The Warlocks

Having started out on BOMP Records, former home of kindred spirits the Brian Jonestown Massacre, the Warlocks made a big jump to a major label. So what happened with that? As expected, the big label boys got all up in the Warlocks business, and after one album, they’re back in indie-land at Tee Pee Records…home of kindred spirits the Brian Jonestown Massacre. Feeling lazy after the holiday, I’ll leave it to the Warlocks themselves to describe their new LP Heavy Deavy Skull Lover: “Eight electric tales moving from space-marooned heavy blues to angelic, opiated dream haze—all propelled via the crud-fuzz of White Light/White Heat Velvets and Jesus and Mary Chain and the sprawling, melted constructions of Spacemen 3 and Red Krayola.”

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Brian Jonestown Massacre

1996. Methodrone. The first LP from the Brian Jonestown Massacre was the inspiration for Mike G and I to finally start a band after months of talking about it. You see, I had gotten in his car with some friends not really knowing Mike, and lo and behold, playing in his car stereo was Lilys’ Eccsame the Photon Band, which was my favorite album at the time. Mike and I quickly became good friends, yet the band talk continued until Mike brought over the Methodrone CD. Mike drafted in Chris on bass (I’d have to play the basslines before each song so Chris could remember) and Tom on drums (He was a skater kid so every song gradually got faster and faster while we played). We advertised for a lady singer and the auditions consisted of Mike and I playing BJM songs while getting the wannabes to sing to them. After several hilarious auditions, we had the good fortune of meeting Jessica Foxylady and convinced her to join us. Our first song: BJM’s “Wisdom.”

Anton Newcombe has put out seemingly dozens of albums in dozens of styles with seemingly hundreds of band members, is the subject of the film Dig, and has been called every name in the book and visited every city in the country. All of those albums are available for free download from the BJM website as zipped ogg files.

Also of note is the Brian Jonestown Massacre Fans’ Cover Project, a fantastic site which has collected an ever-growing number of songs. My two faves are below.

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Jason Russo was in Mercury Rev around the time that the be-yoo-tee-ful Deserter’s Songs was released to much joy. It shows all over “Safe As Milk,” a euphoric guitar hymn that could be called “indie gospel” (see also The Polyphonic Spree, The Flaming Lips, Spiritualized, and of course Mercury Rev). But that was five years ago and it’s telling that their latest, Hopewell & the Birds of Appetite, is classified on iTunes as “rock” whereas The Curved Glass was “alternative.” With a self-contained riff that’s a close relative to Nirvana’s “Rape Me,” horns with a mind of their own, and drums bigger than the space between your earbuds, the euphoria finds an edge that’s more suited to Saturday night than Sunday morning.

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