Noise

| October 23, 2003

Josh Rouse
1972

Rykodisk
This entire album sounds strangely as if it just stepped its bell-bottomed, pointy-boot-wearin’ foot off a train from 1972. The whole station starts swaying the minute Rouse steps foot on the platform, and everyone misses their connections because they’re so busy dancing to the music.

Making a ’70s retro album is a bold venture, and one could certainly fall far short, either by trying too hard, or by not really knowing the soul of the era. Rouse certainly knows his soul, and he’s written several classic songs on this album. What’s as amazing as the music is how beautifully Rouse’s lyrics paint every brilliant composition. It’s a shame to even name names, but “Love Vibration,” “James” and “Come Back (Light Therapy)” are definitely stand-out tracks, if only for their sheer grooviness.
(David Nolt)The Bevis Frond
New River Head

Rubric
Nick Saloman has been releasing psychedelic gems under the Bevis Frond moniker for almost 20 years. If ever there were a godfather of stoner rock, here’s your man. Ordinarily, this child of Stonehenge records entirely on his bedroom four-track setup, but this re-release of a 1990 recording sounds like Saloman might have actually put on his shoes and ventured into a studio. Less groove-oriented than the new stoner rock genre, The Bevis Frond plugs into dirty old amplifiers with the Superfuzz set on melt.

The Floyd-Hendrix-Sabbath influences are obvious, but don’t forget the Blue Cheer and the Pretty Things tossed in with Saloman’s impeccable songwriting and savvy arrangements. Saloman claims New River Head as his favorite album, and it’s easy to see why—the songs ingrain themselves upon first listen and are, compared to The Frond’s earlier releases, much heavier-sounding.

Saloman is currently re-releasing his back catalog. Keep ’em coming! If you’re into that heavy psychedelic wah-wah rock, you’ll kick yourself later for not picking this one up now.
(Bryan Ramirez)

The Voodoo Organist
The Return of the Voodoo Organist

Witch Doctor Records
One-man musical grimoire Scott Wexton, aka the Voodoo Organist, returns with another batch of freaky, low-fi stalker lounge tunes. And just in time for Halloween, too! Whether it’s bobbing for Adam’s apples or a sweaty round of Tryst in the Crypt, songs like “Pitchfork Man” and “Snakes in My Eyes” will make The Return of the Voodoo Organist the hellacious hit of your next haunted hootenanny!

Sorry. Seriously, though, if you’ve never heard of the Voodoo Organist, what the guy does is take an electric organ like the one in Granny’s rumpus room and milk it for all its sinister possibilities. Unlike those Norwegian black-metallists who have to burn churches and don the corpse-paint to get credit on the devil’s jukebox (read Lords of Chaos by Michael Moynihan), The Voodoo Organist cooks up his potion wearing a ruffled tuxedo shirt and drinking a hi-ball. He channels the ghosts of Jerry Vale and early ’60s cocktail albums out of the ether, growling menacingly all the while, and doctors them with sampled steel drum, horns and ghostly wails from the theremin.

Five bucks says you could synchronize parts of The Return of the Voodoo Organist with the David Lynch movie of your choice and find the same odd coincidences (?) you get when watching The Wizard of Oz while listening to Dark Side of the Moon. Who wants to go first, though? Brrrr!
(Andy Smetanka)

The Magic Band
Back To The Front

ATP
I have to admit, I had my reservations upon hearing about the reformation of The Magic Band sans Captain Beefheart, even though their reunion at a UK music festival garnered great reviews, despite the absence of a single peep out of the Captain himself.

The reformed Magic Band consists of members from several previous Beefheart ensembles: Gary Lucas, Denny Walley, Mark “Rockette Morton” Boston and John “Drumbo” French. This disc—put out by the organizers of the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival—features the band’s sole live appearance (they’re slated for an American appearance in early November), and the primary tracks from a practice session. And yep, they sound pretty damn good once you dust off the memory banks—Lucas and Walley even get to lend their pipes for a bit of Beefheart-styled vocalization.

Not a bad place to start for those who haven’t a clue about the unique Beefheart legacy. Then, if you want to continue with some genuine Beefheart titles, Lick My Decals Off Baby, The Spotlight Kid and Doc at The Radar Station should be safe as milk.
(Bryan Ramirez)

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