Posted in Whathaveyou on January 30th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Beginning tonight, New Jersey heavy rock stalwarts Monster Magnet hit the road for a return trip to Europe in support of 2014’s Milking the Stars: A Reimagining of Last Patrol (review here), which took tracks from 2013’s Last Patrol (review here) and twisted them in different directions, whether it was mixing out the guitar, adding Hammond B-3, redoing the vocals, pretending it’s 1968, and so on. Monster Magnet‘s last tour in North America — also their first in more than a decade — was late 2013 heralding Last Patrol and wound up being canceled before it was finished owing to illness on the part of frontman Dave Wyndorf. No word on if they’ll tour again in the States, but Athens is the launch point for a month on the road and it’ll be March by the time these guys get home.
The PR wire invites you to let the circus burn:
MONSTER MAGNET – NOW ON TOUR IN EUROPE!
MONSTER MAGNET is Rock ‘n’ Roll at its best, Rock ‘n’ Roll in its strongest propagation, loud & flashy Psychedelic Rock! Right at the raging psychedelic maze: Front man Dave Wyndorf, is a dazzling figure of light and leading figure in personal union.
MONSTER MAGNET are now on tour all over Europe! Germany, Belgium, UK, Sweden, Norway, Denkmark – to name just a few stops! Catch them live on the road & check all upcoming tour dates here:
30.01.2015 GR – Athens / Stage Volume 1 31.01.2015 GR – Thessaloniki / Principal Club Theater 02.02.2015 CH – Lausanne / Les Docks 03.02.2015 DE – Frankfurt / Batschkapp 04.02.2015 DE – München / Backstage 06.02.2015 AT – Vienna / Szene 07.02.2015 CH – Lyss / Kufa 08.02.2015 DE – Oberhausen / Turbinenhalle 10.02.2015 NL – Deventer / Burgerweeshuis 12.02.2015 BE – Antwerp / Trix 13.02.2015 UK – Nottingham / Rock City 14.02.2015 UK – Glasgow / Garage 15.02.2015 UK – London / Electric Ballroom 17.02.2015 DE – Saarbrücken / Garage 18.02.2015 NL – Eindhoven / De Effenaar 20.02.2015 DK – Arhus / Voxhall 21.02.2015 SE – Gothenborg / Sticky Fingers 22.02.2015 NO – Oslo / Parktheatret Scene 23.02.2015 NO – Stavanger / Folken 25.02.2015 DE – Bremen / Schlachthof 26.02.2015 DE – Hannover / Capitol 27.02.2015 DE – Dresden / Reithalle 28.02.2015 NL – Rotterdam / VanNelle Fabriek
Posted in Features on January 2nd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
It was close for a long time, but in the last week or so, one record pulled ahead to stake a definitive claim on the top spot. Even so, more than the 2013 poll, this was a fun one to watch, three albums duking it out, trading back and forth in the raw votes depending on who happened to submit a list at any given time. In the end, 355 people participated in this year’s poll, which is an average of over 11 per day — there was a significant push at the end — and up from 2013, which now that it’s 2015 will no doubt soon feel like ancient history.
To that end, Happy New Year and huge, huge thanks to everyone who took the time to contribute a list to the poll. Even if it was one or two records, the simple fact that you felt it was worth your time to type out the names of bands and albums and take part in this thing is unbelievably gratifying to me. I do a lot of the talking around here, apart from comments and the forum, so to have your participation in this really means a lot to me. It’s nice knowing you give enough of a crap to take part.
You’ll find two lists below. The first, measured in points, is the weighted tally. A 1-4 ranking is worth five points, 5-8 worth four, 9-12 worth three, 13-16 worth two and 17-20 worth one. After that comes the raw votes, a measure of what caught the most attention along the way.
After the jump, you’ll also find all the lists contributed to the poll — including my own, which seemed fair since I do a lot of reading on this site, mostly to experience shame at the typos and correct them hoping no one else noticed — presented in the order in which they were received. Thank you all again.
