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Album Review

Given their fervent belief in all that is loud, sleazy, and butt-shakable, it's no great surprise that the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion saved some of their most raucous performances for that most all-killer, no-filler of audio formats, the 7" single. Jukebox Explosion crams 18 JSBX sides that were previously available only on 7" vinyl (most as part of In the Red's Blues Explosion Jukebox Series) or were never before released onto one CD for the turntable deprived, and if this set lacks a bit of the coherent flow of the group's best albums, for sheer party-down noise this is high-octane frenzy at its most satisfying. While some observers have grumbled that JSBX's work in the 21st century hasn't been up to the standards they previously established, even the newer tracks on Jukebox Explosion roar like a mountain lion on steroids, with the Plastic Fang outtake "Ghetto Mom" sounding as good as anything on board. Other high points include "Caroline," a venomous kiss-off to the band's former record label; the slow and melodramatic "Jailhouse Blues" (a cover of an old Andre Williams number); the heavy-grinding "Showgirl" (featuring Cristina Martinez of Boss Hog on backing vox and previously available as a giveaway from Sassy Magazine, of all places); and "Curfew Blues," a soulful strut Spencer confesses was ripped off from Earl King at the fade. If you prefer JSBX's more polished efforts such as Acme and Plastic Fang, Jukebox Explosion may not be your cup of cheap whiskey, but if you want to hear this band rocking full-stop, this does the job as well as anything these guys have released since Crypt Style. Points added for the excellent cover artwork by Mort Todd, which should look familiar to fans of the Back from the Grave series.


Formed: 1990 in New York, NY

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

After a long and semi-successful tenure as leader of scuzz-rock heroes Pussy Galore, Jon Spencer shook up his anti-rock vision and hooked up with guitarist Judah Bauer and drummer Russell Simins to create the scuzz-blues trio the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. Postmodern to the core, there was a genuine irony in the band's name; little of what they play resembles standard blues. There is, however, a blues feel to their sound, meaning that in many instances they appropriate aspects of the blues and...
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Jukebox Explosion, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
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