Whenever I listen to Boss Hog (DGC), I smell spilled beer and fresh sweat. The album sounds way too loud at moderate volume and reeks of skeezy punk clubs full of intelligent young bohemians suffering from attention deficit disorder. Formed from the shards of Pussy Galore, Boss Hog makes lots of noise. But, thanks to tight execution and cool arranging by guitarist Jon Spencer, it chops it up into bite-size fragments. Vocalist Cristina Martinez gets my current nomination for Who Courtney Love Should Have Been.
Be hereby alerted that Ryko has taken on the colossal task of reissuing the works of the extremely prolific Frank Zappa. Lest you be intimidated by the sheer volume of his gazillion albums, Ryko has compiled his more-or-less greatest hits into Strictly Commercial, which is the perfect place for Zappa neophytes to start exploring. Zappa, a brilliant guitarist and jazz composer with a proclivity for whimsy, sometimes wrote lyrics so satirical that his arrogance overwhelmed his talent. But what the hell -- he delivered a lot of laughs, too, such as Valley Girl. My favorite song here is the earliest: Trouble Every Day, a plea for racial decency and common sense written during the Watts riots. Sometimes you don't need ironic indirection to send a moral message.