Forgive me, father, for I have sinned. I’ve been listening to this horribly addictive garagabilly blues record, Heavy Trash’s Midnight Soul Serenade, to the point of being gluttonous. The salacious snarls and heart-pounding hot rod licks of Jon Spencer (Blues Explosion) and Matt Verta-Ray (Madder Rose, Speedball Baby) have inspired me to, among other things, drink, dance and relive my teenage fascination with filthy rockabilly boys. It’s the sonic equivalent of everything I probably shouldn’t be doing.
Spencer, for his part, is still every mother’s worst nightmare. Part velvet, part Elvis, all wolf, he plows his way through straight up, lascivious rock like “Bedevilment” with the vocal theatrics of a ‘50s rockabilly train wreck, busting strings and collecting women along the way. But the real surprise is Verta-Ray, whose previous work doesn’t necessarily suggest the quietly sexy yet menacing vocal swagger he produces on “Good Man” (backing vocals courtesy of Those Darlins) or the torrents of unfiltered guitar deviltry he unleashes across the record.
Heavy Trash didn’t invent the rockabilly sound, but they’re advancing it nicely. And it’s almost dirty enough to make this Jewish girl want to confess. Ultimately, though, there’s nothing here but soul-saving rock and roll.