Friday, February 22, 2008

The Brian Jonestown Massacre - My Bloody Underground

After spending time writing and recording in Liverpool, England and Reykjavik, Iceland; My Bloody Underground will be the thirteenth full-length album released by the band, set for release on Anton Newcombe’s own record label “a recordings” on April 15th 2008.

Thirteenth time’s a charm for a band who’s name a portmanteau of the original and founding member of The Rolling Stones’ Brian Jones and the infamous mass cult suicide at Jonestown, Guyana in 1978. Fans and critics of Brian Jonestown Massacre who have eagerly awaited a new album for a little over 4 years now will not be disappointed with its musical content, quality and controversy to follow.

The opening track titled “Bring Me The Head Of Paul McCartney On Heather Mill’s Wooden Peg (Dropping Bombs On The White House)” begins and soars into an echoing wave of tambourines and trancelike acoustics, that continues for 12 more tracks and 75.87 minutes, stirring visions of sunny Californian communes to New York City bars on the Lower East Side. From Rishikesh to Reykjavik, the entire album provides provocative glimpses into Anton Newcombe’s head, both the darkness and the light, so clearly and so beautifully self-produced.

The Brian Jonestown Massacre has been somewhat of a musical commune for many respected musicians over the years, a band from the 1990’s that has spurned other great bands ever since. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Warlocks, The Silver Rockets, The Black Angels, The Raveonettes, The Dilettantes, Ride (to name a few) are all part of this musical family tree.

Indeed, this is a band that has witnessed many incarnations, since its inception in San Francisco in 1995. Two-dozen band members later and numerous “ups and downs” (some have been famously sensationalized in the media), the one thing that has always remained consistent for this psychedelic-cult-like-collective, is front man Mr. Anton Alfred Newcombe.

A man and artist many are eager to dismiss as obnoxious and unworthy of the attention he receives. Others however, deem him simply as vulnerable in this world he roams and hugely misunderstood whilst doing so. Like many prolific and artistic “madmen” before his and our time, dare we sum all of the above and categorize Newcombe as a one of the musical geniuses of our time?

Maybe it’s too early or controversial to say, but tracks from My Bloody Underground are certainly good indications whether such a “characteristic” is worthy of his nature. “We Are The Niggers Of The World” (track 4) is a song Anton wrote when he was just 9 years old, you can decide for yourself.

Regardless of the spectacles and debate that surround the man and the band, it’s the music that matters. Regardless of the sanity and social standards that some feel is relevant to art, it’s this album that reaffirms the greatness that is The Brian Jonestown Massacre, the songs seem to be channeled from somewhere greater than where we dwell. My Bloody Underground truly is a fantastic album.

My Bloody Underground still offers some of the old Massacre sound but has a more experimental and avant-garde approach to it, enticing and mesmerizing, with its darkness, its weight and rhythmic enchantment. A true testament that this really is the only band of our time and only album of it’s time to sound this way and be so damn good.

Who needs the Nineties or the Sixties when you have something that encapsulates both, with the added twist, trials and triumphs of the modern world we live in and the world that Anton Alfred Newcombe shares with us.

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