Mardo Mardo

Plying a brand of rough and tumble arena rock with a big chip on their collective shoulder, Mardo are one of those bands that demand their own made up adjectives: grit-tastic, strutter-iffic, swagger-docious. Falling somewhere between Thin Lizzy, Fu Manchu and (ahem) peak-period Def Leppard, the SoCal trio caresses all the correct stylistic buttons, pumping out pulsating chunks of riff-worship dredged from the primordial ooze of rock’s Paleolithic Age — ie. 1974. Forget Texas; everything’s bigger on Planet Mardo — drums explode, bass lines throb, guitars growl mightily as singer Aron Mardo emotes manfully beneath a pile of exquisitely-maintained rocker hair, coming on like the bastard son of Joe Elliott and Marc Bolan one minute, stadium-rock loverman incarnate the next. On "Here She Comes,” they kick up a shimmying racket, winding a supple, hip-shaking groove between killer licks, furiously-pounded keys and handclaps galore, while their scuzzy demolition of Huey Lewis’ "I Want a New Drug” is a rollicking, hairy-knuckled delight. No post-ironic posturing or retro-fetishism here, just straight-up rock’n’roll goodness. (House of Restitution)