The Upshot: Cali punks hoist high the flag of ’77 in a fitting tribute to four fuggin’ decades of rock ‘n’ roll decadence that will never be forgotten.
BY FRED MILLS
From the R.Crumb-meets-Big-Daddy-Roth album sleeve art to the punque-as-fuque label name to the biker bars ‘n’ careening guitars sound, Los Angeles J.J. & The Real Jerks pretty much check every box that matters.
Bolt-outta-the-gate opening track replete with chugarama riffs and yakkity sax skronk (“Out of My Means”)? Check. Harp-powered blooze thrasher ode to drinking and stinking (“Bottle and Can Retirement Plan”)? Double check. Side B opener as visceral as Side A’s, evoking in the process no less than classic Heartbreakers (Thunders, not Petty, for “Mr. Good Enough”)? Check, check, check. Anthemic, power-chord metaphorical dissection of love on the rocks—or love never even getting far enough to paddle near the shore (“Ice Queen”)? Waiter, the check, please—we’ll pick up some dessert across the street at the liquor store.
Nobody’s reinventing the wheel here, which is probably the point, ‘cos J.J. (that’s little Joe Jennings to his mom and pop) and his gang—fellow guitarist Skot Pollok, bassist Hiroshi Yamazaki, sax maestro Geoff Yeaton, drummer Richie Mendez—have a different objective in mind. By serving up these nine hi-nrg slices of Noo Yawk ‘tude and southern Cali garage-punk, J.J. & The Real Jerks hoist high the flag of ’77, a fitting tribute to four fuggin’ decades of rock ‘n’ roll decadence that will never be forgotten. But they are still indescribably now, and you can count on that.
Vinyl hound alert: The LP’s first 100 copies come on beautiful blue vinyl. Everyone too slow on the draw will still get the black vinyl edition, and you know we here at BLURT central would have it no other way than wax, Jack.
DOWNLOAD: “Mr. Good Enough,” “Tuned Out,” “Bottle and Can Retirement Plan”