Recommended by us on 21st January 2011.
The son of Kentucky pig farmers, John Bellows' adolescent mind had been seriously warped by the discovery of punk and an extended acid binge. He moved to Chicago in 2001 with a Tascam home recorder and a growing collection of songs. Clean Your Clock, his debut album, was completed in 2005, and self-released in a very limited pressing of CD-Rs.
Bellows has spent the last eight years freaking out the Chicago underground with just a guitar and his singular vision. Bellows has ingested and regurgitated virtually every form of popular music, from his father's beloved Carter Family to the heavy riffage of AC/DC. But the psychedelic feast of Clean Your Clock is very much his own. With a playfulness rarely heard in modern music, Bellows veers effortlessly from face-shredders like "(You Just Got) Mutherfucked" to the shocking tenderness of "Imaginary Friend". And while the album covers an astonishing amount of musical ground, Bellows is no ironic dabbler. He means every last bit of it.
With the long-overdue re-release of Clean Your Clock, Bellows is ready to turn on the world at large. Rural Kentucky's first and only rock savant, Clean Your Clock is his primal first statement, an almost-lost treasure of post-millennial purging. An incredibly intense live performer, Bellows continues to evolve, his musical imagination as vast as America’s rock ‘n roll landscape.
John Bellows’ classic 2005 psych-grunge full-length.
Featuring guitar, bass, drums, banjo, chord organ, trombones, cartoon samples, cheap effects and assorted toys.
Re-mixed and re-mastered for total mind-melting analog fidelity.
One guy (w/ lady backing vox on one cut and assorted drummers) battling it out with acoustic guitars, crappy fx pedal, basses, expensive drums, broken drums, "First Act" toy drum kits, polychord selecter, tamborine, clarinet, leftover sounds on cassettes, rainbow glockenspiel, banjo, trombone, electric guitars, "Fox and the Hound" cassette samples, slide guitar, harmonica, mini keyboard, alien megaphone, flute, saw, toy piano, mini melodica, a computer, vocals ranging from wonderfully twee falsetto to Beefheart growlisms, best lyrics, all employed to maximum effect in a marvelously murky three ring circus world somewhere between Sonny and the Sunsets and Little Howlin' Wolf. A record of the year contender.
by Steve Hesske (Negative Guest List)
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