They've got the dangerously androgynous glam thing down, at least when it comes to looks. But that's about it. The Demolition Doll Rods are loud as hell and mostly metal. And even that has to be qualified. The problem is this: If there is any discernible structure to their songs an audience would be hard-pressed to tell. In fact, I wouldn't be recommending the show at all if American Deathray Music wasn't playing the same bill on Saturday, December 29th, at the Map Room. That raunchy, blues-meets-Velvet-Underground outfit could open for a box of broken crayons and I'd say, GO! On the other hand, Memphis ex-pats the everlasting Snakehips are visiting Murphy's that same night with their loving take on the Big Star sound, and that's pretty irresistible. But this week's big local package happens on Friday, December 28th, at the Hi-Tone Café when The Pawtuckets join forces with Alvin Youngblood Hart. Hart, in spite of a ton of great press, may still be Memphis' best-kept secret. To call him a bluesman would be like calling the Ginsu just a knife. Hart slices, dices, and juliennes blues, classic rock, jazz, and even country and puts it all back together in a way that sounds both familiar and brand-spanking-new. The Pawtuckets'
swampy Southern rock, bolstered by sometimes extraordinary songwriting, has never been adequately captured on CD. Something happens when these guys play live that just can't be reproduced in the studio. A bit of internal conflict has kept the group from playing out much lately, and word on the street (till now) was that they were no more. Well, they are at least playing together once more, so get it while it's hot. -- Chris Davis
Lucero returns to the Hi-Tone Café on New Year's Eve for a show that will also boast a screening of a video documentary on the band produced by local filmmaker Andrew Leggett. They also have new product out -- Eight Paces to Jackson, an all-acoustic, mostly instrumental soundtrack to a student film directed by lead singer Ben Nichols' brother. The album was recorded a good two years ago and is being released by the Little Rock-based Landmark Records. Lucero sounds nothing like this anymore, but maybe the record will appease fans hungry for the band's completed second album, due out next spring on MADJACK. Up-and-comers Snowglobe open the show.
Also of note at the Hi-Tone this week is the return of Nashville alt-country legends Jason and the Scorchers on Saturday, December 29th. On hand to open that show will be Memphis' finest country band, Papa Top's West Coast Turnaround, who reportedly have a whole bunch of new material ready to unleash on unsqueamish ears. --Chris Herrington