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Album Review

Grinderman, 'Grinderman 2'

September 27, 2010

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Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds’ side project takes its name from a John Lee Hooker song and its pent-up libido from the eruptive Chess sides of the 1950s. But Grinderman ain’t yer father’s blues. Profane, lecherous, loaded with head-trip tape loops and guitars that sound like power tools melting in the sun, this is late-night, howl-at-the-moon-outside-the-punk-club stuff. The band’s second record transcends the garage scuzz of its debut with an upsurge in studio experimentation. Grinderman is no longer a one-off aggro lark, but a band with boundless musical ingenuity to back up its quasi-ironic midlife crisis rock. You can hear it in the lucid psychedelia of “Palaces of Montezuma’’ and “When My Baby Comes,’’ songs with studio-constructed restlessness pacing around their levelheaded core, or in “Bellringer Blues,’’ which reimagines “Tomorrow Never Knows’’ as a black hole of sound effects and electric fuzz. Now in his 50s, Cave still bares teeth like a performer half his age, as both “Mickey Mouse and the Goodbye Man’’ and “Evil!’’ illustrate. Often there’s a choice cut of double-entendre between those teeth. (Out now)

ZETH LUNDY

ESSENTIAL “Palaces of Montezuma’’

Grinderman plays the House of Blues Nov. 13.