Murder City Devils with the Yo-Yos and the Catheters

Monday, Aug. 7; Side Door

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Murder City Devils

Side Door

Monday, Aug. 7

The Murder City Devils are unrepentant rock & roll. Yeah, that sounds pretty simple and straightforward, but pulling it off is tougher than you think. Rock & roll has been fragmented and bastardized to the point of looking like a Faulkner family tree. Every band with a guitarist wants to claim rock & roll status, but they do so by modifying their music with various adjectives. It's always "punk" rock, or "hard" rock, or "country" rock, or "alternative" rock, or "circus" rock, or "pompous bald guy with a zip-up leather suit and vainglorious album titles who is also afraid of Britney Spears" rock. All those modifiers are really just disclaimers that let you know you're not getting rock & roll, you're getting a diluted version of the real thing.

Not so with the Murder City Devils. They're three albums deep in rock & roll, and they just keep digging deeper. They write songs about drinkin', bad love, drinkin', the sea, drinkin' and Iggy Pop. They play these songs loud, and they play them with feeling. Frontman Spencer Moody snarls. Guitarists Dann Gallucci and Nate Manny play blistering chords without any frills or fancy stuff. The rhythm section of Coady Willis (drums) and Derek Fudesco (bass) suffer from no musical pretensions other than believing they should anchor the deep end in your pelvis. Keyboardist Leslie Hardy plays organ with the stripped-down drone of an even more single-minded "96 Tears." The Murder City Devils take these simple elements and smash them together to create rock & roll.

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