Thursday, Dec. 9; Mississippi Nights

For proof that good old-fashioned rawk is back, consider this: If you're in search of a blast of rip-snorting, decadence-dripping, three-chord release these days, you actually have a choice. On the one hand, you could turn to the bands who did it all in the '80s and somehow lived to tell the tale -- Poison, Mötley Crüe, Ratt, et al. But listening -- and, more to the point, looking at those guys at this late date is, well, so "Picture of Dorian Gray." It's a little hard to hear a band sing about good times that never end when incontrovertible evidence to the contrary is staring you right in the face.

So move over, Rover, and let the new generation take over. We nominate Buckcherry for the job. Hailing from LA and named for a transvestite who frequented their shows, the group throws down a potent mix of AC/DC (check those "Highway to Hell"-fueled guitars), Black Crowes (listen to lead singer Joshua Todd's whiskey-soaked pipes), and Iggy Pop (look at Todd's frighteningly emaciated torso). And how 'bout those lyrics? "And yes I'm all lit up again," Todd sings in the band's notorious song, "Lit Up." "Flying ... I love the cocaine/I love the cocaine." To say the least, it ain't exactly Shakespeare or Mother Goose we're talking about here.

But that's as it should be. Buckcherry's self-titled debut was produced by ex-Sex Pistol Steve Jones and White Zombie/Soundgarden/Deftones knob-twiddler Terry Date, and thanks to "Lit Up" and such like-minded tunes as "Dirty Mind," "Crushed" and "Dead Again," it just may be the no-frills, no-apologies rock album of the year. This is a band to watch, at least until time, lifestyle consequences or the law catch up with them.

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