When Jon Spencer isn’t busy playing with his Blues Explosion (and saving rock and roll), he likes to indulge in a side project or two. The most recent of these, Heavy Trash, is a duo that he formed with former Madder Rose bassist and record producer at large Matt Verta-Ray.
Their sophomore album, Going Way Out With Heavy Trash, is a musical exploration and expression of the pairs taste in music. You have girl group harmonies with the rocking edge of the Stones (“Outside Chance”), Johnny Cash style country (“That Ain’t Right”), a Cramps-like creepy crawl through punk rock (“Way Out”) and a bit of Eddie Cochran 50s slap bass rockers (“Crazy Pretty Baby”) to name but a few. Listeners who are familiar with Spencer and Verta-Ray’s careers wont be shocked at these selections. Heavy Trash is not only a walking history lesson in the power of rock, it’s party-crashing classicism that’s not some obtuse post-rock begging to be over-analyzed.
Verta-Ray and Spencer get some help from The Sadies, a popular act within the ongoing rock and roll restoration movement. This Toronto based band, which is known for mixing country, rock, blues and surf into their sound, is a perfect fit for Heavy Trash. In fact, The Sadies, who play on nearly half the tracks, blend seamlessly with the band. The album also boasts contributions from Danish musicians Yebo (Tremolo Beer Gut), and Ulrik Petersen, aka “The Great Nalna” (THAU, Tothe International) and Kim Kix (Powersolo). These contributions come alongside those by New York City’s own Simon Chardiet, Phil Hernandez and Ivan Julian (Richard Hell and The Voidoids, Shriekback).
In short, Going Way Out is a clinic in how rock and roll should be done from some of its greatest modern practitioners. It’s dirty, sleazy, sweaty, raw and soulful, everything that great rock and roll should be.