Rad Time Xpress IV
It’s not easy to traverse the familiar and varied terrain of rock music without falling flat on your face … let alone making it out alive. Black Bananas—the new(ish) project from Royal Trux’s Jennifer Herrema—manage to do so, bouncing around from one party to the next while holding that perfect, steady buzz. Rad Times Xpress IV is Rock ‘n’ Roll 101, glammed up and bloated with layers of noise while Herrema’s voice pile-drives through the post-apocalyptic debris with inebriated sass and rasp (and occasional auto-tune). The concept of the rock star might be dead, but Rad Times conjures up the spirits of rock gods of yore—KISS, Queen and Aerosmith are all given nods. The only thing missing here is a sequined codpiece. Songs like “Killer Weed” and “TV Trouble” are 1983 incarnate, and as sleazy as anything in the Quiet Riot canon. “RTX Go-Go” and “Hot Stupid” also fall in the same era, but lean more toward the dance pop of Prince (though not nearly as sleazy). Rad Times is essentially a good excuse to shut off your brain for 45 minutes. Besides, sometimes it’s best to just do what comes naturally—which is to sit back, and let the good times roll.