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Critic's Choice

The Cynics

Paisley shirts. Nehru jackets. Chelsea boots. Gregg Kostelich probably got his ass kicked quite a bit during the 1980s. In the middle of that decade of lasers, silicon and polyurethane pop, he began pumping up the retrogression as the guitarist of Pennsylvania's The Cynics (who will play Saturday, November 22, at the Larimer Lounge). The group peddled a ferocious, neuron-bashing pastiche of all the great underground garage rock of the '60s: the Shadows of Knight, the Pretty Things, the Seeds, the Music Machine. Even then, though, Kostelich and crew were wise enough to tinker with the chemistry of their music, blending elements of folk, glam and psychedelia into fuzz-smudged guitars and troglodyte snarls. But Kostelich's love affair with the '60s didn't start with the Cynics; when he was still in grade school, his parents took him to see original Nuggetsalumni like the Sonics and the Blues Magoos, and he's dedicated his whole adult life to preserving the anachronistic sounds of his childhood with his record label and distribution company, Get Hip. The Cynics recorded only sporadically throughout the '90s, but the group's new album, Living Is the Best Revenge, is a raucous, brain-wrecking return to form. With singer and founding member Michael Kastelic, drummer Tom Hohn and bassist Smith Hutchings, Kostelich rips out a mean yet utterly catchy strain of pure rock and roll that whales the hell out of most of today's hot, young, trendy garage bands. With garage rock's newfound lionization and legitimacy, the Cynics must feel totally vindicated at last. Revenge is sweet.

 
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