Borealis Rex, Cut Your Teeth (Independent)

Why wait for the Stones to come around when you can get some hellraising rock ’n’ roll from these guys right now? Whatever it takes to make red-blooded Southern rock sound fresh again, Borealis Rex got it: The songs have big riffs and hooks, the energy would fire off the grooves if CDs had ’em, and in the best Skynyrd tradition, they’ve snuck a few serious thoughts into the lyrics.

The two-guitar, two-singer lineup includes Dash Rip Rock main man Bill Davis, but this is definitely not a Dash record as Chance Casteel does most of the singing, with Davis doing the harmonies (though we’ll grant that Davis’ one featured track, “Passenger” does fit well with the amped-up, more serious direction of the last couple Dash albums). The band’s X factor is Parker Freeman, who plays mainly acoustic instruments, throwing a few surprises into otherwise guitar-slinging tunes. The slide guitar–driven “Flood” takes on a familiar topic—it’s about a storm that creates havoc in Louisiana—but treats it as a wailing blues, until the guitars make way for a banjo solo. Likewise, the Stones/Faces–sounding “Take It Out on Me” includes a fiddle solo, and is no less rocking for it. “She’s So Cool” and “Cocaine Caroline” both play it more down the middle—these are rockers for the eternal adolescent in you—and the five-song EP leaves you hungry for an album’s worth.