As the United States sinks further into decline, Canada just keeps getting better. Universal health care, an appreciation of cultures and languages (many Canadian high schools follow a dual-immersion format where students are taught in both French and English) and low crime—the only thing they’re lackin’ is good old AMERICAN rock‘n’roll. Bad news, though—pretty soon they’re gonna have that, too. As if Les Sexareenos weren’t a sign of things to come, Demon’s Claw are poised to strip of America of its rock‘n’roll title. Yeah, yeah I know—they can’t take that away from us. Well, friends, black people aren’t making too much rock‘n’roll these days (sans Mick Collins) and that scares the shit out of me. (Don’t delude yourself—rock‘n’roll is black culture, sprinkled with a little Hank Williams…who, not so incidentally, was taught guitar by a black man). It’s as if we—the tortured citizens of the oppressive Bush regime—have turned our backs on rock‘n’roll; only the Starvations’ Gabriel Hart, Miss Alex White, and Jay Reatard are really kicking out the jams now. (And so you know: Greg Cartwright used to live in Memphis, so he’s pretty much black.) Our neighbors to the North have been keeping things together (Deadly Snakes and BBQ), and Satan’s Little Pet Pig is easily going to be one of the top-ten records released this year. Demon’s Claw have grown leaps and bounds since their last effort, branching out musically while still keeping that sordid we-recorded-this-on-reel-to-reel-tape-found-on-the-floor sound. (I mean, this record is really top notch!) Take the opening cut “Shadow of a Castle.” I haven’t heard such focused anger in years; the bass drives like an early ‘70s Iggy cut with lyrics that’d make Howlin’ Wolf say, “Yeah, Canucks, I knows what you’se talkin’ ‘bout. We’s goin’ to the bar!” But, uh, the real nail in the coffin is “That Old Outlaw.” Jesus Christ! Listen to the intro—here that guitar and bass interplay…these Canadian fucks know how to play…reminiscent of Chris Hillman matching up with Roger McGuinn, “That Old Outlaw” sounds like a good fuck feels. Again, again, Canadians aren’t supposed to interpret American rock‘n’roll like this, but they have. (What’s next?—a Canadian writer’s usurpation of Carson McCuller’s title to the American South?) I’m really despondent right now. THIS JUST IN: Predictions for the upcoming decade: The Demon’s Claw will take over little Frankie Lymons’ polygamy title and spawn nearly as many illegitimate children as Screamin’ Jay Hawkins.
–ryan (In the Red)