Sonic Reducer: Micro Reviews Of Michael Anthony, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion And Dum Dum Girls

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What began as a private session for producer Mark Weber and musicians Michael Anthony (guitar), Michael Glynn (bass) and Cal Haines (drums) turned out to be too damned good to keep to themselves. So the beautifully packaged album First Take, with inside-story liner notes from Weber, is now publicly available. The eight first-take trios, plus a solo track, feature old-school tunes played with smooth, sophisticated swing and swagger. You can hear them listening to one another, embellishing idea after idea as seven-minute tracks whiz by in a flash. Your ears will love you for dropping the needle on this one. (Mel Minter)

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion Meat And Bone (Boombox/Mom+Pop Records)

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion returns from an eight-year hiatus with 12 tracks exemplifying the inexorable spirit of the bluesy, punky rock and roll trio. The band is no stranger to noteworthy collaborations, but this album—mixed and produced by Spencer himself—is pure, unadulterated JSBX. Fantastically grimy opener “Black Mold” name-drops a host of influences, including Ornette Coleman, Magic Sam and Little Richard. Other standout tracks include aggressive, nostalgic anthem “Bag of Bones” and hole-in-the-wall psych rocker “Black Thoughts.” Buy it from the JSBX website ( to score an album art-emblazoned barbecue apron. (Samantha Anne Carrillo)

Dum Dum Girls ÒEnd of DazeÓ (Sub Pop)

Borne of mourning, the latest Dum Dum Girls EP showcases skillful songwriting and evolving musicianship, but its opening tracks, the mopish “Mine Tonight” and apathetically poppy “I Got Nothing,” left me lukewarm. Midway through, a cover of Strawberry Switchblade’s “Trees and Flowers” raises the bar with soaring melody and lilting vocals. Jill Bryson and Rose McDowall’s lyrics about fear and hating flowers, trees and towering buildings never sounded so good. “Lord Knows” is practically perfect and if “Season in Hell” is what the “end of daze” sounds like, I hereby embrace clarity. (Samantha Anne Carrillo)

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