Various Artists

A Tribute to Turbonegro: Alpha Motherfuckers (Hopeless Records)

The tribute record is the most abused marketing concept in the record biz. Generally, a huge band has its ego stroked by several similar but less successful outfits trying to siphon some of its juice. Last year's Weezer tribute was particularly pointless: Why is it necessary to pay tribute to a band whose songs are currently on the radio? Does anyone really care who can play "Buddy Holly" slightly faster? Saving us from tribute mediocrity is this long-overdue love letter to Turbonegro -- the greatest band of pansexual death-punkers ever to emerge from Scandinavia. With only one U.S. release in the bag before its demise (1999's Apocalypse Dudes), Turbonegro's Molotov cocktail of glam-rock bawdiness and punk firepower was known on this side of the pond only to American record nerds who plunder the import bin searching for the next Radio Birdman but usually ending up with the next Sigue Sigue Sputnik. For once, the nerds' diligence paid off -- but now it's time to liberate the greatness of Turbonegro from the Poindexters.

Unlike most tribute records, Alpha Motherfuckers contains bands far more popular than Turbonegro (Queens of the Stone Age, Nashville Pussy) along with obscurities from all over the globe (Brazil's RDP, Norway's Amulet). The American bands all turn it up to 11, with Zeke's screaming version of "Midnight Nambla" leading the way. The joy of singing Turbonegro's outrageous homoerotic anthems seeps through tracks like the Real McKenzies' "Sailor Man." Even Orange County geezers ADZ get in the act with "Good Head." But it's the European bands that have the goods on their denim-wearin' homeboys. Norwegian Black Metal-heads Satyricon salute their fellow countrymen with a double-bass/synth rave-up, "I Got Erection." Even further from left field (and the album's best track) is the S&M duet "Are You Ready (for Some Darkness)?" turned in by Bela B. & Denim Girl. Sounding for all the world like Bauhaus-era Peter Murphy putting the moves on Shirley Manson in an East End fetish club, this exceedingly catchy goth-rocker would inspire millions of arty death chicks to rip down their Marilyn Manson posters if it ever found its way onto radio.

 
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