I’ve said a couple times now that I only like comps after the fact. When they’re first released and they need to be reviewed, they’re a pain in my ass, and they sit and sit and nag on me until I finally write them up. It’s not until a few years later, when the material is rare as hell and a few of the bands have collapsed, that I’m even remotely interested. You say Welcome to MeteorCity has a different version of a song from Lowrider? Sign me up.
For a while now I’ve been trying to chase down a copy of Bastards Will Pay: A Tribute to Trouble to absolutely no avail. Amazon, eBay, Gemm, physical stores, stoner and doom distros — nobody’s got this friggin’ thing. And yeah, I know I can just type it into Google and download it. I don’t wanna do that. I want to own it. I like my little plastic discs, thanks. You keep the cloud.
To quell my tributary jones and in the meantime hear a couple badass bands, I recently placed an order on the cheap for a copy of Blue Explosion: A Tribute to Blue Cheer on Black Widow Records out of Italy. Released in 1999 and featuring the likes of Drag Pack and Norrsken, among others who don’t exist anymore, it fits my law of comp appreciation perfectly. I don’t even know Garybaldi, but their version of “Fresh Fruit and Iceburgs” is killer and doomed and gives me something to look up tonight while I’m sitting on my ass, so that’s an immediate plus.
Perhaps best of all, though, is that Blue Explosion is bookended by Pentagram. And not just any Pentagram — it’s Joe Hasselvander on all the instruments and Bobby Liebling on vocals, and that’s it. They were working with Black Widow at that point (released Review Your Choices in ’99 and Sub-Basement in 2001 with the duo lineup), and so the disc opens with a nine-minute version of “Doctor Please” on which Hasselvander pretty much just jams with himself. It’s amazing, and his tones are unbelievably heavy. Internal Void follows with “Parchment Farm” and it’s like a one-two punch out of the Doom Capitol.
And Norrsken (the Swedish band from which both Witchcraft and Graveyard were born) are indeed a highlight — they present “Pilot” with expectedly killer vintage sounds — but Natas doing “Ride with Me” and Rise and Shine‘s take on “Sun Cycle” are also standouts, and “Peace of Mind” might be the most purely psychedelic I’ve ever heard Ufomammut sound. Whether it’s the boozy Euro-rock of Space Probe Taurus or the loose organ jamming of Standarte, I’m into it, and the fact that it’s all Blue Cheer material makes it even better.
So yeah, if it was coming across my desk for review now, I’d probably be all huffy-puffy about it and bitch about how compilation reviews are basically just plugs for the bands involved and there’s never any flow or basis for any overall analysis of the release, but in buying something like Blue Explosion: A Tribute to Blue Cheer, I don’t give a shit. It rocks and the rest is secondary to that. For something that was a consolation prize, I definitely feel like I won out.
Still gotta find that Trouble tribute, though.
Tags: Blue Cheer, Los Natas, Norrsken, Pentagram, Ufomammut