Music

Blood on the Wall: Awesomer

Jill LaBrack

Sludge/blues/punk rock influenced by the best Sonic Youth guitar lines. Relive the '90s. Make it new.


Blood on the Wall

Awesomer

Label: The Social Registry
US Release Date: 2005-09-06
UK Release Date: 2005-09-19
Amazon affiliate
Amazon
iTunes

Blood on the Wall live up to their name. Their sound evokes the image of their moniker -- the viscous, startling liquid flying through the air, stopping only when up against a surface. Blood on the Wall's songs slither along but never give up the hard undercurrent. It sounds like something a person could slowly drown in, like mud.

Anyway, head on back to the mid-'90s, when guitar rock reigned. That's where Blood on the Wall's Awesomer resides, and it's to our benefit. If Kim Gordon fronted Red Red Meat. If any angry Daniel Johnston jumped onstage with L7 and told them to play the blues. The Grifters wrestling Jon Spencer and Cristina Martinez to the ground. These are apt descriptions as long as it's understood that Blood on the Wall are more than a tribute band. Their individuality sneaks through with their calmly menacing aggression and with their ability to always sound impassioned. They sound like they mean it and even if they've made a record that doesn't forge new ground, sincerity does win out.

Starting with music sounding like it's being played in the dark underwater, singer Courtney Shanks warns, "Keep one eye over your shoulder" ("Stoner Jam"). The rest of the CD lays testament to this advice. As you're settling in with a dirge they come back with a punked-out anthem that blows your chair back a few inches. When you're up, dancing in underwear, they drop it all for a moment of bluesy psychedelia. Then, it's both at once, like "Gone", which channels a manic Gordon Gano fronting Led Zeppelin. Weird. But good.

In the end, Awesomer succeeds because of everything it doesn't pretend to be. This is a band that sounds seriously inspired by the last twenty years of underground rock 'n' roll. They take the sounds and feel of this time and parlay it into a record that, while it may wane towards the end, almost always gives away excitement and good times as a matter of course.

6

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

Keep reading... Show less

Pauline Black may be called the Queen of Ska by some, but she insists she's not the only one, as Two-Tone legends the Selecter celebrate another stellar album in a career full of them.

Being commonly hailed as the "Queen" of a genre of music is no mean feat, but for Pauline Black, singer/songwriter of Two-Tone legends the Selecter and universally recognised "Queen of Ska", it is something she seems to take in her stride. "People can call you whatever they like," she tells PopMatters, "so I suppose it's better that they call you something really good!"

Keep reading... Show less

Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.

It's a common enough gambit in science fiction. Humans come across a race of aliens that appear to be entirely alike and yet one group of said aliens subordinates the other, visiting violence upon their persons, denigrating them openly and without social or legal consequence, humiliating them at every turn. The humans inquire why certain of the aliens are subjected to such degradation when there are no discernible differences among the entire race of aliens, at least from the human point of view. The aliens then explain that the subordinated group all share some minor trait (say the left nostril is oh-so-slightly larger than the right while the "superior" group all have slightly enlarged right nostrils)—something thatm from the human vantage pointm is utterly ridiculous. This minor difference not only explains but, for the alien understanding, justifies the inequitable treatment, even the enslavement of the subordinate group. And there you have the quandary of Otherness in a nutshell.

Keep reading... Show less
3

A 1996 classic, Shawn Colvin's album of mature pop is also one of best break-up albums, comparable lyrically and musically to Joni Mitchell's Hejira and Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.

When pop-folksinger Shawn Colvin released A Few Small Repairs in 1996, the music world was ripe for an album of sharp, catchy songs by a female singer-songwriter. Lilith Fair, the tour for women in the music, would gross $16 million in 1997. Colvin would be a main stage artist in all three years of the tour, playing alongside Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb, Erykah Badu, and many others. Strong female artists were not only making great music (when were they not?) but also having bold success. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill preceded Colvin's fourth recording by just 16 months.

Keep reading... Show less
9

Frank Miller locates our tragedy and warps it into his own brutal beauty.

In terms of continuity, the so-called promotion of this entry as Miller's “third" in the series is deceptively cryptic. Miller's mid-'80s limited series The Dark Knight Returns (or DKR) is a “Top 5 All-Time" graphic novel, if not easily “Top 3". His intertextual and metatextual themes resonated then as they do now, a reason this source material was “go to" for Christopher Nolan when he resurrected the franchise for Warner Bros. in the mid-00s. The sheer iconicity of DKR posits a seminal work in the artist's canon, which shares company with the likes of Sin City, 300, and an influential run on Daredevil, to name a few.

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image