Top 20 of 2014 — Weighted Results
1. YOB, Clearing the Path to Ascend (560 points)
2. Wo Fat, The Conjuring (404)
3. Electric Wizard, Time to Die (367)
4. Pallbearer, Foundations of Burden (334)
5. Conan, Blood Eagle (275)
6. Orange Goblin, Back from the Abyss (254)
7. Greenleaf, Trails and Passes (240)
8. Truckfighters, Universe (237)
9. Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk Band, Black Power Flower (235)
10. Earth, Primitive and Deadly (230)
11. Fu Manchu, Gigantoid (225)
12. Blues Pills, Blues Pills (211)
13. Lo-Pan, Colossus (202)
14. Eyehategod, Eyehategod (198)
15. Monolord, Empress Rising (190)
16. Mastodon, Once More ‘Round the Sun (188)
17. Mars Red Sky, Stranded in Arcadia (161)
18. John Garcia, John Garcia (156)
19. Bongripper, Miserable (141)
20. Radio Moscow, Magical Dirt (127)
Honorable mention to:
Goat, Commune (126)
Swans, To be Kind (117)
Monster Magnet, Milking the Stars (116)
Blood Farmers, Headless Eyes (105)
Floor, Oblation (104)
Mothership, II (104)
Stubb, Elephant Tree, Thou and plenty of others also did very well in the voting, but everything else I could find was less than 100 points. Again, it was close for a while between Wo Fat, Electric Wizard and YOB — and Pallbearer wasn’t so far behind them, either — but YOB pulled it out in the end and jumped way in front of everyone else. A lot of number-one votes for Clearing the Path to Ascend, which I can understand completely, since I happened to agree with the position.
On to the raw votes:
Top 20 of 2014 — Raw Votes
1. YOB, Clearing the Path to Ascend (138 votes)
2. Wo Fat, The Conjuring (111)
3. Electric Wizard, Time to Die (104)
4. Pallbearer, Foundations of Burden (89)
5. Orange Goblin, Back from the Abyss (78)
6. Conan, Blood Eagle (72)
7. Fu Manchu, Gigantoid (71)
8. Truckfighters, Universe (66)
9. Earth, Primitive and Deadly (65)
10. Greenleaf, Trails and Passes (64)
11. Blues Pills, Blues Pills (63)
12. Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk Band, Black Power Flower (60)
13. Lo-Pan, Colossus (58)
14. Eyehategod, Eyehategod (55)
15. Monolord, Empress Rising (52)
16. Mars Red Sky, Stranded in Arcadia (48)
16. Mastodon, Once More ‘Round the Sun (48)
17. John Garcia, John Garcia (47)
18. Bongripper, Miserable (41)
18. Radio Moscow, Magical Dirt (41)
19. Goat, Commune (37)
19. Mothership, II (37)
20. Swans, To be Kind (32)
And some honorable mentions:
Dwellers, Pagan Fruit (31)
Floor, Oblation (31)
Monster Magnet, Milking the Stars (31)
Mos Generator, Electric Mountain Majesty (30)
Thou, Heathen (30)
The Well, Samsara (30)
A couple ties here make the raw votes list a little more inclusive, and since it’s not like we’re giving out olympic medals, it didn’t seem fair to count out ties and sacrifice other numbers. The top 20 has 23 entries? Yeah, sounds about right. Again, not much mystery ultimately to who came out on top, but it was a more thrilling race than the final numbers might suggest. Cool to see some differences in placement emerge between the two lists as well, Greenleaf and Brant Bjork doing really well in the weighted results since they obviously inspire some strong support, and a couple of others working their way into the raw votes top 20. I’m not really a numbers guy, but it’s been cool putting this together.
About not being a numbers guy: All the lists that came in appear after the jump below. If you find some glaring error in my math, or something seems like it really got enough votes to be included in one or the other, it’s possible I just missed it. I hope you’ll point it out in the comments so that if there is a mistake, I can get on correcting it as soon as possible. Your vigilance is sincerely appreciated.
