I'll swear on a stack of 45s that "All The Kids Are Right," by Illinois hard-rock duo Local H, is one of the greatest anthems in rock-and-roll history -- sardonic, poignant, hilarious, and driven heavenward by the crunchiest power riffs since Kurt Cobain left this world. Singer-songwriter/guitarist Scott Lucas gazes out at the increasingly bored, ever-shrinking group of kids in the audience at the crappy club he's playing (apparently they found out that girls show their tits at Limp Bizkit shows and headed for the door) and sings the quintessential hymn to alt-rock's demise: "You heard that we were great/But now you think we're lame/Since you saw the show last night/Thought that we would rock/Knock it up a notch/Rockin' was nowhere in sight/And it's never good when it goes bad ." As Lucas sang elsewhere on the same album, 1998's Pack Up the Cats, "I'm in love with rock-and-roll/But that'll change eventually."
Well, you can't metarock forever (though I guess Pavement gave it a pretty good shot), especially not if you want the kids to come back. So Local H is a little less self-referential on their new album, the more earthbound if still quite rousing Here Comes the Zoo, though Lucas does still have at least one more rock-about-rock classic in him. "Rock & Roll Professionals" gives the current generation of play-by-the-rules hard-rock bands everything they deserve, Lucas howling the not-too-bitter truth: "It's all about the Benjamins/So, come on, let's hear it for the rock-and-roll!" Elsewhere, the "band" (Lucas joined by new drummer Brian St. Clair, formerly of Triple Fast Action) just rocks, as simply and directly as you could imagine, with whip-smart lyrics jockeying with whiplash riffs. Equal parts post-punk perception and classic-rock power, equal parts Nirvana and Cheap Trick, these guys may be -- with apologies to Queens of the Stone Age and System of a Down -- the best hard-rock band around right now, not that you'd know it from the Billboard charts. And they'll be at Newby's on Sunday, March 31st. -- Chris Herrington
At worst they may sound like an unsavory Internet site featuring barnyard animals and bestial acts, at best a run-of-the-mill alt-country act, but Adult Rodeo is neither. Or perhaps they are both. They are an Austin-based hodgepodge of a band that comes off like some less than godly union of Bongwater and Billy Joe Shaver. Big raucous guitars scream over lyrics that, at times, might seem more natural accompanied by crying pedal steel or sawing fiddles. Fun with form abounds. A little reggae crops up here, a little garage psychedelia sneaks in there, and noise is everywhere. Listening to Adult Rodeo is like chewing fruit-striped gum -- there's a different flavor with every bite, which, for folks who like their bands to play one kind of music or another, can be a little disconcerting. Still, the chances are good that if you liked Golden Country Greats, Ween's perverse interpretation (some might say mockery) of traditional country, you'll be way into Adult Rodeo. Or, heck, if you like Ween at all. A.R. may not have quite as sick a sense of humor as Gene and Dean, but they share the same sense of fun and foolishness. They'll play the Hi-Tone Cafe on Tuesday, April 2nd. -- Chris Davis