20 Miles Keep It Coming...

Who'd have ever thought that Jon Spencer Blues Explosion's guitarist Judah Bauer was such a laid-back motherfucker? Being one-third of one of the craziest acts in rock of the last ten years has obviously led him to seek out a much more Zen sonic sanctuary in his 20 Miles project. On this, the third 20 Miles album, he's left behind the drum and fife/traditional blues approach and slid effortlessly into a slinky early '70s smack party Stones style. The sound of Keep It Coming... is clean, economical and bordering on sparse, with Judah's front porch twanging taking a back seat to the vocals. His hangdog/slacker voice is eerily similar to the Sadies' Dallas Good, in places, and his delivery on "Only One" had me scanning the liner notes to see if Dallas actually appeared on the track. Overall, the material here is fairly downbeat, in an Exile On Main Street kind of way, as the opener, "Well, Well, Well," the Ben Harper-ish "Silver String" and the countrified "self-help" pep talk that is "Fix Fences" all show. There are some straight ahead rockers here too, with "All My Brothers, Sisters Too!" and "Beautiful Dream" forwarding the album's theme of healing, good karma and just generally keepin' on keepin' on. It's also interesting to note how much Keep It Coming... sounds like Neil Hagerty's Royal Trux stuff and solo material, as he used to be Jon Spencer's right hand man back in the old Pussy Galore days. I guess there's just something about hanging around with that Spencer year after year that just makes you want to mellow out in a Keith Richards kind of way. (Fat Possum)