TONY C AND THE TRUTH

"Demonophonic Blues"

Lava

Can you handle Tony C and the Truth? Think about it.

In fact, a checklist might come in handy. Are you interested in hearing a singer with a ravaged voice and foul-mouthed vocabulary? (Next to Tony C, Tom Waits and Joe Cocker sound like choir boys). Can you stomach a scathing rant or salacious ode now and then? What about an unholy and unhinged alliance of blues and hip-hop? Does the notion of hearing ZZ Top paying tribute to the Beastie Boys sound oddly appealing? Is your idea of the perfect night spot a beer joint with a mosh pit?

If you answered yes to these questions, then Tony C and his bandmates have a party disc waiting for you, laced with bottle-hoisting choruses and curiously layered mixes in which vintage blues and soul guitar licks commingle with crunching power chords and scratch riffs. When C and his bandmates aren't playing it lewd and crude on "Demonophonic Blues," they often appear hellbent on forging cross-genre connections, as evidenced by their Texas boogie take on the Beasties' "Fight for Your Right (to Party)." Come to think of it, "Good Lookin' Out" sounds like it was composed after a night of listening to OutKast, Keith Richards and Chuck Berry.

If you can get past the expletives and bad boy bluster, something else becomes obvious, too. Neither purists nor revivalists, Tony C and the Truth view blues music as a still evolving and terrifically malleable means of expression and venting. For that reason alone, "Demonophonic" is worth a listen.

-- Mike Joyce

Appearing Thursday at the 9:30 club. * To hear a free Sound Bite from Tony C and the Truth, call Post-Haste at 301-313-2200 and press 8108. (Prince William residents, call 703-690-4110.)