THROW RAG: 13 Ft. and Rising: CD

This record’s first track, “Swingset Superman,” kicks off with an intro similar to that of the Sex Pistols’ “Holidays in the Sun.” If you’re going to start your album with that reference, you’d better be able to back it up, and likewise, Throw Rag’s history of great live shows threatens to make any studio album a letdown. But 13 Ft. and Rising lives up to all those challenges. Dino, the guitarist, moves easily from punk to country and back, but the musical core of this album is a series of wonderfully sleazy-sounding riffs that recall the best of Link Wray. The lyrics jump quickly from one subject to the next, like rants of an overheated mind, and Captain Sean Doe’s vocals strain to stretch out the most painful parts of the songs. Jacko, possibly the only washboard player/bugler in rock, sings lead on a couple tracks and makes the most of the opportunity, especially on the visceral “Rotten Me.” There are also guest appearances by Jello Biafra and Lemmy from Motörhead, but the most memorable cameo is Keith Morris’s mix of singing and spoken word on the final track, “Children of the Secret State.” Throw Rag’s second album, Desert Shores, remains the band’s best, but this is a great follow-up to that savagely brilliant record.

 –chrispepus (BYO)