" sound like covers, they're not. They're just Spencer updates, with postmodern aplomb thrown into the mix. You wouldn't exactly catch Howlin' Wolf singing "They call me the loveless/I'm a mean sonofabitch/They call me the heartless/I don't really give a shit" (from "The Loveless"). But humor has always set Spencer apart from the rest of the retro-rocker camp, and he's at his best here on his Heavy Trash debut.
Like the Yep Roc label's other standout band Los Straitjackets, Heavy Trash knows how to have a sexy good time while it's throwing down homegrown rock 'n' roll. That's how the music got the name in the first place, after all. - Scott Thill, Morphizm.com
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