Russell Simins - Public Places
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Russell Simins
Public Places
(Grand Royal)

Dude. Russell Simins is otherwise known as the drummer of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, and it seems that he can't stop the rock. After last years b-sides extravaganza Xtra-Acme USA, he's dropped an album of his own (with a little help from some members of the Grand Royal crew). While he indeed plays more than the drums on the disc (his talents include drums, bass, guitar, keyboards, and vocals on nearly every track), people like Vivian Trimble (Luscious Jackson), Miho Hatori (Cibo Matto), and Mike Diamond (fo the Beasties, silly) all make contributions among other people.

Although there are some similarities between Simins and JSBE!, he takes a bit more of a cock rock edge to a lot of his tracks and while things are pretty damn fun throughout, I also can't help but think it's something I could easily hear pumping out the open window of a frat house. Simins sings about partying and chicks and getting it on, and varies the music and sounds enough on the disc to make it a pretty listenable release (if you're into that sort of thing, that is).

Don't be confused by the string sample that starts out the opening track of "I'm Not A Model," because after a funky little intro it drops a huge beat and growling guitars offset by some light keyboards that just makes it beg to be turned up loud on the stereo and sung along with. And just in case you needed some raunch, he even throws in some porn movie samples for good measure. The next song (and album-titled track of "Public Places") talks about both the teenage fantasy of having sex in (what else?) public places and having a girl that likes girls too. Everybody raise their arms and pump them overhead while shouting whoop-whoop! Amidst all the crotch-grabbing, there are some genuinely catchy pop-rock tracks as well, like the little ditty of "Jim's Problem" and the duet with Hatori on "Stay." For being a drummer, he also mixes things up quite a bit with electronic beats, and it sometimes gives the album sort of a bastardized Beck feel (and I mean that in a good way).

Even after all that, though, this is mainly just an album that sounded like a blast to make and is all about the good times of partying and women (so I guess it's not that different from JSBE in theme). The cover image alone holds no pretenses and tells you pretty much what you're getting into; Simins sits behind the wheel of a car and looks in the rearview mirror as two model-types look like they're about to get it on in the back seat. It's loud and raucous (although there are the occassional quieter songs), and good in sort of a sleazy way. If you're looking for something other than that, stay away.

rating: 610
Aaron Coleman 2003-06-19 00:00:00