And thank you again so much for being a part of this readers poll. It’s been a really great experience and I look forward to doing it again come Dec. 2015.
Please find everybody’s list after the jump, and have fun browsing:
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Since I don’t do theme podcasts or anything, the thoroughly unofficial subtitle of this latest one is “SOME of the Best of 2014.” Truth be told, it’s four hours long and I feel like I barely scratched the surface, so definitely the emphasis should be on “some.” By no means is it meant to be comprehensive, or am I claiming that it’s all the best and the rest sucked or anything like that. But some of the best stuff is here, so, you know, I hope you enjoy.
My intent was to make it three hours long, and then I got there and it just didn’t feel done without another hour’s worth of extended psych jams. That’s an odd habit to have. Could be worse. For what it’s worth, I was thinking of this as a companion for some of the year-end coverage that’s already been posted and is still to come. Some of this was inspired by picks from the Readers Poll, the submissions for which are still open. If you haven’t added your list yet, I’d greatly appreciate it.
And once again, hope you dig it:
YOB, “Nothing to Win” from Clearing the Path to Ascend
Fu Manchu, “Radio Source Sagittarius” from Gigantoid
Radio Moscow, “Death of a Queen” from Magical Dirt
The Golden Grass, “Stuck on a Mountain” from The Golden Grass
Monster Magnet, “No Paradise for Me” from Milking the Stars: A Reimagining of Last Patrol
Pallbearer, “The Ghost I Used to Be” from Foundations of Burden
The Skull, “Sick of it All” from For Those Which are Asleep
Electric Wizard, “Time to Die” from Time to Die
Orange Goblin, “The Devil’s Whip” from Back from the Abyss
Moab, “No Soul” from Billow
Sleep, “The Clarity” from The Clarity 12”
Mars Red Sky, “Hovering Satellites” from Stranded in Arcadia
Floor, “Rocinante” from Oblation
Slomatics, “And Yet it Moves” from Estron
Conan, “Foehammer” from Blood Eagle
Druglord, “Feast on the Eye” from Enter Venus
Apostle of Solitude, “Die Vicar Die” from Of Woe and Wounds
Pilgrim, “Away from Here” from II: Void Worship
Blood Farmers, “The Road Leads to Nowhere” from Headless Eyes
Lo-Pan, “Regulus” from Colossus
Elephant Tree, “Vlaakith” from Theia
The Well, “Mortal Bones” from Samsara
Lucifer in the Sky with Diamonds, “Counting Time” from The Shining One
Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk Band, “Stokely up Now” from Black Power Flower
Joy, “Driving Me Insane” from Under the Spell of Joy
Greenleaf, “Depth of the Sun” from Trails and Passes
Mothership, “Priestess of the Moon” from Mothership II
Truckfighters, “Get Lifted” from Universe
Mos Generator, “Enter the Fire” from Electric Mountain Majesty
Mammatus, “Brain Drain” from Heady Mental
Øresund Space Collective, “Beardlandia” from Music for Pogonologists
My Brother the Wind, “Garden of Delights” from Once There was a Time When Time and Space were One
The Cosmic Dead, “Fukahyoocastulah” from Split with Mugstar
Montibus Communitas, “The Pilgrim to the Absolute” from The Pilgrim to the Absolute
Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!
Tomorrow here in the US it is Thanksgiving, which has some questionable origins but in practice is actually one of our less-abominable holidays, with a focus on togetherness, good food, and enjoying the company of loved ones. Today, the day before, is traditionally the busiest travel day of the year while people get to wherever they’re going. Even if you don’t manage to find it until after the holiday is over, it seemed only fitting to make a new podcast so that anyone who might want to take it along for the ride would be able to do so.
My head has started to get into year-end wrap-up mode, so don’t be surprised if one or two or three of these bands show up in subsequent “Best Of” coverage. Maybe even four, looking at the list. It’s been a crazy good year, and as it starts to wind its way down and we make our way into the next one, I hope you’ve enjoyed listening to these podcasts and hopefully discovered something you wouldn’t have heard otherwise. That’s really the whole idea.
