Pedigree counts more at events sponsored by The Westminster Kennel Club than in modern day rock’n'roll, but well before the release of The Black Ryder’s superb first album, it was clear this was a well-bred band. At least Aimee Nash was a member of the Morning After Girls V. 1.0, (was her partner Scott Von Ryper as well?) and if an adjunct of class is whom you hang out with, The Black Ryder’s got an A-list social network — the Brian Jonestown Massacre, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Black Angels.
More than a year ago, “Burn and Fade” showed up on their MySpace page, with BRMC’s Peter Hayes sharing vocal duties, and it immediately placed TBR on the matrix. If the bottom axis is a band’s relative immersion in the Velvet Underground, and the right axis is where they fit on the continuum between, say, the Stones upward toward the gauzy reaches of Mazzy Star and Galaxie 500, just that first song showed The Black Ryder scoring high in the upper right hand corner.
Frustratingly for us Yanks with a hankering for Aussie bands — we veterans of the long wait for The Morning After Girls’ second album (sans Ms. Nash) – Buy The Ticket, Take The Ride came out in Australia in November, got rave reviews, but as of this writing, no American release date. Tulip Frenzy went into emergency acquisition mode, checked our Antipodal contacts, and through extraordinary measures (Amazon, credit card, paying up for the Import), are pleased to give this debut report for the American cognoscenti.
The Black Ryder are the real deal, and if Buy The Ticket, Take The Ride had found its ways to these shores in 2009, it would certainly have nestled near Assemble Head In Sunburst Sound’s When Sweet Sleep Returned high atop the Tulip Frenzy Top 10 List. (It wouldn’t have knocked Sonic Youth outta the top slot, for those geezers gripped it with gnarled paws.)
In the keiretsu connecting the BJM and the Dandys and the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, they’re already supplying guitar strings and guitarists (BJM’s Rick Maymi, fer example) to The Black Ryder. Unfortunately, the production checklist didn’t include making sure the drums snapped, but they methodically went through every element relating to the guitars. I think my favorite song so far is the throbbing “What’s Forsaken,” but honestly, hear any of these songs in a club and you’ll reach for your Shazam app.
Look, I thought the early Morning After Girls recordings were some of the best sounds that came out of that miserable decade we’ve just escaped from. I would be prone to enjoy an album featuring someone from that lineup. This is so much better: a lovely, mid-tempo mashup of the Dig! bands that never strains. It fits the tempo of life between 7:00 and 10:00 AM, and then again after 9:00 PM. Does that properly place it? Music to listen to in an urban apartment with rain slapping the streets, while tea is made. (Yeah, that kind of tea, with cream and sugar.) Now if we can only get them to buy a ticket on a Quantas flight over to these parts.