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Sin City Disciples / The Last of the V8s

Layla Deluxe (Rocko Records) / It's On (Shock Factory)

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"This CD goes out to those who corner me, poke their fingers in my chest and say, 'Why did you stop SCD?'" Sin City Disciples' singer Ernie Locke reveals in the liner notes of Layla Deluxe. And after listening to this expanded version of the four-song cassette Layla that the rockers used to hawk back in the glory days, it makes sense that fans still approach Locke with such inquiries. It's a historical document, to be sure, but the raw power of Layla Deluxe outweighs its educational value and museum-piece pricelessness.

The live tracks, which date back to 1991, solidify the group's now-mythical status as the bar band by which all KC comers are measured. As Locke notes, SCD "always had trouble in the studio," but while the studio tracks aren't quite as fierce as their live counterparts, these songs are all ugly blues-inflected messes -- just as they should be, and just as people remember them.

Still, as Locke states in his written response to the aforementioned question about SCD's demise, "nothing lasts forever." The Disciples are gone, which means the scene needs new musicians to shake the tender sensibilities of an emocentric city. Enter The Last of the V8s, whose debut disc, It's On, earns instant attention with its cover photograph of a tattooed naked woman strategically shielding her nether regions with the V8 logo. After giving it a spin, listeners should arrive at the conclusion that the V8s deserve as much recognition for their hard-driving tunes. With guitarist Jay Zastoupil, late of the like-minded Cretin 66, carving out ferocious riffs, and vocalist Ryan Mattes mentioning the underworld in no fewer than a third of the songs' titles, The Last of the V8s chauffeur what it aptly describes as a rocket ride straight to hell, announcing sex, drugs and rock and roll as tour stops along the way. It's On is primal and addictive, dirty and beer-soaked, savage and sloppy. Like the Disciples' work, it lacks ambitious artistic messages and redeeming social worth, and is all the better for it.

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