INDONESIAN JUNK: Spiderbites: LP

Punk and hard rock are a combination inherently fraught with peril. Anyone who lived through the ’80s doubtless remembers watching their friends start the decade with crewcuts, Black Flag T-shirts, and combat boots and end the decade with poofy hair, bleach-splashed jeans, and cowboy boots. It was decidedly non-awesome. Bands who try to straddle the two camps tend to either a) focus on the flawless execution of an idea that winds up sounding vaguely like what the Dead Boys might’ve sounded like if the Dead Boys couldn’t write decent tunes; b) wallow in the ironic bloat of it all, ostensibly for laughs; or c) just kinda basically suck. What keeps Indonesian Junk out of this whole aforementioned useless morass is the fact that no matter how they advance in terms of playing ability or songcraft, they somehow always manage to come off as a hot mess of punk slobs. No matter what they do, they always sound like a bunch of thirteen-year-old boys jerking off over their Kiss and Thin Lizzy records at heart, which seals in the Rock Juice and keeps the whole friggin’ joie de vivre of the thing intact. Sure, “Headbanger” is utterly moronic, and Dan always sings in this ridiculous blockhead rock patois, but what’s that got to do with anything? Let’s dance! There are also some outstanding journeys-by-guitar in songs like “City Lights” that are almost Tweezers-like in their power-poppiness and maybe coulda gotten on the radio like forty years ago. If this band was a box of Nerds®, one side would be Dork flavor and the other side would be Rock God flavor. Now that’s good eating! BEST SONG: “City Lights.” BEST SONG TITLE: “Mean Christine.” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Drummer is blocking the emergency exit. –Rev. Nørb (Spiderbite, indonesianjunkrules.com)