Hue Blanc’s Joyless Ones Hue Blanc’s Joyless Ones LP

It takes some years to get this kind of patina of confidence on your sound, and it’s been a fair few for this Wisconsin group. There’s almost a mysticism at the core of these songs—the sound is rooted in a somewhat scummed-up version of BEAT HAPPENING or other paragons of what used to be dubbed college rock (BIG DIPPER comes to mind?), but there is an effortless cool to the vocal delivery and unvarnished lyrical approach. Nothing flowery here, just pure attitude that jangles its way through the abyss with great guitar work and a rhythm section that won’t hold back. It’s hard to pin down the sound (as evidenced by the disparate sound of both previously mentioned bands) as it touches on garage, early grunge, and even some touches of cowpunk. The band feels singular in this way, and therefore ascended from the general rock‘n’roll din. Not to say the group doesn’t get down and dirty when it counts—just listen to the manic horniness of “Negra Bordello.” But this is one of those bands that sings songs like they’re sermons. Sermons of the nastiness of ordinary fucking life, sure, but those are the kind we need. So grab a pew and listen up.