The Black Lips never slip through a town quietly. They'd rather, ya know, piss in public, puke on photographers, bloody one another with their instruments. It's not that they're particularly into spewing the body fluids; it's more like they're a hotheaded bunch of Atlanta boys not made for conventional expressions of emotion... or recording... or, really, anything.

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In the past, that attitude has made for some spectacularly messed-up records: Sloppy like the basement party where you emerge bruised and battle-scarred, ears ringing and sweat drenching, with a shit-eating grin spanning from ear to ear. These guys are always teetering on the edge of oblivion, tempting a rapid descent into full-blown natural-disaster style destruction.

Let It Bloom (In the Red) is the latest lo-fi backtalk from the Lips, and it's their best yet. Scratch that. It's one of the best garage-punk recordings of the year. Guitars buzz like electric kazoos, instruments battle for dominance like cats fighting in a row of trash cans, and raw howls poke above the clamor. But this is no simple show of brute force—caught between the glue-sniffing punks and the pot-smoking acid causalities, the band leave an intriguing trail of distortion. Their songs tangle up bits of jangle pop, twinkling piano notes, random French lyrics, hysterical laughter, and lysergic melodies in delinquent rebellion withforays into wildly fucked-up courtship. Bloom is better than whiskey for keeping ya fiery with fightin' words—minus the crippling hangover and bruised knuckles the day after, unless of course you're positioned too close to the band.

jennifer@thestranger.com