The Casbah, Friday, November 9, 8:30 p.m. 619-232-4355. $12.
Heavy Trash (Jon Spencer and Matt Verta-Ray) is like a snapshot of a familiar subject taken from a different angle and in harsh lighting. The Beat Farmers pre--Joey Harris were verging on this sound early on in the '80s -- a friendly opiate of truck-stop muscle-car roots rock, full of lust and beer and electricity. Think about stoic old Gene Vincent in a band with the even more stoic old Johnny Cash. Add Link Wray on guitar and Howlin' Wolf singing lyrics by William Burroughs through fried amplifiers, and you begin to get the Heavy Trash picture.
Frying amps is nothing new for Jon Spencer. His guitar in the Blues Explosion sounds more like a loud vacuum cleaner than a thing with strings. In over a decade of Blues Explosion music, Spencer has routinely taken his subject matter into the sonic region of jet takeoffs and big reverberations. Calling his music the blues may have in fact been an inside joke. The name Heavy Trash certainly is.
Matt Verta-Ray once said that's what his father called one of his first rock bands out of high school. Home-based in the band Speedball Baby, Verta-Ray is the calming influence in the duo. He, like Spencer, has an affection for American rockabilly, and only from a nonpurist standpoint. I take comfort in that. Rockabilly has become a fetish of hot rods, tats, sexified girlfriends, and bad hair. The Heavy Trash approach makes it okay to like rockabilly again. The new CD has the texture of something that has been a fun side project for two seasoned vets who share a love of roots music and don't get asked to play it out much. "It's like a party," Verta-Ray told a magazine, "every time we play."
HEAVY TRASH, The Casbah, Friday, November 9, 8:30 p.m. 619-232-4355. $12.