The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Xtra-Acme USA

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Clearly a band that abhors waste, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion developed the habit of periodically releasing albums of leftovers, outtakes, and remixes early in their career. Just as Crypt Style followed the group's self-titled debut, Mo' Width cleared the vaults after Extra Width, and Experimental Remixes tweaked tracks from Orange, Xtra-Acme USA brought together 19 numbers that had been worked up during the epic-scale sessions for the 1998 album Acme. Reflecting the fascination with hip-hop and electronica that informed that album's production style, seven of the tracks on Xtra-Acme USA are remixed versions of Acme material, though in some cases what's presented here is more straightforward than the "official" versions. "Torture (Waters)" strips the recording down to its essentials with the addition of a bit of DJ cutting, "Blues Explosion Attack (Dub Narcotic)" presents the raw materials of Acme's concluding mixmaster battle, and "Magical Colors (31 Flavors)" sounds even more languid than the original, one of the most relaxed performances in the group's catalog. And while "Lovin' Machine (Automator)" and "Heavy (Stimulated Dummies)" offer significant twists and turns on the Acme versions, they also deepen the grooves that were the songs' original reasons for being. Elsewhere, "Get Down Lover" is a wild, fiery performance with a tight horn chart that should have made the cut on Acme and is one of the rare moments while the Blues Explosion sound like they could have been a proper R&B band if they'd wanted, "New Year" and "Leave Me Alone So I Can Rock Again" are top-shelf rockers, the funky clavinet on "Wait a Minute" is an inspired addition to the group's sound, and "Lap Dance" is a literally and figuratively dirty collaboration with Andre Williams that pays fitting homage to a longtime source of greasy inspiration. Acme was an album so full of ideas that sometimes the band's full-on attack got lost in the shuffle; the same can be said for Xtra-Acme USA, but the sense of fun and excitement that was diluted on the "real" album comes through stronger and harder here, and this is one example of the sequel being more entertaining than the original.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 3:48 Spotify
2 3:47 Spotify
3 3:04 Spotify
4 4:09 Spotify
5 4:08 Spotify
6 1:46 Spotify
7 3:32 Spotify
8 4:30 Spotify
9 3:13
10 3:26 Spotify
11 5:06 Spotify
12 4:28 Spotify
13 2:30 Spotify
14 2:58 Spotify
15 3:39 Spotify
16 3:16 Spotify
17 7:29
18 3:25 Spotify
19 4:08 Spotify
20 1:36
blue highlight denotes track pick