Hamell on Trial

Were Ed Hamell just a transgressive punk with an acoustic guitar, who'd pay attention? But like the late comedian Bill Hicks, Hamell doses out his angry liberalism (and libertinism) with style. On his new album, Songs for Parents Who Enjoy Drugs, Hamell, the one-man band, comments on the state of political discourse by diving straight to the bottom with "Coulter's Snatch" (as in Ann, whom he suggests is douche-resistant), explores parental hypocrisy with "Inquiring Minds" ("Pops, when's the first time you did a drug crime?") and manages to fit masturbation into romance. His signature, an acoustic tussle between punk and blues, is perfectly rejiggered, track-for-track, to match the sentiment at hand. Influenced sonically by the Ramones and vocally by Lou Reed, it's no surprise that the onetime Austinite is now a Brooklynite, but if the album is a barometer of his live act, Thursday's Texas homecoming should be a treat.


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