The Hangmen

Metallic I.O.U.

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Surprised these guys are still around. I remember seeing them in 1988 at the Palomino in their home L.A., opening for the late Screaming Jay Hawkins. They had a big buzz going, playing dirty rock 'n' roll that mixed the Dolls/Heartbreakers, Stones, Stooges, Aerosmith, and AC/DC. They soon signed to Capitol and released a neutered eponymous LP in 1989, becoming the 10,000th band to suddenly "have their guts ripped out of them" (their description)-i.e., sold out the minute they signed to the big boys. Their second LP was refused by the label (the usual karmic penalty), and the band floundered. Singer Bryan Small and mates battled heroin and obnoxious rock star posing for 11 years, but somehow they persevered. And now, they're making their indie debut! Metallic I.O.U. is what they should have made in 1989. It's too hard-rock-influenced for my tastes. But it you don't mind a big slab of '70s radio metal in your classic rock 'n' roll, "Loners, Junkies & Liquor Stores," "Broke, Drunk, and Stoned," and a thick cover of Lords of the New Church's "Russian Roulette" roar. It's all Chuck Berry leads, proto-blues bottom end, and a production with Jimmy Sloan that's balls-to-the-wall. This is such power-chorded kick-ass rock 'n' roll, you can't help salute it, no matter its copious excesses. (2020 Broadway, 2nd fl., Santa Monica, CA 90404; acetaterecs@hotmail.com)

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