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LP (12" album, 33 rpm)
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What happens when you put two one-man-bands in the same room? Bloodshot Bill and BBQ (aka Mark Sultan) are two guys from Canada who both have a history of banging out high-octane, rockabilly-influenced rock & roll all by themselves, as well as playing in more conventional groups (both have been bandmates with fellow Canadian eccentric King Khan). It was probably inevitable that their paths would cross eventually, and Bloodshot Bill and BBQ have joined forces to create the duo the Ding-Dongs. In most respects, their self-titled debut albums sounds just the way you'd expect it to -- low on fidelity, high on energy, and grafting the sound of vintage rock & roll with a passion and attitude that's clearly informed by punk rock. If there's a surprise to the Ding-Dongs, it's that Bloodshot Bill and BBQ both have the good sense to stay out of each other's way; given that they're both used to creating a full band's worth of clatter on their own, they've fortunately learned to take turns and trade off on guitar, drum, and vocal duties, and on these recordings, they get to show off their individual personalities (Bloodshot Bill is more of a feral howler and BBQ delivers in a more measured but heartfelt style) while reinforcing the best facets of each other's music. The Ding-Dongs' debut was recorded in someone's basement and sounds like it, but the homemade audio lends a vintage flavor to the music that a million dollars worth of ProTools gear couldn't replicate, and tunes like "Don't Ring, Come on In," "She's a Tiger," and "Worried Man" are good enough that the no-frills production allows them to shine without anything getting in the way. (And "What's That Sound?" is arguably the finest song ever recorded about a toilet with a faulty valve.) The hit-and-run quality of the Ding-Dongs album makes it hard to figure if this is a one-off project or a real band, but what's here is strong and fiery enough that it would be a shame if there wasn't some sort of follow-up -- this is some lo-fi house rockin' that will kick off your next party with style. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi