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Imminent Rocking

30 Aug

5 great bands promising us new recordings before this year’s up. I can’t wait.

1. COBRA VERDE – These near alt.biggies haven’t released anything substantial since their Copycat Killers CD 3 years ago, hands down the most entertaining record ever to feature a cover versions of both PINK and EASTER MONKEYS songs. I love their Brian Ferryesque style & wit, but even if you don’t, you can always spend hours ogling the formidable midwestern punker donkeykick driving the whole shebang. They’ve managed to keep me smiling through some pretty shitty days over the past decade, and for this I thank em dearly. If only all the world was as glamourous as a COBRA VERDE song . . .

2. PRISONSHAKE – Saw these guys blow MY DAD IS DEAD away in Chicago back in ’91; they were totally commanding, hitting me like Jim Shepard’s VERTICAL SLIT reinventing THE ROLLING STONES catalogue. Afterward, I chatted with the drummer? bassist? (the one in the thick bottle glasses), who kindly floated me a cassette demo of what became their Della Street EP. This I listened to on my car stereo for years after. I always intended to check em out again, though never did; but with a double-LP due out this month, now seems to be a great time to do so. Go check out their smart and funny blogspot; along with the COBRA VERDE release, this one’s coming out on Scat Records.

3. ELOPE – Oh fuck yeah! The best band going from Ingmar Bergman country, they’ve apparently completed a fourth long player. Their first 3 receive tons of airtime on my I-Pod: the harsh, NEIL YOUNGish eclectic poprock of their S/T first, the uncannily STEVE HOWE & BODAST-like, psych-into-prog rocking of 3WD, not to mention the hangover haze of last year’s 9 Distilled Dreams. If there’s one band I’ve like to see do it live tonight, it’s these still-young men. Wanna hear who’s keeping 60’s-informed rock living and breathing in 2008? Point your ear horn here.

4. BACKBITER – Head BACKBITER Jonathan Hall (ex-PORNO SPONGES, ex-TEXORCIST) has been toiling away in backalley Hollywood shadows for far too long now. His Roky Erickson scream is still intact 20+ years on, and he’s somehow kept one of my favorite LA drummers (Bob Lee, ex-CRAWLSPACE, ex-CLAW HAMMER, ex-FEARLESS LEADER, etc) at his side for near as long. Their new stuff is more varied and rootsy than they’ve ever attempted before – mandolin now figures prominently! This is exciting news, as they’re clearly capable of reaching beyond the 60’s garage-influenced, heavy rock terrain they perfected a dozen or so years ago. Wish em luck finding a worthy label – one day soon you’ll be able to get it from them direct.

5. UNORTHODOX – The best early 90’s Maryland/DC doom band that didn’t feature Wino. Man, it must’ve been tough to keep your rocking original in the shadow of the almighty OBSESSED . . . but the two releases these guys once put out on Hellhound Records (Asylum and especially Balance of Power) were so confident with their mid-tempo, ever-shifting melody/riff approach that they floated out onto a beautiful, heavyass plane all by themselves. Dale Flood is an amazing lead player, great lyricist, and powerful singer to boot. Since their return in 2004 they’ve kept a relatively low profile but there’s a new CD coming soon on The Church Within Records. My god, how these metal lifers maintain even the smallest bit of sanity amidst all the extreme volume/hair/headbanging is beyond me.

Photo above of the recently-refurbished Record Plant in LA (where none of these bands will ever record) courtesy of none other than Ed Colver

This One Goes Up To Eleven: Top Rockin’ Releases of 2007

5 Jan

Fatso Inside

2007: yeah not a bad year at all in which to have lost just a little more of my precious hearing. Here’s hoping I stumble upon another 11 this worthy in 2008!

01. THE HIDDEN HANDThe Resurrection of Whiskey Foote (Southern Lord Records): Wino & co. dug deeeeeep into their Confederate roots to pull out a heavy rock odyssey of Homeric proportions. Though this band may be dust, it’s a heady epitaph they’ve left us with.

