NEIL MICHAEL HAGERTY
As half of Royal Trux, his long-running avant-blooze combo with girlfriend Jennifer Herrema (and as a member of New York guitarrorists Pussy Galore before that), Neil Hagerty’s made some of his generation’s most compelling junk rock, full of funhouse-mirror guitars and barely coherent babbling about ghosts and sex and blood and cats and dogs. After toiling in willful obscurity for years, the Trux released a couple of records on Virgin’s dime in the early ’90s (one of the more unlikely results of the post-grunge major-label feeding frenzy), only to return to Drag City, the Chicago indie that gave them their start, just as they’d begun to sound oddly like a bad Black Crowes cover band. Allegedly drug-free, they did go on to make two of the best albums of their career, 1998’s Accelerator and 1999’s Veterans of Disorder. But Hagerty’s new solo CD suggests that the he may be out of creative fuel once again: it’s little more than a hunk of curdled jam-band cheese half-assedly hooked up to a skimpy arsenal of lo-fi keyboards and dumpstered beatboxes. Indeed, the bulk of the material sounds like little more than Hagerty’s desperate attempt to will himself, and the Trux, further into obscurity.