Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

The Mooney Suzuki

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This year marks the 30th anniversary of Nuggets, Lenny Kaye's classic compilation of late-60s garage rock, and even die-hard fans of the genre--myself included--must admit that at this point a quartet of kids playing fuzz-toned R & B is about as threatening as a handful of seniors getting together to play hot jazz. But these days purity is its own form of rebellion, and few bands tend to the flame as lovingly as New York's Mooney Suzuki. The band toured for years and issued an explosive EP before landing on the roster of the venerable garage label Estrus, and the work paid off: the full-length People Get Ready, released in 2000, hit number 12 on the college radio charts and the band's South by Southwest showcase this year was reportedly packed. The first two releases ran the gamut from A to B, as the old joke goes; the new Electric Sweat (Gammon) extends their range all the way to C with "Oh Sweet Susanna," an easygoing rocker whose harmonies and acoustic guitar licks recall the Rolling Stones' country-blues phase. "Electric Sweat" and "A Little Bit of Love" deliver more of the band's irresistible drag-strip soul, and the pounding chorus of "In a Young Man's Mind" reduces their philosophy to one primal couplet: "In a young man's mind it's a simple world / There's a little room for music and the rest is girls." The back cover divides the CD's ten tracks into "Side One" and "Side Two," a digital-age conceit that even the band must realize is hardly novel anymore. But in their minds it's probably not an attempt to be clever--it's just the way things ought to be. Monday, April 1, 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Chris Anderson.

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