Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Railroad Jerk - The Third Rail

Label: Matador
Year: 1996

Apologies for the absence the last few days, but I have been out of town, followed by out of my gourd sick. Sorry dudes (and lady).
When you heard the band Spoon for the first time, did you think to yourself  "dang, that's a Railroad Jerk rip-off"? No? Me neither. I only thought that after I revisited Railroad Jerk in the early 2000's after having not thought about them for many years. I'm not the clever.
But really the Spoon comparison is but one element of the band's sound. They built on a bluesy base, and injected some garage punk energy, and some NYC "cool" (however quantifiable that may be). This, their final album (not including an unreleased fifth record), shows a more tempered approach, with some genuine melodies and catchy hooks mixed in to the gutter scraping booze rock. You can hear a bit of the John Spencer Blues Explosion, some Alice Donut, some Royal Trux, some Mekons, and some of the folk junk Beck material, if you need the comparisons. Truly, Railroad Jerk don't sound like anyone in particular, which is a novel concept, but makes it hard to describe their sound if you're as lazy as I am. Bottom line is, they delivered one of the great unheralded indie rock records of the 1990's with this one (even though most people would say the album before, "One Track Mind" has the big hits, but I am partial to this one). Chances are, you'll find something in this album that you love too.
A couple members went on to form White Hassle. Bassist Tony Lee was in Motherhead Bug and a brief stint in Lubricated Goat.


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