Now weirdly busier than ever, Anton Newcombe was planning two albums for 2018 but the success of Something Else and it's associated tours has led this self titled follow up to be pushed back to 2019. Well at least we have a brand new the Brian Jonestown Massacre album to listen to before we all die. Something Else was really rather good so we are looking forward to the treats on offer here.
Vinyl LP £16.99 AUK045LP
180g clear vinyl LP on 'a' Recordings. Comes in deluxe packaging - heavy board sleeve with printed plastic outer.
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The Brian Jonestown Massacre have returned with their eight hundred and forty-first studio LP (actually, their nineteenth). They, or rather bandleader Anton Newcombe, maintains a frightening, almost Fall-esque workrate, and 2019 is no different. He has a cockroach-like, Theresa May-esque tenacity. Newcombe is an example of how to maintain integrity in what is a pretty ‘orrible industry, he’s started his own label and has always been DIY-centred. Since 1995, he has released album after album, almost one a year. Whatever you may feel about this group, their productivity is something to be admired. The Quietus' John Doran has said that a record is "a snapshot to be taken before [moving] quickly on". The Brian Jonestown Massacre (the album) typifies this perfectly.
It kicks in with 'Drained'. Newcombe is at his belligerent best here, all faux-British accent and plummy vowel sounds but with an interesting mournfulness and grit to his voice that we haven’t really heard before. Going into listening to this album, I was expecting sunny psych-rock, as displayed on their admittedly excellent mini album Thingy Wingy, but instead we get a brooding, soup of influences like country, lo-fi, and folk. The Brian Jonestown Massacre is a somewhat lo-fi album in the same vein as Thank God For Mental Illness (which reportedly had a budget of $17.34). The production is a little scratchy but never lacks skimps on punch. The thing I love about the BJM is that although there’s obviously similarities between all their work, in every album there are new elements that expand the band’s scope.
Where previous albums have tended to be more cosmic and outward-looking, this seems like a much more introspective work. Perhaps this is Newcombe mediating more on growing older, the titles ‘Drained’, ‘We Never Had a Chance’, ‘Too Sad To Tell You’, would suggest so. Although his well-publicised battles with drink and drug habits are well behind him, he seems to be reflecting on the younger Newcombe we all saw on that fabulous, life-affirming documentary DIG!, full of piss and vinegar and completely uncompromising.
In the year 2050 when we’re all living in concrete igloos and eating squirrels, here and there you will still hear the strains of a side-burned, long-haired Californian singing about how he ‘lahst mahy whey’, and about the ‘muhtha-fuhckahs’, still cranking out brilliant psych-rock albums, and it looks like he will continue to do so for many moons/apocalypses to come.
I’ve just realised I didn’t mention the talismanic figure of Joel Gion once. So Joel, keep twirling that tambo, lad, we all adore you.
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