Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

Album of the Day 7/2/11

Every day, our 1000 best albums of all time countdown continues all the way to #1. Saturday’s album is #577:

The 13th Floor Elevators – The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators

45 years later, the 1966 debut of this legendary, creepy Texas acid garage band – with an amplified jug that sounded a little like a tabla – is still the standard for pretty much every other psychedelic garage band. Setting Roky Erikson’s reverb-drenched, deadpan nasal snarl and nonstop barrage of surreal imagery against tinny, clanging riff-rock that frequently ventures into R&B and funk, it’s a trip, in every sense of the word. The iconic song here is You’re Gonna Miss Me, famously covered by Radio Birdman and a million others; the b-side, Tried to Hide, isn’t bad either. Roller Coaster introduces a macabre riff that would resurface in the Cramps; Through the Rhythm invents a new genre, apocalyptic soul music. There’s also Monkey Island, whose theme the J. Geils Band would echo ten years later, and the more ornate Kingdom of Heaven, You Don’t Know How Young You Are and Splash 1 (Now I’m Coming Home) along with the proto-punk Don’t Fall Down and Fire Engine. Here’s a random torrent.

July 2, 2011 Posted by | lists, Music, music, concert, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Butchers and the Brimstones Live at Otto’s, NYC 1/26/08

New Jersey garage/surf rockers the Brimstones have earned a reputation for being a great live act, but tonight they were somewhat upstaged by the Butchers, the garage/punk trio who opened the show. It wasn’t that the Brimstones played a bad set; on the contrary, they roared through about an hour’s worth of eardrum-damaging, Pabst Blue Ribbon-fueled riff-rock with a couple of surf-ish instrumentals thrown in for good measure. But the story of the night was the Butchers. This Lancaster, Pennsylvania-based trio – two guitarists, on Rickenbacker and Gibson, respectively, plus a drummer – absolutely set the place on fire. Their sound is raw, pummeling, unadorned, in other words every quality that makes a song catchy and fun to hear live. Their Rickenbacker player took most of the solos, getting the most gorgeous, distorted guitar tone we’ve witnessed anywhere since seeing Scott Morgan with Powertrane when they played Warsaw. That’s what an overdriven vintage Fender amp will do if you leave your effects pedals at home and just turn it up to…about 5. Otto’s is a small place and Fender Twins are mighty amps. Although the stuff on the Butchers’ myspace has bass, they don’t have a bass player. For a band who obviously take their cue from the 13th Floor Elevators, they don’t really need one.

  

It would have been nice if the Brimstones had played more of their surf stuff, because that’s what they really excel at, and that’s what differentiates them from the legions of other garage bands out there. That, and a completely authentic vintage 60s songwriting style, and an evident ability to consume mass quantities of alcohol and not miss a beat. Their organist/frontman delivered many of their tunes perched precariously atop his keyboard. When they finally called it a night, well past midnight, with a completely out-of-control, completely perfect cover of TV Eye, they’d outlasted many of the people who packed the little back room here. It was nice to see them in such an intimate setting: when they play New York, it’s usually opening for big-name acts like the Ventures or the Cramps.

January 28, 2008 Posted by | concert, Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, Reviews, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Concert Review: Thee Minks at Magnetic Field, Brooklyn NY 8/3/07

Thee Minks are the kind of band that you see and you say, mmm-hmmm, good. If you’ve had a few drinks, YOU FUCKING LOVE THEM. Hope Diamond, their guitarist, turns her amp up so loud she doesn’t even use a pick. All she has to do is brush the strings of her Gibson SG to get the most evil, distorted, overtone-laden tone you can imagine. Liz Lixx, the bass player, is still pretty primitive, but she has good ideas and you know that if she sticks with it she’ll be fine. And she has a cool bass, a beautiful black-and-white Gretsch Les Paul copy. The drummer, who goes by the name of the Playthang, is excellent, and the band rewarded him by giving him an amusing vocal cameo toward the end of the show.

The Philadelphia band’s best songs came toward the end of the set. They’d started out pretty much by-the-book garage/punk, nothing you haven’t heard before if that’s your music, if the 13th Floor Elevators, MC5, Kinks, Lyres or Mooney Suzuki are your thing. Their website says they bear some resemblance to Radio Birdman, but that wasn’t particularly apparent. About halfway through the set things suddenly got a lot more interesting: more melodies, unexpected chord changes and a lot more imaginative stuff coming out of the bass. The songs’ subject matter seems to be limited to drinking and sex – or both – but at least they’re about something, which is more than you can say about 99.999% of the Sonic Youth ripoffs out there. And there’s absolutely nothing trendy, pretentious or affected about this band. They just want to kick. Your. Ass. And then they do it. This was a good party.

Their last numbers included a punked-out cover of Loaded by Judas Priest (it seems that they actually like the song, instead of making fun of it: whatever the case, their version kicks the shit out of the original). And they did a song about their drummer where he got to sing about what kind of crazy animal he is. “I’ll eat your fucking children,” he hollered, before a series of false endings that wound up with him flailing around Spinal Tap style. The crowd loved it. Not that there was much of a crowd: they were an out-of-town band, after all, and since the audience that actually comes out for real rock music in New York continues to be priced out of town, that wasn’t unexpected.

For anybody who misses the Continental, this place is LOUD: even back by the door the volume was still earsplitting. But the mix was excellent: no surprise, since Zach from Ninth House was doing sound.

August 4, 2007 Posted by | concert, Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, review, Reviews, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

CD Review: The Dirty Novels – Stealing Kisses

Word is that they don’t make kick-ass rock like this anymore – except they do. These raucous, stomping New Mexico garage rock hoodlums pump out a glorious blast of noise that blends the sound of the Thirteenth Floor Elevators with the early Damned, along with plenty of influence from the Stooges, Ramones, Seeds and Lyres, among others.

 

The album’s second song Slow It Down sounds like vintage Elevators, all nasty riffs over a jangly groove. Don’t Fit In (track four) sounds like a Stones song from Aftermath rearranged for one of their post-Blonde on Blonde albums like Between the Buttons. The following cut Candy Can’t Wait is uncharacteristically downbeat and creepy, shades of Steve Wynn at his most retro. Can’t Get Over You (track six) evokes the Damned circa Machine Gun Etiquette with its dark minor chord permutations. Stars Won’t Shine for You (track eight) starts out sounding practically like a dead ringer for the Damned classic Fan Club before taking a short detour down into la-la pop.  My Love Is Electric (track nine) launches on an evil Stoogoid riff, evoking nothing less than the great and recently reunited Radio Birdman. The album concludes with what sounds like a Stooges tribute, the TV Eye riff adapted just enough to beat a copyright suit. And it’s a worthy one: Asheton & co. would probably approve.

 

There are no deep lyrical concepts here, no shades of meaning. All these guys want to do is rock. There isn’t much about this album that’s original but that’s not the point. What the Dirty Novels want to do is kick your ass over and over and they do that exceptionally well. These guys are purists. They really know their stuff and obviously get a lot of pleasure bludgeoning your eardrums. Their live act is everything you would hope for after hearing the album. It all boils down to this: if you love unpretentious, catchy, balls-to-the-wall garage rock that you can get up and dance to, get this album and go see the Dirty Novels when they come to your town. All they need is somebody to hook them up with Little Steven and have them play a couple of his garage-a-thons and they’ll be packing ‘em in at dingy rock clubs from coast to coast. The cd is available online and at shows.

April 23, 2007 Posted by | Music, music, concert, review, Reviews, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment