Black Dice

Broken Ear Record

Blood on the Wall


Various Artists:

Think Differently Music: Wu-Tang Meets the Indie Culture



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Buy it at Insound!

So why do I think Awesomer is one of the awesomest records to come out of Brooklyn this year?

Blood on the Wall’s sound remains fresh while remaining outside of the local, national, and international trends of the last few years. What is here is an articulation of what a lot of folks like myself consider classic rock – the Minutemen, early Sabbath, My Bloody Valentine, the Modern Lovers first record, and Sonic Youth, and (exclude me from this one) that Pixies/Breeders thing.

While a number of reviews point out the way in which the band wears their 1990s influences on its sleeves, its important to note that they also wear their hearts there and that overall they have combined all of this into a sound of its own. They play their asses off and the stuff is totally unpretentious - rocking raw and rocking real. The punk pounding of drummer Miggy Littleton and the hard-digging bass of Courtney Shanks create are an ideal compliment to Brad Shanks’ overdriven exploration of the noise guitar canon. Courtney’s singing can be whispery and growly and Brad is typically screamy – and both sing, once more, with feeling. The playing is fairly straightforward, containing just the right amount ornamentation to remain interesting without lowering the energy or taking away from the songs – one of the most difficult but necessary rock nuances. And, finally, a fact that isn’t mentioned much in other reviews, the songs are super-steel solid.

The album kicks in with a stellar trio of rockers – the primal stomp “Stoner Jam,” and two driving post-punky songs, “Reunite on Ice,” and “Heat From the Day.” Then the lighters come out for the dreamy “I’d Like to Take You Home” before the band falls into the dynamic mid-tempo pop of “You Are a Mess.” Leading off with the strongest cuts, the record falls into a bit of an intermission from the excellence of the first five with a few songs that still hold their own nonetheless - the “Roadrunner” rip-off “Keep Your Eyes,” the Paranoid-quoting “Gone,” the Pixies-ish “Mary Susan,” the post-punk “Can You Hear Me,” and the stoner punk sing-along-with-the-guitar-riff of “Right to Lite Tonight.” The record takes a final bow with the “Bob Dylan Wrote Propaganda Songs”-esque “Get the Fuck Off My Cloud.”

While a few of the songs in the middle aren’t their best material, they are still better than most stuff out there. As for the best ones – lets just call ‘em contemporary classics. This album as a whole is water in my desert and I just can’t wait to recommend it to my friend Noah in Oregon – who also grew up on both stoner rock and SST records.


© New York Night Train , 2005