Alt-Nation: Supersuckers, Elephant Wrecking Ball and Foo Fighters Discs

rock1Supersuckers – Get The Hell

The self-proclaimed “Greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll Band in the World,” Supersuckers, return to Rhode Island for the second time this year in support of their new record, Get The Hell.  As much as I like the Supersuckers, it’s been over a decade since I’ve had the slightest interest in listening to any new material from them. Maybe they got in a rut when it came to writing rock songs. For a while they had their country phase, which just wasn’t as good as their barroom punk ‘n’ roll glory of their heyday. Their live shows were still fun, but the new material was pretty forgettable till now.

Get The Hell is easily Supersuckers’ best record since 1999’s The Evil Powers of Rock ‘N’ Roll. Get The Hell starts slow with the forgettable title track, but it doesn’t take long to get the party rolling with “Something About You” and “Fuck Up” with the trademark Supersuckers outlaw swagger.  The latter even adds just the right amount of harmonica without overdoing it. Tracks like “Gluttoneous” and “Disaster Bastard” show the Supersuckers returning to curb stomping rock ‘n’ roll. “Never Let Me Down Again” and “High Tonight” keep the party stoned cold rocking. Are they really “the greatest rock ‘n’ band in the world?”  Probably not, but Get The Hell is like their earlier records where it’s like okay, they may not be the greatest, but they are close enough that it isn’t worth splitting hairs over. The Supersuckers’ resiliency is best expressed in the chorus of “Pushin’ Thru” with the refrain of “No I ain’t done and I’m a keep pushing through.” On Get The Hell the Supersuckers sound like a band that is a long way from done.

Supersuckers and The Skinny Millionaires rock the Newport Blues Café on November 13.

Elephant Wrecking Ball – Barren Serenade (Ropeadope Records)

Elephant Wrecking Ball is an instrumental trio that pumps out heavy trombone-driven grooves. On Barren Serenade, the trio mixes in influences as diverse as avant garde jazz, dub reggae, and heavy metal over the course of eight adventurous tunes. Whether it’s the metal guitar solo on “Five Bucks” or the reggae beat of “Shiny Irony,” Elephant Wrecking Ball always seem to have something up their sleeve. I recommend them to fans of jazz, reggae, and jam bands as a great way to dance the night away.

Elephant Wrecking Ball, Secret Weapon, Chicken House Ghost Tribe are at The Spot on November 14.  

Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways (Roswell Records)

Coming off their best pure album in over a decade with Wasting Light, the Foo Fighters for whatever reason decided to challenge themselves to record an album by going around the country and recording one song in eight different cities.  That journey can be followed on their HBO series, “Sonic Highways.” But as for the album as a whole, it’s a mixed bag. Part of the concept of the album is Dave Grohl will go these cities and interview musicians of the likes of Buddy Guy, Rick Nielson (Cheap Trick), Ian McKaye, Roky Erickson, and Willie Nelson and then write lyrics based on their experiences.

Sonic Highways kicks off with “Something From Nothing,” which although it may have lyrics about Buddy Guy’s story, has a whole middle section of the song that is essentially Dio’s “Diver Down.”  But just not as good.  “The Feast and The Famine” is more of a typical Foo Fighters rocker with a big chorus that explodes out of the speakers. The lyrics make references to Bad Brains songs and early DC punk and hardcore. The problem with this is the songs these bands wrote were autobiographical about the now. Sometimes Sonic Highways has trouble measuring up because they read like a history book re-telling stories that have already been told. Though that said, Sonic Highways does out-rock any history book. Sometimes the songs veer from their intended influences like in the Austin episode Grohl interviews Willie Nelson, Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), and Roky Erickson (13th Floor Elevators) yet somehow comes out with a tune in “What Did I Do?/God As My Witness” that sounds like a tribute to Queen. “Congregation” and” In The Clear” have all the loud guitars, big drums, and catchy hooks that have been the Foo’s calling card for nearly 20 years. The last half on Sonic Highways hits a roadblock as it seems less inspired.  It may have been impossible to make a great record in the manner the Foos chose to make Sonic Highways. I can’t knock them for only making it halfway there because they at least had the ambition to try.

Odds & Sods: 

The Mowgli’s, Satellites Fall, and We Built The Moon are at The Met Café on November 12.  The Quahogs, Tapestries, Vudu Sister with The Dead Girls rock Dusk on November 12.  Ask The Dead, Backstabbers. INC, David Carradine, I am become Death, and Power Whores are at AS220 on November 13. The New Orleans Suspects and The Steamahs are at The Met Café on November 13. Sharks Come Cruisin’ has their monthly Pvd Shanty Sing residency at The Parlour on November 14. The show starts at 6pm and is the perfect way to kick off your weekend or at the very least get you warmed up for karaoke that will be happening later on in the night at The Parlour. Soul Power returns to Dusk on November 14. DJ Ty Jesso and friends will have you movin’ and groovin’ the night away to the best of ’60s R&B and Soul. J. Robbins, Onelinedrawing, and Bill Keough (CD Release show) will be at The Parlour on November 15 for an early show that starts at 6:30pm. Deerhoof and Lightning Bolt are at The Met Café on November 15. Bob Dylan is at the Providence Performing Arts Center November 15.  The Safes and The Nymphidels rock The Parlour on November 16. The Wild Feathers, The Apache Relay, and Desert Noises are at Fete on November 16. Atmosphere, Prof, and Dem Atlas are at Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel on November 18. Jessica Lea Mayfield, T. Hardy Morris The Hardknocks, and Dylan Sevey & The Gentlemen are at Fete on November 19.  Joywave and Jetty are at The Met Café on November 19.

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