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 V.21 No.50 | December 13 - 19, 2012 

Sonic Reducer

Redd Kross Researching The Blues (Merge)

Picking up where 1997’s Show World left off, Redd Kross’ patented bubblegum harmonies and glam guitars still sound like the score to a hippie's parking lot flashback during a mid-’70s Alice Cooper concert. As always, the band’s California hardcore roots permeate, making the whole hippy / punk / pop schtick an ethically sound product. The McDonald brothers appear to be members of a musical collaborative species that never produces a dud. While I’m sure the anthemic “Stay Away From Downtown” is a radio hit on other planets, most Earthlings never seem to fully appreciate Redd Kross. Get with their galactic greatness and pick this one up. (Geoffrey Plant)

Acid Baby Jesus and Hell Shovel Acid Baby Jesus and Hell Shovel Present Voyager 8 (Slovenly Recordings)

This joint venture between Montreal’s Hell Shovel and Greece’s Acid Baby Jesus produced four tracks that are roughly two parts Hell Shovel to one part ABJ. Voyager 8 has the echo-crazy Vox psychedelia delivered by Hell Shovel on Hated By The Sun with the addition of ABJ's hard-fuzz guitars and tambourines. The combination makes for an obscure and druggy vibe that (weirdly) sometimes ends up sounding like outtakes from The Residents’ Not Available album. The cover art by Dimitris Rokos looks like it was done by a lysergic Maurice Sendak. (Geoffrey Plant)

Mark Lanegan is part of what I like to call “The Gravel Gang.” Much like Tom Waits or William S. Burroughs, Lanegan sounds like he spends his time gargling rocks and chain-smoking Chesterfields. It’s unusual to hear Lanegan lift his voice out of that gravel pit. Yet he does so—to curious affect—with his version of “O Holy Night.” It's one of six songs from Dark Mark Does Christmas, a tour-exclusive EP that someone uploaded to YouTube. It features a collection of traditional carols, as well as a cover of Roky Erickson’s “Burn The Flames.” This is the perfect album for when you’re all alone on Christmas Eve, inches away from shoving your head—and not a honey-glazed ham—in the oven. (M. Brianna Stallings)


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