Music Article

The New Classics

They do make 'em like they used to. Latter-day landmark discs worth latching on to.

ARTISTS Concrete Blonde ALBUM Bloodletting (1990) AMPLE EVIDENCE OF GREATNESS Having crafted two acrimonious albums from the glitz and grime of Los Angeles, these La-La locals turned inward to make a more intimate record out of their poignant personal dramas. Flirting with everything from speed-metal riffs (''The Sky Is a Poisonous Garden'') to religious power ballads (''Tomorrow Wendy''), the tormented trio finally fully indulged their fascination with the macabre. Vocalist, bassist, and primary songwriter Johnette Napolitano channeled Wendy O. Williams, Chrissie Hynde, even Anne Rice, with a mix of anger, passion, and raw sexuality. AWE-INSPIRING TRACK ''Caroline,'' Napolitano's haunting, heart-wrenching ode to an estranged friend, quickened the listless pulses of Blonde's notoriously nonchalant fan base. LINGERING EFFECTS After 1993's Mexican Moon, the band collaborated with Los Illegals for the Latin-rock Concrete Blonde y Los Illegals and Napolitano enjoyed mild critical success with outside projects. The core threesome regrouped for the overlooked 2002 studio album Group Therapy, which found them enlivened and once again in fine, fighting form.

Originally posted Apr 11, 2003 Published in issue #704 Apr 11, 2003 Order article reprints