Meet The Atomic Aces

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The Atomic Aces are “Nor-Cal punk rockers” who kick out “punk & rockabilly with a twist of macabre.” The Atomic Aces, from Santa Cruz, are fronted by Miss Mercy, former guitarist for The Formaldebrides – wait, what? Former guitarist? Her pipes will make you wonder why she wasn’t that band’s frontwoman! She is joined by Austin Corona (lead guitar), Wolfman Grimm (upright bass), Johnny Eckenrode (rhythm guitar), and Salvi Syko (drums). They cite as influences The Cramps, The Misfits, Social Distortion, and The HorrorPops, as well as Joan Jett and Courtney Love. Rockabilly. Punk. Psychobilly. It’s all there!

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The Atomic Aces‘ debut full-length Bettie’s Rage (2011) starts off easy [side one?] with straight-up rockabilly in cool tracks like “Rockabilly Burnout”, “She-Devil in Disguise”, the ’50s-esque ballad “You Really Went Cold On Me”, and even the misnomer “Psychobilly Rock”. But, then, mid-way in [side two?], the band really goes psycho! “The Ghost of Jameson Jones” and “I’ll Chop Your head Off” bookend this feisty half with ballads about dead pirates and zombie love, respectively. In between, “No Way Out”, “Sexy When You Swing” and “The Jesus Factor” all deliver grittier punk sounds, while “Bettie’s Rage”, this album’s crown jewel, punks up a chunka-chunka rockabilly riff. “You want a girl more like Bettie Page? / How ’bout a taste of this Bettie’s rage!” Miss Mercy snarls. Side one of Bettie’s Rage is good, but, side two is insane! Listen to a little bit of “Bettie’s Rage” here …

Atomic-Aces-My-Kind-of-Devil-600x600Now, The Atomic Aces are back with an explosive new EP, My Kind of Devil (2014), that is the side one that Bettie’s Rage should have had. The punk-fueled rockabilly fire on this 6-track set is sparked by the feverish “My Kind of Devil” whose driving rhythm reminds me of Aerosmith‘s hard rocking version of “Train Kept A-Rollin’,” done punkabilly style. “I’m gonna get me some, and …” lustful Miss Mercy declares, as the boys join in, “… IT’S GONNA BE TONIGHT!” After the song, someone says, “That’s a fucking keeper, dude!” Yeah, it is! Next, “The Conjuring” offers an insanely addictive ditty about demonic possession. “The Conjuring will take your mortal soul / Take your mortal so-oul!” Miss Mercy warns, but, makes losing it sound so delightful! “Let’s Start a Revolution” is The Atomic Aces‘ call to arms, and this EP’s first best track! “Let’s start a revolution / A new beginning to evolution!” she snarls, like Courtney Love fronting Social Distortion on methamphetamines. I love the rap-like bridge! “Bettie’s Rage” is re-recorded from the album, but, with it’s Dick Dale vibe cranked up, and it fits in perfectly. In fact, I think I like this version better. However, I do love that Bettie Page line either way! “Miss Six Feet Under” is straight-up psychobilly, and My Kind of Devil‘s second best track. It’s a hiccuping, bass-slapping ode to “sweet, sweet necromance.” Check out these twisted lines: “He brings her out on a Friday night / To take her for a spin / Head on the floor, feet out the door /Rigor mortis has set in.” Finally, “Weight of the World” is a punk rocker that wouldn’t be out of place at all on a mix with Rancid, or even Dropkick MurphysMy Kind of Devil is definitely one of the best punk/psychobilly releases I’ve listened to since Back Alley BarbersMemento Mori! Santa Cruz, CA, ain’t that far from Portland, OR – is it?

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