WASPs and tigers

NOVEMBER REWIND: TWO-SPEED PSYCHE, MISSED GIGS AND A MIGHTY RETURN

John Peel: a man known for speed. How many times did we hear him get it wrong on a record, sometimes even sticking with wRongPM coz it sounded better? (if it sounds right, it can’t be wrong .. right?). Easily done. Not being schooled in the drumnbass arts meself, but tempted by a gnarly guitary Temper Temper collab with Gallagher Noel and the whole Goldie/Bowie thing, I jumped in and bought Goldie‘s 4-record Saturnz Return when it came out. Side 1 sounded OK but a bit off, but side 2’s Chico – Death of a Rock Star was way better, all mid-tempo breakbeating attitude and heavy on-the-level groove. Nice. Before even playing the rest of the album, I stuck that track on a tape I was finishing for a mate at work.

But Saturnz Return is a 45RPM record set, innit?

Which I learned soon after, but not soon enough to recall the tape (sorry Steve) and its revolutionary cock up. Still, it never did Peel any harm and anyway, Chico does sound pretty good on 33 (honest) so give it a go sometime, but flick the speed switch before the Bowie-sung Truth groans into half life – a downer on a good day, it’s last-breath deathly on the slowdown. 

NEW-ISH NOISES

All of this is a long way of introducing a record that you CANNOT play at the wrong speed because it’s been created to be played at both: Lost Chants by Kandodo McBain. The McBain is John, ex Monster Magnet, Kandodo is three bods from The Heads, and with this double-speed set-up we get two albums from the same set of instrumentals. The 45 version has track titles like Blowed Out, Holy Syke and Chant of the Ever Circling (Last Vulture), and their 33 equivalents are Really Blown Out, Holiest Syke and Chant of the Ever So Slowly Circling (Last Vulture). Even with the revs set to 45, Lost Chants ain’t the freak-frazzle burnout you might have expected from Heads mainstays – nah, this is a mellower kinda flow with overlapping waves of guitars… echoes of Hendrix Ladyland 1983/Moon Turn the Tide, Earth Pentastar, Julian Cope s.t.a.r.c.a.r., Carlton Melton, maybe even a less-fucked Tab by McBain’s magnetic ex. Guitar loaded without being riff heavy.

Three Trapped Tigers landed in Oxford in Nov and bugger me if there was no way of making it  – mildly gutting, but the Silent Earthling CD from Truck Store was some consolation and these instrumentals are definitely NOT Kandodo McBain high-plane drifters. Mathprog for the dance tent is what it is, all firecracker percussion and Battles/65daysofstatic/Aphex disorder with a Big Synth overload, and as right-now a production as you can imagine.

NO-DIOSCOPE

What were you doing on November 4th? Stacking up credibility points at Audioscope’s annual mindbender the day after Three Trapped Tigers?

Not me. Couldn’t make it this year, so while James Sedwards was no doubt killing it at Audioscope with Nought, I was doing the next best thing:

listening to WASP.

Ahem. But fuckityes, why not??? Blame Scream Until You Like It from the Hairy Halloween playlister – enjoyed revisiting that vid way too much, then wondered what happened to one of THE names of 80s metal: WASP, those crasser-dirtier-wronger descendants of Alice Cooper, the high-profile enemy of the State c/o PMRC. The Headless Children was my last brush with the Law-less way back in ’89, and that album – especially side 1 – is one whose lost-to-the-era greatness I’ll propagate to anyone anywhere. The Heretic (the Lost Child) and Thunderhead are metal classics in every sense and proof that WASP were capable of more than just fire-ejaculating sawblade codpieces…

…weren’t they? And so, after late night sampling, a WASP purchase was made just 27 years after the last one – KFD, aka Kill Fuck Die. ’tis a killer (WASP’s heaviest?) and blasts hard, taking you to a time when peeled-off solos by caricature heroes (Chris Holmes on this one) were the norm. Check the drum attack and the so-very WASP hook on Killahead … man, that track’s got some fury.

HARDWIRING

Back to 2016, but with another bunch of veterans with 80s roots: Metallica. In what seems to be even more controversial a move than getting haircuts or working with Lou Reed, they’ve gone and made a record that their fans* actually like!!!! Or at least, don’t hate. Yet. Maybe. Happy(ish) Metallica fans, the thing that should not be…who woulda thought? Still getting into Hardwired meself (also reopening tonnes of other ‘tallica sounds, as you do), but they’re the band of the moment and will be for a while yet. I really don’t get the level of criticism thrown their way, but more on the meninblack another day.

’til next time! 

(Monster Magnet Tab review posted on Head Heritage 2004)

*loose definition

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