Friday, January 2, 2009

Cool It Down! Staying Up Late With The Jungle Rockers

The Jungle Rockers

Cool It Out
Jungle Rock Records

It's a new year. Why not get some howlin' in? Austin transplants via Cleveland The Jungle Rockers give the treatment on the mid 2008 release Cool It Out! This is rock 'n' bar drinkin' music, so it's only fitting to talk about these guys. The title track is a whoppin' double shot of lightening with a twangy rockabilly guitar and a beat that breaks through R & B but throws in a beat that's nothing less than from the jungle! This song is just instantly likeable with lines "I'm gonna walk you to your doorstep, kiss you on your rosy cheeks, I'm gonna squeeze that fanny one more time just to hold me 'til the next day" is going to make anyone wish they could catch these guys playing. "Devil In My Head" has a psych/garage intro beat and Roky Erikson howl, but settles into an r & b strut that just breathes cool. The additional tempo changes with heavy breathing as integrated parts of the song plus a few howls only further impart this musical personality disorder of r & b, rockabilly, and punk with psychedelic overtones. This is the kind of stuff to scare parents into locking their daughters up; the kind of stuff that gets bible belt preachers all riled up about filthy rock 'n' roll! Aren't you glad to know it's alive and well?

The Jungle Rockers enhance their sound on "Big Mouth" with a little bit of jangling guitars and some pure juke joint piano blues, but lead vocal Jason Borkowski throws in a sharp, commanding delivery that stands as a roots rock authority. This is a rockin' band that cannot be ignored. "Guts" has a definite r & b vibe, but a beat that's more "The Way I Walk". Jungle rockin', indeed! In keeping with their name, there's a peculiar musical oddity not usually heard in good rock 'n' roll that shows up in the soul grooved track "Love Trap" called a guiro, which makes a distinctive ratcheting sound that almost conveys a "slithering" groove to the music. It's now time to warn your daughters about these primitives. Come to think of it, The Jungle Rockers wouldn't be The Jungle Rockers if they didn't have some primitive tribal percussion. The guiro is the tip of the iceberg for them. One also hears a vibraslap and a host of tribal instruments mixing in with the basic beat all over this EP. The ending "Lies" is a great tribute to Buddy Holly's not fade away, which is usually credited to Bo Diddley, a definite influence heard in The Jungle Rockers, but "Lies" also mixes in vocal harmonies more like the all female Motown acts from the '60s.

The Jungle Rockers cannot be overlooked on Cool It Out. If one's thinking about early rock 'n' roll music that scared white folks, this is it. The influences are old enough to conjure up greasers and rockabilly, but instead of a country influence, Cool It Out takes on the definition of the best rock 'n' roll out there as "white kids playing black music and doing a horrible job at it" (Little Steven quote), only the percussion is so tribal and older that it will make anyone go heathen. This absolutely needs to be heard. Let's hope The Jungle Rockers have a full length release soon.

Big Mouth

Cool It Out

The Jungle Rockers are opening up free week at Emo's in Austin, Texas on January 3rd. They're sharing the bill with Get Hip Recordings artist and Austin's very own The Ugly Beats, the psychedelic, hard blues of Amplified Heat, and Austin's new '60s mod pop sensations Dan la Lune. If you can think of any better way to start off the new year, I'd like to hear it.

No comments: