16 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

With Royal Trux's 1988 debut, it’s hard to discern if the group was worshipping at the classic-rock altar with primitive musical skills or if it was hell-bent on destroying the genre’s pedestal by bastardizing rock ‘n’ roll trappings. Either way, Royal Trux is a seminal snapshot of a young Jennifer Herrema spewing vocal temper tantrums over the shambolic guitar wizardry of Neil Michael Hagerty (who'd just left Pussy Galore). Hagerty takes the lead vocals on “Bad Blood,” a deconstructed garage rock number that plays like somebody pushed a '60s psych-punk band down a flight of stairs mid-performance. Herrema makes Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon sound like Karen Carpenter on the following “Incineration,” where her inflections are even grittier than the distorted guitar fuzz that’s barely holding the song together. By the time “Hashish” plays, it starts to sound as though these loose, dissolving arrangements are rooted in '60s free jazz. The swampy stomp of “Sanction Smith” and the closing “Hawkin’ Around” recall Pussy Galore’s 1986 reworking of the Stones’ Exile on Main St..

EDITORS’ NOTES

With Royal Trux's 1988 debut, it’s hard to discern if the group was worshipping at the classic-rock altar with primitive musical skills or if it was hell-bent on destroying the genre’s pedestal by bastardizing rock ‘n’ roll trappings. Either way, Royal Trux is a seminal snapshot of a young Jennifer Herrema spewing vocal temper tantrums over the shambolic guitar wizardry of Neil Michael Hagerty (who'd just left Pussy Galore). Hagerty takes the lead vocals on “Bad Blood,” a deconstructed garage rock number that plays like somebody pushed a '60s psych-punk band down a flight of stairs mid-performance. Herrema makes Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon sound like Karen Carpenter on the following “Incineration,” where her inflections are even grittier than the distorted guitar fuzz that’s barely holding the song together. By the time “Hashish” plays, it starts to sound as though these loose, dissolving arrangements are rooted in '60s free jazz. The swampy stomp of “Sanction Smith” and the closing “Hawkin’ Around” recall Pussy Galore’s 1986 reworking of the Stones’ Exile on Main St..

TITLE TIME
2:51
2:16
2:42
2:06
1:42
2:38
2:34
5:02
2:26
3:23
1:39
3:52
5:53
2:20
3:00
3:14

About Royal Trux

One of the definitive underground rock acts of the '90s and early 2000s, Royal Trux pioneered an effortless -- yet unpredictable -- mix of punk, noise, metal, jazz, Southern rock, and more on albums that spanned the abrasive experiments of 1990's Twin Infinitives to the subversive boogie rock of 2000's Pound for Pound. Charismatic vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Jennifer Herrema and inventive guitarist Neil Hagerty met in the Washington, D.C. area while they were still teenagers and formed Royal Trux after moving to New York City, where Hagerty was also playing with Pussy Galore. Using blues progressions -- as well as the work of Lou Reed, Television, and the Godz -- as a foundation for their experiments, the duo's first recordings included "Fix-It," a track on Pussy Galore's 1987 album Right Now, and "Luminous Dolphin" and "Cut You Loose," which appeared on a 1988 ROIR cassette compilation. That year, the band self-released its eponymous debut album, and soon signed to Drag City and Domino. After a move to San Francisco, the duo released the experimental double album Twin Infinitives in 1990. Two years later, Herrema and Hagerty issued the Untitled album, which was recorded on eight-track and featured a more stripped-down sound. For 1993's Cats and Dogs, the pair enlisted a drummer, guitarist and percussionist to flesh out the songs, which took a slightly more melodic, accessible direction than before. The album brought Royal Trux to the attention of Virgin Records, who signed them to a deal in 1994 and released 1995's Thank You, which featured production by Neil Young collaborator David Briggs, and 1997's Sweet Sixteen. The band returned to Drag City in 1998 with Accelerator; later that year, the simply named 3-Song EP arrived. Veterans of Disorder followed a year later, and in mid-2000 Royal Trux returned with Pound for Pound. The group disbanded in 2001; later that year, Hagerty's solo debut album appeared, and he went on to release albums under his own name and with his band the Howling Hex. Herrema, meanwhile, recorded and performed with RTX and Black Bananas in the 2000s and 2010s. In 2015, Royal Trux reunited for shows in Los Angeles and New York, and continued to tour for the next couple of years. Recordings from the L.A. and New York shows were collected in 2017's live album Platinum Tips & Ice-Cream. ~ Heather Phares

  • ORIGIN
    New York, NY
  • FORMED
    1988

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