Saturday, April 09, 2011

90's Hit Parade #73

Royal Trux - Ray O Vac

OK, I'm running a bit late this week, but here it is. People sometimes talk about the split up of Pussy Galore as if it were a divorce settlement: Jon Spencer got the flash and charisma, Neil Hagerty got the songwriting chops (Jon might have gotten the better end of that deal, as there was probably more of the former to go around). I'm not sure that's quite right, but it's probably not worth obsessing over: I think Pussy Galore, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and Royal Trux are all great bands in their own way (Boss Hog, too!). According to Wikipedia, it was Hagerty who came up with the idea of Pussy Galore covering all of the Stones' Exile on Main Street on a cassette release, which makes sense. Royal Trux have a great sound that evokes early 70's blooze rock (Exile-era Stones, Neil Young & Crazy Horse, maybe The Faces) filtered through a punk rock grunge aesthetic (they particularly evoke Red Cross' Born Innocent--Jennifer Herrema's amazing vocal style even sounds a lot like the McDonald Bros. c. 1982). That's not really unusual, I guess. A lot of late-80's-through-the-90's indie rock is the sound of kids who traded all their 70's rock records when they got into Black Flag, then a few years later came back to them. Hell, Nirvana is exhibit A here, right? But somehow, Royal Trux's sound is so integrated, as if this were just how bands were supposed to sound. The combo of Hagerty's fluid slide guitar and Herrema's schoolboy growl produces, through some strange alchemy, one of the coolest sounds in the 90's rock canon.


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