Who can solve Turbonegro's riddle of the sphincter? The six-piece punk band from Oslo, Norway chose a moniker that evoked "a large, well-equipped, armed black male in a fast car, out for vengeance." Yet they've described themselves as "threatening gay men playing loud rock music." And they do resemble some severely perverted version of The Village People, with band members donning sailor outfits and army helmets onstage while simulating blowjobs on the machine heads of their guitars. And the band's older songs, like "I Got Erection" and "Denim Demon" (which contains the line, "I am a saint for semen") should make this lusty, lowbrow circus all too schlocking for success, right? Not according to Levi's, which gave the band an endorsement deal, and not according to the band's fervent fans, who dress up like their favorite Turbonegro members at shows and stood in line for more than four hours at this year's SxSW festival to see the band blow the Buzzcocks off the stage at Emo's. With Retox (out August 11), Turbonegro humps on T. Rex and dismantles the Dolls to create a glam-trash record pumped full of cowbell, gritty guitars, and singer Hank Von Helvete's sick, bratty vocals. And the album's last track "What Is Rock!?" may finally give us the secret of Turbonegro's sickness: "Rock is the area between the balls and the anus of a dog or of a man/rock is the possibility of choking on your own vomit in the back of a rapist's van." Well, all right, then.
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