Local Wire

The Dwarves; The Freak Accident

All but the dullest punks get restless with age, but while Joe Strummer branched out in high-minded directions like world-folk, cruder and ruder minds chase a different kind of eclecticism. On The Dwarves Must Die, for example, Blag Dahlia trades whatever class he's got left for an orgy of ill-bred genres, from gangsta rap to spaghetti Western, all in the service of his usual lyrical theme: "Fuck you." Since the '80s, every Dwarves album has had an obvious underground classic. This time it's "Salt Lake City." The Ramonesy anti-anthem is a cranky kiss-off to the "Crossroads of the West" and its vacuumed streets -- "There isn't anything I will not do for you, except to walk among the Osmond Crew" -- and maybe the funniest thing dark humorist Dahlia has ever done.

The Freak Accident is a less bitter can of worms, a catchall for the misfit tunes that San Francisco's Ralph Spight couldn't pull off with his more aggressive outfit Victim's Family. It's a sandbox of styles containing some truly beautiful accidents, like the Crazy Horse-does-power-pop "Ex-Wife," and the melodious piano tune "You're the Reason," side by side with noir ballads and '50s alien-flick music. It's "mature punk" -- if such a thing can exist -- but still unsafe for your typical, unsupervised adult.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Andrew Marcus