The Strokes will fade from glory, as will the popular resurgence in taste for garage rock--this much seems inevitable. (Doesn't it? Or can we look forward to a future in which Barbra Streisand gets called out of retirement to sing Mitch Ryder tunes? And Liza Minnelli has the Hives play her next wedding?) But even after the reverb's died down, what might stick around is the reintroduction of the scruffy, swaggering rock star into a culture increasingly patrolled by squeaky-clean musicians who'd fire their vocal coaches before their stylists (assuming they're not the same person, as might be true with the Strokes). Two relatively edgy acts playing Dallas this week suggest that that persona's made enough of a comeback that it doesn't even have to accompany actual rock stardom.
San Diego's GoGoGo Airheart are part of the same Southern Californian scene that includes goth-metal nihilists the Locust, and the band's older records sounded like the work of youngsters who'd heard a lot of music that features the prefix post. On their new Exitheuxa they still combine the rhythmic, fake-funk snap of the Gang of Four with the textural depth of the Chicago crowd, but there's also lots of Mick Jagger strut, singer Michael Vermillion drawling all over the song structures like it's their responsibility to match his timing. (Check out the album's cover for that shabby-sport-coat thing Julian Casablancas has brought back, too.) These guys might be twentysomething dilettantes, but they sure make Dianogah look like a bunch of nerds.
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L.A. space rockers the Warlocks could make Jagger himself look tame: Rise and Fall, their latest album, is a mushroom cloud of Spiritualized grandeur, Hawkwind sprawl and Velvet Underground menace, the kind of thing human beings probably can't make if they're not wearing leather jackets and inhaling entire packs of cigarettes in seconds flat. Not that the Warlocks don't like taking their time: Rise's 14-minute opener, "Jam of the Witches," manages to make it to early-'70s Germany and hang out with Neu! for a while before heading back to the West Coast to catch a Dead show and get wasted in the parking lot. Bridges to Babylon? You're already here, dude.