Posts filed under ‘4 stars’

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Definitely Contenders…

black rebel motorcycle club check it on iTunes and Amazon

So Radiohead and Jet get together and head out to a bar. A dark, dirty, nasty townie bar where one glance at the wrong guy could get a bottle smashed on your face. The kind of place where the 50 year old waitress that’s been working there since she dropped out of high school is just far too thick to pull off that mini skirt – but it’s not stopping her. The boys have a few rounds (warm, domestic and cheap from glasses that have never seen soap) and then make their way to the door and head off to a U2 show in at some massive arena in the city. Sound far-fetched? It is. It’s also a fine metaphor for “Black Rebel Motorcycle Club” (BRMC.)

Taking notes from bands like the Sonics and MC5, BRMC are striving to bring a raw energy and an unapologetic dirty attitude to their sound. In fact it’s so dirty that when they move the vibe to half-time it’s just downright raunchy. Combine that with a sometimes more emotionally hyper-produced Radiohead vibe (sometimes resulting in sound layers only dog could hear) and the ability to push – but not break the bounds of marketability and it seems clear that if you haven’t heard of BRMC, you will.

Aside from the production work, Peter Hay’s vocals are the biggest standout on this album. Continuing the band’s theme of intriguing combinations, Peter’s vocals are simultaneously polished enough for top 40, emotionally deep enough to make the young girls swoon, and have just enough rasp to lend credibility to the blues/punk core of the BRMC theme.

How do you combine punk inspired self-destruction with a truck load of moody ambiance and enough hooks to not frighten the kids? After 5 albums and 10 years on the road Black Rebel Motorcycle Club seems to have figured it out.

Advertisements

May 21, 2010 at 4:27 pm Leave a comment

A.K.A. Simply Cool…

a.k.a.c.o.d cover buy it on iTunes | check it on CDBaby

I start this post with a very special thanks to Ryan Spalding (primary contributor to “Ryan’s Smashing Life”, a larger and much more professional and prolific music blog than my own.) Ryan is an acquaintance who thankfully passed some free tickets to my wife and I for the recent ‘Mission of Burma’ show at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston. We got there in plenty of time to catch the opening band, and honestly had no idea what to expect. What we got was no less than amazing (!) – allow me to poorly set the musical scene…

Without warning we were wrapped in a sultry, snaking bass line that floated through the crowd like winding chains of smoke.  Positioned on top of this wonderfully thick blanket of rhythm were the unmistakable tones of a baritone sax – in fact, they were the absolutely unmistakable tones of Mr. Dana Colley of ‘Morphine’ fame.

Providing not only the bass but the vocal melodies for this dark and smoldering concoction were the unmistakable vocal talents of MS. Monique Ortiz – her voice blending seamlessly in moody melancholy with the long, low moaning of Dana’s saxophone.

Seated solidly at the core of these strangely primal sounds – now permeating every pore of all those in attendance – is Mr. Larry Dersch. Larry’s percussion is expertly delivered, acting almost as an ever throbbing EKG for the entire performance.

Was this gripping combination of talent some strange coincidence? Some unexplained happenstance? Absolutely not. This is the group known as A.K.A.C.O.D.

Starting slowly with moody, provocative tones they progressed evenly through the set ramping up to some very aggressive – simply angry – pound against the walls – rip the chains from your wrists tunes that had everyone in attendance helplessly bobbing their heads and riding on an rhythmic waves of distorted bliss.

There were only 2 questions I had after the performance… (1) How the hell does Dana get those sounds to come out of that sax? And (2) How quickly could I get to the merch table to get a CD.

If you dig Morphine – if you dig PJ Harvey – and if you ever wondered what those two great tastes would taste like together. You MUST see these guys live. 

June 26, 2008 at 8:06 pm Leave a comment

The Forms – Get on Board Before They Leave Without You

The short review… Go buy this album before they go big and you can’t get any credit for the discovery. This album is good – and as these guys really start refining their style – the next  one is only going to be better.

The Forms Album Image  – Check out “The Forms” on MySpace –

Stand-out tracks: 

1. “Bones” – Fantastic Tune!! Can’t say enough about it. Best track on the album and I never get tired of it.
2. “Oberlin” – Has top 40 written all over it.
3. “Transmission” – an excellent example of The Forms’ talent for overlaying and mixing harmonies and textural elements to create a wave that just carries you along. The best part is, you never stop to think about where you’re going, you just enjoy the ride.

The longer form… Are you bored with the typical 4/4 time signature? Do you like the simple elegance and general vibe of Coldplay but wish Chris Martin had more balls? Do you enjoy complex rhythmic harmonies that take you on an almost rapturous journey? Then you need to check out “The Forms.”

Woven vocal melodies, synthesized atmospherics, driving piano and the occasional dirty guitar all punched with an almost tantric rhythm section, The Forms craft a unique and surprisingly purposeful sound.

I’ve been killing myself trying to come up with a creative way to describe this very atmospheric yet decidedly indie-rock based sound and the best I can come up with is – it almost feels like a 30 minute ride on a huge velvet tapestry. (An admittedly hokie description perhaps – but also true.) The Forms sound is warm and inviting; truly comfortable and oddly transportive.

My only cautionary words about this album would be – slightly repetitive. While The Forms are definitely doing interesting things with rhythm, and even more with vocals and harmony, some of their same techniques appear again and again from track to track. This leads to a similarity that might even cause you to periodically ask yourself, “haven’t I heard this song before? …No.” You’ll quickly reply to yourself and continue enjoying the music.

It’s certainly not bad enough for me to recommend against the album – more a cautionary word for the band. These guys are quite talented and have a significant future in front of them – in fact, I’m surprised they haven’t already gained significant main-stream success.

Go get the album and get in on the ground floor before these guys hit the big time and you’re just another wanna-be trying to get on the band wagon! 

 

May 12, 2008 at 7:33 pm Leave a comment


Found a new group or want to suggest a review topic? Please send an email to (germango@germango.net) with your suggestion. Would love to hear from you!

Categories

Feeds

Friends

Check out Ryan's Smashing Life -- Ryan Spalding's Real Music Blog -- Great Stuff!