BLACK WINE: Self-titled: LP

Black Wine is a New Jersey trio, featuring a former Erg!, and with alternating male and female vocals. I know I’ll be made a pariah by the readers of these pages for saying this, but the Ergs! never really did it for me. This however, is right up my alley. The record starts off with a heavy instrumental, conjuring up Black Sabbath and the ghost of the recently passed Ronnie James Dio, and then funnels into a stream of tuneful, melodic punk-inspired rock numbers, some peppy, others somber. Vulnerable, harmonized vocals, a little twang and jangle on the guitars when they’re not raging into J Mascis/Neil Young territory. The songs benefit from a variety of properties as they can be tender, urgent, mellow, and aggressive. Since the Pixies in their current state are unfortunately little more than a greatest hits band, consider Black Wine’s debut record the best record the Pixies will never release.

 –Jeff Proctor (Don Giovanni)