If you’re traveling by road, rail, or air, I wish you a pleasant journey, and even if you’re staying put, the same applies.
Stubb, “Heavy Blue Sky” from Cry of the Ocean
Murcielago, “Way too Far” from Murcielago
Dune, “Of Blade and Carapace” from Aurora Majesty
The Skull, “Send Judas Down” from For Those Which are Asleep
Elephant Tree, “Attack of the Altaica” from Theia
Renate/Cordate, “Laudanum” from Growth
Mothership, “Serpents Throne” from Mothership II
Space Guerrilla, “Event Horizon” from Boundless
Monster Magnet, “End of Time (B-3)” from Milking the Stars
Memnon Sa, “Megalith” from Citadel
Soldat Hans, “Meine Liebste; Sie Zerbricht Sich” from Dress Rehearsal
Atavismo, “Meeh” from Desintegración
Øresund Space Collective, “Remnants of the Barbonaeum” from Music for Pogonologists
Posted in Reviews on November 4th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
For Monster Magnet fans, there are two things to like about Milking the Stars: The concept and the execution. The long-running New Jersey outfit seemed to be making a turn to come full-circle on 2013’s Last Patrol (review here), bringing in a more psychedelic feel for the first time in over a decade, not quite trying to recapture their brilliance in early albums like 1991’s Spine of God, 1993’s Superjudge and 1995’s Dopes to Infinity, but definitely making a departure from the hard rock sound they’d developed since then on 1998’s landmark Powertrip, 2001’s God Says No, , 2004’s Monolithic Baby!, 2007’s 4-Way Diablo, and 2010’s Mastermind (review here), their sound becoming more straightforward and — though the 2010 outing was probably the “biggest” they’ve ever come across on tape — increasingly formulaic. Last Patrol boldly turned that progression on its head, daring to brood on songs like “Paradise” and “I Live behind the Clouds” and jamming out righteous wah-soaked space rock on “Last Patrol” and the driving “End of Time.” Particularly for those who’d been longing for such a step from the band, it was the best Monster Magnet outing in 15 years’ time and one of the highlight releases of 2013. With Milking the Stars (out on Napalm Records), the full title of which is Milking the Stars: A Reimagining of Last Patrol, frontman, founder and principal songwriter Dave Wyndorf pushes himself further into satisfying a weirdo trippy impulse, reworking cuts and including material not included on the original Last Patrol to get something new from them and create a record that, even if you didn’t hear the first one, stands on its own, its John Sumrow cover art dogwhistling its companion status to the album before it.
The reason I say the concept should be pleasing to Monster Magnet fans is because what it shows is that Wyndorf — joined at this point in Monster Magnet by guitarists Phil Caivano and Garrett Sweeney, bassist Chris Kosnik (who makes his recorded debut with the band on a couple live bonus tracks), and drummer Bob Pantella — is not only in a place feeling creative enough to take on the material of Last Patrol and give it a thorough screwing with, which is something that’s never been done before in Monster Magnet‘s 25-year history, but also that he’s making it weirder. Some of Milking the Stars‘ cuts, like “End of Time (B-3)” and “I Live behind the Clouds (Roughed up and Slightly Spaced)” don’t depart as much from their original incarnations — though neither will I downplay how much of a game-changer that Hammond is on “End of Time” — but in “No Paradise for Me” Wyndorf takes the moody original to a more open-sounding place and changes the lyrics to more directly address his disappointment with pop modernity: “I guess I’ll have to make up what I want to see.” And so he does. That’s basically what this album is, but that only makes it a more honest work. Opener “Let the Circus Burn” (also the longest cut at 7:26; immediate points) tweaks, slows down and spaces out the original “Last Patrol,” and “Mindless Ones ’68” pulls back on the heavy rocking original for a more garage-rock interpretation, bright lead guitar forward in the mix, tambourine and organ taking the place of snare stomp and a wailing solo. The title-track, “Milking the Stars” was left off Last Patrol and it’s easy enough to speculate why. At 7:26, it would’ve pushed that album to nearly an hour long, and while it has an effective linear build and might’ve bridged a gap between “End of Time” and “Last Patrol” and some of that record’s shorter, more verse/chorus-minded cuts, it makes a better focus cut than secondary player, even if its title can give the idea that the band are simply “milking” their last album for more material — a notion that no doubt occurred to them in picking the title and was taken on with tongue in cheek.
