Action Strasse, "American Gas Jive" 

American Gas Jive
Musical Family Tree Records
Four and a half stars

Vess von Ruhtenberg claims that he wrote each of the nine tracks on American Gas Jive in the hour before band rehearsal: one track = one hour. Listening to the results, he might be accused of aggrandizement à la Kerouac’s scroll: The album is just that strong, a straight-forward, ’90s-esque alt-rock collection with effortless lyrics, clean but aggressive guitars and generous hooks that plea for repeated listens. Not to put it all on the primary songwriter: Three former members of the hardcore band Majhas — John Zeps, Tommy Roosa and Tony Reitz — make up the rest of Action Strasse, suggesting that basic rock ’n’ roll respects no genre distinctions, just well-constructed, skilfully performed songs.

Sounds like: The Lemonheads, Pixies, Husker Du 

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Scott Shoger

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Scott Shoger staggered up to NUVO's door one summer afternoon, a little drunk, poor and crazy-haired, muttering about future Mayor Ballard. He was taken in, hosed down, given NUVO-emblazoned clothes to wear and allowed to work in exchange for food and bylines. Refusing to leave the premises, he was hired on as... more

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