Come Feel Me Tremble is a sharp rock record timed to coincide with the release of a DVD/movie of the same name. It features Paul Westerberg in full rock mode, from the Oxycontin drive of "Hillbilly Junk" to the Stonesy "Pine Box" and the retro, catchy "Wild & Lethal." Westerberg's singing is righteous and energizing here; though the 14 tunes evoke the eclecticism of the long-lost and lamented Replacements, the sound is as unified as the attitude. Even the pretty "Meet Me Down the Alley," --a ballad -- for chrissakes, fits in.
That same drive permeates Dead Man Shake, the second installment by Westerberg's faux-primitive alter ego, Grandpaboy. Again, drugs are a leitmotif in the scary "O.D. Blues," and overall, Westerberg's bluesboy persona has an eye on the graveyard. Nevertheless, there's plenty of raunch and roll here -- particularly in the title track, the eerie "Vampires & Failures" (has our boy been listening to the Cramps?) and the Jimmy Reed-styled "Take Out Some Insurance." A ballad caps this one, too: a quavery take on the old "What Kind of Fool Am I?" (A wise one, apparently.)
Word is, Westerberg's next release -- Folker, due out in March -- will be his "official" new CD. If that's true, these two discs are hellaciously strong interim product -- and a hard act to follow.