What We're Listening to This Week

Christeene, the Bad Lovers, and Churchwood in this week's worthwhile listens


Midnite Fukk Train (Spaceflight)

"A is for abortion/ B is for Black Lives Matter/ C is for cunts," growls the genre- and gender-bending Christeene in "Alphabets," leadoff from the drag queen/singer-songwriter's riotous third studio album. Set to a cacophony of wailing saxophones and grinding guitars that amount to a sonic slap in the face, the record's opening lines set the tone for the wild 28-minute ride that is Midnite Fukk Train. From the jump, Christeene does not merely provoke for provocation's sake, but instead to rage against injustices both personal and political. In typical fashion, the singer refuses to restrict herself, opting to traverse many sharp moods and soundscapes while at the same time venturing her tightest project to date. Whereas Basura (2018) switched dizzyingly between electronica and hip-hop, Midnite Fukk Train adopts a decidedly punk-inspired approach indebted to Iggy Pop and the Stooges. Standout track "Beaucoup Morocco" bounces gleefully, while "Winston" celebrates queer kinship over a high-rolling bluesy beat ("An' when them bombs drop on our head/ You'll never leave my ass for dead"). The iconoclast threads her past work and present tastes together by reworking "Fix My Dick," her most-streamed track to date off of 2012's Waste Up, Kneez Down. By cleverly translating the song's original industrial-synth sound into a fuzz-heavy punk context, Christeene proves that no musical standard is too sacred to be rebelled against, even those established of her own accord.  – Genevieve Wood

The Bad Lovers

It's Only Natural (Feels So Good)

Hop into that old car you sold to your cousin a decade ago – there's solace in the bucket seats, nostalgia in the ashtray, and you want to kiss the goddamn steering wheel, because you didn't know how much you missed it. Fans might feel a similar sensation hearing the Bad Lovers' first recordings in nine years, familiar but instilled with a wiser sense of reverence. It's no rebirth. The Austin outfit, which debuted street rock rawness on 2012's Actin' Strange then stirred in elements of country and soul on the following year's Wild Times, remains a staple at Hotel Vegas and FSG. It's Only Natural provides a welcome third act. Jimmy Wildcat's garagey vocals still recall a Marlboro-smoking high school senior on Ramones-esque opener "In the Graveyard," flexing his penchant for catchy, melodic classicism before the impeccable rhythm section of Caleb Dawson and Austin Shockley carves out the title track's "In the Summertime"-like bounce. Having added a member with each release, TBL's jams are tastier as a quintet – evidenced on Tex-Mex gem "Michelada River," a cautionary drinking song on a record replete with lyrical reflectiveness. On "Another Piece of Strange," Wildcat acknowledges how life's thrills fade with age, but resolves to find the spark to keep burning: "I'm still lookin' for a piece of something strange/ That same old spirit moves me when everything else fades."  – Kevin Curtin


6: The Boule Oui (Saustex)

When local quintet Churchwood kicked off a dozen or so years ago, it was easy to pin the band as Captain Beefheart acolytes. Six albums in, however, and there's nothing to call this noise but Churchwood music. A grainy blend of Texas blues, Louisiana swamp rock, and whatever mystic potion published poet Joe Doerr introduces, 6: The Boule Oui shows the 'Wood evolving into a uniquely graceful beast – its slick execution a result of experience and confidence rather than polish. No surprise, given that the group's pedigree includes artists from the LeRoi Brothers, the Crack Pipes, Hand of Glory, Poison 13, and guitarist Bill Anderson's 200 other bands. The assembly allows admiration of songwriting smarts and gnarly arrangements, like on "The Boule Oui," "Matilda," and "Ring Around the Moon Tonight," while still getting lost in the riffs and groove. Also appreciate the new wrinkles – like horns on "Ghost of a Flea," a remake of "Rickshaw Rattletrap," and the surprising addition of Celtic folk to "Secular Sinner" – added to one of the best bands in town.  – Michael Toland

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