Today’s Best Rock’n’Roll Lets Its Freak Flag Fly

The greatest rock’n’roll band in America today is First Communion After Party. They’re too young to have drivers licenses — or maybe it’s that they need some gig money to afford a van — so they don’t travel from Minneapolis very much, but man, when they do, can’t wait to see ’em.  We anxiously await the follow up to Sorry For All The Mondays And To Those Who Can’t Sing, and on their MySpace page, there’s a tantalizing reference to an album launch party in November.  Aside from FCAP, where’s all the energy in music during these econolyptic days?  Way over there on the furry side o’ the dial.

Uncut Magazine just put out a new CD with the October issue entitled Seeing For Miles, and it’s the best compilation they’ve done in years.  It turned me on to three bands in particular that have brought plenty of joy to this Labor Day weekend.  Let’s go through ’em.

Assemble Head In Sunburst Sound has First Communion After Party’s reverence for Summer o’ Love era Airplane, including that boy/girl choir in between crunchy guitars, but they also work their way back to bluesy power riffs probably in the same manner that Black Mountain get there.  When Sweet Sleep Returned is an astonishment: great songwriting, the ability to rock hard or soft, John Cippolina guitar cantering down through the desert sage, with Radio Birdman piano twinkling every once in the while.  The only complaint I have is with the album’s production, which is muddy in the middle.  These guys are the real deal, and they come by their San Fran roots naturally, as they, um, come from there.  Recently the WashPost had a funny piece on the problems Ang Lee had finding genuinely skinny, non-buff, hair folk to cast as extras in Taking Woodstock.  Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound play with muscle, but here’s betting they don’t actually have any.

Abouretum hail from Baltimore, and immediately join Greg Kihn and David Byrne in that town’s Rock Hall of Fame.  The singer sounds like Richard Thompson, and come to think of it, some of the songs on Song of The Pearl sound like they could have been performed by Fairport Convention.  But then they’ll turn a corner and the guitars going spiraling off into shafts of light, and dust motes tickle our brains.  A little more of Rock band than others on the neo-psychedelic left bank.  Way listenable and cool nonetheless.

Okay, we’ve been hearing about Wooden Shjips for years without actually hearing them, but their highly caffeinated trance music on Dos is so good for listening to while exercising in the gym, I think I’m going to forever ruin my chances to be cast in an An Wang movie.  Uncut refers to Spaceman 3 when doing their liner notes on the cut WS add to the sampler, and I can see that.  It’s just there’s no way these guys are ever going to evolve into Spiritualized.  Too much propulsion, too much beat.

Ok, haven’t yet listened to Six Organs of Admittance, and the new White Denim isn’t out yet (though seems to be preceded by thunderous acclaim).  But these three bands are a start.  If you think about where the fun has been these last few years, The Warlocks, Black Mountain, Black Angels come to mind.  And then First Communion After Party vaulted way up their on the Coolo’Meter.  Add at least Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound to your play list, and let your freak flag fly.

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