Brian Jonestown Massacre, the band started by and ruled with an iron fist by front man and song-writer Anton Newcombe, has had a relatively speaking low-profile couple of years. The previous studio album "And This is Our Music" dates from 2003 and other than some sporadic touring not much has been heard from BJM. Now comes the new album.
On "My Bloody Underground" (a too obvious reference perhaps to My Bloody Valentine/ Velvet Underground?) (13 tracks, 79 min.), Newcombe returns to the shoegazer sounds of the early albums, and to (mostly) good effect. Opener "Bring Me the Head of Paul McCartney on Heather Mills' Wooden Peg" (Newcombe will never run short of outrageous song titles that have nothing to do with the song as such) sets the tone, as if the 1960s psychedalia never stopped. The next track "Infinite Widom Tooth" is even better, with a hard driving beat. When an album runs 79 min., there are bound to be weaker (if not filler) tracks. There are several instrumental tracks that seem out of place, although the solo piano piece (another outrageously titled song, "We Are the N*ggers of the World" is quite remarkable. Other highlights for me include: "Who Cares Why" (with a wall-of-sound that goes on forever, 8+ min. in fact), "Golden Frost", and the 10+ min. ambient closer "Black Hole Symphony". Self-indulgent as ever, Newcombe pushes the envelope with this release. Would this album have been better had it been focused (and hence shorter than 79 min.)? Of course, but this is Anton Newcombe we're talking about. For real BJM fans, this is a most welcome addition to the Brian Jonestown Massacre catalog. Be aware: the CD comes with basically zero information, other than the song titles. For more information as to who actually played on the album etc., the CD refers you to a website link.
I had never seen Brian Jonestown Massacre in concert until I had the good fortune of seeing them at the Monolith Music Festival at the famous Red Rocks venue last September, and it was quite the event. Newcombe was his impossible self as usual, berating the crowd and band members alike (and making me think he'd call it off at any time--he did walk off the stage several times, only to return), but when the band played, it sounded magical.