Local Wire

The BellRays

If soul is the teacher and punk is the preacher, the BellRays are working a double shift. Combining Detroit's twin musical heritages, Motown and garage rock, the Riverside, California, foursome specializes in a unique brand of primal, big-lunged gospel fury -- one that showcases the woefully underrated and formidable pipes of front woman Lisa Kekaula. Touring in support of The Red, White & Black (an 18-month-old album in the U.K. that's finally gaining distribution stateside through Vital Gesture/Alternative Tentacles), the BellRays return with a batch of their fastest, loudest and most visceral material yet. Still sounding like they've got a chip on their collective shoulder the size of the Sears Tower, Kekaula and company can rest assured that the revolution is being televised -- thanks to an ad for Nissan's latest SUV featuring the band's single "Revolution Get Down." It's ironic as hell, but what the heck? After bouncing around among four labels in four years, even angry militants need to eat.
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John La Briola