Dead Man’s Family

15 Jun

Been thinking hard about two bands tonight. They be FAMILY and DEAD MAN.


FAMILY were bitterly curdled prog/bluesrock hippies from Leicester (never been there myself, but if it sounds like this I wanna go!). They started up in the late 60’s, throwing folk, jazz, blues, R&B, outerspace etc. together in a schizo way that spelled ART to some. But hey, these boys usually sought fit to eventually bash it all home in that grand early Brit hard rock tradition – so I stand right there with em, all the way down. And singer Roger Chapman’s voice . . . DAMN . . . that was some HEAVY SOUL CUSTARD for ya! Their records always slathered him on THICK, so your ears were like DRIPPING with it. Gooey good fun, that.

The early recs sound kinda like TRAFFIC/BLIND FAITH with Arthur Brown hollering over the top of them; the middle-period recs, like FREE tearing through the STEELY DAN catalogue; and the later daze nuthin’ so much as good ol’ FAMILY – of the crazyuncle/pervgranpa variety – on their first flight TO THE MOON. In other words: beyond words. In my alternate universe, it’s THIS stuff that corporate twats are pissing themselves silly to license for stupid MINI cars ads or whathaveyou.

I’d recommend the Family Entertainment LP for those with freshly-stamped UK tourist visas, Bandstand for miserable Sunday afternoons crusin’ the 99p shops around the Hounslow High St., and Fearless for catwalking that damp, musty, 6 ft. wide tunnel connecting Greenwich with the Isle of Dogs. Yikes!

(On a personal note: I once sold the first 3 or so FAMILY LPs to somebody named THURSTON MOORE out of a record store I used to manage in Hollywood in the 90’s. When he asked me what they sounded like, I had to fess up: “they rock pretty good but like with THE FLESH EATERS you gotta be up for dealing with a difficult singer.” Now, you can argue all you want but I’ll always swear that next Sonic Youth LP – A Thousand Leaves – hadda a distinctly FAMILY-esque vibe.)

FAMILY – “Lives and Ladies” from Anyway (Reprise Records, 1970)

But then there’s DEAD MAN.

Dead Man

DEAD MAN are kids from Sweden who kinda sorta actually look like FAMILY. They released their first, self-titled full-length in 2006 – it’s great through and through, all the way to the end. Plus: it kinda sorta sounds like FAMILY. Which is really weird. Since, clearly, this is the first record ever to be released by human beings on Planet Earth that strives to kinda sorta sound like FAMILY. I realize it’s not as twistedly tweaked as Roger Chapman & Co., and that there’s also a QUICKSILVER MS influence to be found – and maybe a bit of THE GROUNDHOGS – in the mix too. But hey give em time, they’re young. That FAMILY schizo thing is in there deep, undeniably. And there’s CUSTARD coating this Swede’s voice, too! This is a monumentous occasion, me thinks.

Dead Man – “Mumbo Jumbo” from Dead Man (Crusher Records, 2006)


9 Responses to “Dead Man’s Family”

  1. Dave Lang June 16, 2007 at 12:44 am #

    How the hell did you stumble across Dead Man? Family are a band I’ve had in the back of my mind to check out one day before I drop dead… and I guess I just have. Nice stuff indeed.

  2. mrowster June 16, 2007 at 6:54 am #

    We’ll I’m pretty sure it was something EDDIE FLOWERS once wrote that got me to take FAMILY seriously . . . but where I first heard about DEAD MAN, I can’t recall. Maybe it was on the Aquarius Records website?

  3. Lisa B-K July 17, 2007 at 1:38 am #

    Since, clearly, this is the first record ever to be released by human beings on Planet Earth that strives to kinda sorta sound like FAMILY.

    Dead Man! We played them a bit on our Scandinavian-only radio show back in the day (the day being last year). How cool.

    Speaking of Aquarius, have you heard the Elope CDs?

  4. mrowster July 17, 2007 at 6:12 am #

    I’ve got that split BACKBITER/ELOPE CD, but that’s more cause I used to chat alot to the main BACKBITERER in a store I once worked at in Hollywood. He was cool.

    I dug the ELOPE stuff on that CD though. They’ve got lots of stuff out on Gravitation, don’t they? I should check em out – thanks.

    Oh and I just checked out Aquarius Records re: ELOPE. Ha! They’ve gone and compared em to “the quieter, acoustic side of heavy British ’70s rockers Budgie.” I love it!

  5. Lisa B-K July 17, 2007 at 1:36 pm #

    I love the three Elope full-lengths. The last two records were supposed to come out simultaneously (or nearly so) but something went wrong (don’t it always) and they came out nearly a year apart. I keep hoping for a tour. The folks at Aquarius dig them big and have done a lot toward getting the word out – they’re thanked on the most recent Elope release!

    I have to ask – have you heard either Black Bonzo record? Or the old Union Carbide Productions stuff? Or… Motorpsycho?

  6. mrowster July 17, 2007 at 4:53 pm #

    Well I’m familiar with UNION CARBIDE PROD. from my university daze (though I totally prefer TSOOL). Those others are just funny names to me.

    I do know about WITCHCRAFT though. And THE HELLACOPTERS. And KIM FOWLEY’s early 70’s Swedish sojourn. But that is all.

  7. Lisa B-K July 17, 2007 at 5:30 pm #

    Oh, dear.

    Well, I recommend Motorpsycho – they’re Norwegian and have released, I don’t know, 10 records? More than that? All great. ALL GREAT. I’m partial to It’s a Love Cult, but it’s all good. Er, ALL GREAT.

    Black Bonzo are sort of like Dead Man, a little. Black Bonzo’s got a little more of the theatre to ’em. They were recommended to us by Mattias of TSOOL, so there you go. Word on the street is that the new record isn’t quite as crazy, but is still recognizably Black Bonzo.

    Just go here – this guy knows just about everything there is to know about music coming out of Scandinavia.

  8. mrowster July 17, 2007 at 5:55 pm #

    Crazy. I’m gonna haveta go a-trollin’ the almightly web for Swede sounds later this eve.

    Oh! And I’ve got that DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH CD. That one’s good in a sticky sweet pop way.

  9. Lisa B-K July 17, 2007 at 6:17 pm #

    Dude. Jim knows what he’s talking about – I live it every day, since I live with him and all.

    If you don’t mind pop genius, I also recommend Bear Quartet. They’ve written some of the most beautiful songs with some of the funniest lyrics (“Fuck your slow songs/and while you’re at it fuck the fast ones too”).

    One more website – It’s a Trap! I don’t think you can purchase music there, though.

    Well! I’ll shut up now! Happy trolling!

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