Friday, December 19, 2008

Music Library: Black ______ (Flag, Keys, Mountain, Sabbath, Swan Network, Widow)

This segment of my collection makes one thing clear: if your band is named Black something, you had better leave people AWESTRUCK.

Black Flag - Damaged, My War, and Slip It In. I've owned way more Black Flag than this in my life, but these are the only ones I've sought out as an adult. Go figure. I guess I should pick up Family Man and Everything Went Black at some point, but it's not like I often get into a headspace these days where I just have to hear some Black Flag. Anyway, yes. This is hardcore at its best. Listening to it on headphones while doing other, more-grown-up things gives me a sort of cognitive dissonance.

The Black Keys - "Strange Desire." Okay, but the least of the Black ____ group.

Black Mountain - s/t, Druganaut EP, and In The Future. Bringing back the 70s, Black Mountain plays Led Zep-ish, slightly prog-rock-ish (a few parts sound lifted wholly from In The Court of the Crimson King), a bit Brit-folk-ish mountain jams. And I dig it!

Black Sabbath - s/t, Peel Session 4/26/70, Paranoid, Master of Reality, Vol. 4, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, and Sabotage. Sabbath came right out of the gate fully formed, like Athena from the head of Zeus, ready for ass-whoopage and name-takeage from their first breath. The first four albums remain extremely listenable, bringing the rock even yea unto 40 years later. The Peel Session is a killer, too, featuring an early version of "War Pigs" with different lyrics called "Walpurgis." Sabbath Bloody Sabbath is where things start to fall apart. The band seems less coherent, the jams a bit rote. Sabotage is a bit of a mess, and I have no ear at all for the albums that came after. Still, the first four albums are so fucking great, a blueprint for all metal to come flavored with psychedelia and pills.

Black Swan Network - Dream Tape and The Late Music. The noise-collage side project of the Olivia Tremor Control, Black Swan Network's music is mostly sound with occasional eruptions of melody. Interesting, at least!

Black Widow - Sacrifice. Evil hippies! Playing prog songs! About raising demons and the devil! Maybe the most overtly evil subject matter in my collection, tied to music that sounds like ELP fronted by Donovan at his most fey. Sample lyrics: "Come! Come! Come to the Sabbat! Come to the Sabbat! Satan's there! [cue mad flute solo]"


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