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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

This One's Not For The Ladies

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Boss Hog “Gerard”
Boss Hog “Ruby”
Boss Hog “Sam”

by Mark Cappelletty

This is where I, the musiqueologist (fancy, eh?), lose all credibility and go all Maxim magazine on y’all, telling you that Cristina Martinez, without a doubt, is the hottest woman in rock. She could play nothing but the comb-and-toilet-paper combo and I’d still swoon. But for about ten years, Martinez’s band, Boss Hog, made earthy, sexy blues- punk not dissimilar to that of her husband, Jon Spencer, of Blues Explosion fame. But where Spencer hoots, hollers and whines, Martinez knows how to coo; the bass-heavy “Gerard” (a nod to Matador head Gerard Cosloy?) rocks out with its cock out, but “Ruby,” all trumpet and strut, proves that Martinez could hold her own as a torch singer.

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Spencer and Martinez met in Washington D.C. at a Jesus and Mary Chain show in 1985 and when Spencer headed to New York City shortly thereafter, Martinez followed suit. The two formed the noise-punk outfit Pussy Galore and, when that imploded and Spencer founded his Blues Explosion, Boss Hog emerged as a potent side-project, purportedly to fill a cancellation at CBGB’s. After three records and EPs on Amphetamine Reptile Records that are criminally out-of-print (the, er, “revealing” shot is the cover of 1989’s Drinkin’, Lechin’ & Lyin’), Martinez, Spencer and co. put out their one major-label release, 1996’s Boss Hog on DGC, which toned down the feedback but kept the grooves. Their last effort, 2000’s Whiteout — released after a hiatus where she and Spencer had a baby — is a mixed bag, all polished tones and out-of-place keyboards that comes off like a Garbage wanna-be.

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Jon Spencer is still slinging his shtick; he provided the theme song to Hot Fuzz. But Martinez has gone into hiding. If she looked all Cindy Crawford on the cover of 1990’s Cold Hands, I’m assuming her genes have kept her well-preserved. If I were Jon Spencer, I would have bailed on the Blues Explosion years ago and just settled down to makin’ sweet love with the missus twenty-four-seven. But that’s just me.

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