Essential New Music: King Khan’s “Murder Burgers”

To not hear King Khan belting witty lyrics over perfectly trashy R&B, either with nine-piece gang the Shrines or laying it out with longtime compadre Mark Sultan as the BBQ Show, is at first a bit shocking. Khan channels his inner Merle Haggard on a twangy number that’s fantastic, plays his hand at sugar-pop ditties and, of course, grinds copious smatterings of still-mooing rock ’n’ roll to form these mouthwatering Murder Burgers. Tapping his favorite band (Oakland’s the Gris Gris) to back him provides a suitable condiment to sit atop this greasy patty of greatness, way better than any “special sauce.” Khan’s first solo effort is ideal, clearly stepping outside the lines that we’re so used to hearing him in. Murder Burgers was made in a week’s time and toured only the killing capitals of our great nation, thus the genius album title. File with the rest of your King Khan records under “readily accessible.”

—Scott Zuppardo