As a metalhead–and a knucklehead–in high school, bands like U2 and INXS were like poison (not Poison…I liked them), and best avoided. And just imagine my horror back then when The Edge was making “best guitarists” lists alongside Eddie Van Halen and Kirk Hammett. I grew to appreciate those bands (and The Edge) after the fact. While I still enjoy The Joshua Tree for the most part, I can see it for being the overwrought record that it is. Honestly, I just put it on so I could listen to “In God’s Country,” which is still a magical three minutes, and, to me, the reason The Edge made those lists back in 1987.
I’m seeing Archie Shepp tomorrow as part of the PDX Jazz Festival, and I cannot wait. I’m gearing up by listening to this live set, one of two records that came from his 1975 performance at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. Not as out-there as Mama Too Tight or The Magic of Ju-Ju, but it’s a pretty hot performance, and one that I imagine closely captures what I’ll be experiencing this weekend. One of the last of the avant-garde/free jazz players–gotta see these legends while we still can.
It’s hard to choose a favorite Ike & Tina record, but this is probably it for me (1971’s ‘Nuff Said also gets a lot of spins around here). The title track alone is worth the price of admission, but then you have killer kuts like “Make Me Over,” “Club Manhattan” and their fiery, difinitive version of “River Deep, Mountain High”–guaranteed to draw some blood, sweat and tears! And Tina Turner is, was, and always will be, the goddamn Queen. Bow down.
Tonight I’ll climb up into the booth at the world-famous Ground Kontrol classic arcade for my monthly Black Sunday gig. All metal. All vinyl. From extreme black to bands that just wanna rock and roll all nite, I’ve got you covered. Also, no cover. It’s a holiday tomorrow so come have a drink(s) and play some Ms. Pac-Man. 8 p.m. – 2 minute to midnight.
What else would I be listening to on this unholiest of days? (I bought this original German Vertigo pressing a decade ago for 10 bucks, for you nerds). Released in the UK on February 13, 1970–Friday the 13th, of course–Black Sabbath’s debut invented an entire genre–guess which one? Fifty years ago. There were a lot of hard rock bands at the time (Sir Lord Baltimore, Coven, Blue Cheer), but no one conjured the bleakness or evil that these four blokes from Birmingham had. Or the riffs. Or that voice. Tony Iommi rightfully gets credit for creating some of the most menacing riffs ever put on tape, but Ozzy Osbourne’s vocals were from another dimension. Add to that a rhythm section of bassist Geezer Butler and drummer Bill Ward, and you have a band that would release six straight untouchable records that can still crush anything that has come since. Heavy metal as we know it started right here. Let us pray. And let us listen to my favorite cut from this slab o’ doom.
I was in the mood for something extra gnarly, and Vastum always delivers the gnarlies with some extra gnar. But even more to the point–this Bay Area four-piece has been the best death metal band going for years. The riffs are righteous, the tempos ooze, and the subject matter is the stuff typically discussed from a therapist’s couch. Patricidal Lust is Vastum’s second album, and it’s one of their best…but who am I kidding, they haven’t put out a bad record (2015’s Hole Below is also a classick). Vastum is coming to Portland March 21, and I shall not miss it.
This gem has been in steady rotation for a long time around these parts. I got to thinking about it again since Los Dug Dug’s(well, guitarist/vocalist Armando Nava and a new crew) played a show in San Francisco last night–lots of friends went, and I’m extremely jealous.
The Durango, Mexico band’s 1971 debut is heavily influenced by a little group called The Beatles…but with more flutes. Opener “Lost In My World” remains a psychedelic classick, and sounds–much like the rest of the band’s output–as otherworldly today as it did five decades ago. Their records got more unhinged as they went (album number two, Smog, contains more overdriven guitars and extended drum solos), but this record is a wonderful bit of psychedelic pop.
I’ve decided to do a once- or twice-weekly feature where I write about some of the records I listen to throughout the week at TDoL HQ–the upstairs hideaway where I retreat (and occasionally sip whiskey and smoke banana peels) after everyone goes to bed. I’m calling it, you guessed it, Getting The Spins. I figured this would be a nice, easy way to write about music without feeling the need to overanalyze or get too verbose (don’t worry, there will be plenty of that sort of nonsense in other features). I figured I’d start with this record, which I picked up a few weeks ago, and has been getting steady play ever since.
Lately I’ve been buying more jazz records than anything else. So when this one was recommended by a fellow music writer on one of those nerdy (and sometimes insufferable) FB groups where people post what they’re currently listening to, I went immediately to the record shop up the road from me and bought it (I was shocked to have found it so quickly, but Crossroads in Portland is an absolute goldmine). Anyway, Ornette Coleman’s Of Human Feelings absolutely smokes. It’s completely out-there avant-funk that lives up to Coleman’s free jazz past, and pushes his playing and compositional skill even further. And with bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma in the mix–who absolutely steals the show–you’ve got yourself one hell of a skull-splitter.