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The Hussy Bring Their Pagan Hiss to Death By Audio

Loud, entertaining Madison, Wisconsin duo the Hussy just keep getting better and better. Bobby Hussy’s guitar playing has gotten really good, and very eclectic. Lately he’s had a thing for reverb: his amp settings and effects are a lot more varied than in the band’s early days. They pretty much grew up in public, starting out playing stoner hardcore punk before going off in several other tangents. In the beginning, Heather Hussy’s drumming could have been called charmingly erratic, but months of nonstop touring have made her rock-solid. And she’s a good singer, too! They’re at Death by Audio on 6/27 at around 11 PM for a measly seven bucks.

Their new album Pagan Hiss – streaming at their Bandcamp page –  kicks off with a wicked biker rock riff and revs up into Thee Oh Sees style noir girlgroup pop, a style they revisit with a reverbtoned snarl a little later. They like short songs: a handful of the lickety-split numbers here recall X on Wild Gift. Another one is totally 60s fuzztone garage rock but without the fuzz. The seventh cut, Woodland Creature begins with an unexpectedly sedate acoustic hook and builds to a haunted castle worth of guitar mulitracks: imagine Steve Kilbey producing the Gun Club circa 1985. There’s also a creepy southwestern blues that reminds of the Sideshow Tragedy, a funny little rant called Hate This Town, a brief found-sound montage, a defiant punk song titled Dying (“They said it was my time, but I don’t know,” Heather sneers) and a considerably more than slight return to the swamp rock menace. Psychedelic punk rock has seldom been this much fun or diverse.

The Hussy Has a Weed Seizure and They Love It

If you’re looking for something fun to do tonight, you couldn’t do much better than to go see psychedelic punk rockers the Hussy, who are playing the Parkside at around 10. The Wisconsin duo (Bobby Hussy on guitars and keys, Heather Hussy on drums) started out loud and kind of sloppy but irrepressibly fun; a couple of years and several ep’s down the road and the first thing that jumps out at you is how excellent Bobby Hussy’s guitar playing has become! Maybe it’s all the pot – the title of their new album Weed Seizure pretty much says it all. As usual a lot of these songs clock in at under a couple of minutes.

Heather sings Liar, which sounds like the UK Subs doing garage rock. Bobby, who handles most of the lead vocals, sings FUDje, which brings back memories of the Dead Milkmen but with with way ballsier guitars. SFB (i.e. Shit for Brains) could be early Violent Femmes if they’d been an electric band; Bang Bang is catchy and stomping, like Oasis doing garage punk, with a nice, offcenter bluesy guitar solo. I Don’t Really Want To is a throwback to the band’s lo-fi punk roots – the intro sounds like it was recorded on a 4-track with the needles pinned in the red. Bad Speed – a free download – and The Moon Rules #1 both reach toward a hypnotic, riff-driven Black Angels vibe, while Stab Me is a fun singalong mix of la-la pop and punk: “No, you can’t stab me in my back.” Dog Said Yeah takes the usual garage rock chord changes a little further outside -and this a Son of Sam reference?

The best songs are the longest ones, all of which push the band’s focus past straight-up punk into psychedelia. The opening track, a massive blend of dreampop, punk and metal, is a prime example. The squalling I-need-weed anthem Feeling Dry, with its noisy, resonantly echoing reverb guitar, is sort of Brian Jonestown Massacre as done by Oasis. The best song on the album is the creepy Harsh My High, which could be the Dead Kennedys with somebody other than Jello on the mic; Mind Alright (as in “make my mind all right”) has the same kind of chromatically-charged menace. If you’re openminded enough to realize that punk rock and stoner music aren’t mutually exclusive, you’ll love this band.