Social Distortion, the Explosion

When greased-up SoCal punks Social Distortion release Sex, Love and Rock 'n' Roll on Tuesday, it will be the first time they've issued a studio album in eight years. But from the sound of Sex, it could've just as easily been 18 or 80; that's how close frontman Mike Ness has kept to the rockabillied bash-and-pop he started playing as an excuse to wear black eyeliner and a fedora over two decades ago. The tempos have slowed a bit, but only to better emphasize his deceptively sympathetic tales of "Winners and Losers," "Nickels and Dimes." Boston-based openers the Explosion, who release their Virgin debut next month, play fast while they still can.

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