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My Bloody Underground

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Album Review

After a four year hiatus (with the exception of a five-song EP in 2005) and another lineup change, Brian Jonestown Massacre take their sound full circle returning to the shoegazer roots that prompted the band to make their first album Methodrone. My Bloody Underground takes cues from two of the most important and influential bands of their respective eras, My Bloody Valentine and Velvet Underground, just as the title suggests, as well as Julian Cope's My Nation Underground. Noise pop and neo-psychedelia are the most notable sources for Anton Newcombe's new music, and after eight albums and a handful of EPs, his rekindled interest in bands like the Jesus and Mary Chain keeps his songs from sounding redundant. Newcombe's key talent is his ability to take music from the past and project it as music for the future. Despite the fact that his quick mouth and serious ego might persuade you otherwise, he's not a god or a superhero (too bad, because "Osmosisman" has a nice ring to it), but there's no arguing that he has a supernatural ability to soak up his record collection and project his favorite elements spot-on, filtered as a unique vision. The first couple songs feel a lot like the Brian Jonestown Massacre we've grown to know, love, and fear, with the expected psychedelic '60s Stones/Kinks throwbacks, charmingly slopped up with a junkyard of instruments and the occasional out of tune guitar. As the album picks up, things get truly warped and a new angle is introduced when '80s shoegazer aspects and '70s Krautrock are thrown into the mix. Imitation Kevin Shields' guitar drones with slight whammy bends fill the air alongside breathy vocals in "Who Cares Why" and "Just Like Kicking Jesus", and faux-German Neu! vocals and a driving guitar fuzz permeate "Golden Frost." Running almost 75 minutes long, the album's as surreal as anything BJM has done, and fans who appreciate their controversial side will appreciate that it is still intact, as evident in song titles like "Bring Me the Head of Paul McCartney on Heather Mill's Wooden Peg (Dropping Bombs on the White House)," "We Are the Niggers of the World," and "Automatic Faggot for the People." Hellbent on pushing the envelope, Newcombe shines as a prolific madman once again and as recycled as the ideas are, My Bloody Underground is a fantastic new direction and a forward thinking album that indicates that however combustible, there is a lot more life left in BJM, in any incarnation.

Biography

Formed: 1990 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Named in tribute to the legendary Rolling Stones guitarist and his influence in introducing Eastern culture and music into the world of Western rock & roll, the Brian Jonestown Massacre formed in San Francisco, California in 1990. Some 40 different members passed through the group's ranks over the next half-decade, but the focal point always remained singer/guitarist Anton Newcombe, who, along with bassist Matt Hollywood, guitarist Dean Taylor, organist Mara Regal, accordionist Dawn Thomas, drummer...
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