by Miles Raymer
While Twin Infinitives has had a respected position in the indie canon ever since it was released, I'm far more partial to the group's later efforts, when they decided to stop making formless junkie noise and start making groovy junkie rock 'n' roll. I'm especially partial to their 1995 album Thank You, their first recording for Virgin Records after signing the kind of ridiculously fat contract that exemplified the mid-90s run on bands with any modicum of indie credibility. On Thank You Herrema and Hagerty focused on their long-standing obsession with capital-letter Classic Rock—which had initially expressed itself in Hagerty's first band, Pussy Galore—famously deconstructing the Stones' landmark Exile on Main St. in a fit of punkish idol killing. Thank You evolved into a genuine attempt to revive the kind of unapologetically swaggering rock attitude that Pavement-era indie rockers sneered at.
The best track on the album, which was produced by longtime Neil Young collaborator David Briggs, is "Map of the City," which has a smacked-out groove that Keith Richards probably would have approved of and a world-weary kind of ache that fuels one of Hagerty's more satisfying guitar-god moments. But while I was searching around in vain for a video with decent sound quality I ran across this gem, which finds Hagerty, Herrema, and company perform "Night to Remember" live on a European pop program that I'm guessing from its ravey production values and Euro-dance audience wasn't normally focused on grungy retro revivalists. Like so many of the Royal Trux's best moments, it's weird and alienated and also a thing of total beauty.