Jabberjaw… Pure Sweet Hell
by Nik Rainey
Oh, gosh, look, the critic said with slightly less enthusiasm than Warhol’s corpse, it’s another various artists benefit album. I wonder what non-profit tax-deductible cause the civic-minded zillionaires of Planet Rock have generously bequeathed their outtakes that weren’t even worthy of a limited-edition b-side available only in Kuala Lampur to this time? Geez, what’s left? The Equine Asthma Fund? The Buy-Billy-Corgan-A-New-T-Shirt Committee? Tube Socks for Africa? Nope, it’s for nothing more or less than to give Jabberjaw, the tiny L.A. java-and-jamming club, a new home. The fifteen artists featured on Pure Sweet Hell have all graced the Jabberjaw stage in the seven years since it opened, and have kindly returned the favor, reflecting well on the tastes of the management, as there’s not a duffer in the lot. Conceptually, it hews pretty close to the majority of such comps – there’s punk, surf, semi-folk, jizz-jazz, and power-grunt all rubbing chafed elbows with one another here – but thankfully, no overexposed corporock combos (we’ll allow Everclear and Jawbreaker the benefit of the doubt ’cause we’ve taken our mood stabilizers today) or wearisome socially-conscious diatribes to be found anywhere. Just sheer kicks soaked in the ambience of a small, noisy venue, even if none of the tracks were actually recorded there. A few highlights: Brainiac‘s Albinified take on Tones on Tail’s “Go!,” Man or Astroman? silver-surfing through the troposphere in high style, the always-welcome glitter frauds of Redd Kross, Low‘s manifestly appropriate cover of the Bee Gees’ classic pout “I Started A Joke,” the Laughing Hyenas‘ retchilicious “Shine,” and the Coctails skronking us homeward with “Gripper Bite.” Heck, even the folks that don’t normally make my (censored) tingle do fine by me – Everclear’s noised-up run through the Smiths’ “How Soon Is Now?” is both tweak and tribute, showing you can have your vegan teacake and nosh it too, and, while Mary Lou Lord may have garbled Ween’s “Birthday Boy” a tad in the translation, if she were busking it in the Park Street T station, it’d be worth a quarter (requisite local-flavor/I’ve-done-my-research reference). Do your part for charity and help contribute to the combined hearing dysfunctions of generations yet unborn. Hey, it’ll keep your money from lining the pockets of those Special Olympics bastards.