The Bassholes/Clone Defects

With Grafton, and This Moment in Black History. Friday, July 18, at the Grog Shop.

Well, the usefulness of the "Hey, they were doing the two-piece raw-blues thing years ago" argument has been sapped. As the White Stripes and Black Keys become gray memories, the Bassholes can snuggle back into cult bardom and continue to release their bizarre blend of backwoods blues, gothic tales, potty humor, punk sneer, and basement taping, as they've been doing since the early '90s. The band's tactile bitterness of a few years ago -- born just as the trash-roots underground finally started getting paid, just as distributors were sending Bassholes CDs back to the label -- has abated, and recent Bassholes gigs have exploded with the vim, vigor, and vodka lacking in so many Johnny-come-lateLee Hookers.

Detroit's Clone Defects are, incredibly, one of those trash troupes getting paid. Mitsubishi found something on their latest, Shapes of Venus (In the Red), to use in a recent TV commercial. This is a fluke of mammoth proportions; the Defects' sound is an unholy mash of Tiger Town's '70s punk-forebear riffs and the art-farting of Cleveland's early '70s rust-belt brethren, such as Pere Ubu and Electric Eels. Add lyrics that mostly snarl and spout off about Martians, suburban squares, teenage girls, and other alien life forms, and a live show that dries up bars because the band is hogging all the hooch or the audience is slinging the remaining bottles at the stage, and it would appear that this stuff is as far from TV-commercial-approved as it gets. In other words, it's a bitchin' ball and a half.