New York City's Chrome Cranks deliver a dark, dirty hybrid of garage, punk, and blues that could bring out the Bukowski in anyone. You know--hit the bar in broad daylight, pick up the person on the next stool, etc, etc, and then come back for more. Front man Peter Aaron has a stage presence that's equal parts early Mick Jagger and Lux Interior, and a raw, snarling yelp that comes from years of chain-smoking to Stooges and Birthday Party records. He and guitarist William Weber formed the band in Cincinnati in 1988, then moved to the Big Apple, where they drafted former Honeymoon Killers front man and Boss Hog founder Jerry Teel to play bass. After the obligatory drummer crisis they settled on Bob Bert, whose resume includes Sonic Youth and Pussy Galore, and whose association with Jon Spencer in the latter explains all the uninspired comparisons between the Cranks and the Blues Explosion--Australia's Scientists would be more appropriate. Their latest release, the lo-fi Oily Cranks (Atavistic), is a collection of rough early material that ranges from the sexy, bass-dominated "Come In and Come On" to the Jesus and Mary Chain feedback pop of "Comeback" (the first song the band ever wrote, aptly described in the liner notes as blackmail material). The more recent songs on last year's excellent Love in Exile (PCP) prove that the Cranks have carved out their own niche in the so-called retro-rock spectrum, and they play every show like it's their last. Tuesday, 9 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600. CARA JEPSEN
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Art Smith.