Thin Lizzy Worship: Carousel & Black Trip

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This year has seen a flood of albums from bands paying tribute to Thin Lizzy. The fact that they generally happily admit to Thin Lizzy being a primary influence, even emblazoning it on the sticker such as the case of Valkyrie’s Shadows, shows how far Thin Lizzy’s legacy has been rehabilitated this past decade. While they were respected in their time, for some reason starting with their dissolution in 1984 through the 90s, they were seen as hopelessly dated one-hit wonders (“The Boys Are Back In Town”) in the same category as dinosaurs like Grand Funk and Foghat. Nothing could be further than the truth. Of their 12 studio albums, seven of them, between Vagabonds Of The Western World (1973) and Black Rose: A Legend (1979) are absolute classics. Throw in Live And Dangerous (1978), which many consider the greatest live album ever, it’s the most consistently great run of hard rock albums in the 70s. Yes, that includes Led Zeppelin. There’s several reasons for this. The twin lead guitar harmonies between Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson (and also Gary Moore and Snowy White) starting in 1974, served as a huge influence, along with Wishbone Ash, on Scorpions, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and many other New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands. And of course they had Phil Lynott, the charismatic Irish bass-playing Hendrix who partied too hard, but who’s Celtic poetic soul was the equal of Van Morrison, and rarely wrote a bad song and was a great storyteller.

Much of Urge Overkill’s Saturation (1993) paid tribute to Thin Lizzy, but their tongues were too far into cheeks to start anything, and soon became a bit of a joke themselves. As far as I’m concerned, the most successful modern nods to Thin Lizzy started with The Lord Weird Slough Feg’s Twilight Of The Idols (1999) and Down Among The Dead Men (2000).  Then Valkyrie’s debut in 2006, Birds Of Avalon in 2007, and with Valkyrie’s Pete Adams joining Baroness, The Blue Record (2009) had some of the most creative variations of Lizzy worship. Another highlight in tapping into the spirit was Gypsyhawk’s debut, Patience And Perseverence (2010).  The band supposedly broke up, with a couple members forming a new project, Gygax, which will have an album later this fall. According to Gypsyhawk’s Bandcamp page as of March, they insist they’re still going and will release a new album, Fortune & Favor on Creator-Destructor. If that’s true and it really comes out, that will raise the tally of Thin Lizzy inspired albums to ten, including the upcoming Horisont and Bible Of The Devil, and the latest from Valkyrie, Corsair, and The Sword, who always had a bit of Thin Lizzy in them, but went much further on High Country.  After a double album foray into alt rock, Baroness may feature more Lizzy influence on their upcoming Purple (Abraxan Hymns) on December 18, which would raise the tally to eleven (one louder!). Last but not least are the sophomore albums from both Carousel and Black Trip.

Carousel – 2113 (Tee Pee)

Carousel - 2113 (Tee Pee, 2015)Carousel formed in Pittsburgh in 2010, and came out with Jeweler’s Daughter in 2013 on Tee Pee, full of solid songwriting, guitar harmonies and Dave Wheeler’s vocals that have just the right amount of gritty hoarseness. On their second album, 2113, they add guitarist Matt Goldsborough, who also serves with former Trouble members in The Skull. Guitars blaze out the gate with “Trouble,” already with more sticky riffs than anything on the first album. On “Buried Alive In Your Arms,” they do some great vocal harmonizing to go along with the dual guitars, with one of their all-time best hooks. “Highway Strut” slows to mid-tempo and is my least favorite, probably because it reminds me a bit too much of 80s Aerosmith, but it’s still pretty good. “Strange Revelation” is even slower, but the textures make it an engrossing listen. “Man Like Me” is a satisfying rocker, while the title track, all 7:42 of it, stretches way out with some delicious guitar soloing and interplay. The album concludes with “Turn To Stone,” a slow-building burner that alternates between some acoustic strumming and a heavy, crunchy crescendo with perhaps just a bit of Neil Young & Crazy Horse influence.

