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Critic's Choice: the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

This band keeps the energy up with punk-rock tones and blues-inspired lyrics

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In an era in which too many shoe-gazing musicians have abandoned rock’s sex-and-style-for-the-masses promise, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion stand out. Their shtick — from the obnoxious moniker to Spencer’s sex-crazed Elvis-impersonator delivery — seems designed as a wake-up call to indie-rock slackers. ”Energy is important to us,” Spencer says, ”but we don’t sit around and go, ‘Oh, things are so boring.’ We do what we believe in.” The bassless trio’s fourth outing, Now I Got Worry (Oct. 15), is their most successful foray into the region where soul, howling blues, and punk rock collide.