Jon Spencer Blues Explosion | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion 

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JON SPENCER BLUES EXPLOSION

It's hard not to see Now I Got Worry (Matador), the most recent album from the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, as something of a step backward. The trio's previous LP, Orange, and the EP of remixes that followed initiated a rather invigorating dalliance with weird hip-hop collage, backing up Spencer's postmodern smirk with some substance. Now I Got Worry certainly delivers the basic goods--gritty, howling sex rock--but it doesn't bring anything new to the party. Though the JSBX stumbles through a few tunes, such as the woozily distended "Sticky" and a cover of Dub Narcotic's "Fuck Shit Up," that echo the cross-genre dabbling of before, the new record mostly revisits the band's early days, opting for a much rougher, more punk-rock sound. Spencer's quest for authenticity by affiliation, which has already led to his fervent support of R.L. Burnside, manifests itself here as an inspired collaboration with Memphis soul great Rufus Thomas, who lends some typically manic barking to "Chicken Dog." Despite all this "rawness," however, these days Spencer, drummer Russell Simins, and second guitarist Judah Bauer function as quite the well-oiled machine, so even if they do try any new moves live, chances are they'll have no trouble pulling them off. Saturday, 7 PM, the Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield; 773-472-0449 or 312-559-1212.

PETER MARGASAK

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by James Crump/RSP.

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