Music » Livewire

The Bassholes

With the Fondas and Shark Pants. Friday, September 2, at the Beachland Ballroom.


Just when you think Don Howland will call it a night, he comes shuffling back with another Bassholes disc. And each one gets more accomplished -- "accomplished" being a relative term to a man with as much dirt beneath his fingernails as Howland. In the late '80s, Howland was a twentysomething renaissance man, gobbling up post-punk 7-inches, writing for The Village Voice, and forming the highly influential Gibson Brothers. He eventually ditched the Brothers' hillbilly bash-ups in favor of the Bassholes' two-man rumble, which has been shakin' foundations for nearly 13 years now. It's clear that Howland must love doing this, because he's not getting rich off it, unlike such longtime admirers as Jack White and Jon Spencer. Of course, Howland has many more admirers who are nearly as broke as he is -- the Reigning Sound, Black Keys, and Mr. Airplane Man chief among them. Since 1998's When My Blue Moon Turns Red Again, Howland has buttressed his primitive rock impulses with occasional horns, Stonesy grooves, and the shifty rhythms of Clevelander Bim Thomas. The Bassholes' latest, self-titled disc even sounds cleanish -- emphasis on the "ish." But live, the duo still brings gritty, spooky-then-pissy tales of the evil that men keep doing.

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