"3 Bands, 3 Songs, 3 Bucks -- every month!"
Psychedelia, hedonism, and destruction -- the three corners of the atavistic pyramid which looms blackly over Rock'n'roll.
Born of post-war affluence as a reactionary not-jazz to fuel teen dances and beach parties, it wasn't long before the comparatively mild-mannered early rock songs of Bill Haley and Del Shannon swirled into the darkening zeitgeist of the Vietnam era, a more rudderless war, and coughed out the sticky likes of Jefferson Airplane, the 13th Floor Elevators, and The Velvet Underground -- each plying noisy waves of distortion in their far-flung locales: The West Coast, Texas, and New York. This miasma exerted invisible pulses of influence over a youth culture flexing its societal influence, feeling its power, and feeding on its own raw energy.
At it's rawest, rock is fairly free of pretense. It is literally bashed out in basements, garages, and spare rooms. Technique and virtuosity, while often present, are secondary to sheer volume, motion, and revolutionary willpower. It is a fecund, amoral beast. Volume 17 of the 3-Way Singles Club endeavors to cage and classify that beast. Or those beasts, really, as they appear in as many forms and furs as imaginable. This is modern psych, from the Third Coast.
First there is Racket Ghost's propulsive churn, spring-reverbed and concise, definitely untamed and out to corrupt our youth through the sin of dancing and the parallel sin of listening. It's not dancing in the defined sense, nor listening in the passive sense. There are screams. There are arms and legs flying. It's dark and there are flashing lights. "Watch Me Move" is a calling card with jagged edges and smudged ink, celebrating its own careening semi-stability and inviting you into the whirl along with it.
Chaz Brackx and The Big Bucks are not here to deliver a gentle gospel tune about the sacrament of communion. "We're Gonna Drink His Blood" may run its fingers over the touchstones of Country-and-Western's twangy folks-isms and it may even read on paper as a pious hymn to transubstantiation, but when the harmonica and guitar go entirely sideways and run roughshod over the melody, they channel a sort of atonal, dissonant psych vein of their own that has as little to do with flower power as it does with rustling cattle. If this is relijun, it's an ancient one from when we had flippers. The truly "psychedelic" can straddle that line between wholesome and vampiric.
The Mind Guards take an approach that is a fraction more painterly but keeps things gleefully unhinged, pairing their crisp electronic beats with more pointilistic and angular guitar and bass lines that seem to glancingly quote from so many pop tunes of the last few decades without settling on anything recognizable. Except for the song itself, that is, mutating and becoming a "thing;" the undefined seeking it's own set of codes, hammering together its vocabulary and delivering the resultant puzzle-box of sounds with a sprinkling of confectioner's sugar -- just enough to lure you closer.
Thanks for coming along for this ride, even though it was BYO. Next month is shaping up to be, well, monolithic and magnificent. We will... see you... there?
[ If you're interested, you can subscribe to the entire 3-Way Singles Club for a one time fee. That's ALL the songs the club has already released, plus everything we'll release until the end of time. Learn more here itavrecords.blogspot.com