We’ve Come Back to Rock ‘n’ Roll

These days, Bethesda native Rob Moss spends his time in Portland, Oregon, where he moved in 2009, working as a freelance writer for tech companies. But in another life, Moss was present at the birth of Dischord Records, playing bass in Government Issue and Artificial Peace. When Moss left the music business in the ’80s, he never looked back, and his accomplishments as a writer include the rock ‘n’ roll crime novel Descending Memphis. This year, with his band Skin-Tight Skin, Moss released his first album of new music in 37 years—in the middle of a pandemic. We’ve Come Back to Rock ‘n’ Roll is the work of a mature artist returning to a youthful milieu. Yet if his tempo has slowed down since the early harDCore days, his sardonic tone—and sense of humor—is intact. On the bluesy garage-punk number “No 48 Crash,” dedicated to Suzi Quatro, Moss mewls a snarling, charming invitation: “Suzi, you’re in some movie/You’re kinda groovy/Let’s eat some sushi.” Moss enlists a different lead guitarist on each track; “Crash” features Billy Loosigian of Willie Alexander and the Boom Boom Band, while “Life at 33 1/3 RPM” scores Wilco’s Nels Cline. Moss may warn of heavy sarcasm, but there’s something life-affirming in it; even though he closes the album with “Rock ‘n’ Roll is Dead,” you can tell he doesn’t believe it, and as the pounding beat and generous cowbell demonstrates, it’s not. The album is available on Bandcamp. $8–$10.