Also from the bowels of San Diego (and the term is most apropos in this case) comes Tales From Darryl's Bathroom (Leviathon), the debut album of Darryl Monroe. Monroe was the longtime brain trust behind Meatwagon, in my view, San Diego's best-ever hardcore band because their music was as intelligent, socially conscious and flat-out fucking funny as it was ugly and ferocious (ferociously ugly?) and featured not even the barest hint of badass posturing. Here, Monroe mixes in the influence of such visionaries as Sun Ra, Captain Beefheart and John Cage with the expected punk aggression and his own patented rants on religion, depression and infected sexual organs. His screaming, demented version of Spirit's "Nature's Way" will have you doubled over with laughter, and his take on the terrifying '70s abortion "Color My World" deserves the severely irritating treatment it receives. For ordering information, e-mail DarrylMonroe@home.com.
On the blues front, TAJ MAHAL's new live album, Shoutin' in Key (Hannibal), is yet another fine entry in the man's long and esteemed catalog. Backed by the horn-'n'-Hammond-heavy Phantom Blues Band, Mahal tackles a set of familiar originals ("EZ Rider," "Ain't That a Lot of Love") and well-chosen covers (Hank Ballard's "The Hoochi Coochi Koo," Bill Dogget's "Honky Tonk"). Tight, tuff and soulful throughout, the R&B-based effort recalls the glory days of acts like Otis Redding and Clarence Carter—extremely plump 'n' lovely.
It's a relatively slow week for live roots shows in OC, but the party of the year could go down Friday night at the Abilene Rose, when Costa Mesa's CHRIS GAFFNEY & THE COLD HARD FACTS play. The gig is a going-away fete for Tucker Fleming, Gaff's drummer of the past 15 years, who's moving to Florida so he can learn the fine art of peeling his scrotum off his inner thighs amidst all oppressive humidity and copter-sized bugs. All Gaff gigs tend to wind up in Bacchanalian debauchery—with the finest honky-tonk music to be heard on the West Coast serving as the soundtrack—and this night promises to turn out extra-stinky. Don't miss out, and be prepared to take a long, hot shower at the end of the night.
CHRIS GAFFNEY & THE COLD HARD FACTS PLAY AT THE ABILENE ROSE, 10830 WARNER AVE., FOUNTAIN VALLEY, (714) 963-1700. FRI., 8:30 P.M. $6.