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Dirtbombs

by Philip Brasor

You could make a case that Detroit’s Gories, who released their first album in 1989, prefigured the garage-rock revival, but then you could make an equally strong case that they simply were hangovers from an earlier garage-rock movement. Either way, you wouldn’t necessarily say that the bassless trio, who announced on their first album that they didn’t play any songs with more than nine notes, were themselves influential. The leader, Mick Collins, has fronted a number of equally ineffectual bands since the Gories’ demise, but only the Dirtbombs, a revolving-door Detroit institution for slumming rock types, has what might be called “a sound.”

With two drummers and two bass players, the most useful adjective for describing that sound is “loud,” but perhaps because the lineup changes every time Collins cuts his nails he’s been more successful at genre-hopping than most of his peers. As he sings gleefully on the Dirtbombs’ manic new album, “Dangerous Magical Noise,” he’s “stuck in thee garage,” but it’s obviously a pretty cluttered garage — T-Rexy glam, Mitch Ryder soul, Lovin’ Spoonfuls strum pop. As the unconventional pronunciation of the “thee” in that line attests, Collins is a devotee of the mix-and-match trash rock of Billy Childish and Thee Headcoats. Though he may not turn heads as effectively as fellow-Detroiter Jack White, Collins will more quickly get those heads a-bangin’, and his party anthems are both funnier (“I’m Through With White Girls”) and more intense than those by doofus-and-proud-of-it Andrew W.K. It pays to learn more than nine notes.