Every day, our 1000 best albums of all time countdown continues all the way to #1. Monday’s album was #526:
The JPT Scare Band – Past Is Prologue
Legendary in the midwest, the Kansas City power trio of drummer Jeff Littrell, bassist Paul Grigsby and guitarist Terry Swope recorded most of this between 1973 and 1975. While none of these tracks were officially released until 2001, the band was a cult favorite of the “cassette underground” for years. The opening track here, Burn In Hell, a forest of tense, flanged minor chords, was actually recorded that year and shows that the band was keeping up with the times. But it’s the old stuff that’s the most riveting: Sleeping Sickness, practically fourteen minutes of virtuoso Texas blues with metal flourishes, ten years before Stevie Ray Vaughan mastered the art; the wildly Hendrix-inspired proto-noiserock of I’ve Been Waiting and Time to Cry (which clocks in at a modest 12:59); Jerry’s Blues, which sounds a lot more like Jimi than the Dead; and the riff-rocking psychedelia of Titan’s Sirens. Recently reunited, the band played their first show in thirty years earlier this summer and are reputedly as scary as ever. Most of the tracks are streaming at myspace (without ads, happily); here’s a random torrent via Cavites Pride. The album, along with the equally good, bizarrely titled Acid Blues Is the White Man’s Burden, is also still available from Ripple Music.
August 23, 2011 Posted by delarue | lists, Music, music, concert, rock music | best albums, best albums all time, best albums alltime, best albums ever, best albums list, best albums lucid culture, best music, best music ever, best obscure albums, best obscure albums all time, best obscure albums alltime, best obscure albums ever, best rock albums, best rock albums all time, best rock albums alltime, best rock albums ever, best underrated albums, greatest albums all time, greatest albums alltime, greatest albums ever, greatest obscure albums, greatest rock albums all time, greatest rock albums alltime, greatest rock albums ever, hard rock, heavy metal, jeff littrell, jpt scare band, metal music, most underrated albums, most underrated albums all time, Music, paul grigsby, power trio, proto metal, psychedelia, psychedelic music, psychedelic rock, terry swope, top albums all time, top albums alltime, top albums ever | Leave a comment
In this age of independent music, do we really need labels at all? If you want to sell more than downloads and unload physical product in a country where you don’t live, or probably won’t be visiting soon, a label can be useful. And good branding never hurts – Norton does garage rock; Tzadik does every shade of klezmer and sometimes the Middle East; and Ripple Music have carved themselves a niche as purveyors of tasty, retro 70s stoner rock. Considering how much great stuff these guys have put out over the last year, the answer’s yes, these guys actually fill a need, unlike the parasitic corporate labels.
Ripple Music went for cred right off the bat by signing Poobah, whose 1972 proto-metal classic Let Me In they reissued last year. And they wasted no time scoring midwestern acid rock cult favorites the JPT Scare Band, who just played their first gig in 35 years if you can believe it. In this age where virtually everything audible online is free, and most commercial radio stations won’t go near good original music, how does a label stay in business? Like a drug dealer. They turn you on to their product for free and then let you decide, heh heh. Their freebie right now is a first anniversary sampler available for free at their bandcamp site, featuring bands whose material they’ve released or reissued, often on vinyl as well as digitally, in the past year, along with previews of a couple of upcoming releases. It’s a cool mixtape for 7-11 parking lots.
As usual with this kind of stuff, the more fun the bands let themselves have, the better the music is (which applies to pretty much any style when you think about it). “70s rock preservationists” Stone Axe are a mighty good choice to open the album with Riders of the Night, a period-perfect, LOL Spinal Tap party scenario. They’re “busy blowing smoke rings around the midnight sun,” and the guitars do the same. Surprisingly, Mighty High, Brooklyn’s funniest self-described regressive rock act don’t go as hard for the comedy as they usually do, although their track, Don’t Panic – It’s Organic, is smoking. Imagine it’s 1973, Blue Oyster Cult is trying to channel Chuck Berry and kicking out the best guitar solos on the entire compilation, evil chromatic Deniz Tek style.
The JPT Scare Band’s contribution, It’s a Jungle, really is a time trip. It has the feel of a vinyl rip – that sidewinding, trebly, melodic bass and those Spooky Tooth metalfunk hooks are killer. And is that a qanun (Arabic hammered dulcimer) slapping the lo-fi synth upside the head? Surprisingly, Poobah is represented by one of the less ferocious tracks from Let Me In, although this one shows off the rhythm section: it’s not just Jim Gustafson guitar pyrotechnics. But Venomin James’ Bullet Juice delivers buckets of evil via a delicious Sabbath-style chromatic riff and a razorwire wah solo that leaves you wanting more. And Mos Generator’s moonshine-running anthem Stone County Line injects fresh blood into a bunch of hallowed 70s moves, with some blunt instrument Bill Ward-ish drums.
