One of the most unmistakable voices in rock & roll has got to be Jon Spencer. I can still remember sitting in a friend's car listening to The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion's groundbreaking album, Orange. That still ranks as one of my all-time favorite records, from the madness of "Bellbottoms" to the downright dirtiness of "Full Grown." Even as the Blues Explosions' albums got a bit less consistent (although Acme fucking rules), I've remained a fan of Spencer's through it all.
This takes us to his latest project, Heavy Trash. Going Way Out With Heavy Trash is the sophomore effort for this duo, partnering the unique stylings of Spencer with Speedball Baby's Matt Verta-Ray. Together, they have made an album of kick ass rockabilly. They do it so well, you'd swear that aliens abducted you in your sleep, took you back in time and dropped you off at the Saturday Night Jamboree in Memphis back in the '50s.
Our journey into the musical past begins with the upright bass slappin' "Pure Gold." Spencer and rockabilly are an absolute perfect match, as his vocal acrobatics, growls and squeals doused in echo easily groove with the twangy guitar and shuffle beat. Verta-Ray's mad production skills give it a warm, old-school vibe, with little bits of modern sounds such a hint of keys or distorted beats.
The Sadies join Heavy Trash on several track on the album, including the stomper "Outside Chance" and the Johnny Cash inspired "That Ain't Right." While the majority of the song stays true to its classic country roots, the chorus takes a killer turn with what sounds like a power saw adding some crunchy noise to the background. Heavy Trash kick their rockabilly vibe square in the balls on "I Want Oblivion," diving head first into a straightforward rocker that will delight longtime fans of Spencer.
From the hand claps and crazy guitar riffs of "Crazy Pritty Baby" to the JSBX production madness of "You Can't Win," Going Way Out With Heavy Trash was a one hell of a surprise. Sometimes you just need to get down and dirty, and nobody does it quite like Spencer & Verta-Ray. This is just what I needed to kick off the weekend.