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Jon Spencer | Spencer Sings the Hits

The trash-rock king sticks to his greasy, gritty guns on his first true solo album.


Hits? Jon Spencer ain’t got no hits! Jon Spencer don’t need no hits! Jon Spencer don’t need to sing you any stinkin’ hits! That’s because Jon Spencer has something better than hits: He’s got style, Lyle. A style all his own. And the Pussy Galore, Blues Explosion, Boss Hog and Heavy Trash singer-guitarist has been rockin’ that style for nearly 30 years. If you want, you can try to quantify it: It’s basically a ramshackle collision of juke-joint hoodoo, noise-punk abandon and garage-rock grit, with dashes of rockabilly, soul and R&B tossed in for good measure — and Spencer’s evangelical fervor and Elvis-style bombast riding front and centre with all the exuberance of Slim Pickens astride an H-bomb on its way down. But not surprisingly, it’s a style only Spencer can convincingly pull off — and he’s still got it in spades, as he proves yet again on his first true solo album. Despite its ironic title (and a song that reiterates the crazy claim), Spencer Sings the Hits quite rightly finds the prototypical New Yorker sticking to his guns, staying in his comfort zone and doing what he does best. Granted, this shipment of short-fused musical Molotovs is a tad tamer than the frenzied catharsis of classic Blues Explosion. But hey, what wouldn’t be? So let’s bottom line it: If you’re jonesing hard for a muddy, malevolent and mighty messy half-hour of get-down swamp sweat, beetle-boot mojo mayhem and demented rawkroll thunder, you’ve landed in the right neck of the woods, chump. So set the wayback machine for never, stick your head in a hole and get your fill of hits that never were from the undisputed king of the trash-rock pile.