A.V. Club

Permanent Records: The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion hit its freak-rock peak on Now I Got Worry

A piercing scream opens “Skunk,” the lead track on The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion’s Now I Got Worry. It’s a harrowing first impression, but coming from Spencer, it feels strangely par for the course. By 1996, all manner of odd sounds, effects, and studio eccentricities had become integral to the Blues Explosion’s DNA. So when Spencer’s scratchy howl cuts in and out over Russell Simins’ well-pocketed drums and Judah Bauer’s tasty blues riffs, it’s easy to embrace the mess rather than run from it.

Spencer has made a wonderfully ragged career 30 years and counting out of subverting popular music’s most traditional staples. His feet are planted in two decidedly different musical worlds: one in the brute animalism of punk and noise rock, the other in his appreciation of blues, funk, and early American rock ’n’ roll. The two parts of Spencer’s …

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