Coup de Grace

The Ventura Threeway

The concept of dumbing rock down to the bare essentials has been a time-honored approach for countless bands, from ham-fisted metallic pioneers Blue Cheer through latter-day garage disciples such as Mudhoney. Local boys Coup de Grace ably take up the fuzzed-out, meathead-rawk gauntlet on their debut full-length, The Ventura Threeway. Built around Billy Konkel's simple, catchy riffs and propelled by aggressive rhythms courtesy of bassist Chris Portfolio and drummer Smyth, the album's songs alternate between goat-horn waving, T-top Camaro anthems ("Mommy Tank" and "The Portuguese Have Nice Shoes") and two-minute slabs of headlong fury ("Subourbon" and "Tragedy Exchange"). Having logged time as an engineer at the Record Plant, working on albums by Metallica and DJ Shadow, Konkel draws on his studio savvy to overcome the limitations of recording in his apartment, crafting a sound that's as warm, fat, and greasy as a sausage fresh off the grill at Rosamunde in the Lower Haight. And anyone who can write an album closer like "And I'll Wait" -- stretching three chords and an earful of swirling distortion into the kind of woozy neo-psych nugget Monster Magnet might have come up with before Dave Wyndorf got sober -- is OK in my book.

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