New: Hellacopters, In Flames, Buckcherry

At left: not Lars Ulrich.

1. When Nicke Andersson gave up deathpunking the shit out of Entombed to go MC5-ing with the Hellacopters, it marked one of those seismic subcultural shifts that re-jiggers the singles bin at your local indie record store for a good, oh, four or five years. And for three records, at least, the 'Copters could claim a share of the pound-for-pound-best-rock-and-roll-band-around crown. It's just that ever since, they've alternated boring clean-channel albums with dirty, fuzz-drenched masterpieces, but with a horrible sense of timing: every time they get an American label to bite, out comes the overproduction and the Swedish-Stevie-Ray-Vaughan licks. They've now wound up on Liquor and Poker, the dumping ground for great Scandinavian punkrocknroll bands past their prime (highlight of '06: a Backyard Babies live record), but the good news is that their forthcoming Rock N Roll Is Dead isn't. You wouldn't know it from the track they're giving away for free. "I may not look like Jagger, I may not have money in the bank," Nicke sings on "I'm In the Band" -- his point being that he's still in the game, though at this point their '70s arena-band schtick walks a fine line between perseverance and stubbornness. If you can, dig up "Everything's On TV," which was released as a single in Europe and ranks with their best pop songs. Also worth tracking down is their Strikes Like Lightning EP, which hits the Stooges-meets-AC/DC sweet spot that Sonic's Rendezvous Band and Radio Birdman used to hit not quite as hard.

LISTEN: Hellacopters, "I'm In the Band" (mp3)
WATCH: Hellacopters, "Everything Is On TV" (video, NSFW)

p.s.: Scott Morgan is still making records too. . .
LISTEN: The Solution, "I Have To Quit You" (mp3)

Second from right: not Moby.

2. Rumor has it Nicke's been buying up old Possessed records and plotting a return to death metal. In his absence, of course, In Flames kinda cornered the market, to the point that the term "Swedish metal" has basically become synonymous with "American bands ripping off In Flames ripping off '80s death metal." It's generally understood that if In Flames were suddenly fifteen years younger and from Los Angeles they would be signed to Warner Bros and/or nominated for a Grammy or two. So no one will blame them for doing the next best thing: they've signed to Ferret, the hot (topic-y?) young metalcore label. Their new album Come Clarity comes out in February, and we can't possibly be mad at this song from it, which reminds us where Killswitch got their melody and Shads got the idea to disguise '80s thrash as '00s hardcore. (Mark your calendars: they're at the Palladium in Worcester on February 18 with Trivium, Devil Driver, and Zao.)

LISTEN: In Flames, "Take This Life" (mp3)

Third from left: Ben? Ben Sisto?!

3. Once upon a time, life wasn't nothing but bitches and money. Then all the money dried up. Yep, just when you're convinced big dumb rock can't get any bigger or dumber, Josh Todd gets Buckcherry back together. Reasonable people could disagree about whether this is worse than his solo band, which by astonishing coincidence was called Josh Todd. Still, there's something amusingly retarded about not even bothering to diguise that you're ripping off the riff from "Sweet Emotion," and then coming up with a straight-facedly chooch-tastic chorus like, oh, I dunno: "Hey. You're a crazy bitch. But you fuck so good I'm on top of it. When I dream, I'm doing you all night. Scratches all down my back to keep a-right on." (Dan Millen: how psyched are you, dood?) Favorite part: the ad-lib, which is just Josh alternating "Fuck you so good!" with "Get the video!" So, uh, get the video or something . . .

WATCH: Buckcherry, "Crazy Bitch" (video at Myspace)
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