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Heavy Trash

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Album Review

Heavy Trash, the band and the album, is a collaboration between Jon Spencer and Matt Verta-Ray. In their day jobs they are purveyors of punk-blues in Blues Explosion and Speedball Baby, respectively. Anyone expecting their collaboration to sound much like either of their groups is in for a bit of a jolt. Not that it is a million miles from the sounds they are known for since you still get Spencer's instantly recognizable yelping vocals as well as loads of exciting, stripped-down and hooky songs that carry quite a punch. What is different is that they are working the rockabilly and early rock side of the street. Tracks like "The Loveless," "Dark Hair'd Rider" and "This Day Is Mine" kick up some serious duck-tailed dust, "The Hump" and "Justine Alright" are crazed handclapping, shouted chorus rockers, and the hip-shaking "Gatorade" sounds like it was recorded at a party in Hasil Adkins' backyard. The tracks that scale back the excitement are very good too; "Fix These Blues" is a pedal-steeled country ballad, "Take My Hand," a doo-wopping lament complete with a spoken interlude and "Under the Waves," a moody, highly arranged murder ballad that might be the best track on the album. Only "Mr. K.I.A." doesn't work, as it brings in some hip-hop influences and is too repetitive and, well, modern-sounding. Spencer is in top form throughout, dropping hilarious asides, hiccupping and whooping, crooning and howling like an unholy blend of Elvis, Gene Vincent and Lux Interior. He and Verta-Ray create a sound that is warm, rich and live, layering acoustic and electric guitars, percussion and Christina Campenella's sultry backing vocals into a rollicking, thrilling modern rockabilly record that puts everyone who has attempted such an enterprise since Songs the Lord Taught Us to shame. So many times with side projects like this the parting words are "don't quit your day job," in this case both men could easily do so because Heavy Trash is just as good if not better than their main projects.

Customer Reviews

A Pleasant Surprise

I'll always have a soft spot for Jon Spencer and I'll buy everything he puts out. This album was a wonderful little surprise for me as I'd almost counted him out after Plastic Fang. But the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion taught me what it means to rock the f!@k out and Orange is one of my very favorites. Heavy Trash is a perfectly admirable progression for Spencer as it's impossible to maintain the intense pace that he set for in the early to mid 90s. This album is sharing commone ground with the Amazing Royal Crowns in their heyday. Scan the songs, what you see is what you get. Recommended

Biography

Formed: 2005

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

A meeting of the minds between two musicians who explore the nexus between punk rock and roots music, Heavy Trash is a collaboration between Jon Spencer and Matt Verta-Ray. Spencer first attracted the attention of adventurous music fans in 1985 with his primitive guitar work and raw vocals with frantic noise merchants Pussy Galore, but when the band split in 1990, he joined forces with guitarist Judah Bauer and drummer Russell Simins to form the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. Melding R&B accents...
Full Bio
Heavy Trash, Heavy Trash
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