Wammo and Shorty Long
Lowriders on the Storm, and Taters (Spanks-a-Lot)
Reviewed by David Lynch, Fri., April 15, 2005
Lowriders on the Storm (Spanks-a-Lot)
The Asylum Street Spankers are Austin's Spinal Tap in a good way; the vaudevillian institution's revolving door membership is the result of a decadelong existence. Founding member Wammo enjoys an interesting solo career, including Queens of the Stone Age stealing the concept for his sophomore album Faster Than the Speed of Suck for their popular Songs for the Deaf. As the title suggests, Lowriders on the Storm is a mash-up of Wammo's many loves, the title cut referencing rock's canon without apology. Hot-leaded poetry and raunchy rawk are combined throughout with unique instrumentation, like cigarette-sized amplifiers and cellos driving Marshall stacks, both to great effect. Less cohesive than Suck, Lowriders' wacked-out appeal will still elicit more than a few shits and giggles from the ASS loyal. Pops Bayless' and Mysterious John's split from Spankerdom may have been less than amicable, but the musical sensibilities of ASS and those of the ukulele-propelled Shorty Long are parallel: between-the-wars acoustic novelty jazz. Taters is concise at under 30 minutes, yet it builds on the momentum of 2002's American Novelty (recently staged as a play), with Pops' three originals standing well with seven covers from the ASS set list. The tightly worded and witty choruses of Bayless' "Long Way Home" could've been written during the third FDR administration, save for the McRib reference, while Mysterious John's vox on "Egyptian Ella" awakens from a 1920s time capsule. The extended Spanker family loud, literate, and highly amusing.