Black Trip – Shadowline (SPV/Steamhammer)

Black Trip - Shadowline (SPV/Steamhammer, 2015)I was truly surprised to see a new Black Trip album, since Goin’ Under came out in 2013. I’ve gotten (mostly) used to bands waiting 3-5 years between albums. This Swedish supergroup of sorts contains members from Entombed and Enforcer. While some might think that having fun with some party rock would produce inferior work compared to previous projects, fun is a pretty damn important part of rock ‘n’ roll. It doesn’t hurt that the performances are tight and songwriting is top notch, especially on the new Shadowline. Along with Lizzy, the band cites Scorpions, Priest, Maiden, Saxon, and even Geordie and Blue Oyster Cult as influences. I’d add UFO and early Def Leppard to that list. It’s interesting that people and the band call their music heavy metal, because it’s clearly not. It might contain some proto-metal influences, but it’s purely hard rock, and there’s no shame in that, not at all. The album starts hot with “Die With Me” and goes into the first highlight, the super-Lizzy sounding “Danger,” that has it all, perfect lyrics, interesting solos and licks, and an exceptional vocal performance from Joseph Tholl. His vocal hooks reach another level on the title track, “Shadowline” that, wow, if Lizzy could have done that song back in, say 1981, they might have had a huge second act that decade alongside peers like Priest and Scorpions. “Clockworks” breaks into a wonderful early  Maiden gallop at about :50, maintains a breathless pace until winding down again at the end. “Subvisual Sleep” features some really cool guitar interplay and arrangements that justify their efforts to pay tribute to past sounds, but still write some original new material that no doubt adds something special to the genre. “The Storm” masters the slower tempo epic with suitably dark atmospherics and some colossal screams. “Coming Home” wraps up the album not with a syrupy power ballad, but a solid rocker with shredding solos. It’s as if all the horrible mistakes of bands striving for mainstream dollars in the 80s never happened, and I’m fully on board with this alternate reality.

 

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No Whining in Rock ‘n’ Roll: Don’t Feel Guilty About Not Spending More Money on Music

Columbia House’s recent bankruptcy filing triggered all kinds of stories, ranging from fond reminiscing about early experiences with record clubs, to surprised reactions that they even still exist as a corporate entity, and a whole slew of whining about how they were killed by streaming services.

Their filing says that Netflix, Amazon, Spotify and Apple crowded it out of the market, preventing Columbia House from getting licensing agreements when it tried to offer streaming services for videos and movies last year. Yes, the more established competitors had an advantage over the new kid on the block. The young, clueless Columbia House, which has been in business since 1955.

Capitol Record Club Ad from 1972

Columbia House pioneered the record club business model, getting millions of consumers on board with the then still new 12″ vinyl LP format, introduced in 1949.  Their first year they had 125,175 members who had purchased 700,000 records (for $1.174 million net). By the next year, they had 687,652 members and had sold 7 million records ($14.888 million net), and by 1963, it commanded 10% of the recorded music retail market. By the mid-1960s, they had competition from other clubs, including EMI, Capitol and RCA. At that point, Columbia House was able to stay several steps ahead of the competition when the father of direct marketing, Les Wunderman took over the account. Along with direct marketing, Wunderman introduced innovations such as the database, the 1-800 number, the magazine subscription card, and the credit-card customer rewards program. For Columbia House he created the 12-albums for a penny postage-paid insert card, the Gold Box buried treasure Easter eggs that people could find in the advertising and redeem for free albums, in what he called “interactive” sales in a 1967 speech at M.I.T., decades before the Internet took off. It’s too bad they didn’t keep Wunderman on at least as a consultant to advise them. He’s still around, they should give him a call. Continue reading

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Autumn Rocks: The Season Kicks Off with a Fierce Foursome

The dearth of high-profile releases during the summer ends early this year, with four excellent new albums. Three of them had a fair amount of pre-release build-up to the point that I had pre-ordered the releases by Kadavar, Ghost and The Sword without having heard a note months ago. However they were all, I won’t say out-rocked, but certainly outdone on the songwriting and vocal performance by a garage punk band from Sydney, Australia.

Royal Headache – High (What’s Your Rupture?)

Royal Headache - High (What's Your Rupture?, 2015)I first heard Royal Headache on their indie self-titled debut in 2012, a scrappy, noisy, lo-fi album that seemed kind of minor at first, but grew on me. Skinny, awkward frontman Shogun really gets under your skin with his conviction and deceptively versatile voice, sounding like a young Paul Westerberg if he were influenced by gritty soul. While their early sound of soulful punk and oi has expanded to include comparisons to The Jam and other later British bands, I think even more important is the fiery passion they have reignited from the likes of countrymen The Saints and Hunters And Collectors, particularly their tortured love and heartbreak lyrics on Human Frailty (1986). More modern comparison might be Palma Violets, or Titus Andronicus, who have evolved along similar lines. However, that band kind of lost me on much of their sprawling double album, The Most Lamentable Tragedy, which contains far too much filler to qualify them as the “greatest rock band in the world” status that some have attempted to bestow them.  On Royal Headache’s second album High, they administer twice the impact, devastation and jubilance at less than third of the running time.

