Sunday, June 10, 2012

Reviews- King Tuff/ King Tuff and Chris Robinson Brotherhood/ Big Moon Ritual

King Tuff/ King Tuff (Sub Pop, 2012)
Imagine if Marc Bolan didn't die, but instead went into a cryogenic stasis chamber at the behest of space aliens until the world had need of him again. The people of the 21st century need T. Rex, even if they don't realize it yet. King Tuff would be the mutant offspring of Marc Bolan spliced with Sky Saxon's DNA by space aliens, answering the call with big, throbbing songs and quieter interludes. Anthem is crazy catchy, and sticks with me as I walk my beat. Drum beats and guitar riffs alone do not stick in my skull, but melody on top of them does.
Stranger is another one that haunts my dreams and waking moments alike. Stupid Superstar is another groovy tune, but it's Evergreen that impresses me more. It sounds like Donovan or something...very cool. This album is carefully balanced between rocking and crooning, all to great effect. This album has so many great moments to it that I could sit here all day and do this...but I won't.
On the packaging side of things: I bought this on CD (yes, I am a square that still buys those), and it comes in a gatefold digipak. There isn't a booklet, but a set of cards, one for each song. Very cool. Another nice touch is that the CD is in a cardboard record sleeve, which is good because you have to slide it into the jacket, which over time would scratch the disc. I know that packaging is useless to the iPod generation...bite me. 

Chris Robinson Brotherhood/ Big Moon Ritual (Silver Arrow, 2012)
One of my pet peeves about The Black Crowes' live gigs were the long, noodling, endless hippie jams. This album is like a live Crowes show caught on tape, because these are some sprawling, noodly, jammy mothers. In a live setting, I want to rock and loathe jams. On album, though, this is some interesting stuff. Like everything that Chris Robinson has ever been involved in, this has great production. Full bodied, vintage sounding stuff.
Chris' vocals are great as usual, and he harmonizes well with his new band. All of these songs are winners, but if I had to pick one as a favorite, it would be Reflections On A Broken Mirror. Chris Robinson does the people of Earth a service by continuing to make his style of music, free from commercial considerations and selling out.
There are only 7 songs on this album, which clocks in around an hour. The shortest song on the album has a running time of 7:07. The CRB are obviously not interested in radio play, not that the corporate behemoth radio stations would touch anything of this quality anyways. But if they did, they wouldn't have anything to work with, time wise.
My only gripe is that my local indie shop (UHF Records in Royal Oak, MI) didn't get their shipment of the 3-track bonus disc in with their shipment. According to the CRB's Facebook posting, you were supposed to get this free with purchase of the album at an indie shop. Worse still, UHF was listed on their (CRB's) website! Shenanigans!
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