The Record Lounge: Reviews 09/24/2010 – The Bright Light Social Hour, The Black Angels and More

The Bright Light Social Hour – The Bright Light Social Hour

I could kinda tell they were one of the bands slated to play due to their dress and appearance. Beards, the hair, some very bright pants, and a moustache that says it’s difficult to find a job anywhere but Austin or as a musician. Turns out, I was right, as they started trying to load their gear in through a side gate that was blocked by some idiot who had incorrectly parked his car, blocking the trail leading to the side load-in entrance. “You guys are the only reason we’re here” a couple of straggling fans would tell them as they walked their gear down to the gate, which was a bold statement for any of the support bands on the bill on this very hot sunny New Braunfels day. That’s cool to hear, not everyone gets that, and now I’m getting a little excited to see them myself.

That band was The Bright Light Social Hour.

After their set at Dia de los Toadies Tres, I had a feeling this might be one of those every so often finds that’s just so electrifying. I had been anticipating a review copy ever since I had requested one, and it was so worth the wait.

With tongue planted firmly in cheek, yet with an earnest love of the music that influences them, this is the Kansas/Styx/Boston of the new generation. A mix of virtually all 70’s era genres, from straight forward arena rock infused with funk, soul, and even some prog-rock elements this is a big fun album from beginning to end. If you don’t shake it to the opener “Shanty”, man, I’m sorry. The chant along choruses of “Bare Hands, Bare Feet” will not leave you for days, and you don’t really mind. “Detroit” takes you to a funk-rock injected Motown, whereas the atmospheric prog-rock sense of “Men Of The Earth” is on a completely different plane (and is probably the most modern sound on the entire record), only to flow into another giant funk jam, “Back and Forth”.

The album’s real centerpiece, the almost 10 minute long piano heavy “Garden of the Gods” is sheer 70’s classic arena rock in its purest form – and just try to deny the guitar heroics. Their debut is wrapped up by the frenetic instrumental prog of “Rhubarb Jam”, bringing to a close one of the more refreshing new albums I have gotten all in quite a while. Their sound might be familiar, but you get a whole new angle out of them for sure.

I can tell you now, after spending some time with it, this will appear somewhere in my Top 10 records of the year. I loved this record, and can’t wait to see them at their Dallas CD release show at Double-Wide on 10/01/10.

And as for being blocked from the side gate in New Braunfels, after all was said and done, and they had loaded in, we realized the owner of the car blocking their way was sitting at the picnic table the entire time eating a sandwich.

Real smooth dude, real smooth.

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The Black Angels – Phosphene Dream

The third full length from Austin quintet The Black Angels is a pleasantly noisy slab of psychedelic freakout. Building from the psych and western structures of the first two albums -as well as a wealth of singles and EP’s – Phosphene Dream finds the band at their most experimental and cohesive, fully taking their place among the continually expanding American psychedelic music scene.

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Grinderman – Grinderman 2

I will not act as though I am an expert on Nick Cave. It is not because I don’t like him, I like him rather well, actually. I just haven’t had much time to really dig deep into his catalog like I should and want to. Last week we got the second release from his Grinderman project, which is every bit as interesting as the first record. A little tamer and focused than the original, which hearkened back to the rawer material released by Cave’s first band, the post-punk powerhouse The Birthday Party, Grinderman 2 exhibits more of the attitude of some of the later Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds material: interesting, well produced and arranged, yet without being over the top.

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Weezer  – Hurley

I have never been a fan of Weezer. I even liked their Dallas based tribute band Weener better than I did the original. But on their first album for punk indie Epitaph, their eighth overall, I didn’t find myself hating them as much, if I can block out the lyrics. I’m not necessarily a lyrics person, but Rivers Cuomo’s unending barrage of cutesy high school imagery has gotten pretty old, but I guess that’s his modus operandi. I guess if you like ‘em, you get the joke. I’ve just rarely gotten in on the joke with these guys.

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Zac Brown Band – You Get What You Give

It’s always disappointing when a band delivers so well live, then can’t even duplicate that feeling on record. After seeing them on one of the awards shows last year, I was pretty sold. Their incendiary version of the Charlie Daniels Band classic “The Devil Went Down To Georgia” was phenomenal. “Toes” from their debut didn’t grab me so much… but I thought maybe You Get What You Give would. It didn’t.  I just turned it off.

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~ by thesynaptic on September 24, 2010.

One Response to “The Record Lounge: Reviews 09/24/2010 – The Bright Light Social Hour, The Black Angels and More”

  1. [...] harness their stage presence in a studio can be quite a task, which they aptly did on last year’s self-titled debut, but New Year’s Live seems to capture that essence even a bit further. Comprised of 2 crowd [...]

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