June 21, 2007

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Queens of the Stone Age, Era Vulgaris
Interscope Records, 2007

Well goodness, here’s something you should purchase at your local record store: QOTSA tightening the rings they’re accustomed to running around Black Rebel Motorcycle Club in the after-grunge world of fuzz-busted not-quite-metal. Forget drug-rock; QOTSA push gut-roiling seasickness in the form of loud, spinny, woozy guitar pileups that exhume the meat-grinding ‘tude of Big Black and fill in the blanks with whatever back-issue roadkill smells safe at the moment (for “Into the Hollow,” the QUIET part of the loud-QUIET-loud equation is 70s surf rock). At its heart, Era Vulgaris is Butthole Surfers with a shiny blue safety helmet, a brightly lit set of hard-rock cartoons for kids of all ages who don’t yet understand why they don’t like Wolfmother. “Misfit Love” buzzes around menacingly like Axl Rose steering a giant bumblebee; “Battery Acid” is Scott Weiland riding a mechanical bull controlled by Al from Ministry. A blackhearted dig at Japanese monster flicks opens “3’s & 7’s” before an uptempo Foo Fighters-vs-Kinks thing comes in to see what all the fuss is about, and, for dessert, “Make It Wit Chu” finds Brian Jonestown Massacre making fun of Eric Clapton trying to control a crew of funk-butchering 9th-graders. A — Eric W. Saeger