There are at least five albums coming out in 2017 that will go straight to my best of the year lists. The first of these is the new album by Boss Hog. I love this band, I love every thing they do , the combination of husband and wife Cristina and Jon is over the top glorious mad stomping fun, noise guaranteed to make you think it really hasn’t been 17 years since their last LP. And if you missed it, dig on the Interview I did last year with Christina…
New York City’s glorious garage-noise mutants BOSS HOG are back, with their first studio album in 17 years, ‘BROOD X’, due for release this March 24th via Bronze Rat Records.
Led by Cristina Martinez (ably assisted by her faithful sideman/husband Jon Spencer, as ever playing Flavor Flav to Cristina’s Chuck D), ‘Brood X’ feels less like the work of a group who’ve been on ice for so long, more a slithering and sludgy monster of an album, a boiling pot of hot funk keys, growling punk attack, searing blues breaks and the ground-shaking holler of Martinez.
Having recently shared a new track in ‘17’, whose dark observational poetry has already been championed by The New York Times, The Quietus, SPIN and more, today Boss Hog reveal ‘Formula X’. Speaking of their almost two-decade gestation, Cristina explains:
“There are different broods of cicadas emerging in cyclical periods, there are 13-year cicadas and 17-year cicadas. That’s what Boss Hog is like – we’re operating on our own cycle. We go underground for a number of years, re-emerge, make beautiful sounds, and then go away. That’s our cyclical life.”
On hiatus since they finished promoting 2000’s icy, wonderful ‘Whiteout’ album, Boss Hog began stirring again late in 2008 with the first of several short runs of shows. “We’d play a handful of shows, once a year,” Martinez remembers. “Festivals, the Amphetamine Reptile 25th Anniversary party, some benefit shows.” Things started getting serious a couple of years later, when the Boss Hog all-stars – Martinez, Spencer, bassist Jen Jurgensen, drummer Hollis Queens and keysman Mickey Finn – decided this reunion habit was worth committing to wax.
Cooked up in the same Lower East Side basement where Boss Hog brewed their first blistering noiseouts, and cut at Michigan’s Key Club Recording Company on the same Flickinger N32 Matrix console Sly Stone used for There’s A Riot Goin’ On, ‘Brood X’ is serious music for serious times, the perfect soundtrack for a necessary revolution.
The 17-year cicadas have re-awoken, and not a moment too soon. New York has changed beyond recognition and there’s a buffoonish villain entering the White House, but Martinez’s towering vocals and vicious, hilarious, emboldening lyrics have never sounded so sharp, nor Boss Hog so timely. Opener ‘Billy’, all brawny low-end and delirious funk organ, finds Cristina and Jon howling about “The brink of destruction!” over apocalyptic beats, while Ground Control, a prismatic vision of today’s Big Apple, includes the bitter observation, “This is the cost of privilege”.
“A lot of Cristina’s lyrics on this album resonate with me more deeply since the election,” nods Spencer. “They’re blues songs, protest songs.”
“The songs do feel oddly relevant now,” Cristina adds.