There are a couple of ringers here. Modern Day Moonshine offer a soulfully shuffling update on the Grateful Dead’s Cumberland Blues, while Bay Area songwriter Kevin Beadles’ Sharkskin sounds like a metal spoof done as bluesy, swinging, late 70s Rhodes piano pop. It wouldn’t be out of place on a Tubes album. There’s also Tripdavon’s By the River, which merges southern slide guitar rock and blues overtones; riff-heavy Scottish band Iron Claw, which would fit in fine with the Nazareth catalog; and Vancouver band Fen’s Queen of the Mountain, pensive and apprehensive with lots of dynamic shifts – these guys sound like they used to listen to grunge but left it behind. There are a couple of duds, but what do you expect for nothing? Get it while it’s still available.
July 26, 2011 Posted by delarue | Music, music, concert, review, Reviews, rock music | 70s rock, acid rock, fen band, fen band vancouver, free download, free mp3, heavy metal, iron claw band, jpt scare band, kevin beadles, metal bands, metal music, metal rock, mighty high band, modern day moonshine, mos generator, poobah band, psychedelia, psychedelic music, psychedelic rock, ripple music, ripple music compilation, ripple music first anniversary sampler, ripple music free sampler, ripple music mixtape, seventies rock, stone axe band, stoner music, tripdavon, venomin james | 4 Comments
In 1972, Poobah, a high school rock band from Youngstown, Ohio recorded Let Me In, a fuzzed-out stoner metal album that became a cult classic: copies of the original vinyl go for hundreds of dollars on the collector market. Little did teenage guitarist Jim Gustafson, bassist Phil Jones and drummer Glenn Wiseman know that they’d created a psychedelic, proto-metal masterpiece. Originally reissued in 1994 on a small, now defunct label, Ripple Music’s newly remastered re-release contains the original album’s seven tracks as well as twelve bonus cuts featuring additional band members (ten of the songs included on a limited-edition double gatefold black-and-white vinyl album). The obvious influence is Black Sabbath, right down to the catchy simplicity of the hooks, the way they’ll hang on a single chord for minutes on end, the heavy echo on the vocals, the fat midrange tone of the bass and Wiseman’s busy but absolutely brilliant drumming. Gustafson’s sunbaked, bluesy playing is shockingly terse, especially for this kind of music. As long and convoluted as some of these songs are, he doesn’t waste notes, tossing off one brief, incisive riff after another with a heavylidded leer.
The band’s signature song, Mr. Destroyer motors along on an unstoppable midtempo groove, Gustafson’s doubletracked solo phasing back and forth between channels, and a conga break with screams echoing in the background: Spinal Tap central! It’s quite a contrast with what follows it, the surprisingly gentle, folk-tinged ballad Enjoy What You Have, Wiseman’s amazing drums picking it up little by little. The slow ba-bump boogie Live to Work is a workingman’s anthem: “You know I can’t stand this hell.” Bowleen, the eeriest number here, has a Syd Barrett feel, the sample at the end providing an irresistibly funny answer to the question of what it’s about. The fifth track, Rock n Roll is unhinged Chuck Berry rock as Uriah Heep might have done it, except with better drums; the title cut is a 7-11 parking lot riff-rocker with a long In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida drum solo – all that’s missing is the crowd noise! – and a gleeful solo guitar break.
Most of the bonus tracks are strong as well. Make a Man Outta You, one of the few here that was previously issued, layers one delicious, reverb-drenched sheet of wild tremolo-picking on top of another. A one-chord stoner jam, Upside Down Highway has Gustafson’s guitar echoing around a catchy, circling bass riff, finally delivering a long, wild, Tony Iommi-style wah solo. The closest thing to Sabbath here is the hilarious Walk of the Bug: “When you’re asleep in your bed you’ll feel his legs on your head.” The bass walks on your face, the guitar injects the venom and it’s over. There’s also a couple of tasty bluesmetal instrumentals, a late MC5 style metal-pop number manufactured specifically for a car radio audience, and a lone attempt to weld funk to a blotto metal groove. The whole thing ranks with Flower Marching Band, the original Iron Maiden and Sir Lord Baltimore as one of the classics of early metal. And if you like these guys, you might want to check out their labelmates and early 70s contemporaries the JPT Scare Band, a Kansas City outfit who split their time between skin-peeling acid-metal and a more commercial Allman Bros.-style sound.
October 12, 2010 Posted by delarue | Uncategorized | 70s metal, acid rock, black sabbath, early heavy metal, early metal, first iron maiden, flower marching band, glenn wiseman, glenn wiseman drums, hard rock, heavy metal, heavy metal band, heavy metal music, iron maiden, jam band, jam rock, jim gustafson, jim gustafson guitar, jpt scare band, metal band, metal music, phil jones bass, poobah band, poobah band review, poobah let me in, poobah let me in reissue, poobah let me in review, proto metal, psychedelia, psychedelic band, psychedelic music, psychedelic rock, ripple music, seventies metal, sir lord baltimore, stoner metal, stoner music, tony iommi, youngstown bands | 4 Comments
This is just another way we try to spread the word about all the good music out there. As you’ll notice, every song that reaches the #1 spot on this list will also appear on our 100 Best Songs of 2010 list at the end of December. We try to mix it up, offer a little something for everyone: sad songs, funny songs, upbeat songs, quieter stuff, you name it. If you don’t like one of these, you can always go on to the next one. The only one here that doesn’t have a link to the track is #1 and that’s because it’s so new.