Like all the greatest breakup albums, it successfully balances the wrenching pain, loss and regret with flashbacks to the giddy joy of love at first flush, and all the complicated and mixed emotions between the beginning and the end. Case in point, the surprisingly laid back sounding, acoustic-driven “Carolina” which sports a hook worthy of the best Saints tunes, and a gravelly, soulful vocal performance that reminds me of Rod Stewart at his peak, back when seemingly peerless rock titans like Robert Plant and Paul Rodgers would kiss his ring on bent knees. The video successfully shows how Shogun puts in the same emotional energy into the song as their more energetic rockers, as he looks like he’s literally going to leap out of his skin. Fuckin’ great.

You don’t have to wait for that deep cut to get slayed. Opener “My Own Fantasy” draws you in with an alluring melody, an ode to the virtues of rock ‘n’ roll getting an otherwise average guy way more love action than anyone would reasonably expect. “Need You” reminds me the rush I first got hearing The Strokes back when they were cocky and had a legitimate reason to be. “High” most certainly has fans already screaming along with the chorus at live shows. “Another World” is certainly a dead ringer for The Jam, but it’s just so damn excellent, and gone at 2:22 before you know it. That’s an impressive run of songs. “Wouldn’t You Know” slows the tempo down into a slowburn, propelled by a fabulous surf guitar and bass line which reminds me of the slower tunes like “Tides Of Time” and “Mexico” on the nearly as great self-titled album by The Soft Pack in 2010. “Garbage” is the hateful, sneering apex laced with acidic, distorted guitar to invigorating affect.

“Love Her If I Tried” and “Little Star” lovingly sandwich the aforementioned highlight “Carolina” with more killer hooks and choruses, and the albums ends with the noisy, punky “Electric Shock.” No longer really a punk band, and not all that heavy, on the surface one would have thought this was the kind of indie bullshit that’s drove me into the denim ‘n’ leather clad arms of heavy psych, doom and hard rock. But if more bands could deliver the quality that High does, I’d certainly make more exceptions. Royal Headache is without a doubt worthy of the horned salute.

Kadavar – Berlin (Nuclear Blast)

Kadavar - Berlin (Nuclear Blast, 2015)My most anticipated release was by Kadavar, the German hard psych rockers who envision songs more as vehicles for awesome licks and shredding solos than emotional purging. This is no bad thing, as it sets them up for a stellar live show, which Kadavar has deservedly earned a worldwide reputation for wiping the stage with all who precede them. While their 2012 self-titled debut was plenty entertaining, the songs seemed an afterthought compared to their live reputation. They quickly followed it up with a much improved Abra Kadavar (2013), and their third sees them at the peak of their powers, with a slightly more modernized production sheen without sacrificing the warmth of their guitar tones inspired by the best pedals the 70s had to offer. One particular song that stands out is “The Old Man,” with a tricky guitar riff that captures the best kind of psych prog that I greatly miss from Witchcraft circa 2005. Kadavar’s expanded dynamic and stylistic range makes a great case for them to be considered peers with their soul-brethren from Sweden, Witchcraft and Graveyard. Can’t wait to see them!

Ghost – Meliora (Loma Vista)

Ghost - Meliora (Loma Vista, 2015)Ghost is more of a mixed bag. While they are always excellent live, and I love their first album, Opus Eponymous (2010), with their hard rock and NWOBHM influences, I liked their direction of more psych and prog on Infestissumam (2013) on principle, the results were not quite as consistent. For a while I was somehow given the impression via interviews and pre-release hype that it was going to be even more proggy which could have been interesting. Instead, their music is more simplified than ever, but with very thorough, expensive sounding production. The good news is that it sounds amazing, and it will certainly help them continue to grow their audience. “From The Pinnacle To The Pit” with it’s fuzzy lead bass and big multi-tracked choruses, and single “Cirice” are great songs to top-load the album with. The downside is I’m not sure how how many times I’ll be drawn back in, as none of the songs really transfix me with more challenging structures that take a while to grow into. But I still have tickets to see them live for the third time.

