Black Lips 

Los Valientes del Mundo Nuevo (Vice/Atlantic)

A band signs to a major and proceeds to release a live album that recaps the best from its first two releases -- which, by the way, are borderline obscurities?

What would reek of (mis)calculation in other hands is a royal flush for the garage-psych act the Black Lips. The Atlanta outfit's boozy, Nuggets-fueled rawk is built to party, and a live performance is the ideal medium for their staggering, double-vision come-on. Allegedly recorded in Tijuana (yeah right, but it's the perfect metaphor), this disc is as fun to listen to as it must have been to make. From the anxious "Not a Problem," with its surf-tinged guitar, to the punky "Juvenile," which sounds like the Sonics mainlining VU's "Run Run Run," the Lips bristle with infectious vibrancy, while their atavistic lyrics recall Iggy or the damaged psyche of the Leaving Trains' Falling James. There's hardly a loser on the entire disc, which also incorporates such styles as arty Brit-pop, ska-styled punk, touches of oi!, and full-on stoner drone. Inspiring.

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