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New York’s Knoxville Girls had quite the pedigree, including former Gun Club, Cramps and Bad Seeds guitarist Kid Congo Powers, former Honeymoon Killers and Chrome Cranks axeman Jerry Teel, original Sonic Youth drummer Bob Bert and other members of the Gotham scum/noise rock underground. The group lasted long enough to pump out two albums of urban, back-alley blues/country/folk rock, though 1999’s Knoxville Girls and 2001’s Paper Suit had more in common with Johnny Thunders than the alternative country hordes riding the range at the time. (That was no doubt the point, band heritage or no.) In a Ripped Dress consists of Suit demos and Girls outtakes, newly mixed by Teel in New Orleans. Girls fans know what they’re getting: low-fi scunge takes on Americana gems like Hasil Adkins’ “By a Lonesome River,” Hank Williams’ “Neath a Cold Grey Tomb of Stone” and the Shangri-La’s’ “Sophisticated Boom Boom,” plus originals that pile on the members’ collective experience into snarling nuggets of rock & roll like “My New Dinner” and “(Any Other) Lovin’ Cup” or menacing ballads like “Drop Dead Gorgeous.” There’s nothing here that will replace anyone’s love for the original releases, but folks with those records on their shelves will definitely want to add this one to the collection.
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