Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes

These Cali-punk lifers have released only seven albums in a 32-year career, and who can blame 'em: Social D have survived drugs, rehab, death and constant lineup changes. On their sharpest disc since their commercial peak in the early Nineties, Mike Ness confronts a "trail of devastation," over a melodic tumult steeped in rootsy allusions ­ "Gimme Shelter" gospel singers, gritty balladry. A blitz through Hank Williams' "Alone and Forsaken" fades into the sound of wolves howling over ominous feedback. It's an obvious metaphor, but they have the right to some cheese on their manwich.

Listen to "California (Hustle and Flow)" and "Machine Gun Blues"
 

Gallery: The Week's Hottest Live Shots