Hunx - Hairdresser Blues (Cover Artwork)


Hairdresser Blues (2012)

Hardly Art

Hunx (a.k.a. Seth Bogart) was at a time best known for Gray Train!!!, an electropop band with very explicit lyrics about homosexual encounters. Hunx and His Punx took a different route, preferring more trashy bubblegum/Ramonesy garage rock with lyrics more akin to '50s girl groups (though, naturally, from a gay perspective). After two albums with the Punx backing him, this is his first official solo album, playing all the instruments himself but drums. While he doesn't change the musical formula a lot, there is more lyrical and emotional depth than usual and the vibe is less kitschy overall.

The inherent likability of the first two Hunx and His Punx records is very present on the album's best tracks. The stop/start "yeah-yeah-yeah" chorus of "Private Room" is pop gold, the rollicking "Do You Remember Being a Roller?" is a cute tribute to the Bay City Rollers, while the record's most punk song, "Always Forever," is perhaps the most memorable one, a big fuck you to an ex boyfriend: "When will you leave me alone? / I'm sick of you and everything that you do."

The album's last two tracks are the most melancholy. "Say Goodbye Before You Leave (For Jay)" is an ode to his friend Jay Reatard who died in 2010. "I wanna run my fingers through your curls / We can talk about girls / Or write a song together," he opines. The closing track, "When You're Gone," is about his father, who passed when he was a teenager. The most stripped down song of the pack, he croons "I wanna believe that you're still here and you're with me," with the most vulnerability he's ever put to tape, his signature nasally delivery is almost absent.

Hairdresser Blues (he owns and operates a hair solon in Oakland, Calif.) is his weightiest affair, but it is not bogged down by any means. It's refreshing to hear this side of Hunx, and in 27 minutes it breezes by with a wink just as his two previous records did.