The Sword – High Country

The Sword - High Country (Razor & Tie, 2015)It’s not surprising that The Sword would take a fairly drastic change of direction over a decade into their career. They figure they can’t just shred forever, so it’s time to experiment. While there are elements of stoner rock in their early albums, this one goes for a full-on southern boogie in their simplified sound, and some out of place sounding keyboards and sequencer effects that at least sound like they could be from 1976. The production is pretty great actually, achieving a nice thick, creamy guitar sound on many tracks. Whether they are channeling ZZ Top or Clutch, there’s some good tunes, and some not so good ones. I’m not sure which is worse, their inconsistency or the fact that even the better songs are still surpassed by a number of bands that do that style better. So it’s partly a failed experiment that veers away from their guitar-centric strengths. If you can get over your initially high expectations, it can be a pretty fun, enjoyable listen in its diversity. I’m just not sure how much staying power it’ll have in my playlists, but perhaps it’ll surpass Gods of the Earth (2008) which has the opposite problem of rocking hard but is too samey and monochromatic. I’m quite certain they’ll remain a rockin’ live band.

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Sacri Monti – Sacri Monti (Tee Pee)

Sacri Monti - Sacri Monti (Tee Pee, 2015)It’s official, Tee Pee is on a roll. While last year Detroit’s Small Stone had a remarkable run of releases for such a small label, rivaled only by the UK’s Rise Above, this year is all about the New York based Tee Pee. They’ve put out some landmark releases over the decade, including Sleep’s Dopesmoker, the first Graveyard album, The Skull, Comet Control, Joy, Naam, Ancesters, Kadavar and Earthless. But in 2015 alone they’ve put out Ruby The Hatchet, Death Alley, The Atomic Bitchwax, FOGG, Mirror Queen, and next month, Carousel. Now there’s the debut from California heavy psych band Sacri Monti.

While their heavy psychedelic rock sound is technically retro, there is no one particular band that they sound like. Not quite a supergroup, the band does have some experienced veterans from the scene, particularly their rhythm section, bassist Anthony Meier of Radio Moscow and drummer Thomas Dibenedetto of JOY. I imagine they dreamed up their sound by starting with the classic 1968-72 era when psychedelic rock morphed into prog, proto-metal and hard rock (Sabbath, Purple, Zep, Crimson) and added their own quirky obsessions with particular underground rock like German kosmische along the lines of the more guitar-shredding moments of Amon Düül II and Guru Guru. along with the space rock of Hawkwind and Nektar. So we’ve got lots of shredding guitar solos, and relatively disciplined use of old school organs and zapping synths, particularly in the context of the fairly sprawling songs averaging seven minutes each.

The album kicks off with a fiery performance in “Staggered In Lies,” which I imagined has been successful in starting off live shows too, with layers of guitar riffs on top of swirling organs and intense vocals. The album builds up with two highlights in a row, the rifftastic “Glowing Grey,” and even catchier “Slipping From The Day,” with a lead guitar lick that could have come from a 1968 psych band, but with a much more insistent buzzsaw tone. It’s the song that perks my ears up the most whenever it comes on. If you crave more, it was scaled back from it’s original 12:00 long demo version. This is heavy shit, but not of course in terms of modern extreme metal standards. But it’s pretty much exactly what I love most in this kind of music, aside from the fact that their songwriting chops have yet to approach the level of, say, Graveyard. But this is a great start.

The next two cuts, “Sitting Around In A Restless Dream” and “Ancient Seas And Majesties” are solid rifforamas, but despite the epic sounding titles, not quite up to the level of the others. Interestingly, they’re both the shortest tracks at 5:05 and 5:37. The album ends with another highlight, the longest cut, the 12:01 “Sacri Monti.” A song sporting the name of your band certainly has to be something special, and it is, with a lovely chord progression that reminds of of Blues Pills’ excellent “Little Sun.” This one of course has a much longer, spacier build-up, and then focuses on a new guitar riff just before the three minute mark and some nice instrumental interplay before the vocals come in at 3:30.

While Mirror Queen and FOGG explore some somewhat similar territory (that would be an awesome triple bill!), Sacri Monti have added a new voice and twist on heavy psych that many will welcome with open arms, raised fists and eventually sold out tickets.

The Psychedelic Psummer continues! See the feature on other top psych releases for summer 2015.

