Girl Trouble

New American Shame

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Girl Trouble had been around for a decade by the time it released New American Shame, the band's third -- and most raucous -- full-length recording. The members of the Tacoma quartet have never made any secret of their pride in the town that also gave birth to musical forefathers the Sonics and the Wailers. "My Hometown," their ode to Seattle's sister city, sets the tone for the rest of the album -- loud, fast, and with a "backbeat you can't lose" (if you can't dance to it, it can't possibly be Girl Trouble, and Bon's drumming sounds punchier than ever on this disc). If "My Hometown" gave Tacoma a theme song to rival "Louie, Louie" (Seattle's unofficial theme), "How Can I Be Out When I Ain't Been In?" pretty much sums up Girl Trouble's entire career. They've never ridden the crest of any trends -- they may have been described as "grunge" in the late '80s, but it's a mantle that never really fit. Consequently, the band has managed to outlast most of the other Northwest acts that formed around the same time, and the music on New American Shame -- as with the rest of Girl Trouble's material -- falls more into the proto-punk/garage category. "Sister Mary Motorcycle" was also released as a split single with the A-Bones (featuring double-sided cover art by Peter Bagge of Hate fame), and "Put the Blame on Me" is a cover of early-'60s Elvis (who once starred in a little movie called The Trouble With Girls; what do you want to bet that Girl Trouble has heard of it?).

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