Streetwalkin' Cheetahs

Acts Playing South by Southwest

SXSW Records

The Streetwalkin' Cheetahs

Waiting for the Death of My Generation

(Triple X)

L.A.'s Streetwalkin' Cheetahs have become infamous for their MC5/Stooges-inspired live performances where every last drop of sweat is spent before the band leaves the stage. As their Motor City forebears learned, translating this into something that resonates in the studio is hardly a no-brainer. Just listen to the wide range of opinion surrounding MC5's stripped-down sophomore effort, Back in the USA. Producer Jon Landau was trying to showcase the jelly-tight dynamic and sharp songwriting skills buried beneath the sonic attack of Kick Out the Jams, but instead of being hailed for bringing this out, Landau was vilified for castrating the band. One can hear a similar, though much less dramatic, effort afoot on Waiting for the Death of My Generation. The Cheetahs come armed with several good pop songs that could sail within the context of most any affectation. The adolescent angst of "No More" is juiced up considerably with an effervescent sitar hanging just beneath the crushing guitars, while "Automatic" benefits from a well-placed Moog riff. There's a sweet, horn-laden cover of the Saints' "Know Your Product" featuring Fishbone's Dirty Walt on trumpet, and the Cheetahs' own "White Collar Money" punctures its commentary on the cult of rock celebrity with a sing-along chorus and more joyful horn charts. "Dirty Mockingbird" is an adrenal tour de force, starting as a raucous R&B number before switching to full-throttle hardcore and winding up in a fall-apart reggae blunder. Best of all, there's still plenty of loud, fast, head-to-the-wall punk rock to go around, as witnessed on "Why You Gotta Come First" and the supreme statement of purpose, "Right to Rock." Sit down, strap in, and hold on. (Friday, March 16, Emo's, 10pm)

****  

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