No matter who you are, it’s a pretty sure bet guitarist Kid Congo Powers has cooler friends than you do. After all, Powers (real name Brian Tristan) got his start in 1979 playing guitar with legendary punk-blues firebrands the Gun Club, then jumped ship in 1980 to spend a few years with psychobilly pioneers the Cramps. After returning to the Gun Club from 1983 to 1987, he took leave again to work with the mighty Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. After popping up on a few Mark Eitzel albums, Powers is busy these days with his own band for a change. Kid Congo and the Pink Monkey Birds are a four-piece whose music recalls the voodoo-animated roots rock of his best-known work while fusing his sensibilities with garage rock, vintage R&B, and a dash of feedback-driven psychedelia. While Powers has been playing his own hell-bent variety of roots rock for well over 30 years, his latest album with the Pink Monkey Birds, Haunted Head, sounds as though he doesn’t have to worry a bit about keeping up with the times. If anything, given the current wave of bands fusing the inspired slop of garage punk with the throb of the blues, it seems the rest of the world is finally catching up to Kid Congo, and Haunted Head finds him making some of his most exciting music in years.
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