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Big Midnight

Big Midnight is yet another band with shaggy hair and bad attitude joining such luminaries as the Brian Jonestown Massacre, Vue, Warlocks, the Agenda, and Richmond Sluts in the retro-as-if-retro-never-happened category. Everything for the First Time will have you jumping around doing air-guitar moves while draining every bottle in the house before starting in on the cough syrup and shaving lotion. It's a sonic battering ram of completely exhilarating proportions with none of that brainy, genteel Sonic Youth veneer.

Take the opener, "Doin' All Right," which strikes a perfect balance between Stonesy swagger and Stooges malice. Exciting wall-of-sound melodies with female backing vocals augment "Neglect Yourself" à la the Stones on "Gimme Shelter" and no less dramatic. Speaking of the Stones, the comparisons are so apt, Big Midnight even mentions 'em in the anthemic "Gotta Get Down": "I listened to the Stones, and I got some Lou Reed."

Part of Everything for the First Time's appeal is that it's just common blues (and hence wisdom) such as the line in "Take the Blow" in which Shea Roberts sings: "You threw my heart on the floor/And then you stomped it out." Big Midnight is better at this than the New York Dolls ever were. It's also the best Iggy album in years: "Trying to Get By" is cabaret Ig as crooner complete with somber piano and female vocals (the latter courtesy of "fifth Midnight" Lydia Walker). "All the Dreams" is brooding junkie blues like latter-day Stooges circa "Open Up & Bleed." "Love for Sin" is also Iggy. "Spent Too Much," meanwhile, is total T. Rex, complete with strings.

Clearly, Big Midnight has fashioned a start-to-finish winner.

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Joe S. Harrington

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