The Lords of Altamont

Lords Have Mercy

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When considering the current wave of garage rock revival bands, it seems important to remember this stuff was never meant to be stylish or pretty; back in the day, the best garage rock was being produced by acne-ravaged thugs who wanted to strike fear into the hearts of their parents, teachers, and authority figures while impressing youthful fellow misanthropes. California's the Lords of Altamont, bless their grimy souls, understand this implicitly, and on their second album, Lords Have Mercy, they've created a howling fusion of the Music Machine and Davie Allan that isn't afraid to let the sweat flow and get their clothes dirty in the manner of more muscular influences such as the Stooges and the New York Dolls. Jake "The Preacher" Cavaliere's roiling keyboards and gale-force vocals push these songs forward while guitarist Shawn "Sonic" Medina adds high-impact raunch, and the rhythm section of Spencer "The Dealer" Robinson and Max "Sicko" Eidson aren't afraid to hit it hard and make a groove. The best originals here -- "Cyclone," "$4.95," and "Action" -- are a fair match for the covers, and when they play other people's songs (like venerable garage classics "Project Blue" and "Buried [From the Knees Down]" they do it with enough fury to fill 'em up with their own personality. The Lords of Altamont ain't pretty, they aren't likely to end up on MTV, and they don't care about charming you. They want to rock, and that's just what they do on Lords Have Mercy, which will do you a lot more good than whoever is trying to make like the Vines this week. Liner notes include an enthusiastic endorsement from MC5 bassist Michael Davis, a man who ought to know about such things.

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