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Thursday, December 18, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 22.0° F  Overcast
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Blackout Jack
What Happened Last Night (self-released)

Judging from the overlap of credits on their albums' liner notes, local hard-rock bands the Treats, Droids Attack and Blackout Jack like to collaborate. But unlike the bluesy grunge-pop of the Treats and the punk influences of Droids Attack, Blackout Jack ventures into the cathartic drones of psychedelic hard rock.

The album is a showcase for the prodigious electric guitar talent of James Koback. The disc also proves that Alex Barrett can power-drum with the best of them.

The songs themselves are wide ranging in approach. "Shoot Me Two Times" is jangly rock, but not the sublime kind mastered by R.E.M. These jangles are nervous and uneasy, thanks to ever-present minor chords and Rich Joiner's frenetic bass lines. "Fuzz Nuggets" is full-on metal with all the drama of vocal growls, wailing guitar improvisation and screeching feedback.

With more local bands embracing indie-folk restraint, it's nice to know a few Madison rockers like Blackout Jack are still willing to crank their amps up to 10 and go balls out.

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