Tuesday, June 14, 2011

New Direction ... Black Lips Arabia Mountain & Show # 356

On June 7th, Atlanta’s Black Lips released Arabia Mountain, an album that took over a year in the making and an album that marked the first time that they worked with an outside producer (Mark Ronson). But before you scream sell out, there are a few things that you should know. The band actually worked with two producers, Mark Ronson, who has been responsible for working with artists such as Amy Winehouse, Lilly Allen, and Duran Duran for the majority of the album and Lockett Pundt (of Deer Hunter) for two songs (“Bicentennial Man” and “Go Out And Get It!”). In addition to this, Black Lips have used a lot of different types of instruments to add to the songs structures such as Saxophone, Theremin, Muscle Saws, and a human skull which was used as an echo chamber. Guitarist Cole Alexander described the use of the human skull in terms of recording in an interview with SPIN Magazine in August 2010:

“Yeah. I'd been searching for a human skull and I found one in New York City. We used it as an echo chamber. One of our favorite bands, the 13th Floor Elevators, had a jug player who would makes noises into a jug and it would reverberate. So we used the skull the same way. When music reverberates in your head it has a certain sound based on the geometry of your head. So this resembles the echo you would hear in your head at a live concert. Also, if you believe in spirituality, it's cool with the trippy spiritual implications of the sound going through this particular person's skull. It's also straight up creepy. The eyes and the nose created a problem during recording because the sound escapes there. But I'd just put my hand over the nose and eyes -- problem solved. “

“Family Tree” opens up the album with a raw Sonics/Stooges swoon, infectious beats and aggressive vocals. “Modern Art” is a 60s Garage Rock styled number that lyrically was based on a true experience of tripping out at the Salvador Dali Museum in Spain. The humorous lyrics reflect the fact that they were tripping out on Ketamine at a surreal Art museum, feeling normal as a result. “Spidey’s Curse” is a 60’s Pop song that tells the story of Peter Parker being subjected to the sickness of society during his childhood. Songs such as the extremely catchy Garage Surf mix of “Bicentennial Man”, the Pop of “Go Out and Get It!”, and the 70’s Punk Stylings of “Raw Meat” all contribute to Arabia Mountain’s cause. Lyrically and musically Black Lips are un-relentless, keeping true to their gritty and at times strange lyrics which has never been more evident on songs such as “Raw Meat” a song about food poisoning, “Dumpster Dive” a song with splashes of Exile On Main Street era Rolling Stones, the sleazy fuzzed out “Noc-A-Homa” a song about the former Atlanta Braves Mascot Chief Noc’A’Homa. “Mad Dog” deals with subliminal messages that can be found in songs by Judas Priest and The Beatles, musically it features sleazy horn sections and Surf/Garage Rock riffs, while “Time”, the only song featured on the album written by guitarist Ian St. Pe, is Pop flavoured track with Surf guitar licks, “New Direction” is a positive song with 70s Punk sensibilities, “Don’t Mess Up My Baby” a song that at times seems to have Garaged up Bo Diddley like rhythms and Beach Boys styled vocals in the verses, and finally “You Keep On Running” is a slow Psychedelic track that ends Arabia Mountain on an eerie note.

Arabia Mountain features sixteen tracks, all of which sound fresh and exciting while at the same time staying true to the bands ethics. Working with Ronson helped Black Lips and their songs to reach their maximum potential. Lyrically the album features many songs that reflect a narrative based nature, sounding mature while at the same time keeping true to the unique tenacious style. Amongst the sixteen tracks found here you will find elements of Surf, 60s Garage, 70s Punk, and Psychedellic music. After six albums this album serves as a new starting point for the group, while fans often choose 2005’s Let It Bloom and 2007’s Good Bad Not Evil as the bands best work, Arabia Mountain serves as a new contender. The band has never sounded better on record and as a result, this may be not only one of the bands strongest produced efforts, but also one of their best albums so far.

This Week's Play List:

1. Sex Pistols - Satellite
2. Reatards - C'Mon Over
3. Lost Patrol - Grown Up Hard
4. Fatal K.O. - Inside Scene
5. E.B.S. - Glass Slippers
6. Ugly Motels - Not For Me
7. Disband - One Man Army
8. Thurston Moore - Bennediction
9. The Soles - Illusion
10. Mazes - Summer Hits
11. Crocodiles - Refuse Angels
12. Captain Sensible - Wot
13. Dee Dee King - Funky Man
14. What Seas What Shores - Pave The Oceans
15. Franz Ferdinand - What You Meant
16. Rich Kids - Ghosts of Princes In Towers
17. Wreckless Eric - Out Of The Blue
18. The Jam - Going Underground
19. Joel Plaskett - Radio Fly
20. Johnny West - Spider Ventriloquist
21. King Khan & BBQ Show - Animal Party
22. 49th Parallel - Missouri
23. Black Lips - Bicentennial Man
24. Black Lips - Family Tree

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for June 14. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

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