Album: Heavy Trash

Heavy Trash, YEP ROC
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The Independent Culture

Heavy Trash is the bastard musical offspring of the Blues Explosion front man Jon Spencer and the Speedball Baby leader Matt Verta-Ray, a hymn to raw, rip-roaring rockabilly recorded in glorious analogue sound at the latter's studio on New York's Lower East Side. It's an extraordinary sound they've conjured up for tracks like the opener "Dark Hair'd Rider", with a massive, echoey reverb causing springy guitar licks to shudder like elastic in an earthquake. Their material ranges from engaging nonsense like "Gatorade" to darker stuff like "Under The Waves", the kind of murder/ suicide ballad Nick Cave relishes. Spencer slips easily between styles as if channelling the gamut of rebel rock'n'roll greats, from Eddie Cochran in "Justine Alright" to The Cramps in "Lover Street", a raving psychobilly stew of kitsch weirdness and what Frank Zappa used to call "cretin simplicity". Elsewhere, "The Hump" is a lock-tight raunch-rock number, like the Stones doing Chuck Berry; the haunted country stroller "Walking Bum" has the twang and keening vocal of a wasted Chris Isaak; and "The Loveless" is a warped motorcycle anthem boasting a lyric that encapsulates the social worthiness of the entire enterprise: "They call me the loveless/ I'm a mean son of a bitch/ They call me the heartless/ I don't give a shit".