"Leave No Ashes"
THE ROLLING BLACKOUTS
"Black Is Beautiful"
Record Collection/True Love
Even in these carefully packaged times, musicians are not required to have a marketing concept to play good old pre-hyphenate rock-and-roll. Such up-and-coming bands as Burning Brides and the Rolling Blackouts go easy on the shtick, redeploying '60s and '70s rock without donning matching outfits.
Still, both groups do seem to share a favorite color.
The Brides' "Leave No Ashes" opens with "Heart Full of Black," a classic declaration of bad-boy intent. The Philadelphia trio spends the rest of the album dancing with the devil, sometimes getting so heavy that the songs are almost metal -- although not of the satanic variety. While "Alternative Teenage Suicide" is as Stoogey as anything on the band's previous album, "Fall of the Plastic Empire," this lively disc varies the Brides' attack a bit. In attitude, however, it's all basic black.
The vibe is no more pastel-friendly on the Blackouts' "Black Is Beautiful," whose opening track is "Black Cake" iced with feedback.
Although this L.A. quartet is an entirely compatible tourmate for the Brides, its music is gruffer and bluesier -- and yet sometimes also poppier, with a penchant for semisweet backing vocals. Singer-guitarist Daniel Andres Holden rasps his prickly observations, and "Rock Paper Scissors" characteristically interjects brief blues-rock breakdowns between its "la-la-las." Inevitably, the Blackouts recall all those "Nuggets"-era bands who were just too American to be the Yardbirds. But they clearly just don't care about such precedents, which is why they can manhandle them with engaging impunity.
-- Mark Jenkins
Appearing Monday at the Black Cat with the Explosion. * To hear a free Sound Bite from Burning Brides, call Post-Haste at 301-313-2200 and press 8105; to hear Rolling Blackouts, press 8106. (Prince William residents, call 703-690-4110.)