ALBUM REVIEW: The Molochs – America’s Velvet Glory


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Head Moloch Lucas Fitzsimons’s mission statement is to ‘take the past apart, not recreate it’.

Accordingly this second long-player (following 2013’s Forgetter Blues) from Los Angeles miscreants The Molochs (with Ryan Foster) (re)examines the hallowed, sanctified and perennially excavated ‘60s to 90s’ epoch in style.

Named for a God of child sacrifice who then proceeds to di/ingest said infants as dessert (he’s (always a he) also suitably cast in Milton’s Paradise Lost and Ginsberg’s Howl) this Super-Cali-Ritualistic-Esoteric-docious pair play for redemption, praying for (radio) time.

Eleven songs detailing romantique woes and lows, outlining affairs of the heart aching/art-making kind that comprise an expert dis/reassembling and de/restructuring: the end product a kaleidoscopic bricolage-homage, a patchwork-panorama of electric-eclecticism.

With (s)influences varying from Richard Hellish ‘blank generation’ apathy on ‘New York’ to the Prefab Four’s Monkeeing about bonhomie (sem)antics which are all over ‘No Control’. The Byrdsian jingle-jangle ‘The one I love’ enlists you for the eight miles high club.

Spiralling organotronics permeate ‘Ten Thousand’ a Dan Sartainesque fable in its ramshackle and reedy hyper-rockin’ and rollin’. The a-Syd (Barrett) whimsury-rhymery of ‘Charlie’s Lips’ is a disaffected drawling death-disc(o), does our man wish to BE Charlie or does he pity him? As the titular Chuck ‘sharks the passers-by …’ the song comes across as a kin-sing-ship with Jonathan Richman’s perma-stoned ‘Hippy Johnny’. Fitzsimons’s mocking delivery leaving us in the dark.

Those Satanic Majesties themselves the Rolling Stones are summonsed doubly on the sneering country-honking ‘That’s the trouble with you’ and the happy-sad ‘You and me (with its nod to ‘I’m free’) both paeans to escape: freedom in both the spiritual and physical realms.

‘Little Stars’ has energy-echoes of den of iniquity anthem ‘House of the rising sun’, a dark undertow underpins this autobiographical(?) narration, his portentous story-selling depicting a hellish day in the strife that doubles as a warning to you and me. Take heed.

‘No more cryin’ oozes woozy-bluesy harmonica, the lyrics deadpan and drawled/doled out with the end-product like Television covering ‘19th Nervous Breakdown’.

This is not simply a case of analogue archive exhuming, these Bohemian Groovers have delivered 11 skull and boneshakers; the City of Angels has some new demons to kneel at the alt-altar for. Proffer your lambs.

As the saying goes: if you can remember the 60s … then you’re in your 60s.

ALBUM REVIEW: The Blue Aeroplanes – ‘Welcome, Stranger!’


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Six years on from the last LP Anti-Gravity, indie-doyens The Blue Aeroplanes return with their inimitable Bristolian ‘swagger’ and increased ‘beatsongs’.

Contemporaries) of REM-embers Stipe and Mills (1991’s seminal album Swagger a favourite) and glumbient sorrow-foragers Radiohead the past year has seen the group perform at the BBC Radio 6 Festival and play at Stewart Lee’s compered (and ultimate) All Tomorrow’s Parties. The cognoscenti never forget.

Having never split up they have avoided the heritage circuit, those cabaret cavalcades of zombified-monetised-yester-memories for the false-conscious fraternity. Veneration prevails through lasting appreciation not commercial renovation.

The band still orbit round perma-shaded-vox-poet, Gerard Langley and ear-drumsticker John Langley here augmented again by ex-Witness Gerard Starkie, bassist Chris Sharp and fresher recruits Bec Jevons (who assumes singing duties on the Belly-like ‘Skin’)and Mike Youe.

Not many acts can intone their lyrics to effective droll-speeching, however, Langley is one-such (c.f. Dexys’ Kevin Rowland, Half Man Half Biscuit’s Nigel Blackwell). His idiosyncratic and ultra-sardonic delivery is fully evidenced on opener ‘Looking for X’s on a map’ which (in spite of the incongruous and alarming apostrophe) crashes metaphorically onwards/philosophically inwards, a clanging stomper and an erudite indictment of how apps (GPSOS?) have replaced maps, technology ‘guiding’ lost (and unfound) souls instead of psychogeography delivering spiritual nourishment via innate coordinates.

A melodic sermon to arboreal death ‘Dead Tree! Dead Tree!’ is ‘beautiful and familiar, it doesn’t change with the season’ Langley anatomising the eternal allure of decay, time may pass, but, the tree will wither no more. We will. Remember that.

Known knowns and old bones are picked at the ‘Elvis festival’ where nothing ever dies … burger with fries … a fatman walking in the rain in a stained jumpsuit’ presents vivid imagery that provides a collective and selective (mis)rembered past, one (re)evoked and ‘sung badly’ which is all part of the FUN. Isn’t it?

The operatic ‘Nothing will ever happen in the future’ sees our protagonist ‘standing on the cusp of getting it right’ resigned to the 50/50 of it ‘probably won’t work out but it might’ an(other) inept-step into a tomorrow of (un)foreseen consequences. We’ve all been there.

A sense of time and place, rhyme and space, past and present, permeates throughout this documentarian ten-track traipse though coded odes to the HERE and NOW. An ever-intellectual tour de force of nature and ultra-cerebral (mis)fortune telling where ‘two kisses is a double-cross’.

Thirty-five years in the biz, this sextet are still soaring, no ‘altitude’ sickness for these sonic-architects. Repeated listening is required for maximum effect. ADHD-ficient technonanists need not apply and waste everyone’s time.

Caveat: ‘Gerard is also ‘Head of Songwriting’ at BIMM Bristol, where he was responsible for guiding the early steps of George Ezra’. So, YOU’RE to blame …

Thirty-three degrees of separation


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The Manly P. Hall of Mirrors Horror Show featuring Hollywood’s very own master of NLP and Moscow’s KGB-Movie Dame. These arch enemies both staunchly defending ‘their’ ways, the charade parade rolling on from zone to zone, forbidden and twilight.


VP: ‘I’m booored, when’s dinner?!’
BO: Stick to the script, maaan, or we both won’t get pudding’

BBCNN Speecher: ‘No just desserts for these shambassadors of the planet’

Golden handshakes, secret signs
Walls have ears and telephone lines
Judge and defendant, sacred brothers
Drop the charge and accuse the others

They make history, they make the law
(The brotherhood)
They make money, they make war
(The brotherhood)
Power corrupts and power succeeds
(The brotherhood)
And you take the whip right down on your knees
(The brotherhood)

The butcher, the baker,
the candlestick maker
The whole of the Government
and its caretaker
Doctors and lawyers, priests and crooks
Some unemployed just to cook old books
Their hearts seem cold
and their minds are sick
The things they’ll do just to get their kicks
Spirit has spread right across the nation
In forty-eight percent* of the population

* Those Europhiles, the Remainers, the status quoers, down, down …