Friday, September 08, 2006

On PBR & Echoplexes

Comets On Fire played one of the scariest, most intense, fucked up, exhilirating sets I've ever witnessed the other night. It reminded me somewhat of Charles Baudelaire's book "On Wine & Hashish" in which he theorized that the only way to deal with living in a fucked up world is to get fucked up. He theorized that you should get intoxicated in any way you see fit, be it "on wine, poetry, or virtue" (I ran into my old roommate and he was on mushrooms but unfortunately he didn't have any more). Comets On Fire use outside sources I'm sure, but those thick, dissonant guitars, ear splitting echoplex and thundering rhythm section is a hell of a way to counter things like your own government doing things to you that they're supposed to protect you from, and soldiers and civilians alike getting blown away for no reason. It was a seldom relenting squall of noise that was like having an electric current passing through your ears and bouncing around the inside of your skull. They all looked like shamans in a trance, leading their small but faithful flock through some kind of ritual. I've listened to the new album Avatar a couple times and wasn't too impressed by it, but live the songs took on a ferocious new life. I'll have to go back and give it another listen and see if they sound different to me now that I've had my ears blown open to them. Another thing that struck me while they were playing is that I don't think there's ever been a band whose name describes what they sound like as well as Comets On Fire. Something from the reaches of outer space hurtling around the heavens at an ungodly speed with a seemingly indiscriminate destination while pieces of it break off and burn away. Today is the first day that my neck muscles don't hurt. I'd gladly suffer another two day bangover to be able to relive that set again.

Oh and I also need to type a few words on the opening act, Miss Alex White & The Red Orchestra. They came off like a faster paced, less polished version of Brian Jonestown Massacre. More of a garagey-psych-punk kinda sound, and instead of a junkie asshole for a lead singer they have a pint-sized curly headed ball of energy who didn't try to start fights with anyone there. Here's a video of a performance from Hamtramck a couple nights before opening for Comets On Fire.

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Friday, September 01, 2006

Missing The Boat

Yep, it happens even to nerds like me who are always online. Here's a couple reviews that I have missed the boat on.
Espers - Espers II The first time I had ever heard the Espers was today. They're one of those bands I know I'm supposed to like but I had never gotten around to listening to them. I've been missing out on some good shit. They're in the upper echelon of the whole freak-folk/new weird America whatever you want to call that scene. Very similiar to The Feathers. The one thing that really sets them apart is the exquisite trance inducing vocals. Musically they create dense, dreamy, fuzzy soundscapes that are infused with the perfect amount of electricity to keep you from drifting off into acoustic lullaby-land, like on the opening track Dead Queen from the new album.

The Coachwhips - Double Dead Sadly, this is a posthumous CD/DVD release by San Francisco lo-fi trashy danceable (but not dance) punk band The Coachwhips. The CD portion compiles 26 previously unreleased cuts, mostly b-sides, covers, and studio shenanigans. It's really a shame that this band decided to hang it up, as besides the Black Lips, there aren't too many bands pulling off this kind of thing nowadays. Every song on this disc is like the funnest party you've ever been to, raw 2 minute energetic blasts of guitars cranked up to the breaking point, indecipherable shouted lyrics, all pushed at a breakneck speed by an organ. There's even a Gories cover on it. If you don't love this, you haven't got a pulse. I haven't seen the DVD yet but I'm sure it's a blast. If you weren't fortunate enough to catch the Coachwhips live , you should definitely check out this DVD so you can cry into your beer about having never seen one of the most frenetic live acts of the past 5 years. Rest In Pieces, oh ye Coachwhips.