And as for the execution, while I’m not prepared to say Milking the Stars is a better or worse album than Last Patrol— the two are best considered in league with each other — several of the songs are markedly improved here from their originals. “Hallelujah (Fuzz and Swamp)” even more calls Larman Clamor to mind in its blown-out revivalism, “Stay Tuned (Even Sadder)” lives righteously up to its parenthetical, and the drum track and extra guitar that appear in closer “The Duke (Full on Drums ‘n’ Wah)” give that song a personality beyond what one could’ve expected from the first incarnation. Not only are these particular cuts well conceived, but the reality of the listen proves just as satisfying as the idea, and Milking the Stars works as a whole front-to-back listen, rather than a collection of one-off reinterpretations, like a remix record or something. It’s not that. “Reimagining” sounds ambitious, but it’s as close to the fact of what’s taking place here as anything I can come up with, and works all the better perhaps in conveying the adventurous spirit behind the motivation in making the album in the first place. Last Patrol was a brazen step, but Milking the Stars makes it seem like just the beginning of a new phase in Monster Magnet‘s ongoing evolution. As someone who’s a fan of the band, and a fan of Last Patrol, it’s all the more exciting to think that Wyndorf and company might approach songwriting with such an anything-can-happen creative sensibility a quarter-century on from the group’s start. It makes the prospects for where they might go next all the more vast, considering if they can take on Last Patrol and remold it into Milking the Stars, there’s really no telling where they might go from here. All the better. What seemed like it might’ve been Monster Magnet‘s final round looks instead to have become the catalyst for a new phase in their career, and my only hope is they keep getting weirder from here on out.
Nothing against SPV Records — their reissue of Spine of God and other earlier Monster Magnet albums was fair game as they were out of print and unavailable to a bunch of fans who came aboard during the band’s more commercial hard rock era — but if you want to listen to Spine of God, you really need to go for the original. Caroline Records, in a jewel case, some of the finest heavy psych rock ever crafted. Still ahead of its time. We’re still playing catchup to where Spine of God is at. We’ll get there one of these days, then we’ll all crack our skulls doing airplanes and get our heads just right and so on. Cover me with skin and hair. Fucking a.
Spine of God is more than a great Monster Magnet record — they’ve got a few by now — but an absolute landmark. In New Jersey, the state in which I was born and raised, an entire generation of bands came up in the wake of Monster Magnet‘s branching out, and that scene is still going, moving forward. So are Monster Magnet, albeit with a much different lineup than they had 23 years ago, but to go back and look at the development of Red Bank, NJ, as a center in which heavy rock flourished on the East Coast in bands like Godspeed, Core, The Atomic Bitchwax, Solarized, later Halfway to Gone, Solace, The Ribeye Bros., and on and on, Monster Magnet are a big branch on that bizarre family tree, and Spine of God, which was their debut — to mix metaphors — was the root for a lot of what came after. Add to all that it’s an absolute masterpiece, and yeah, I’m gonna close out the week with it.
I’ll further admit that while it was ultimately the classicitude of Spine of God which made me break it out on this late night/early morning, a close second in motivation was the band’s upcoming Milking the Stars, the November release of which was announced earlier this month. I’ve been spending a lot of time with that record, which is comprised of reworked tracks from Monster Magnet‘s 2013 opus, Last Patrol (review here), as well as the previously unreleased title-cut and some other odds and ends, and almost as much as I dig what frontman/songwriter/founder Dave Wyndorf did in remaking the songs, I think the adventurous spirit of the album and the willingness to screw with work that by most definitions would be “finished” already emphasizes a lot of what’s made Monster Magnet so great all these years, and bodes ridiculously well for their proper follow-up to Last Patrol, since basically they can go anywhere at this point. I’ll have a review up of Milking the Stars sometime in the next month or so, but it’s on my mind already.
