Saturday, January 29, 2005

T. Rex and Primal Scream and Duchess Says

Released in March of 1975, the T. Rex album Bolan's Zip Gun was met with silence from the charts in England, despite being a stripped-down version saved from the synth-heavy excess of the two previous albums (Tanx and Zinc Alloy). Bolan's spry poetry is absent and Tony Visconti's production is missing on this album as well, making the whole album sound like a parody of mid-career T. Rex: absurd boogie-minded riffs with nary a hook in sight, oppressive backing vocals that practically drown out the rest of the instrumentation, and Bolan would later go on to proclaim that Zip Gun was the worst record he'd ever made.

T Rex - Golden Belt.mp3

Golden Belt begins with a steam-engine harmonica, syncopated percussive and piano flourishes and Gloria Jones wailing her northern soul out. It's crowded and excessive and bloated, just like Bolan at the time of the recording in 1974, hanging out in California with Harry Nilsson. "I did nothing but sit in the sun and drink brandy all day".

Primal Scream's 2000 album XTRMNTR! is one primordial slab of fuzzed out guitars and synthesizers, massive and imposing drums and penetrating basslines performed by an ensemble cast of some of the most influential performers of British music in the past 15 years or so... Fronted by former Jesus & Mary Chain drummer Bobby Gillespie, the album includes contributions from Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine, Manni of The Stone Roses, Bernard Sumner of New Order, programming by Tim Goldsworthy of New York post-punk production house and label DFA and production by Dan The Automator and The Chemical Brothers, who I don't really care for. It's a great testament to the ability of middle-aged British people to outperform their peers across the pond. And it was released by Creation Records, too. Right!

Primal Scream - Kill All Hippies.mp3

Kill All Hippies resonates with any Montreal resident who has the misfortune of living within earshot of the Sunday tam-tams, a drum-circle gathering of the great unwashed spiritual seekers (who are even more insidious for being so deliberately naive/drug-addled that they seem strangely incapable of harming anyone) and McGill students unsure of what happened to Pearl Jam's fanbase and seeking answers amongst the first group. Bobby Gillespie's falsetto, Einsturzindesque drums, dualing basslines and squealing LFO-heavy synths articulate the the pursuit of new musical frontiers in the face of millenial paranoia and so forth! Was there a better album-opener in 2000?

from the Montreal Mirror...

For my money (or my parent's), Duchess Says have managed to capture something definite and strong with their new lineup that's often lacking in similarily-oriented Montreal bands (the We Are Wolves mp3s, for example, are a tad bit disappointing, unfortunately), it could be the addition of a new drummer, or a fresh determination to undermine people's expectations, but whatever it is, this track CUT UP is a suitable chaser for the previous Primal Scream (and even bears some similarities to the follower ACCELERATOR on the Primal Scream album)...

Duchess Says - CCCUTUUPP.mp3

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