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For a quarter century, Dex Romweber has trolled the dark corners and back shelves of the haunted thrift store of Americana ephemera and honed an extraordinarily idiomatic sound, a particular and readily identifiable DEXness for those in the know. It s a creepy doll collection of surf, proto-rockabilly, garage, dark and vengeful blues,and nobody, but nobody, plays it like Dex. First with the legendary Flat Duo Jets and now with his Duo, Dex distilled the punk ethos of less-is-more to the essential guitar/drums template. Left in the wake of his lecherous and slithery Silvertone were early acolytes like Jack White, Neko Case, and the Reigning Sound as well as a current crop of the indie pack like Ty Segall, No Age, Japandroids, and The Black Keys. All owe an unclaimed pawn ticket of debt to his sublime and spine-tingling sound. He is a live wire back to the murky, sometimes dangerous and always unpredictable headwaters of real rock and roll.
Dex, with his whip-wristed sister Sara Romweber on drums, take Images 13 through neon-lit alleys, full of pulp fiction juvey rock, sci-fi theme songs and greasy denim hipster jive. Effortlessly versatile and raucously dismissive of genre constraints, exciting and darkly romantic, Images 13 would make everyone from Duane Eddy to Stan Kenton to Lenny Bruce crack a smile, a joke or the seal on a fifth of rye and head for the Naugahyde ice bucket.
Recorded at Rick Miller s (Southern Culture on the Skids) Kudzu Ranch studio in North Carolina, the album bristles with a sense of drama, of tension, of release, of mystery. Roll On and Long Battle Coming display the cinematic sleaze nestled between The Cramps and West Side Story. Eerie ballads Baby I Know What It s Like to be Alone and I Don t Want to Listen reveal the crooning, bruised romantic, the harsh morning light of a strange hotel room, a Raymond Chandler novel on the bedside table. Beyond the Moonlight is part sea shanty longing and part campfire revival. Then, just as easily, the instrumentals take center stage. Blackout! updates Henry Mancini s Peter Gunn theme with a dynamic tension and sly cool, and Dex and Sara attack the big waves off Maui with a chaotic rush on Blue Surf his guitar guiding you into the sweet spot of the pipeline and her drums pounding you into the sand. Hey Tarantino, wake up!
Digging into the skeleton-filled rock n roll closet, Dex Romweber Duo comes up with some obscure and wonderful gems. The early Who track So Sad About Us, featuring Mary Huff (SCOTS) on vocals, hits an uncharacteristically sunny power pop vibe. The hopeful We ll Be Together
Again written by Eddie Cochran s girlfriend Sharon Sheeley about his death in a car accident (that she and Gene Vincent survived). The song was never released formally but recorded by Jackie DeShannon in the early 60s. Finishing up the album is the music of Harry Lubin, who did theme music for shows like The Outer Limits and One Step Beyond. Weird (Aurora Borealis) is the music from the latter when ghosts, UFO s, or odd paranormal experiences begin to rear their strange heads, complete with tribal drums and Melissa Swingle (Trailer Bride, The Moaners) on the saw.
It's a tour de force of twentieth century rock 'n' roll with a sinister edge. --Adobe and Teardrops
Armed with his booming baritone and low-neck twang, the former Flat Duo Jets frontman delivers nourish nostalgia and retro roots straight from the garage. --Winnipeg Sun
...gritty and raw, only meticulously so, riding on surf-tinged blues riffs and the frontman s dramatic, growling vocals. --Popmatters
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(Let's Active, Snatches Of Pink). This is American roots-based rock `n' roll with a heavy dose
of country/blues at the core; plus a smattering of spectacularly gritty surf-rock licks, a psych-pop
gem, a soulful Elvis-like 50s style ballad, a hand-clapping back-porch stomper, and a song with
an amplified saw. The songs ring with an irresistibly pure, gutsy and natural authenticity, and
Romweber's guitar work is stellar! Includes covers of the Who, Johnny Burnette,
Jackie DeShannon. Reminiscent of John Doe, The Reigning Sound, Reverend Horton Heat,
Los Straightjackets, the Black Keys, Wanda Jackson. Excellent.