Volume 95, Issue 15

Wednesday, September 26, 2001
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Sue knows she's a sex goddess

King Phoenix returns to throne after 50 years

God bless American celebs?

Devils rock, but Hayseed needs watering

Tough picking porn?

The Strokes: young and bright

Devils rock, but Hayseed needs watering

The Murder City Devils


Sub Pop

Four 1/2 stars (out of five)

The Murder City Devils' new EP, Thelema, is every bit as punky and in-your-face as their previous records.

Containing just over 20 minutes of distinctively danceable music, the new album combines harmonious melodies with skittish, edgy vibes to create a unique blend of sound.

"That's What You Get" kicks off the album with a bang; its funky, ska-style beats are catchy, without a trace of blatant commercialism. The raw, screaming verses are rough with emotion as Spencer Moody tells the listener "this is what you get when you ask for the truth." Moody's characteristically coarse vocals, intertwined with heavy organs, is a classic trademark of the Devils.

Following this track is the melodious "Bear Away" – a quality rock tune with a heavy twist. Describing the trials of daily life, the lyricist notes that "we make a choice... to get up every morning/and to bear away."

"Midnight Service at the Mutter Museum" is a moving alternative song that explores the probing issues of fate and identity. Rhetorically, Moody asks listeners a decidedly ironic question: "Do you know how many songs they wrote about you?"

Self-reflective in scope, the Devils prove to listeners they can see things from a variety of viewpoints.

Though the meat of the EP is funk-rock with heavy metal undertones, "364 Days" constitutes a heartbreaking finale.

Primarily acoustic, this final track is a soft, emotional ballad – a decided contrast to the harsher sound of the rest of the album.

Despite its short length, Thelema possesses considerable depth and resounds with emotion and insight.

–Megan O'Toole

Hayseed Dixie

A Hillbilly Tribute To AC/DC

Dualtone Music

1 1/2 stars (out of five)

It's time to kick off your boots and pull out the moonshine – Hayseed Dixie is here with an album well-suited for those lazy Appalachian summers.

Dishing out ten of AC/DC's biggest hits, the Dixies give their own renditions of "Highway to Hell," "Back In Black" and "Money Talks," among other classics.

With one of the thickest drawls of all time, Barley Scotch provides the lead vocals and fiddle. Backed by Kletus Williams on bass, Enus and Talcum Younger on mandolin and banjo respectively, Hayseed Dixie's sound is just as redneck as their names suggest.

One of the album's highlights is "Let's Get It Up." Because the original is not one of AC/DC's most popular tunes, the uninitiated could easily mistake this for a Hayseed Dixie original.

While the band sings about the moon rising and the blowing of the fuse box, the listener is left with the imagery of a back porch smack in the middle of hillbilly country.

"Money Talks" speaks of things your average country bumpkin could only dream of and gives the Hayseed Dixie's version a special twist of irony.

The twang of bluegrass and redneck "culture" were just never intended for some tracks.

Their version of "TNT" begins with the ridiculous pig sounds and proceeds further downhill from there. Even worse, the final line in the chorus, "watch me explode," is followed by the sounds of not pigs, but flatulence.

Beginning at an incredibly quick pace, emphasized by Younger on banjo and Scotch on fiddle, "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" simply sounds odd and out of place.

There can only be two possible reactions to this album – for those who can stand to listen to the entire album, you'll be reaching for your washboard and joining in the jamboree; the rest will be reaching for the nearest trash bin and sending this disc on a "Highway To Hell."

–Stephen Libin

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Copyright The Gazette 2001