REVIEWS

SHIT YOU NEED TO HEAR (SYNTH – 23)

Artist: Charles Bradley
Album: Changes

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 It’s easy to root for Charles Bradley, the 67-year-old soul singer who has spent the last few years enjoying a breakout career on Daptone Records. Bradley’s underdog narrative has remained as genuinely endearing as it has perpetually marketable, and Changes, his third album, feels like his straightforward best to date, the result of an improved dynamic between the singer and his band. If he ever sounded awkwardly patched in on previous recordings, Bradley now seems to command ownership of his songs like never before. It’s an accomplished skill in the world of retro-soul, and Bradley sounds vital instead of nostalgic because of it. Changes somehow feels more natural, in which Bradley comes off as an obvious star, like he’s belonged here the whole time. Surrounded by talented revivalists half his age, the singer remains a precious commodity, the real thing. Here to check out Changes LP at The Barbershop Music webstore.

 

Artist: The Black Keys
Album: Magic Potion

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The Black Keys were never meant to be classy. For one, they’re from Akron, a city that’s not quite East Coast or Midwestern and has vaguely smelled like burning tires every time I’ve driven through it. For another, they’re playing blues-rock in 2006, no irony, no kind of pretense to authority or being some new band of purists, just a blues-rock band. But even if their so-called “raw” panache had been recycled a few times over, they had the kind of that demanded the car windows be cranked down and the volume knob twisted firmly to the right for anyone weaned on classic rock radio. Magic Potion is a record where overwhelming competence meets measured restraint, but for me, sacrilege trumps sincerity, and I’d rather hear tuneful blasphemy than a tasteful snoozer of an album. Shit, give me Blueshammer any day. The Barbershop Music finally restocked Magic Potion this week.

 

Artist: The Budos Band
Album: The Shape Of Mayhem To Come

 The Budos Band - The Shape Of Mayhem To Come

Heady, fuzzy instrumental psych funk from the mighty Budos Band recorded The Shape Of Mayhem To Come EP at the Grey Eagle on Halloween night 2015. Killer EP includes ‘Avalanche’, a great centerpiece medley of ‘Inche Ince/You Keep Me Hanging On’ and the blistering personal favourite track ‘Aynotchesh Yerefu’. The Shape Of Mayhem To Come‘s a record you definately gotta hear/own.

 

Artist: Can
Album: Ege Bamyasi

 Can - Ege Bamyasi                   [LP]      (Reissue)

Are we there yet? After 25 years of critical reappraisal and at least 15 years of indie and post-rock bands flaunting their influence, has Can finally gotten their just desserts? I don’t think so. Not just yet. Can still seem just a little bit ahead of the curve. They really were “post-rock,” as opposed to just futuristic. Can’s music anticipated both the musical trend toward decontextualization via electronics, post-production, and editing, and the cultural trend toward collective experience and shared information. Other bands shone as brightly in this regard but Can arrived as a more finished product and more capable of translating their ideas onto record than any other. And they jammed. Any randomly picked moment from “Yoo Doo Right” or “Halleluwah” is as powerful now as when it was released. You can use them as make-out music, a drug soundtrack, or just stuff to listen to while driving. You can use them to blast off or come down.

 

Artist: Sleep
Album: Sleep’s Holy Mountain

Sleep - Sleep's Holy Mountain                   [LP]      (Purple Vinyl) 

The year is 1992. Three stoners by the names of Matt Pike, Al Cisneros, and Chris Hakius release a record entitled Sleep’s Holy Mountain. Releasing a record that sounds like the missing golden age Black Sabbath album in a time where the metal world embraced technicality, and music that sounded very un-Sabbathy to say the least. Little would they know that almost all slow, stoner doom groups from that point onward would take influence from the Sleep formula. If you want to hear tight riffing and precise solos, you’re out of luck here. This album is a mess, and I’m not saying that in a bad way. Cisneros’s vocals aren’t exactly easy to listen to, and the songs are as slow and sludgy as you can get. But it all somehow works, and as a result you get one of the most, if not, the most influential stoner rock record of all time. Get the reissue at The Barbershop Music now!