Posts Tagged ‘pearl jam’

The Doors

August 27, 2008

The combined elements of the Doors’ music has transcended time and place to become more than a relic of American psychedelic sound. A ceremonial tone in John Densmore’s tribal drumming — both earthy and jazzy — evoked the mysticism and carnal pleasure of Sunset Strip’s Sea Witch. This held the rhythm for Ray Manzarek’s jazz/R&B organ (shot direct from Mother Neptune’s Coffeehouse) and the Insomniac brew of Robby Krieger’s nimble flamenco guitar lines, mixed with crunchy garage-band chords. But it was the baritone tremolo and lusty howl of Jim Morrison’s vox that took the music of the Doors to a subconscious level. Long after the shimmering klieg lights of L.A.’s psychedelic era went out, the Doors’ music continued to influence sub-culture on record.

By 1977, New Jersey’s the Misfits debuted their own brand of keyboard-driven psychotronic punk at Greenwich Village’s CBGB’s club. The single “Cough/Cool” b/w “She” featured somber, poetic prancing akin to the Doors’ earliest hits, while infusing an experimental art-rock indicative of the times. The Misfits glamourized sex and violence, as their increasingly guitar-driven sound pointed to a bleak, dystopian world at the dawn of Ronald Reagan’s presidency. As their brooding style began influencing the oncoming swarm of ’80s goth-rock, Misfits singer Glenn Danzig moved away from the B-horror garaginess of their best material, instead preferring the nascent death metal sound popular by the mid-’80s.

Britain’s Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy launched their band, the Cult, in the early ’80s, offering up a new-wave/goth sound that was heavily influenced by Native American mysticism. The Cult’s 1984 singles “Spiritwalker” and “Go West (Crazy Spinning Circles)” hit big enough to launch a revived interest in the type of sex/death/rebirth gravity that had critics talking about the ’60s Doors sound again. Jerry Hopkins and Danny Sugerman’s book No One Get Out of Here Alive (1980) had already launched Morrison and the Doors into popularity with a whole new generation. The book would be adapted for the big screen in 1991 with Oliver Stone’s The Doors, and the Cult’s Ian Astbury would later front a ’90s Doors reunion, but neither were viewed as being inspired on the level of the book or earliest Cult records. The indie-spirit of neo-psychedelic, however, had more authentic offerings on the horizon.

In 1986, Seattle’s Screaming Trees unleashed the DIY garage-psych LP Clairvoyance — a foretelling of the ’90s grunge explosion, iconoclastic and haunting all at once. The Middle-Eastern flair of Gary Conner’s guitar on “Standing on the Edge” laid the perfect backdrop for singer Mark Lanegan’s baritone intensity. It wasn’t until Pearl Jam’s 1993 Vs. album that another Seattle act would equal the raw absorption of Calirvoyance. Eddie Vedder’s passion and self-conscious immediacy on Pearl Jam numbers like “Dissident” and “Indifference” harkened back to the crunch-chord spontaneity of the best of the Doors. That same year, Glenn Danzig’s eponymous band had a surprise MTV hit with a live version of “Mother” (originally on their 1988 debut LP), though at this point, his sound was so far gone into death metal that it would doubtless fail to connect with anyone searching for the everyman blues of the Doors sound. Worse yet was the baritone banality of mainstream alternative bands like Stone Temple Pilots, and later, Creed. But by this time, there was a feeling that the sexual, good-time exploration of the Doors’ initial influence had reached a corporate rock nadir. The Sunset Strip’s mid-’60s inspiration continues to this day, but its purity in music has gone underground, as with most of the best sounds in rock, post-alternative.

Brian Chidester

Love Battery

March 10, 2008

In the midst of the “Seattle Scene” of the late-80s-Early 90s there were a lot of bands that were well known, and A lot of bands that were swooped up by major labels intent on capitalizing on the new wave sweeping over music. Sadly, Love Battery never reached the pinnacles of success that the likes of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Mudhoney, Melvins, Afghan Whigs, or even the Screaming trees reached (More on those bands at a later date).

The band formed in 1989 at the height of he indy explosion in Seattle. Their debut single, Between the Eyes, was a moderate hit for Sub Pop (and a great song that you need to hear) and Sub Pop included it on their venerable grunge retrospect CD, The Grunge Years (1991). Love Battery scored with their first full-length album, “Dayglo”. While not commercially as successful as they would have liked, it was a critical success and gave them credibility as a band. Their next release was disappointing for a few reasons. The first, and most glaring, is that after “Dayglo”, the band signed to a major label (Polygram) and wanted to release “Far Gone” on their new label. However, there were contract disputes with Sub Pop and the label dumped it. Sub Pop released their own, rougher, version of “Far Gone” but it was not well received. They planned to re-release the album on Polygram in 1994, but the never materialized.

In 1994, they continued on with Atlas, a subsidiary of Polygram, and released “Nehru Jacket EP“. the label did not get behind it, however, and it suffered due to lack of exposure. Another bad break for a great band. Their last effort on Atlas was 1995’s “Straight Freak Ticket”. This was a great release that, once again, received little fanfare. By the mid-90s the tide of grunge music had ebbed and the record industry was looking for something different. Love Battery was too connected to the Grunge movement and was lost in the shuffle. too bad, its a great record.

After a hiatus for 4 years, Love Battery released “Confusion Au Go Go” in 1999 for the C/Z label. You might know C/Z for the “Teriyaki Asthma” releases. Because it was an indy label, it did not have the money or the resources to really promote the album. Several stand out tracks including, “Colorblind”, “Snipe Hunt”, and my personal favorite, “One Small Step”. This is a great album that came out in the midst of a lot of terrible albums. (you may remember 1999 for acts like Limp Bizkit, Kid Rock, N*Sync, Backstreet Boys, and the like unless you have blocked it from your memory). This is one album that is not to be missed.

Currently, Love Battery is on hiatus and have not recorded an album since “Confusion Au Go Go. I, for one, hope that they make another album because I have never been disappointed with a release of theirs.

Todd.


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