Dex Romweber's new album, Ruins of Berlin, fills a niche that I never knew needed filling in my musical library. Somewhere in between the old Billie Holliday records and the much more recent Squirrel Nut Zippers records lies the Dex Romweber Duo. There's good reason for them to sound like the Squirrel Nut Zippers, too. John Plymale (also of Corrosion of Conformity & Meat Puppits) produced the album.
The album features stellar appearances from Cat Power, Neko Case, Exene Cervenka, and Rick Miller of Southern Culture on the Skids. Miller makes a staggering first impression along with Dex (and his sister, Sara Romweber on the drums) right out of the gate. The first track on the album, "Lookout," is nothing less than explosive. It's a guitar duet that will make you need to listen to the rest of the album. Let's embed it, shall we.
[audio]: Dex Romweber Duo - Lookout"
Once you dive in, you'll be glad you did. My first impulse was to call this rockabilly, but is rockabilly even an entity any more? Some of this music is blues and some of it is rock and some of it is soul. Obviously, when you have duets between yourself and Neko Case and Cat Power on your album, you're putting yourself into a particular fanbase but somehow Dex manages to transcend indie calmness. There is excitement on this album, unlike anything I've been able to get my hands on in recent years.
Sadly, his site doesn't have any Chicago dates listed as of yet but it does say that there will be "lots to come before too long." The album will be released next week on the always wonderful (and local) Bloodshot Records, costs $11.75, and it comes with a fancy schmancy tour poster.