1. Erica Smith & the 99 Cent Dreams - River King
Apprehensive, hauntingly and richly lyrical Nashville gothic. Nobody does it better than she does. She’ll be playing the Dave Campbell memorial concert at the Parkside on the 22nd.
2. Adam H. Stevens – The Cities That You’ve Burned
Cynical retro-70s pop, a snide portrait of a dissolute trendoid. From his forthcoming cd We Live on Cliffs – free download.
3. Mighty Fine – Ride
Absolutely kick ass garage rock with a funk/soul edge and an original style if you can believe it. They’re at Public Assembly on August 19.
4. The Anabolics – You Can’t Let People Walk All Over You
More kick-ass garage rock. They’re at Bruar Falls on August 1.
5. Jeremy Messersmith – Organ Donor
Creepy chamber pop, sort of on the Elliott Smith tip. He’s at Joe’s Pub on August 17.
6. Pete Galub – 300 Days in July
Pensive psychedelic pop song given the Martin Bisi treatment which means raw and authentic. Grab a free download.
7. Ernie Vega – I’ll Follow You Home (Sweet Isabelle)
Like early Dylan but better – both the guitar and the vocals.
8. The JPT Scare Band – Slow Sick Shuttle
Just stumbled across this twisted stumbling seven-minute 1973 slice of acid-warped bluesmetal while trolling for a completely unrelated video. Isn’t the internet wonderful.
9. The Audiobodies – Free
Upbeat acoustic soul shuffle with Barrington Levy-esque vox.
10. Under Byen - Kapitel
Dark dreamy art-rock – a sensation in Denmark.
July 19, 2010 Posted by delarue | blues music, lists, Music, music, concert, rock music | 300 days in july, adam h. stevens, anabolics band, art-rock, audiobodies, audiobodies free, best rock songs, best songs, best songs of the week, blues, blues music, cities that you've burned, country rock, erica smith, erica smith 99 cent dreams, erica smith river king, Erica Smith singer, ernie vega, garage band, garage music, garage rock, goth music, goth rock, gothic music, gothic rock, heavy metal, i'll follow you home, jangle rock, janglerock, jeremy messersmith, jeremy messersmith organ donor, jpt scare band, metal music, mighty fine band, mighty fine ride, nashville gothic, Pete Galub, power pop, powerpop, psychedelia, psychedelic music, psychedelic rock, roots music, roots rock, slow sick shuttle, soul music, top ten songs, top ten songs of the week, UNDER BYEN, under byen kapitel, you can't let people walk all over you | Leave a comment
Welcome to Lucid Culture, a New York-based music blog active since 2007. You can scroll down for a brief history and explanation of what we do here. To help you get around this site, here are some links which will take you quickly to our most popular features:
If you’re wondering where all the rock music coverage here went, it’s moved to our sister blog New York Music Daily.
Click here for our front page, where you’ll find the ten most recent writeups.
Our exhaustive, constantly updated guide to over 200 New York City music venues
Our most popular music reviews since 2007
Our 1000 Best Albums of All Time countdown
A big hit in 2008-2009, the 666 Best Songs of All Time page
This link will take you directly to the most recently updated NYC Live Music Calendar, which has also migrated to New York Music Daily.
Our archives since day one
How to get your music reviewed here
Links to our favorite blogs
Our music index and subcategory indices
Our FAQs and Marginalia page
ABOUT LUCID CULTURE
April, 2007 – Lucid Culture debuts as the online version of a somewhat notorious New York music and politics e-zine, which then ceases publication. After a brief flirtation with blogging about global politics, we begin covering the dark fringes of the New York rock scene that the indie rock blogosphere and the corporate media find too frightening, too smart or too unfashionable. “Great music that’s not trendy” becomes our mantra. For a glimpse of the early years, here’s a somewhat tongue-in-cheek interview with one of Lucid Culture’s founders.
2008-2009 – world music, jazz and classical become an integral part of coverage here. Our 666 Best Songs of All Time list becomes a hit, as do our year-end lists for best songs, best albums and best New York area concerts.
2010 – Lucid Culture steps up coverage of jazz and classical while rock lingers behind.
2011 – one of Lucid Culture’s founding members creates New York Music Daily, a blog dedicated primarily to rock music coverage from a transgressive, oldschool New York point of view, with Lucid Culture continuing to cover music that’s typically more lucid and cultured.
2012-13 – Lucid Culture eases into its current role as New York Music Daily’s jazz and classical annex.
2014 – still going strong…thanks for stopping by!
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