12 O'Clock Track: Rye Coalition, "Heart of Gold, Jacket of Leather" | Bleader

12 O'Clock Track: Rye Coalition, "Heart of Gold, Jacket of Leather"

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Jersey City's Rye Coalition were more of a noisy postpunk band in their earlier days (on Hee Saw Dhuh Kaet and The Lipstick Game), but with 2002's On Top they began a transition to straight-up rock. A nonstop barrage of on-fire licks and hammy lyrics, the album is a masterpiece of rock 'n' roll as it should've been then—as opposed to the often lazy, too-cool piddling of the Strokes and their clones. Rye Coalition sound raw, talented, and fun as hell, and the residual weirdness from their postpunk past lets them poke at cliched classic rock without getting into bed with it. I wore this record out back in the day.

Today's 12 O'Clock Track is "Heart of Gold, Jacket of Leather," a rock 'n' roll song title if I've ever heard one. And the opening riff is foot-on-the-monitor hard—I fear for your soul if it doesn't get you at least a little geared. Recorded by the Albini (like the rest of the album), the track has his expansive, heavy-hitting sound, with a tight, dynamic rhythm section that provides more than just a backbone for the dueling guitars. Ralph Cuseglio's vocals are so sweaty 70s glam that I always imagine him onstage in a bedazzled, ruffled shirt—microphone in one hand, spilling martini in the other.

In related news, the band reunited early last year for a one-off show and has begun editing down material for an upcoming life-and-times documentary.

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