Monday, October 26, 2015

Backseat Education - Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction

Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction.  If that name made you grin, you know of the band.  The year was 1988.  Tattooed Beat Messiah was released (some fools would say “dropped” these days), and the world of hard rock would never be quite the same.  I was a fan from the first track, which was the “Wolf Child Speech.”  It was over the top.  Ridiculous.  Not to be taken seriously.  Perfect.  It was what hard rock should be.

It’s no surprise that this band came out of the same era that gave us Sigue Sigue Sputnik (affordable firepower), Adam and the Ants, and Mötley Crüe.    

The music was blistering and the lyrics didn’t take themselves all too seriously … or at least one hoped they didn’t.  Zodiac Mindwarp (Mark Manning) put a lot of swagger in those tales of debauchery, and that’s what made it so great.  Sure, there were other bands out there of this ilk that sang songs of wine and women, but none looked or sounded like this one, and few seemed so real.

Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction never got much of a following here in America.  It made an appearance here and there, and some college stations played its songs, but for the most part it was merely a footnote in musical history, while insipid garbage like Mr. Big (1989 actually marked the band’s debut album, but it was formed in 1988) captured audiences’ ears and hearts  -- easy listening for the easily distracted.  I don’t know why this was the case, but perhaps it was due to the fact that Zodiac Mindwarp and company looked like a bunch of coke-up bikers who may be Nazis while Mr. Big looked like a bunch of Bon Jovi fans from the Midwest who dreamed of playing the Cloverfield County Fair.  Me?  I’ll take biker Nazis over cowboys any day.  The rest of America, sadly, didn’t feel the same way.  Oh, what could’ve been…

Enjoy the video.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Hank Haint's Blackout

Man, when it comes to a label that has a knack for getting great one-man bands, nothing beats Voodoo Rhythm Records.  Case in point?  Hank Haint.  He even covers an old GG Allin song (“Don’t Talk to Me”)!  How could you possibly go wrong with this guy?

On May 25, 2012, Blackout was released on an unsuspecting world.  You, the listener, is first subjected to “Keep on Walking.”  You think, “This can’t possibly be a one-man band.”  You are, of course, wrong.  Just like the times you thought there wasn’t a cop around and that one time you swore she was 18.

There are 12 other songs (including the Allin cover) that will only serve to strengthen your disbelief.  When you think about the fact that he only started working as a solo act five years earlier, you will chastise yourself for wasting the last half decade doing … what?  Not this, that’s for sure. 

Blues trash with a punk attitude is how this music has been described.  That is about as accurate a description as one will get.  It’s too raw for the “hip” crowd., and too obscure for mainstream music lover.  It’s in that void to be enjoyed only by the daring and the lucky. 

Of course, this may not be your thing at all.  You may lean more toward pop or, Heaven forbid, hip hop.  You may be wondering what the fuss is about.  It’s one guy, after all.  How hard can that be?  He goes into the studio, lays a track, switches instruments and lays another track.  Well, he performs live, too.  And not with a backing band.  One man.  Many instruments.  The touch of death!

My only complaint?  I would’ve moved “Pissing in the Sink” to the last track.  It is the perfect way to end an album.  As it stands, “Untitled,” the last song, isn’t a horrible way to end it (and one can easily see why it is the last song), but “Pissing in the Sink” would have been the feather in this mighty cap. If that is the only complaint one can muster, you know it is a solid release.