The wind's cold, the night's coming on sooner and sooner, and there are several pleasant surprises in store for old-school punks who aren't too old to stay up past midnight. The New York Dolls, X, and the Damned — three defining bands of the original snot-rock era — are all playing live on The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson this week, bringing the Blank Generation's bruised, throbbing answer to country, R&B, and folk to a whole new crop of disaffected youngsters. If that news doesn't make you want to finally convert your entire Stooges collection to MP3 and stab a celebratory safety pin through your nose, maybe this news will: On Friday, October 31st, The Angel Sluts are headlining a free Halloween show at Murphy's with Six String Jets and The Antique Curtains. The creep-night bash also doubles as a release party for the Sluts' first long-playing audio recording, Designer Heat.
The Angel Sluts are guided by the same principle that inspired all the old geezers doing Ferguson this week: Rock-and-roll is Friday night, getting-off-work-with-a-paycheck music. It should be concentrated fun. If Hot Teen Action, the band's 2006 EP, owed a lot to the Ramones and the Dead Boys, then Designer Heat's an even more aggressive affair. The disc comes on full-throttle and stays there for 11 tracks, with hammering drums, slashing guitars, soul clapping, and unhinged no-fi vocals. Dynamics are a totally foreign concept.
Sluts' frontman Harry Koniditsiotis croaks lines about drinking wine, hanging out at anachronistic soda fountains, and the CIA at the absolute edge of intelligibility. Koniditsiotis, who also fronts the Nick Cave-inspired Twin Pilot, writes for an Americana-gothic audience, bringing the grime-glam of textures of Joy Division and the Suicide Twins to bear on the blue-collar frankness of Harlan Howard.
Designer Heat is being released on Memphis' Wrecked 'Em Wreckords, a tiny punk-rock label with a big reputation for living down its name ... in a good way. — Chris Davis
Murphy's isn't the only promising place to hear some Halloween-night tunes. A certified local institution, the Hell on Earth party, returns to South Main dive-bar supreme Earnestine & Hazel's with a lineup that features Devil Train, The Gleaners, Grunt, and Dirty White & Skinny Pimp. The cover charge is $7, with revelry jumping off at 9 p.m.
Over at the Hi-Tone Café, The Memphis Belles burlesque group hosts a night of Halloween festivities that includes a terrific double-bill of bands: Snake Eyes is a new band led by local legend Jim Dickinson, the producer/sideman/raconteur who is having a very good decade as an artist in his own right. With Snake Eyes, Dickinson is joined by some of the city's best. Former Reigning Sound rhythm section Greg Roberson (drums) and Jeremy Scott (bass) lay down the groove, with guitarist John Paul Keith and piano player Adam Woodard flanking Dickinson. Joining Snake Eyes at the Hi-Tone that night is the return of Eldorado & the Ruckus, the former Memphis, now Florida-based band led by the Porch Ghouls' Eldorado Del Rey. Doors open at 9 p.m. Cover is $10.
Down on Beale Street, local hard rockers Egypt Central (who recently welcomed former Saliva guitarist Chris D'Abaldo into the fold) will headline a free Halloween show at the Handy Park Pavilion that also will feature rap-rock prankster Muck Sticky and emerging local rockers Oracle & the Mountain. Meanwhile, just down the street at FedExForum, the Memphis Grizzlies will face off against the Orlando Magic in their regular-season home opener with a little help from the aforementioned Saliva. The local metal band, whose newest album, Cinco Diablo, is set to drop December 16th, will perform at halftime.
— Chris Herrington