Through Being Cool

Most famous for reportedly blowing an advance from its record label to buy drugs, then having the gall to ask for more money, Royal Trux -- now reportedly clean and sober -- has kept the loud and senseless aesthetic alive, even better than its offshoots such as Pussy Galore, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and Boss Hog.

Released more than a decade ago, the band's sloppy, poorly recorded, self-titled debut has all the swagger of early Stones, but makes no concessions to traditional rock structures. Ever since building a studio in Richmond, Virginia, and returning to the indie imprint Drag City for 1998's Accelerator and 1999's Veterans of Disorder, the band has grown increasingly prolific and tight.

On Pound for Pound, its most recent album and second in less than a year, the band sounds sharper and more focused than ever. No matter their chemically enhanced pasts, Jennifer Herrema and Neil Hagerty make for an intriguing duo. Behind Herrema's raspy whine, the couple comes off as reckless and unhinged, especially when singing about a wicked voodoo lady in "Deep Country Sorcerer" or indulging in avant blues ("Platinum Tips") or twisted funk ("Small Thief") or art-damaged pop ("Sunshine and Grease"). Royal Trux gives blues-based rock and roll an irreverent indie makeover that results in some of the most viscerally engaging stuff around.

Royal Trux performs Thursday, July 20, at Rudyard's, 2010 Waugh. For more information, call (713)521-0521.

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Jeff Neisel