From the album cover of Heavy Meta, you’d think Ron Gallo was getting ready to audition for The Jimi Hendrix Experience, what with the white guy’s Afro and all. And that’s not a bad place to set certain coordinates — we’d love to hear him play “Hey Joe,” because he’s a solid singer and an ace lead guitarist. Trust us when we say, we haven’t gotten so knocked over by discovering a new tyro of real rock’n’roll since we first heard Ty Segall’s Goodbye Bread.
Not to be confused with the ’70s paparazzi of the same name, Ron Gallo had us before we ever heard this incredible album. See, in the new Uncut, which gives him the treatment he deserves — interview, record review, even a spot on their monthly featured songs — he identified Robert Quine as his musical inspiration. That’s an excellent place to begin, and in fact, “Put The Kids To Bed” sounds a lot like Quine’s playing with Richard Hell and the Voidoids, while “Don’t Mind The Lion” could be a Lloyd Cole song with Quine playing lead. But even though Gallo has many easy reference points — his voice can quaver like Devendra Banhart, various songs resemble what we imagine Damon McMahon’s punk projects separate from Amen Dunes sound like, and he’s enough of a classicist that on “Black Market Eyes,” the guitar figures quote at length from Small Faces’ “Flying”– this is an original, powerful artist with a crack three-piece and an album well-enough produced we know it won’t languish in the up’n’comer pile for long.
We can imagine others referencing in the same sentence Brendan Benson, The Cramps, maybe even Roky Erickson. But let’s give Ron Gallo credit where it’s due: he has on “Heavy Meta” just launched headlong into the center of the rock’n’roll universe, with an album that anyone who loves Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, or even Jack White will immediately respond to. Filled with energy and brains, this record is going to dominate the early innings of 2017, and we know we will be listening to this 29-year old phenom for years to come.
Opening for Hurray For The Riff Raff at the 930 Club in DC on April 23rd. See you there.