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
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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