Monday, June 11, 2012

On The Ripple Desk - Featuring The Plimsouls, Low Sonic Drift, and Roadsaw

Haven't done one of these in a while. A selection of cool discs sitting on top of my Ripple desk at the moment.

Beach Town Confidential: Live At The Golden Bear 1983
The Plimsouls - Beach Town Confidential

What a year it's been for fans of powerpop and the Peter Case/Paul Collins axis in particular.  With Paul Collins and the Beat still cranking out music, recent release of archival material by Peter and Paul's first band, The Breakaways, Peter and Paul going out on tour together and a bonanza of archival live releases by Peter's main band, The Plimsouls.  All of which brings us to Beach Town Confidential.   Featuring a different set list than the recent, Live! Beg, Borrow and Steal, if anything, Beach Town Confidential is an even punchier, tighter set of classic Plimsouls tunes.

Recorded at the Golden Bear in Hunington Beach, 1983, Beach Town Confidential finds Peter Case, Eddie Munoz, Dave Pahoa, and Louie Ramirez ripping through a set of 16 powerpop gems with reckless abandon.  I mean this set rips.  From the buoyant and jubilant bounce of opener "Shaky City," all the way to the crisp and raucous closer, "You Can't Judge a Book," the boys are in fine form, performing before and appreciative crowd and obviously loving it.  In between we get killer raves like the crunchy "Making Time," a raving "Zero Hour," a souring "Fall on You," mournful "Oldest Story in the World," and a just perfect "A Million Miles Away."   Probably the best song they ever recorded, I'm still damned to figure out how it was never a huge hit.  Let's don't forget killer versions of the powerpop power ballad, "Now," and a fiery "How Long Will it Take."

To me this is the definitive document of the Plimsouls live.  Passionate and tuneful, crunchy and melodic.  Check it out to discover an LA jewel that really should have been a world treasure.

Low Sonic Drift - Shadows of the Titan

From the first tribal drum intro, through the vaguely middle-Eastern accents, finally onto the crushing riffs, Low Sonic Drift explore their own world of mind-melting, stoner psych.  And they do it with panache and a mammoth-sized rock attack.  4 songs, but 30 minutes, of time-changing, neo-prog, desert explorations.  Heady, trippy, heavy stuff.

Like Tool picked up and dropped into the lost-mine of Kyuss.  Not content to follow previously well-explored paths through the stoner universe, LSD live up to their initials and open new sonic doors of perception.  Dig that cranium busting bass work on "As the Crow Flies", the shifting sands of tempo on "Hyperion" or the haunting, stoner-jazz of "Shadows." 

LSD.  A trip well worth exploring.

Roadsaw - Roadsaw EP

Released as a thank you to fans after their successful romp at Desertfest, The Roadsaw EP is three tracks of riff-mad, heavy psych perfection.  "Twisted Steel and Broken Glass" finds the boys stretching out in a bit more of a psychedelic haze than I'd heard them before.  A touch more airy, expansive.  By no means, gentle mind you, but not the regular tight-riffing assault that I'm used to from the boys.  This one sounds much more dropped into the '70's jam session and let me tell you, that's a compliment, as it doesn't take the band long to find their groove and wrap the whole thing up in a fuzzy bass assault and effect-laden guitar freakout.  "Burn Down the Night" continues this jammier vein, slowing things down even more for a truly haunting apocalyptic psych burner. "Monkey Skull" brings back the full-on Roadsaw assault that I've grown familiar with, tearing into it's riffs with a furious frenzy. 

Three tracks that do so much more than offer up some free music for Roadsaw fans.  With the EP, Roadsaw has opened up the doors to a whole new horizon for their music.  Definitely worth grabbing.


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