Roots, Rock, Revival. And Shit Kickers to Boot.
Justin Travis Aullz may never have heard of "them," but Merle Haggard is still alive and kicking out jam after jam, this time with a record of (mostly) 1950s-era Lefty Frizzel and Hank Williams covers. Aptly titled Roots, on the big E, Merle's tributes and originals are raw, dark, and reason enough not to sign off country music as the alt. rock ballad bullshit that plagues most "New Western" stations today. Some pretty punk as fuck tunes here... Speaking of roots, our no-better-friends-than-the-UK brethren at Blood and Fire sent us their re-issued Niney the Observer set (Microphone Attack, 1974-78) and Darker Than Blue: Soul From Jamdown, a collection of reggae-induced soul covers. Niney produces pre-dancehall toasts by the likes of Big Youth, I Roy, and Trinity over Dennis Brown and Junior Byles rhythms, among others. The Darker Than Blue compilation features Lloyd Charmers singing Curtis Mayfield's version of the title song, along with Delroy Wilson and the Revolutionaries doing The Temptations' "Get Ready. " As with all B&F releases, the liner notes and the low end are saturated and heavy... Segue the soul to the Brains, still both Bad and Soulful. A recent showcase of HR's sonic ramblings and said band's blitzspeed attack was taped and released on the Maritime Half's own 2B1 label. This is the first live recorded Bad Brains set since the early-'90s Spirit Electricity and the Paradiso show in Amsterdam; although HR's not doing backflips any more, his King-of-Arabia garb makes up the charisma, the band is tight as ever, and Darryl's bass playing still moved the walls of the cavernous, now-defunct Maritime. Timeless... J. Robbins (Govt. Issue, Burning Airlines, etf al.) has been busy at the producer's wheel, having just finished a scorcher by Minneapolis' Volante (45 degrees North on Guilt Ridden Pop) and will soon be running the boards for Santa Cruz' Time Spent Driving. Although slowed down a bit from the Reliance days of yore (Reliance was on of the most furious hardcore outfits ever to come out of the Cruz-bo th TSD guitars were in that band), Time Spent Driving still offer up the heart-string rockers. Check out their first EP "Walls Between Us" while waiting for the full length, and also pick up a re-released Reliance 7", all from the OGs at Sessions records... Last but not least are the two records which received the most complaints from outside the Thrasher offices last month, Sigur Ros (couldn't read or understand the title, but it's on FalCat) and Karp (Action Chemistry, a singles collection on Olympia's PNMV.) "What the hell is that yodeling?" was the response to Sigur Ros--Icelandic kids with some spacey, Aurora Borealis-type delay work behind stratospheric vocals and a beat-up acoustic. Hiss, weird cuts in the tape; fill yer head with something kind and get on the rocket. Karp was effective at keeping the pseudo-corporate types at bay for most of the month; Captain Skate Rock refused to even enter the room while this Seattle sludge was on. Think of a China crash reminiscent of Dave Grohi's chopping up the holy fucking metal riffage. The wankery is kept to a minimum but hurts the ears in just the right places. More stratospheric vocals. Loaded.