Enjoy Spine of God. It’s one of my favorite records.
Is is really three in the morning? Ah jeez. I rolled in not at all long ago from seeing Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats and Danava in New York. Quite a night. I was going to go to Boston last night, but as I mentioned on Thee Facebooks, it was my 10th wedding anniversary — the only holiday about which I give even the remotest of fucks — and, well, 10 years isn’t nothing. Kind of a big deal. If it was seven years, or some other in-between number, I might be able to get away with that. But 10? Nah. As of Sunday, The Patient Mrs. and I will have been together for a total of 17 years, which is more than half of both of our lives. Wild to think about. How stupid lucky I am.
Next week though I’ll review the Uncle Acid gig, and I’ve also got a new track from Eternal Tapestry going up on Monday. If I’m up to it Sunday, I might put up the first recorded demo from Righteous Bloom, which is the new spinoff band from Beelzefuzz. And of course there’s the podcast. Thanks if you got to check that out. Apparently I’m up to 40 of them. Got a thing for round numbers lately, I suppose.
Obviously there’s a lot more than that to come, but I have no idea what it might be. The Patient Mrs. and I are in Connecticut for the weekend, celebrando, so at least I didn’t have to go all the way back to Massachusetts tonight. Felt good to be back in New York. Even Manhattan on a Friday night, which is nightmare of inflated ego, inflated bank accounts and terrifying hawtness. Good to go a show there, I guess. City still smells like pee. I had some point about being in Connecticut. It’s long gone. God damn this Monster Magnet record is awesome.
Have a great and safe weekend. PLEASE check out the forum and radio stream.
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 10th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
There really isn’t a word for what Milking the Starsis in relation to Last Patrol. “Reimagining,” which is what they went with in the title, comes about as close as anything I can think of, but really what Monster Magnet are doing here goes beyond simple reinterpretation. It’s not like they’re just playing fast songs slow or heavy songs acoustic or vice versa, they’re tripping way the fuck out and giving a glimpse at just how liberated these cats are after making their “return” to heavy psychedelia. So the version of “The Duke (of Supernature)” on Last Patrol(review here) was kind of sweet and subdued? Well here’s Bob Pantella‘s snare drum to punch you in the face. “Mindless Ones” was a hard rock rager? Well here it is as echoed-out psych pop. Oh, let’s absolutely drench “End of Time” in Hammond! It’s like listening to Dave Wyndorf‘s studio impulsiveness come to life.
The pivotal New Jersey five-piece will release Milking the Stars: A Reimagining of Last Patrolon Nov. 18 through Napalm Records, complete with a new cover (you’ll notice the cosmic Bullgod is facing the opposite direction as on Last Patrolas he destroys whichever planet that was, probably ours) by John Sumrow. The title-track is also brand new, put to tape during the Last Patrol sessions, and other parts have been re-recorded as needed. Also worth noting that the two live bonus tracks are the recorded debut of bassist Chris Kosnik (The Atomic Bitchwax) in the band.
PR wire facts, comment from Wyndorf and audio of “No Paradise for Me” — a reworking of Last Patrol‘s “Paradise” — follow:
MONSTER MAGNET to Release Milking the Stars: A Reimagining of Last Patrol – Artwork, Track Listing and First Song Revealed
Available November 18th on Napalm Records
2013 saw the release of MONSTER MAGNET’s latest album Last Patrol. Now comes Milking the Stars a reimagining of Last Patrol. Met with critical acclaim and supported by a world tour, Last Patrol has become a staple in the MONSTER MAGNET discography.
Today the artwork, track listing and first song from Milking the Stars have been released. Wyndorf’s pick for the first song he wanted fans to be exposed to is “No Paradise For Me”. The song according to Wyndorf is ‘interesting, fucked up and old school sounding’. Listen to “No Paradise For Me”HERE.
