Music News

The Hard Lessons

It looks like all those idle assembly lines in Detroit have been put to a new use: pumping out scruffy garage bands soaked in high-octane R&B. But unlike some of its tougher, woman-fronted neighbors such as the Paybacks and the Detroit Cobras, the Hard Lessons crams pure pop into its steel-eyed soul. After forming a couple of years ago, the trio of Korin Cox, Agostino Visocchi and Christophe Zajec-Denek crumpled blues riffs and vintage organ into a ball of sheer, snarling energy, and the group's debut full-length, Gasoline, is as incendiary as its title would lead you to believe. Produced in part by the Electric Six's Zac Shipps and the Dirtbomb's Jim Diamond, the disc doesn't let bits of British Invasion and psychedelia detract from its punky propulsion -- or its sweet, melodic undertow. Detroit might need more garage bands like Ford needs recalls, but the Hard Lessons are proof that the alloy of Motor City grit and hip-wrenching rhythm is still a reliable model.
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Jason Heller
Contact: Jason Heller