Tuesday, November 27, 2012
My review of the really pretty excellent Meat + Bone (the first JSBX album since 2004) is up today at Dusted. I obsess in it about the lone instrumental track, which is called "Zimgar."
Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
Meat + Bone
Mom and Pop
Meat + Bone, as the title suggests, is a stripped down, no frills return to basics for the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, the first album for the band since 2004’s Damage. It focuses relentlessly on the Cramps-inspired, John Lee Hooker filtered, James Brown-loving, Elvis-nodding core of the JSBX aesthetic, without much detour, experiment or any guests at all. There’s a discipline, almost a rigor, to Meat + Bone which, despite its surface hedonism, can stop, pivot and roar to life again with the precision of a Formula One race car.
It’s an interesting move for a band that’s been on ice for eight years, not to replicate past successes, but to pull back the skin and nerves and try to find what gave them life. It’s not just that Meat + Bone sounds like JSBX in the old days (it does), but that it does this without being self-referential or studied. The main elements are all as before. There is the dual guitar interplay of Judah Bauer and Jon Spencer, one of them (often Spencer) taking up the sonic space where a bass should live, the other working higher up, in the bends and pull-offs and shifting intonations of electric blues. There is Russell Simins who plays with an impossible combination of ferocity and delicacy, rattling intricate syncopations out of snare and kick drum and cowbell, then thwacking the most basic hell of out the kit with a force that surely is hard on the drum heads. And finally, there is Jon Spencer, the singer, with his gut-shot yelps, his syllable-stretching howls, his vaguely menacing mutter of non sequitors, his lurid Elvis-y blues croons, his mad preacher, rolling-eye rants, all delivered with 100% self-conviction.
What, you never read my live review of JSBX from a couple of weeks ago? I'll give you one more chance.