02. ELOPE9 Distilled Dreams (Gravitation Records): Hot tip from the folks at WORDY DIVA. Just gorgeous, long-gone stoner ballads from this otherwise hard-rockin’ Swedish trio, who gotta be the best songwriters amongst the current crop of bearded, bell-bottomed Scandinavian bands going. THE SOUNDTRACK OF OUR LIVES included.

03. AGNES STRANGEStrange Flavour (Rev-Ola): ’07 reissue of a great, lost ’76 UK private press. What STATUS QUO woulda sounded like doing a HAWKWIND/PINK FAIRIES tribute rec! The perfect soundtrack for walking up endless flights of piss-stained stairs in the bit of council-estate West London I spend so many of my waking hours.

04. GREG GINN & THE TAYLOR TEXAS CORRUGATORSBent Edge (SST Records): 70 minutes of ornery, cantankerous walkin’ blues/jazz instrumentals from a man whose name was once synonymous with suburban hardcore punk. A personal reinvention via gtr if ever there was one.

05. BRANT BJORK & THE BROSSomera Sól (Duna Records): Desert monstergroove merchants now turbo-fueled by drummer Alfredo Hernandez. For me, BBB beats QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE every day of the week.

06. FATSO JETSONLive (Cobraside): Best damn hard blues rock band EVER made up of martians posing as overweight humans beings. And finally caught live, with every alien tongue a-lolling. Note: the gatefold LP inner photo (showing off their very personal music shrine) has gotta be the only one on the planet to feature SACCHARINE TRUST’s Worldbroken LP. Yeah!

07. PAT TODD & THE RANKOUTSIDERSOutskirts of Your Heart (Rankoutsider Records): Pat finally put his LAZY COWGIRLS to rest for good, only to come up with the best damn platter (a double CD) of his howlin’ career. Country & Western the way it ought to be played – i.e., with a pint of whiskey in it’s belly and rocked out as if by THE RAMONES. Yikes it’s hot hot hot.

08. STINKING LIZAVETAScream of the Iron Iconoclast (Monotreme Records): The most powerful instrumental doom-jazz trio on the planet today, an utterly gone live experience, and a Philly cultural institution. Better believe this is all steak, and no cheese.

09. GEORGE BRIGMANRags in Skull (Bona Fide Records): I don’t care if this “shoulda been better” – it’s the first new George B. rec in like 2 decades! I’ll take him any way he wants to deliver. Here, the tunes are good and he’s still singing with that bitchen baritone-Zappa voice and playing with that wild Tony McPhee-gtr tone of his. Maryland oughta be proud of this guy’s bedroom prog/blues peculiarisms.

10. MOUNTAINMasters of War (Megaforce): Hot tip from RAY’S REALM. The best heavy rock n roll gtr/voice jumbo combo platter of all time, Mr. Leslie West, returns to shoot life up the backside of a dozen of Mr. Bob Dylan’s tunes. And hey if Dylan was good enuf for THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE, THE 13TH FLOOR ELEVATORS and freakin’ NAZARETH, well then: he’s AOK in my book too! Esp. cool is Leslie’s heavyass rock take on “Mr. Tambourine Man” – amazing, as I betcha this guy worked up genteel, folk-rock versions of some of these very same tunes in the mid-60’s with his first band, THE VAGRANTS. A 1000 times greater a listening experience than you’d ever imagined this boomer could come up with so late in the game.

11. GENTLEMANS PISTOLSGentlemans Pistols (Rise Above Records): Boy did I ever listen to alot of blues-based rock in ’07. And straight forward, UK hard boogie-blues shufflin’ you may think this to be, but their sledge hammer delivery sends this into the cheap seats every goddamn spin – and brings me crawling back on my belly like a kingsnake, day after day. Shit, the singer even attempts to revive the ghost of SAVOY BROWN’s Chris Youlden – like it was cool to do so! Precisely what this fair island needs to get it’s musical shit back on the right track for 2008.