Wyndorf on Milking the Stars:
“Milking the Stars is a “re-imagined” version of Last Patrol featuring four new songs and live tracks.
“This was a happy experiment for me. It’s not a re-mix record by the current definition. It’s more like Last Patrol in a “what if?” style alternate reality.
“What if these songs were recorded in 1968?” “What would happen if I turned a pretty song into an angry one?” How would adding creepy organs and Mellotrons affect the emotional vibe of a song?” These are just a few of the questions that roll around in my head when I write and record any album but this time I decided to actually answer them with fully fleshed out, recorded and mixed examples.
“The process actually created new songs. That’s the icing on the cake for me. New sounds, new vocals, different instruments and arrangements make for a weird 1960’s vibe totally apart from Last Patrol which was fun for Phil, Bob, Garrett, mixer Joe Barresi and myself to explore.
“Finally there’s expanded versions of the songs “Last Patrol” and “Three Kingfishers” as recorded live at the AB club in Belgium, 2014. Both those songs were re-arranged for “maximum rock and psych” before we hit the road last year and feature the debut performance of new MAGNET bassist, Chris Kosnik. Personally, I think they beat the original versions.
Milking the Stars Track Listing: 1. Let the Circus Burn 2. Mindless Ones ‘68 3. No Paradise For Me 4. End of Time (B-3) 5. Milking the Stars 6. Hellelujah (Fuzz And Swamp) 7. I Live Behind The Clouds (Roughed Up And Slightly Spaced) 8. Goliath Returns 9. Stay Tuned (Even Sadder) 10. The Duke (Full On Drums ‘N Wah) 11. Last Patrol (Live) 12. Three Kingfishers (Live)
I only purchased two CDs at this year’s Roadburn festival. One was Rotor‘s 2, which I was far less than thrilled to discover later that I already owned (it was their first one I wanted), and the other was Love Monster, a 2001 compilation of Dave Wyndorf‘s pre-Monster Magnet demos, recorded in 1988. This one, which I didn’t already own, has been on my radar for a while, and though I was royally, epically broke at the fest, I used some of the Euros left in my wallet from 2013 to pay for the disc, which came out on Wrong Way Records basically as a fan-piece for Monster Magnet heads who maybe by then were missing the band’s more psychedelic side.
Remember, this was 2001, the same year Monster Magnet put out God Says No, right around the height of their commerciality, so in a way a release like this was bound to happen. 3,000 copies were made, and indeed, the seven tracks do capture some of the space-rocking spirit of Monster Magnet‘s earliest work — their landmark debut, Spine of God, would see US release in 1992, following a self-titled EP in 1990 — but there’s more to it than that. The material was recorded on a 4-track by Wyndorf himself, so it’s pretty blown out and raw, but there are shades of pre-industrial new wave on “Atom Age Vampire” and Wyndorf adjusts his attitude-drenched vocals accordingly, and “Brighter than the Sun” coats classic garage riffing in echo like the prototype for a psychedelic punk movement that never really existed. Rawness notwithstanding, a lot of what would prove so pivotal to Monster Magnet‘s sound is there on Love Monster, which if nothing else underscores the clarity of vision at work in the band from its launch.
There are seven tracks on the CD, with the penultimate “Five Years Ahead” a cover of obscure New York psych rockers The Third Bardo‘s 1967 single, and the closer “Snoopy” a 10-minute effects-laden noise-buzz freakout, but really, the appeal of Love Monsterwhen it was new would’ve been the chance to hear where Monster Magnet came from some 13 years earlier. Now, another 13 years after that, the EP still has that appeal, however rough it might sound, and in the clever lyrics of “Poster” and the bright-toned bliss of “War Hippie” one can hear one of psych rock’s most accomplished songwriting processes beginning to take shape. What Monster Magnet would go on to accomplish and the influence they’d wind up having didn’t come solely from the songs on Love Monster, but they were a step on the way to getting there, and for that, I was more than happy to shell out a couple of my remaining Euros for the disc.