Don't let the pimped-out cover of Nick Curran's third release, Doctor Velvet, scare you Blues Vatican purists away: This 20-somethin' youngster, resplendent in a punk-styled pompadour and faux leopard-lapelled overcoat, plays and sings his blue soul off in ways that make you swear you're back in the heyday of the '50s.
Doctor Velvet picks up where Curran's two previous releases left off, providing 13 tracks of jump, boogie and shuffle tunes, a Honeydrippers-meets-Texas-blues mlange that rocks, socks and pops. It's not enough that Curran's voice sounds like he stores it in Jim Beam and sharpens it with razor blades, nor that it bears an unworldly resemblance to the great Kansas City shouter Wynonie Harris. Close your eyes, and you'll swear it's Ike Turner pounding the wang bar of his Stratocaster. Open them, and it's Johnny "Guitar" Watson, plucking open strings like a madman from outer space. Close 'em once more, and you've got Bill Jennings stomping at the fret board in a jazz-inflected helping of sheer manic morsels.
Oh yeah, this disc offers up another guitarist of some repute as well: Jimmy Vaughan trades licks with Curran on two tracks. If this ain't the transference of the reigning king's crown to the next generation, I don't know what is. -- Joe Sciallo
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Fatherf****r XL Recordings
Peaches is so many times more No. 1 than you, me or lame-Os like nostalgio-revivalist rockers like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Strokes. While she and the group Fischerspooner pretty much cooked up the entire electroclash movement that brilliantly flashed in the pan a couple of years ago (before it swiftly extinguished itself, precluding endless fakers from raking the coals), there's no denying that Peaches knows how to make hash of the past. This time she's got rock 'n' roll riffs on the griddle and leftover house beats on the grill, and it takes a whole lot of nasty just to get up that hill. Let's face it, Peaches found and perfected a recipe for futurist feminism while you were still listening to Sleater-Kinney. Start with the surface: Peaches with a beard on the cover and the inevitable title? Then there's "Kick It" (featuring Iggy Pop) with lines like: "I've got these moves we can do to 'NSYNC" (Peaches) and "I don't look too good in pink" (Iggy). Boo-yaah. Noel Black