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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.

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

Super Furry Animals got Teeth …

superfurry.com

superfurry.com

Ok – so let’s start with the name… “Super Furry Animals”  How great is that! For me that’s right up there with other great band names like “Gay Wookie” (a friend of mine came up with that years ago and it has since remained in my top 5 all time favorite band names.)

Now on to the album – “Songbook Vol. 1” to be specific, created by “Super Furry” a.k.a “The Furries” a.k.a “SFA” was released on 1/25/2005. The band has been around since 1993 and has a record catalog of some 12’ish albums and has a serious cult following. I chose Songbook Vol. 1 as my jumping off point into SFA land for no good reason – but I’m damn glad I did.

There is absolutely no shortage of musical influences on this album. I mean you can find everything on here. Psychedelic, Hippie-rock, Techno, House, Folk, Classic-rock,  Jazz, Pop, Power-Pop, Brit-Pop, New-wave, Punk, Funk, and everything in between. And that’s not just across the whole of the album – that might just be in one song! Now that may sound frightening – and to be honest at first listen it can be. However, once you surrender yourself to what SFA is trying to do, what they’re trying to say, and the massive challenge of blending all these styles and influences, you find yourself almost rooting for them to succeed.

Let’s face it – it is not easy to bring all these styles together into something that someone would want to listen to – let alone enjoy. But somehow they do it.  They really do. And listening to them actually pull it off just makes you happy. There is a lot of ground being covered by this band, and a lot of it is covered with Seussian trees, multi-colored waterfalls, and rivers of mathmos. Still scared? Maybe you should be, but you should also give it a listen. It may not be for you, but you’ve just gotta respect the effort.

If I had to sum up the whole experience, I’d have to say it’s kinda like ‘Three Dog Night’ threw a house party, invited ‘Steriolab’ and ‘The Chemical Brothers’, and they all dropped some acid and spent the evening listening to the Jesus Christ Superstar Soundtrack while writing a new album. Now how intrigued are you…

January 10, 2009 at 4:44 pm 2 comments

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


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!

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