Gossip Arkansas Heat

The Gossip's latest EP, following the release of their debut album from last year, contains six blues-infused punk rock tunes. Kathy Mendonca's "fists a flying" drumming and Nathan Howdeshell's thick, "wall of fuzz" guitar fill up speakers, and the absence of bass is not a serious detriment. Beth Ditto's warble is initially not a voice one would associate with the blues, but she reliably proves herself a forceful front-woman, delivering mean, soulful vocals. The title track commences with undiluted venom, thrashing like a prodded cobra, setting the tone for the sharp-teethed songs that follow. Bullying grooves propel "Rules for Luv" and "Ain't it the Truth," while "Gone Tomorrow" and "(Take Back) the Revolution" reel with an agitated attitude. What they lack in scope, the Gossip makes up for in sheer rancour, and Arkansas Heat is a consistent collision of riot grrl snarl and Southern blues strut. (Kill Rock Stars)