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Psychedelic Psummer: Tame Impala’s Synths Vs. All the Guitars

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After listening to psych noir non-stop for over two months while working on Kaleidoscopes & Grimoires: Psych Noir, it’s time to switch it up. Life sometimes necessitates that you exhume yourself from the empty bags and bottles, turn off the Hammer horror movie, put on your shades and go out in the sun. Fortunately there’s great psychedelic music for all occasions.

It’s fitting that one of the most commercially successful psych bands released their third album on July 17, basically the peak of summer. Blueberries are abundant, fireflies are mating, and fortunately fewer people are wearing flip-flops. I consider that the greatest birthday gift of all (mine was on the 16th). One of the several times I’ve seen Tame Impala was in the scorching midday heat at Lollapalooza. That night I would see Black Sabbath, but right then, Tame Impala were the perfect band for the moment, Kevin Parker joking that his pedals were melting under the blazing sun. It’s easy to see why his music has exploded in popularity while other bands that seem on the surface quite similar, languish in underground obscurity. Parker’s key influences may be 60s psychedelia — Pink Floyd, Hendrix, more Bee Gees than Beatles and more Supertramp than Love — but he mixes in elements of shoegaze in his guitar sound with My Bloody Vaentine’s dreamy melancholy, The Flaming Lips’ cosmic explody-ness, and always a subtle undertone of sugary modern pop. Their sound continues to evolve, with debut Innerspeaker (2010) the most traditionally fuzzed out and rockin’, and adding more melody and electronic experimentation on  Lonerism (2012).

Tame Impala - Currents (Interscope, 2015)Currents features more electro pop than ever, citing Prince’s mid-80s funk with a more relaxed, languid feel.  The result has very much a 90s feel along the lines of Stereolab, The High Llamas and Super Furry Animals. The bubbling electronic flourishes evoke the whir of fans, the hum of air conditioners, ice cubes in cold drinks and lapping waves. Great summer music. I won’t lie, I would never choose electronica over intoxicating guitar playing with well executed reverb and fuzz, and points are docked on this album for putting that on the backburner. It’s as if he’s self-conscious about being perceived as pushing forward. But the synths don’t really do anything to change the basic creativity and structure of the songs, only the texture. And really dude, synths go back just as far as guitar distortion and effects pedals. They are no more modern. The one positive change in the production is they have finally escaped the clutches of Dave Fridmann’s overblown blown-out mixing work that has messed many a band up. Continue reading

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Kaleidoscopes & Grimoires: Psych Noir

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With hindsight it seems even long before rock music existed, it was destiny for the occult, mysticism, and mythological underworlds from the dark side of human nature and imagination, to become closely tied with particular types of music. Certainly not just any type of music. Orpheus’ journey to Hades would not be served well by a soundtrack of bubbly Calypso or synth pop. But music by Jex Thoth, The Devil’s Blood, Blood Ceremony, Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats, Dead Skeletons, Jess and the Ancient Ones, Ghost, Mansion, Lola Colt and Lucifer? Yes, that would work nicely.

What’s surprising is that it took so long for a significant collection of artists to focus on consistently dark subject matter.  It wasn’t until the past eight years that what I consider psych noir really took off. While occult rock is the most commonly used descriptor, I feel it is inadequate, because the majority of the bands are not serious practitioners of the occult, mysticism, black magick or Satanism. The occult is simply one of many themes in their lyrics that match up with the dark, psychedelic atmospherics of their music, just like doom is only a minor element of only some of the bands. While I don’t know if anyone else is ever going to use it, I think psych noir is the perfect descriptor, if not genre name. Just like how there is disagreement among scholars whether “film noir” is a legitimate genre, or a “style,” or just a “cycle,” “phenomenon,” “mood” or “series.” Either way, it’s a useful way to address a diverse body of work that shares a disposition and group of elements without having to share every element. Just as not every film noir movie has a femme fatale or a hard boiled detective, not every psych noir band references the occult, witchcraft or hails Satan.

