Monday, September 21, 2009

Not-so-easy riding (An exploration of 70's biker-rock)

Are you angry and/or don't understand why everybody/thing is so fucking stupid? If so, I've got your soundtrack right here!

It should be obvious that, as closely attached as groups like the Hell's Angels were to the 60's and 70's music scene, these guys tried their hand at rock and roll also. Completely different from the feel-good vibes of the time, most of these acts feature a decent amount of yelling, violent and angry lyrics and a surprisingly decent sense of melody. Here are a few of my favorite independent biker-rock albums of the late 60's and early 70's. I'm not putting any download links, but you can go out and dig around th
e internet for these if ya want.

Nicodemus - Spacechild Squall
This dude is from Detroit, MI and is one hell of a cool guy. He's been self-releasing albums of ridiculously varied music since the early 70's. Some LP's feature electronic soundscapes while others are just voice and acoustic guitar (as this one is) and some are heavy rock. This one in particular has great songs and sounds a little bit like Seattle grunge for some reason. There's fake audience applause after every song, too.

Raven - Back to Ohio Blues
Damn. This is some angry shit. Released in 1975, this is one nasty record, particularly the tune "Raven Mad Jam." I've never heard so much cursing on a 1970's-released album, or yelling for that matter. Wild blues jams with barely-contained vocals. The title track is like 15 minutes long and one hell of a tune.

Oracle - Nataraja Da Nada
This record makes Raven's "Back to Ohio Blues" sound like the most tame-ass Steely Dan LP by comparison. The singer sounds too angry to even attempt a rhythm or melody, and the music is exactly what it sounds like: A bunch of biker dudes in the middle of nowhere jamming the fuck out in a shed high on countless hits of acid. There's only 2 tracks on this one; both an entire side long. They use lots of weird instruments in the background, and the band photos are rather creepy and disturbing. Heavy as hell.

Wicked Lady - Psychotic Overkill
UK biker-metal released in 1972. Although these guys play rather sloppy and their drummer plays incredibly tame beats (probably because he joined the band during the sessions or something), they write really good songs with drugged-out 'bad dude' lyrics. "Sin City" is one of the most rocking songs ever. On a good day, these guys could probably give Sabbath a run for their money. On a bad day, they'd be more apt to play the same song over and over until the audience leaves (true story).

Hopefully that holds y'all over until the show later this week. On that note, be sure to tune in to WIDR FM this Thursday night from midnight to 2, when Obscuro! will once again rule the airwaves. I'll probably play some of this shit, too.

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