CD Reviews

YOUNG HEART ATTACK

Mouthful of Love EP

(XL Recordings)

Dumbass rock rulz skool again; Kid Rock not invited.

It takes seven members of Austin's upstart Young Heart Attack to do what only three Burning Brides do: wail at the top of their bleeding scab lungs that the Stooges revival is over and cock rock is back in black. The only detail holding me back from major-league, tongue-inside-the-panties props is that a few Heart Attackers are refugees from that narcolepsy-inducing adult-alternative band Fastball ("The Way" was, thank Christ, their only hit). Can you really trust that '80s rawk revivalists like YHA and the Lovelight Shine (all the lads from fluttering-heart emo faves Jejune) aren't automatons hopping the latest bandwagon? No, but so what? This ain't Radiohead territory. Slimy, greasy, organ-fueled, Flying V odes to hedonism shouldn't reek of exclusivity, and this sizzler invites like a 2 a.m. stack at IHOP. The dueling dude/babe catcalls on "Tommy Shots" evoke "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" executed by speedball fiends, and it's pretty clear the title track is referencing a, um, more viscous fluid than saliva. Although this four-song EP comes (ahem) and goes at a brisk 12 minutes, any hype it develops for its swaggering practitioners is legit. Nothing wrong with rocking balls first . . . or even balls only. ANDREW BONAZELLI

Young Heart Attack play Graceland at 9 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11 with Ambitious Career Woman. $6.

NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS

Nocturama

(Anti-/Epitaph)

Spread the word—goth's sartorially splendid seer is in love.

Nick Cave's clean-and-sober, spiritually tinged No More Shall We Part (2001) was no fluke. Fans have long suspected there was an intuitive, sensitive soul lurking in the goth-lined shadows of the songwriter's chemical inquisition, but public probation is a funny thing: We like our art, but we love it when our artists misbehave, and we can't wait for 'em to fall down again, either. Here, though, the artist is willing to let his characters do the misbehaving. Anyhow, beyond that, positivity is what seems to power Nocturama. Cave is no stranger to decadence, but he's writing more and more from a first-person perspective of marital contentment—kissed by the healing power of love. Musically, you get such highlights as the celebratory, cinematic opening track, "Wonderful Life," driven by Cave's throbbing Hammond organ and Blixa Bargeld's echoey pedal steel. There's the explosive, punk- fueled "Dead Man in My Bed" and a 15-minute, Bo Diddley-esque romp called, appropriately enough, "Babe, I'm on Fire" (both numbers are backlit by taut guitar duels from longtime Bad Seeds Bargeld and Mick Harvey, plus the icy screech of Dirty Three's Warren Ellis' violin). There's also an uplifting midtempo number that's nothing if not anthemic: "Bring It On," marked by life-affirmation lyrics ("Bring it on/ Every little fear/ I'll make them disappear/ All your shattered dreams/ I'll toss them into the sea") and guest vocals from the Saints' Chris Bailey. Cave has described a nocturama as "a place where the night animals live." Ironic, no? A man who's spent his life living among the shadow-demons now defiantly laughs at them. FRED MILLS

THE BAPTIST GENERALS

No Silver/No Gold

(Sub Pop)

See visions of the Virgin Mary on a taco.

The first three minutes of No Silver/No Gold play like another one of those acoustic, ho-hum indie-rock/alt-country crossovers. But toward the very end of the first song (a spare, strummed lament called "Ay Distress"), a cell phone ring "ruins" the recording and we hear the singer, Denton, Texas' Chris Flemmons, erupt in a fit of cuss words. An easy, lo-fi cred ploy? Maybe so, but it made me laugh out loud just the same, and the urgency in Flemmons' angry "Fuck!" seemed genuine even if it wasn't. Turning immediately into the rolling, anti-folk song "Alcohol (Turn and Fall)," the album quickly establishes that the guitar will be used as a timepiece, the four-track will be used as an altar, keyboards will serve as hallucinogens, the voice will be wielded like a dull knife, and words will paint pictures on the backsides of barns. Though the Baptist Generals approach the musical element of their songwriting with a practical, sparse hand, their lyrics typically take a rather erratic line of attack. "Feds on the Highway," for example, is like watching Badlands on a TV with a coat-hanger antenna. "Rudine go put your long pants on/I feel true danger for the children of the world/I'm prophesying and my mind is on fire," goes Flemmons' narrative. Sometimes it's easier to accept these kinds of eccentricities from those we have grown to trust—or those with established careers in the insanity industry (see: Roky Erickson, Syd Barrett)—but once in a while it might be OK to put some faith in god and country, too. LAURA CASSIDY

 
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