Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Even more end of summer fun: Atomic Rooster

In a similar vein to the below piece regarding Grand Funk Railroad, I bring you this awesome/incredible/hilarious video of Atomic Rooster playing on the UK's The Top Of The Pops. Awkward dancing abounds!

End of summer fun with Grand Funk Railroad

If the splendid yet sometimes awkward transformation from 1960's acid soaked rock into the hard rock/heavy metal sound of the early 1970's could be trapped in a bottle and unfairly condensed into an easy-to-digest 1 album summary, I think Grand Funk Railroad's On Time would suffice nicely. This grainy footage from a live show in 1969/1970 exemplifies just how perplexed the audience was at the time, unsure of how to react (it's quite funny, actually...see about 0:46 into the clip below) to Grand Funk's thumping basslines, sped up tempo, and bluesy riffage.

As many around me are sure to know, Grand Funk has been a large part of my personal summertime playlist. A live version of the track 'Are You Ready?' from the aforementioned On Time LP is posted below. Throw your misconceptions out the window and open your mind. It'll pay off in the end, trust me.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Fang - Landshark

Bay area punk band Fang came to prominence in the early 1980's with their debut LP, Landshark, an edgy LP that dealt with the ever-growing self-aware nature of the punk/hardcore scene of the day (specifically seen in the classic track 'The Money Will Roll Right In'). This LP was released shortly after their contribution on the Not So Quiet On The Western Front compilation LP was released.

In 1989, singer Sam McBride was sentenced to six years in prison for murdering his girlfriend, Dixie Lee Carney. While that factoid certainly won't win him any humanitarian awards, it is difficult to deny the influence that Fang's dirgy tone, speed, and ruthless attitude had on the punk and hardcore scene of the late 1980's/early 1990's (both Nirvana and Mudhoney would cover 'The Money Will Roll Right In' live on multiple occasions, Mudhoney eventually deciding to properly record the cover as a b-side).

Big Black - Kerosene

"I was born in this town. Lived here my whole life. Probably come to die in this town. Lived here my whole life."

While I would argue that these lyrics are almost too relative for most, the sheer 'I don't give a fuck' nature of Albini's prose, combined with the maniacal-yet-mechanical nature of the song itself cannot be challenged. Many would agree that the concept of suburban hostility is somewhat cliche in the grand scheme of all things 'punk', but I dare say that Big Black set the bar rather high with this specific track off of 1986's Atomizer.

This song encapsulates an anger and frustration that many punk and/or hardcore songwriters wish they could obtain. Albini's distinct ability to bottle up frustration, anger, and cynicism is ever present and unparalleled. Even funnier, people still try to pull this shtick off when they can simply put on the A side of Atomizer and cease dabbling with inferior imitations.

Check it out for yourself and make your own decision: