Archive for April, 2008

Down The Rabbit Hole With The Brian Jonestown Massacre

Posted in Music with tags , , , on April 9, 2008 by johnbuckley100

I like to think about rock’n’roll in terms of families, clans, circles.  Six degrees of sonic separation.  If Tulip Frenzy were a Harvard B School class, someone would blurt out “Ecosystems.”  Yeah, well, connected systems.  There is that.

You know that old story that only 100 people bought the first Velvet Underground album, but they all formed bands?  I like those bands.  For years, it was nearly enough for someone to put the words “Velvet Underground” in a review of a band, and I’d go buy the record.  Why?  Because if they were trying to sound like the Velvet Underground, that was a good start.  From Galaxie 500 to Luna, Dream Syndicate to the Darkside, you really can’t go wrong looking for music made by bands who worship at the altar of his Lou-ness.

There are some obvious clans, systems, circles.  Think of all the bands that want to sound like the Stones, or the Faces.  For all I know, Whitesnake might have an ecosystem richer than the Amazon. Then there are more formal systems like the Elephant 6 Collective.  Bands that sound like or have been produced by Brian Eno.  You know the game.

For me, some of the bands that sound like the Dandy Warhols are more entertaining the Dandys have been since 13 Tales.  You know who I’m talking about: the Morning After Girls, the Out Crowd.  Bands that have that cool Dandys guitar sound, but maybe aren’t so cynical, so self-consciously ironic.

Now, I had long since listened to the Brian Jonestown Massacre, and yes, my angle in was from “Dig,” that documentary that came out a few years ago showcasing the Dandy Warhols as careerists and The Brian Jonestown Massacre as junkie geniuses that could never quite get it together.  Oh man oh man oh man, to have been alive in the 1990s when the BJM were around.  Wait!  I was alive in the ’90s!  How did I miss them?

Are they the great unknown American band?  The band that most jacked into the raw power of the VU? Putting out double albums, three albums in one year, playing 9-hour sets for 10 people.  This is the stuff of myth, and having spent the last month — note the absence of posts here — playing them over and over and over again, yeah, the reality is pretty amazing.

If you’re not an aficionado already, start with Take It From The Man.  Play it for like a week.  Then move on to Their Satanic Majesty’s Second Request.  After that, go straight to And This Is Our Music.

Oh yeah, you’ll want more.

Did I mention that they’re still alive and kicking and are going to play festivals in Europe this summer and then play a gig at Terminal 5 in New York this summer?  July 25th.  See you there.  

 

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