UNDEAD IN NYC
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It's both brilliant and insane that heavy-gun-indie Dim Mak would put this out: the kids of America would do well to have their ears dirtied up a bit, but this recorded-to-answering-machine-tape-inside-the-soundperson's-colon live show is a big fat ball of mud to the head. And if this reviewer and former Germs tape trader knows one thing, it's shitty live recordings. Young nubiles, prepare to get ugly: there's a pretty great album in here, but you're gonna have to swallow hard to get to it. That said, the Gossip should have been the White Stripes, too—they're an alley-cat-mean guitar-and-drums set-up with Beth Ditto (punk rock's Big Maybelle or Doris Allen, an Arkansas girl with a blues-y voice barreling right out of some shotgun shack) out front and a fireball live show. Now, the world is clogged with bands like this, but on this live recording, the Gossip (who were doing this early, if you keep score) blow through what Ditto calls "garage-rock bullshit" to an admirably unrehearsed—not sloppy or loose, mind you—admirably rough, admirably pure 20-some minutes of rock & roll. These songs have all been released in studio version (novices start there), but you true fans buy this to get a little of the live fire to yourself. And there is one extra, a cover of "I Wanna Be Your Dog." The coordination is shit, but Ditto has had Iggy's desperate, lonely gut-rattle in her voice since she picked up a mic, and it arcs out of the din behind her like lightning around a smokestack. Forget everyone else screaming and barking in the tape hiss—just listen to her.