Howling Hex XI

Sounding a bit like a bunch of high school teachers letting loose on a Friday night, the Howling Hex would be the greatest rock’n’roll band in the world if the Rolling Stones never existed. Featuring former Pussy Galore/Royal Trux member Neil Michael Hagerty, the five-piece band have written a collection of bar rock tunes that have the faint edge of garage punk — basically what the Stones accomplished with Some Girls, minus the effectiveness or success. It’s generally some wimpy vocals that relegate swinging rock songs like "Fifth Dimensional Johnny B. Good” and the could-have-been-a-contender "Live Wire” to posturing cuts with no balls. There’s more menace in the spoken word poem "Let Fridays Decide” or something like "Dr. Slaughter,” which sounds like a Keef outtake from Sticky Fingers. There’s a lot of promise in the cast of the Howling Hex but their played-out efforts on XI fall short of expectations. (Drag City)