Release Date: Mar 24, 2017
Record label: In the Red Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Punk Blues
Cristina Martinez says Boss Hog will always come and go. She puts the cycle at about 17 years, and we're now in "prime time", folks. And rejoice, for Boss Hog are as good as ever, perhaps emboldened by the bands who've come along in their absence. Make no mistake, this is a Martinez record. A ….
The cover of the November 13, 2016 edition of The New York Daily News featured a photo of an enraged anti-Trump protester, mouth agape in mid-scream, hoisting a placard reading "Reject President Elect." Whose scowl should it be but that of Cristina Martinez, lead singer in Boss Hog, the sleazy, funked-up blues punk band she formed with her husband (and ex-Pussy Galore bandmate) Jon Spencer back in 1989. For many Boss Hog fans, it was the first glimpse of Martinez they'd seen in a long while. The band hadn't released a new album since 2000's Whiteout, and had only played sporadically in the interim.
Boss Hog have always been a band content to work on a time-line that would puzzle most bands, perfectly willing to go five years between releases as they attended to their other projects. But 2017's Brood X arrives over 16 years after their last proper album, 2000's Whiteout, as Cristina Martinez sets aside her duties as a working mom and Jon Spencer takes some downtime from his Blues Explosion. If Boss Hog sound a bit different than they did at the dawn of the 21st century, that's to be expected, but Brood X (and the 2016 companion EP Brood Star) reveals that they've changed very little conceptually; their dirty mixture of punkified blues, raw funk, and stoned but committed show band swagger is a bit less swampy, but it will still make you feel good and greasy after a few spins.
Boss Hog's scuzzy, guttural take on the blues has always suggested something that would crawl back to life, making Brood X, their first album in 17 years, less surprising than inevitable. Time has done little to dull the band's dive-bar swagger and spastic groove-making, and has had no effect on the caustic pin-up posturing of lead singer Cristina Martinez. Brood X is a curious marriage between Martinez's vague, brooding, and mystical lyrics and bandmate and husband Jon Spencer's lo-fi rock n' roll, which sounds dreamt up on the spot in a dirty garage.