The Action Is Blackbelt (The Record Party)

Blackbelt (The Record Party)

Record Reviews

The Action Is

Blackbelt (The Record Party)

Hotwheels Jr. always deserved recognition, but being sued by Mattel probably wasn't what Adam Farina, Krissy Recla, and Mark Bradley had in mind. (They've had enough trouble just keeping a drummer.) Now freshly re-christened after a run-in with the giant toymaker's lawyers -- that Barbie can be a bad bitch -- The Action Is haven't let it ruin their make-up. Their third CD, Blackbelt, is a little rougher around the edges than 1999's Head Driver, but the effect is mostly positive; it captures the crackling energy of their stage set. That's quite an achievement considering drummer Will Plumb left midway into recording, with ex-Sixteen Deluxe stickman (and Blackbelt producer) Steven T. Hall stepping in before the band secured the services of Jake Perlman. Full of hypercharged riffs molded into tersely economical melodies, Blackbelt's 35 minutes fly by like a series of rabbit punches and roundhouse kicks. Besides familiar Hotwheels live wires "Laramie" and "My Hero," Blackbelt also boasts an excitable cover of the Orange Mothers' "Marshmallow Girls" that does both bands proud. Whatever they're calling themselves, The Action Is is still one of the most underrated and underestimated bands in Austin.


A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
X: The Godless Void and Other Stories (Record Review)

Alejandra Ramirez, Feb. 21, 2020

Texas Platters
Daniel Johnston
Chicago 2017 (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Feb. 21, 2020

More by Christopher Gray
Margaret Moser Tribute: Alvin Crow
Alvin Crow
Summer camp with the kids

June 30, 2017

Margaret Moser Tribute: The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones
That Margaret Moser, she’s a rainbow

June 30, 2017

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle