THE NOISE WE LOVE
ALL THEM WITCHES – Sleeping Through the War
THE GOOD: Nashville rockers All Them Witches return with a fuzzed-out crankin’ fourth.
THE BAD: Nope.
THE NITTY GRITTY: It’s tough to pigeonhole these guys (never a bad thing). At any point, they may give you low burning hazy psychedelic stuff (“Bulls”) or off-the- cuff disposable thrashy blues-rock (“Don’t Bring Me Coffee”).
Frontman/bassist Charles Michael Parks Jr. and his crew have studied their Black Sabbath and Jimi Hendrix records. Yet they’ve probably digested a fair amount of Butthole Surfers, And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead and Nirvana along the way, too. Perhaps there are even a few early Flaming Lips collections stashed in their past.
These guys are mighty ambitious, creating a near-perfect melding of indie rock, progressive bombast and just a pinch of very early heavy metal. “Sleeping” ends up a rumbling and raucous feast for the senses; boasting more than a few extended jams that blast you far into deep space. Crazy, man.
BUY IT?: Yeah.
NAM WAYNE – Nam Wayne
THE GOOD: Philadelphia-based singer/songwriter Nam Wayne (the moniker can also refer to the guy’s full band) finally unleashes his first album.
THE BAD: Nah!
THE NTTY GRITTY: He actually recorded this set during a blistering week-long session way back in 2005.
However, various circumstances, including the man’s own perfectionism, prevented its release until now. You would think that a record twelve years in the making would sound ultra-progressive or polished. Thankfully, that’s not the case. “Nam Wayne” is a super-tight, echo-drenched 30-minute trip into a land of noisy garage rock and lo-fi aesthetics. One detects the classic influence of Lou Reed and Iggy Pop and the more recent clatter of Black Lips or Cage the Elephant.
Wayne handles everything from tossed-off throbbing love songs (“Friend Crush”) to relevant political rants written under President Bush but released under President Trump (“Decade of Darkness”). And then there’s the unadulterated melancholy on the traditional cover of “Wild Mountain Thyme” that somehow doesn’t sound out of place. It’s all good.
BUY IT?: Surely.
THE BLACK ANGELS – Death Song
THE GOOD: Texas garage-psyche rockers Black Angels come back with a fifth.
THE BAD: Black Angels albums are somewhat interchangeable. You know what you’re gonna get. But the heady formula isn’t disagreeable … yet.
THE NITTY GRITTY: The band took its name from the Velvet Underground track “The Black Angel’s Death Song,” so this album’s title brings it all home. Frontman Alex Maas and his crew churn out yet another set of loud foggy droning jams that blur the lines between prog rock and garage band punk. “Comanche Moon” sways back and forth as it bangs and crashes. “Medicine” is all about psychedelic forward momentum. Delicate closer “Life Song” veers into pre-“Dark Side” Pink Floyd territory.
The guys work with different producers on every album. “Death Song” is Phil Ek’s (Built to Spill, Fleet Foxes) turn to capture all the noise that fits. He does a great — albeit not very distinct — job (again, Black Angels albums can melt into each other). So good trippy stuff all around. Dig it.
BUY IT?: Sure.