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Often the domain of the edges of pop culture in pulp fiction and comics, film most consistently covered this throughout the 20th century, from German Expressionist cinema to London’s Hammer Film Productions starting in 1935, cult B-movies, and eventually mainstream Hollywood with Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby (1968). The Wicker Man (1973) starring Christopher Lee was one of the more evocative representations of mystical horror and dread. Music, however, lagged behind, with only a handful of artists sporadically dabbling in the dark side. Jim Morrison’s poetic flights into Dionysian bacchanalia and lizard king self-mythologizing with The Doors seem pretty bubblegum tame today, but in 1966-67, it really freaked people out. While it seemed any subject matter could be explored in movies, people took music more personally, and many took rockers’ exploration of frightening subjects seriously and often literally. Many truly believe that The Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy With The Devil” truly brought on the tragic events at Altamont in 1969. The acid-crazed dark psychedelia of The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown (1968) was at the time all about showmanship, with masks and flaming heads. But fans took the lyrics so seriously that they sought Arthur Brown out for spiritual guidance. He ended up taking more serious interests in occult spirituality and explored it with his band Kingdom Come.

Meanwhile, a flip side of San Francisco’s largely peace and love oriented psychedelic scene was the stark, black and white negative imagery of The Velvet Underground, addressing drug addiction, S&M, death and murder with Lou Reed’s somewhat dispassionate thousand-yard lizard gaze. While they would not have considered themselves psychedelic, moments in their first two albums certainly were, and would become essential DNA for a musical foundation supporting many bands in the future. Continue reading

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Goatsnake – Black Age Blues (Southern Lord)

Goatsnake - Black Age Blues (Southern Lord, 2015)I can’t believe it’s been over 10 years since I was mourning the breakup of Goatsnake. Time flies man, and now they’re back. In addition to creating one of the all-time classics of stoner doom, Flower Of Disease (2000), the band is a really interesting focal point in the genre’s history. After The Obsessed broke up in 1996, the rhythm section (Guy Pinhas and Greg Rogers) joined forces with Greg Anderson of Seattle noisy proto-post-rock band Engine Kid and doomsters Burning Witch, (soon to also lead Sunn O)))) and singer Pete Stahl from hardcore band Scream, who’s drummer was Dave Grohl, and a desert session regular. That was a uncertain time for fans of the likes of Kyuss, who were broken up, and Sleep, who finished their masterpiece Dopesmoker the previous year, but their label rejected it twice, were soon to break up in frustration. Continue reading

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Anticipated Albums 2015

witchcraft-and-graveyard

After the late spring avalanche of great new releases last week, things are slowing down for the summer. It’s a good time to take stock of what we have to look forward to. Regular visitors to my Lists section will see that I keep an Upcoming Releases section at the bottom. Albums only make that when they get a title and official release date. For the most part, there are no titles and dates announced yet for these bands, though most have confirmed on Facebook and other venues that they are at some stage of recording, mixing or mastering. I’ll note which ones have been quiet and are included just for hopeful/wishful thinking. The Spotify playlist includes the most recent releases of the bands I’m obsessed with. Continue reading

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Ceremony – The L-Shaped Man (Matador)

Ceremony - The L-Shaped Man (Matador, 2015)When they formed in 2005, the Bay Area-based Ceremony were a hardcore punk band. After three albums, they did a 180 with Zoo (2012), which explored 80s-era British post-punk and even a bit of jangly indie rock and new wave. This intrigued some old fans and perplexed most, but also brought new ones on board like myself. If the band intentionally named themselves after the song that bridged the transition from Joy Division to New Order, this is most likely a return to the band’s earliest influences. There are actually not that many bands currently taking on such a muscular approach to the genre (Beastmilk/Grave Pleasures, Dark Blue, RA), which makes this an even more welcome addition to the post-punk family. Continue reading

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Thee Oh Sees – Mutilator Defeated At Last (Castle Face)

Thee Oh Sees - Mutilator Defeated At Last (Castle Face, 2015)Back in 1992-93, I used to love this band called Th’ Faith Healers. I felt like I could listen to their mix of Can/Neu! worshipping motorik rhythms and fuzzy garage psych forever. Sadly they broke up pretty quickly, and a couple members carried on as Quickspace a few more years, but it wasn’t the same, and then it was over. That all happened in the UK, and I never got to see that band live. Meanwhile in the U.S., John Dwyer was graduating from high school just as that band got rolling. By the end of the decade, he had migrated from Providence, R.I. to San Francisco, and became active in a million bands. It wasn’t until his “family” band Thee Oh Sees’ ninth album Putrifiers II (2012) that I realized it’s kind of a musical reincarnation of Th’ Faith Healers, but far more prolific, and an extra “e” to spare. Songs like “Wax Face” and “Lupine Dominus” grabbed my attention, and “No Spell” sealed the deal for me from Floating Coffin (2013). The motorik psych fuzz is back! Continue reading

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