New music out this week
L.A. Times-Washington Post-News ServiceTurbonegroRetox, Cooking VinylTheres nothing about Turbonegro thats not ridiculous, puerile or downright dumb, yet those traits, and a knack for hooky garage-punk songs, are also what make the band awesome.Retox, the Norwegian groups latest, is another collection of raucous tunes about antisocial behavior and skeevy sex, delivered with a lecherous wink by singer Hank Von Helvete. He threatens destruction on Were Gonna Drop the Atom Bomb, celebrates his not-so-svelte figure on Everybody Loves a Chubby Dude and blasts through vivid non-sequiturs about how his hairline suffers as a result of his rock n roll lifestyle on the churning rocker Hell Toupee (say it out loud for maximum effect). The songs are strung together with lean, muscular guitar riffs that would sound just fine blaring from the rolled-down windows of a Camaro in 1978. Von Helvete sings in a taut, leathery voice that splits the difference between Motorhead front man Lemmy Kilmisters gruff bark and Iggy Pops wastoid sneer, though Von Helvete tends to embrace depravity with a cartoonish, cant-really-mean-it glee absent from his forebears. The bands crowning achievement (such as it is) remains the trashy 1998 masterpiece Apocalypse Dudes, but Retox is an often-hilarious, always sophomoric way to get yourself thoroughly polluted. Eric R. Danton EisleyCombinations, Warner Bros.On their 2005 debut Room Noises, the sibling shoegazers in Texas Eisley created a sound that picked up where the late, lamented Sundays left off a decade or so ago. Beguilingly gauzy, and with a strong undercurrent of traditional folk in the harmonies of sisters Sherri and Stacy Dupree, the album was a dream-poppers delight. But in between discs, Eisley hit the gym, so to speak, and the added musical muscle can seem unnerving. Many Funerals, a rocked-up sea shanty with a blistering riff, and the equally energetic Invasion and A Sight to Behold, certainly arent in danger of floating off into the ether. Instead, theyre dangerously ponderous enough to be sunk by their own firepower, a fate each tune barely avoids. A closer listen to Combinations, however, reveals that the Duprees havent abandoned their strengths. Most songs, including the single-worthy Come Clean, are still built on soaring vocal interplay and a childlike sense of wonder. And the title track goes over the top in a different, gentler way, consolidating the charms of the debut into 31⁄2 minutes of Sundays-style bliss. Dan LeRoyLori McKennaUnglamorous, Warner Bros. NashvilleLori McKenna built her career gradually from a self-released 1998 debut to a respectable following in folk music circles before getting a mainstream break in 2005 when Faith Hill covered several of McKennas songs. Unglamorous is the major-label debut from the Stoughton, Mass., mother of five, and the recording marks an expansion of her sonic palette. Yet McKenna doesnt fall prey to glamour as she continues to shape her strongest appeals around the sort of straightforward ruminations on everyday life that distinguished her earlier work. Folk and rock collide in happy fashion as McKenna celebrates the commonplace on the rugged title track, setting vocal grit alongside flowing organ and a punchy backbeat. She digs into raw feeling while keeping her lyrics unmarred by sentiment. The influence of her producers, Byron Gallimore and Hills husband, Tim McGraw, shows in the fullness of her sound, but the bigger arrangements stay in balance with McKennas personal strengths. Theres an assuredness that fills Im Not Crazy and a coarse directness that powers the seething kiss-off Written Permission. As she squeezes the mandolin-laced Confetti for meaning and maintains an even keel within the nostalgic longing of Leaving This Life, her ability to extract insight from the mundane remains intact beneath the extra dressing. Thomas Kintner
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