The Weekly Jive

Posted November 15, 2007 in Music

Gram Parsons with The Flying Burrito Bros—Live at the Avalon Ballroom 1969 (Amoeba Records)

Though he was country when country wasn’t cool, Gram Parsons was also cosmic when cosmic absolutely was, and the LSD/twang marriage soon became his vibrant legacy. Parsons burned so fucking hard that he was dead at 26 of a drug overdose, which makes this live recording all the more precious for any Gram fan, as it was captured over two nights at the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco when the Flying Burritos Bros’ frontman was clear, coherent and just as sober as the gavel. The recordings were unearthed from the vast Grateful Dead vault, and through a smattering of applause and the room-gulf of an intimate live show is one of the coolest atmospheric vibes you’ll get from ’60s, with Parsons and ex-Byrds bandmate Chris Hillman just completely vitalizing “Dark End of the Street,” “Hot Burrito #1” and “Hot Burrito #2” from The Gilded Palace of Sin, as well as “Long Black Limousine” and “Sweet Mental Revenge,” which he dedicates to the chemically imbalanced. Though Parsons’ genius for merging subculture with American roots country is already realized,  Avalon is a snapshot of how he broke down the barriers—and it doubles as a reminder of just how ahead of his time he actually was. (Chuck Mindenhall)


Enter Shikari—Take To The Skies (Ambush Reality Records)

For being around only a scant four years, the UK’s Enter Shikari has earned themselves quite a litany of music industry awards, critical acclaim and a hardcore fan base. They’ve managed to score two spots in upcoming EA video games, and get an EP onto the UK charts despite the discs ineligibility for chart status. Enter Skikari has a way of blending every sub-genre of hipster rock, from moody screamo to jumpy dance-rock to blast-beat hardcore, all accompanied by new wave-inspired synth lines that soar above the din, and somehow tying all the madness together. What initially seems like music that’s going to come off clunky and patched together ends up blending seamlessly, with every change wholly unexpected and perfectly timed. But ultimately—alas—the band doesn’t stray far enough from typical emo sap. Their more brilliant fist-pumping moments don’t last long enough, and are often bogged down by long forays into introspective harmonizing and manufactured emotion. Since Take To The Skies is the band’s debut album, there’s a change keep to churning out the heavy stuff and leave the sentimental crap to the boy bands. (Phil Fuller)


Sebastian Bach—Angel Down (Caroline Records)

The eponymous first track on Angel Down is a promisingly explosive crush of guitars and drum-force that becomes even more ominous and even more promising when the rowling wild cougar of Sebastian Bach is loosed into the stampede, with a vox issuing such throat-sore intensity that the whole thing, collectively, is the vintage loin thunder. Not too bad for his first peep in eight years, as it would appear the updated Bach hasn’t become all gums since Skid Row’s Slave to the Grind reached number one in 1991, despite his best efforts of late (see: his role on Gilmore Girls). But then, as the tracks go on, it becomes obvious that Bach still thinks it is 1991. Though each definitively heavy metal song is really a byoot—especially the three with cameos by Axl Rose, including the re-do of Aerosmith’s “Back in the Saddle”—and each carefully placed balladic thrummer (“By Your Side” for instance) is totally fresh in 1991, they are glaringly anachronistic in 2007. Because it doesn’t suit the zeitgeist is fine (even admirable), but Angel Down is sort of like revisiting a buddy after a decade and, rather than catching-up on all that lived life, he wants to comb the mall for chicks. (Chuck Mindenhall)


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