ALICE BAG: Self-titled: LP

Unbeknownst to the average punter, Ms. Bag has had a long career in music, and it ain’t all been pandering to the prototypical “punk” sound—give a listen to the varied sounds of the Bags, Cambridge Apostles, Cholita, Goddess 13, Las Tres, Stay At Home Bomb, Punkoustica, Castration Squad, She Riffs, and anything else she’s had her hand in and you get what I mean. The resulting album in question is decidedly “punk” in all the ways that matter—attitude, approach, ethos, content—right down to the selection of musicians wrangled to pull it off. There are also tunes that rock raw and raging like those whose knowledge of her oeuvre is limited to the six Bags tracks that made it out by 1981 will be craving. What makes this album the nine hundred pound gorilla it is, though, is the virtually seamless cohesion of the wildly diverse sounds and styles from which she’s drawing inspiration—the eleven songs here bounce from straight-up rockers, to echoes of ‘60s girl group hits (“He’s So Sorry” serves both as cautionary tale of domestic abuse and a sly dig at woman killer Phil Spector by referencing the sound that made him famous), to quieter ballads, to pop, to slinky-rhythm rock, to full-bore punk, and they’re delivered by Alice and her crackin’ crew of cohorts in a way that makes it all feel like—duh, of course they go all together as well as they do. Anthemic, personal, pissed, joyous, introspective, vociferous; this is all that and so much more. –Jimmy Alvarado (Don Giovanni)