You really don’t want to read another review masquerading as a song-by-song description of an album you’ve never heard? Good. You’re not going to get one.
Drop your preconceptions, too, if you’re a fan of the late great Jim Jones Revue.They’ve been dead and buried for close on three years. His other bands, Black Moses and Thee Hypnotics, have been decomposing in their graves for much longer than that.
Top Ten things I enjoyed in 2017, in no particular order and randomly numbered:
5. Tenebrous Liar - The Cut (Album) I have faith Tenebrous Liar can save us from the Indie-pocolypse. I don’t know how to describe this album - the sounds and mood is as wonderfully textural and emotive as frontman Steve Gullick’s photographs (which he is better known for). Highlights “Alienation”, “Lowlands”, “Swing For Me”... all of it. Bandcamp.
4. Chelsea Wolfe - Hiss Spun (Album) This entry is more for Chelsea Wolfe’s catalogue than just this one album. I was late on the uptake and only discovered her music this year. Albums “Abyss” and “Unknown Rooms” have been on repeat, though Hiss Spun also has plenty of charms too. Website. Listen on Spotify.
Tell me, was the Jim Jones Revue one of the highlights of the Big Day Out (2011) or fucking what? They were utterly on fire, all Jerry Lee and compressed brutality … I thought the majors would scoop them up and take them to war …
Well… almost. The band broke up after years of battle, but Jones, retaining Gavin Jay on bass, picked up Joe Glossop on keyboard, Phil Martini on drums and David Page on pedal steel and theremin … why?
Well, when the main songwriter is … I think “trangressing” might be appropriate here rather than “progressing”… from one place to another, it’s not fair on the band he’s gathered to try to shove them down a hole they don’t want to go. If you thought JJR were shit hot, wait’ll ya get a load of this stinky skanky beast.
Seminal English harbingers of the ‘90s garage rock revival, Thee Hypnotics, are reforming for album rte-issues and live dates. A heavyweight vinyl anthology, including rare and unreleased material, is due out via Beggars Arkive, with an accompanying tour of France and the UK ovwr March and April.
Taking their cues from the Detroit militancy of The MC5, the corrupting output of The Stooges and the gospel according to The Cramps, Thee Hypnotics’ devastating brand of rock’n’roll was propelled by near punishing decibel levels and a fervour bordering on the evangelical.
They recorded three studio records and one live album between 1987 and 1999 and were considered highly influential in Europe and the USA. Past members include original drummer Mark Thompson, the late Craig Pike and bassist Adam Sharam.
So why is a free downloadable single such a significant item?
Because it’s not just a cheaper snapshot into an artist’s work. It can be an Instagram into an imaginary, lush and extraordinary world. The single worships the song itself, transforms it from one more song in a sequence (as with a CD or LP) and one more song in a set, and draws the song into greater, more concentrated focus.
Which means, when you hear something labelled a single, if it’s an old single, like from before the 1990s, you really do have to imagine the new owner playing the song over and over.