We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
Scandinavia’s ’90s dirt-rock scene appealed equally to indie snobs and wayward metalheads, clearing the way for a boutique industry of stateside bands with big-riff addictions and tongue-in-cheek names. It’s fitting, then, that Athens, Ga.’s, Nashville Pussy and Palm Desert, Calif.’s, Queens of the Stone Age are among the stars of Alpha Motherfuckers: A Tribute to Turbonegro, an homage to the Stooges-inspired, metal-indebted Norwegian band that broke up in 1998 after the release of Apocalypse Dudes, its filthy crowning achievement. The compilation inexplicably excludes noteworthy Turbonegro contemporaries such as fellow Osloites Gluecifer and Sweden’s Hellacopters, instead collecting 26 unreleased covers by largely unheralded punk and hard-rock acts. Many of these bands lack the skills or bravery to achieve Turbonegro’s level of post-Spi¬nal Tap showmanshipwhich tweaked rock ‘n’ roll’s sexual conventions by reveling in raunchy homoeroticismbut the tunes nonetheless sound as blessedly stoopid as they did the first time around. The European outfits stick to the cheese, with Norway’s Satyricon turning in a black-metal version of “I Got Erection” that stands as the disc’s most hilarious moment, and German techno hit maker Blümchen (aka Bela B. and Denim Girl) delivers a death-disco metamorphosis of the anthemic “Are You Ready for Some Darkness?” The U.S. and South American bands, meanwhile, key into Turbonegro’s anti-authoritarianism, with the real pros striving for nuance. Nashville Pussy’s faithful cover of “Age of Pamparius” (it’s about a pizza parlor) opens the disc with a red-white-and-blue cock-rock wink, and Queens of the Stone Age mix ferocity with hand-clapping glee on “Back to Dungaree High” (key line: “I got a headache in my pants”). For Turbonegro fans, though, the best reason to buy Alpha Motherfuckers might be the rambling liner notes by frontman Hanky, who apparently has found religion and exiled himself to a group of small Norwegian islands. “By paying homage to us, you are paying homage to the Lord, and thus paying homage to yourselves,” he writes. Now that’s irony, dude. Joe Warminsky