Urge Overkill still rocks retro in the digital age 

What were we just saying about the passage of time?

Another case in point — that it’s not some slow-dripping Dali clock — is “Rock & Roll Submarine,” the trashy new garage-rock outing from Nash Kato’s Chicago combo Urge Overkill.

Fans might find this hard to swallow, but it’s actually been a full fifteen years since their last album, but — judging by rollicking tracks like “Effigy” and “Mason/Dixon” — they’re still as righteously retro as ever, almost like they never disappeared at all.

But they’re right in step with the digital age.

Their show in L.A. this week will be recorded then sold via instant download cards and USBs, and for the next 72 hours, via Groupees, they’ll be offering “Submarine” in a pay-what-you-want format on their website, a la Radiohead. Minimum price is set at $2, with a suggested more-fair-to-the-musicians one of $7. And 10 percent of all sales will be donated to MusiCares.

Forgotten who Kato and crew are after all this time?

Here’s a quick referesher — they blasted onto the scene back in 1989 with the Steve Albini-produced “Jesus Urge Superstar,” were soon working with Butch Vig, and wound up opening for Nirvana on the landmark “Nevermind” tour. That alone is reason to worship these guys. But Quentin Tarantino took it to the next level, prominently featuring their version of Neil Diamond’s “Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon” in “Pulp Fiction.” Last December, Urge Overkill returned the favor when they played the New York Friar’s Club Roast of their old director bud.

So put on your Ray-Bans, crank your tube amps to 11 and rock out like it’s 1965!

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Tom Lanham

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