Music News

Critic's Choice

If garage rock is music that supposedly sounds like it was made in a garage, "fallout-shelter rock" might be an appropriate term to describe The Dirtbombs, who will be tearing up the Bluebird on Saturday, February 7, with the Tarmints. Led by Mick Collins, formerly of the Gories -- who spewed tuneful yet fuzz-encrusted rock in Detroit in the early '90s, inspiring groups like the White Stripes and the Von Bondies -- this quintet has put out three albums of ass-nuking punk rock since 1998's rousing call to static, Horndog Fest. With their new release, Dangerous Magical Noise, the Dirtbombs have finally hit upon the perfect concoction: a shell of roughed-up post-punk textures packed tight with an explosive heart of vintage soul, bubblegum, British Invasion and glam. Songs like "Motor City Baby" could be the Swell Maps covering Sweet; "Sun Is Shining" is a raw, aching wound of mangled R&B showcasing Collins's tenderly abrasive voice and knack for unshakeable melodies. But Dangerous Magical Noise -- and, indeed, the Dirtbombs as a whole -- can best be summed up by the cut "Stuck in Thee Garage," one hundred seconds of skin-peeling guitar over which Collins whoops and hollers something about "imitation," "limitation" and "no motivation" that makes it sound like he's pissed as fuck about getting pegged as a garage rocker all the time. Which is no doubt an injustice: With straight-to-Bud Light-ad crap like Jet jacking the genre even further into the realm of insipidness, the Dirtbombs are clearly in a territory of their own.