The picture above is a still from WILD ZERO, the greatest rock and roll movie ever made. This film has everything
any one could ever ask for in a movie: wild rock music, guns, zombies, undying teenage love and GUITAR WOLF!!!
A PSYCHOZOIC BESTIARY
SOME BANDS WHO WANT TO BORROW YOUR MIND
With so much older music featured on the site, it's always fun to run down a list of the newer bands
and artists that I've discovered recently. Since my taste in contemporary music tends to run more towards the neo-psychedelic
end of the spectrum, most of these groups are esoteric and trippy in some way, though not necessarily in a stereotypically
sixties-reverent way. What some of you have already noted as my "problematic" relationship with black metal continues, now
manifested in my interest in the totally singular, sometimes great, Dead Raven Choir. Follow the links to get loud with the
now crowd, baby!
JESSE SYKES AND THE SWEET HEREAFTER - Gorgeous and spare dream music featuring the lovely voice heard on the recent
SUNN 0)) / BORIS album, Altar. This is what country music must sound like on the moon.
The biggest news in my music-centric universe for the Summer is that Terrastock, North America's leading festival for Neo-Psychedelic
Bliss and Psychotronic Mayhem, is coming to my hometown this month! From June 19-22, Terrastock will be held at the Melwood
Art Center in Louisville, KY. The Line-up is a veritable who's-who of the current Psychedelic Underground: Plastic Crimewave
Sound, Damon and Naomi, Makoto Kawabata (of Acid Mothers Temple,) Wooden Shjips. Oneida, MV + EE, Bardo Pond and many, many
others. June 22 will even see a reunion of seventies psychedelic proto-punkers Simply Saucer.
As for your humble web-host, I'll be looking most forward to Saturday, when WOODEN SHJIPS will play. Although the whole roster
this year is as impressive as hell, these guys are still my current favorites, and I can't wait to see them live!
...but KAWABATA MAKOTO, whose performance closes the festival on Sunday night, is sure to be a mindblower as well!
Word has it that SIMPLY SAUCER might be a huge disappointment. After all, it has been a long time since their 1970's heyday.
Still, their old stuff rules, and I'd feel like a complete chump if they put on a great show and I missed it. See ya there!
PURE POP FOR THEN PEOPLE
More Used Record Reviews
all underlined items are links to video, audio and / or further info:
The 1988 album on which this much revered French Canadian band outgrew its thrash metal roots and began to develop its own
voice. Outside of a few obvious riffs, this is scarcely metal at all. Spiney, twisted and violent, this music owes much to
the then-current european Anarcho-punk sound, albiet run through the conceptual blender of Voivod's own unique sonic vision
of techno-social collapse. The bass sound is huge, the drums almost tribal (as per a tribe of cannibal pigmies living inside
your trash compactor.) The lead guitar rattles like a rusty chain. Voivod would eventually smooth down some of their rough
edges, but here they were still as raw as a chewed up scab.
Like most Voivod albums, this one is an impenetrable science fiction concept album, concerning the futuristic adventures
of an alien called - surprise! - Voivod. This is not, however, the streamlined future fable typical of the prog rock, sci
fi genre. This is a dystopian universe, teetering on the brink of the final calamity, infested with malignant technologies
that scurry across the darkened cosmos like a horde of mechanized cockroaches. An utterly black, utterly essential vision.
Although I've loved all the Decemberists' albums, this one remains a sentimental favorite. A little rougher around the edges
than their later work - Colin Malloy has had A LOT of vocal coaching since this was recorded - but possessed of a stately
melancholy that really hits on an emotional level.
This group's debut album, SEVEN CHURCHES, is supposed to be a cornerstone of what would eventually become
black metal - form your expectations accordingly. This is their other album, from 1987. Combat Records invested a lot of money
in the record's elaborate packaging, but they should have saved their jack and hired a better producer. Not that even the
best production would have elevated this tepid trash above the realm of the generic. Par-for-the-course, Satanic lyrics strive
to create a horrific atmosphere, but it's hard to be very scary when the band sounds like a Slayer cover band rocking a carshow,
the demons on the cover look like calamari and there's a picture of the band posing with somebody's mom on the inner sleeve.
The guitarist here is none other than Larry LaLonde, later of Primus.
This 1998 album, the last stand for this seminal but often problematic grunge band, seems more of a lost Smashing Pumpkins
album than a proper Hole LP. Billy Corgan seems to have taken a much larger role in the proceedings than has been acknowledged,
and obviously coached Ms. love a great deal, as she sounds like his stand-in most of the time. If you have ever wished the
Pumpkins had stuck to a hard rock sound, or hadn't become so arty after ADORE, this one has "you" written all over
"Runnin' For Your Lovin" is the
first track from the 1977 album,
Right On Time by the Brothers
Johnson. The rest of the album is a bit tepid to my ears, but man - isn't this song just a perfect slice of Quincy Jones-produced,
smooth-as-glass 70's soul?
One of the Melvins' "wierd" albums. These songs largely eschews the band's usual heavy riffing for whispery, quiet
arrangments that build tension without the expected heavy metal catharsis. the Melvins album to play at your next midnight
seance, or virgin sacrifice soirée.
A better album than its pedigree would suggest. As of 1973, most of the real talent had either left Fleetwood Mac or hadn't
become involved yet. De facto leader Bob Welch was still an embryonic talent whose best work lay well ahead of him, as was
Christine McVie, who had yet to disinguish herself to the degree she would on later Mac albums. What a surprise then that
Mystery to Me isn't half bad. A collection of tunes that run the gamut from balladry to inspired, if typical, seventies
guitar rock to accomplished fake jazz. Much of this suffers in comparison when the modern listen reflects on a) how much better
Fleetwood Mac was up until Danny Kirwin was fired and b) how much better Fleetwood Mac would soon be with the departure of
Bob Welch and the introduction of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. This does not. however, detract from the inventive
drive of such tracks as the classic "Hypnotized (see video link above.)"
This 1979 collection of atmospheric ballads and disco torch songs is certainly Chic’s finest moment. It serves, simultaneously,
as a farewell to the disco era and as a signpost to the musical trends and revolutions of the 1980’s. Even if one ignores
most of this record and considers only the hit, “Good Times,” Risque’s importance and lasting influence
on rap, neo-soul and pop is obvious.
By ’79, Chic were disco only because no one knew what else to call them. Their slick, frictionless
grooves had far less in common with the sweatier dance floor funk of groups like the Traamps than with the smooth, industrial
precision of seventies Krautrock, ala Neu!, Harmonia and Kraftwerk. Journalist Paul Lester once called Chic’s sound
that of “glass mountains on fire,” an image I’ve always found fitting, as it acknowledges both the smoldering,
emotional quality of the band’s music, along with its cool, studio perfection. It’s a shame so few at the time
could appreciate what Chic was really up – at least not enough to keep them around after fad disco went down at the
dawn of the 80’s. That Chic was tossed in the same dustbin as Lipps Inc. is unjust and infuriating.