The Hiss

Okay, so lead singer Adrian Barrera might not dress in leather, slit the throats of two geese, and have himself stripped and whipped while staging the murder of a rabbi and having a honey-dipped nudie throw turtles into the audience. (That was Alejandro Jodorowsky, leader of the Sixties' and Seventies' "Panic Movement" of performance art and film, from whom Barrera's band, the Hiss, stole the name of its first album.) But that doesn't mean he and the Hiss don't get that late-Surrealist need to artfully confront -- and to attack. Stooges-loud and Strokes-proud, this ragtag band of Atlantans comes off as hard as one of Lenny Kaye's Nuggets, and as hurtful as an unrequited first crush. That its brashness remains interminably cool, even if it does seem to come from a careening muscle car, only compounds the band's impact. Little wonder why Noel Gallagher chose the Hiss to open Oasis's 2003 German tour. Or why in the band's hometown, the White Stripes selected the group to kick off radio station 99X's Big Day Out that very same year. And even less wonder why the hip kids say these cats are more than all right.

Garage yourself and go! -- John Hood

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