Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Well, it looks as if the A-Bones finally have a brand-spanking new album out. And it's a pretty good one too, of course not as good as THE FIGURES OF LIGHT'S SMASH HITS, but then again what is?

But nevertheless it sure is a funtime dilly bar of a disque, proving that after thirty years of recording and live appearances in front of equally-alive audiences world-wide the duo of Billy Miller and Miriam Linna still have it in 'em and refuse to rest on anyone's laurels. Why they would want to go and ruin a laurel bush is beyond me, but lesser people have done much worse.

The A-Bones remain intact after all these years too, and in fact even sport a new member in Ira Kaplan (onetime rock critic and Yo La Tengo leader) on piano, organ, guitar and percussion. I guess this means that Kaplan's previous band is permanently on the skids but that's OK because he only helps fill out the A-Bones sound even more. Besides, I must admit to being lazy enough not to have purchased the last few YLT albums for reasons that should be more than obvious to you, though I did have their earlier platters lined up for play so don't be too harsh on me.

The performance couldn't be better. Really! True lead singer Billy Miller sounds a lot more ragged and smoker-throated than he did in the Zantees plus Miriam Linna's vocal range seems to have dropped a bit making her sound like a teenaged boy right around the time he starts sporting his new upper-lip peach fuzz, but that makes it all the better at least for my own personal sense of post-teenage crud. And the material...whew! Whatta mix of sporty originals written by the band and choice classic covers, and the overall effect is akin to a mad cross-section of the Dictators, Zantees and Fleshtones at their most garage-bandiest playing as if 1979 never ended and Lindsay Hutton somehow took over as tastemonger for a generation replacing ROLLING STONE with THE NEXT BIG THING. Heck, this album even ends with a blatant Dictators riffswipe which might make NOT NOW! the oh-oh's equiv. of GO GIRL CRAZY, and it didn't hurt that one Adny now Andy Shernoff actually wrote a song here dealing with Miss Linna's secret heart-throb Charlie Schmid entitled "Shallow Grave". You remember Schmid, he being Tucson's teenaged terror who was such a pied-piper of abnormal psych cool that he even strung half of the local pubes on to his game and the ones that weren't were high school geeks anyway!

Really, NOT NOW! is a spright li'l number that any true fan of the Big Beat as it was defined in KICKS #1 could relate to, and if it doesn't worm its way into your heart I dunno what's wrong with you. And those Millers, what big hearts they do have...I mean, they even managed to wrangle the legendary Dave "Baby" Cortez into playing organ on the spooky instrumental "Cat Nap"! It's nice to know that someone out there thinks highly of the unemployed!

No comments: