Calling yourselves The Gods Themselves is a huge conceit that can only be managed by, well, a shit ton of swagger. Astra Elane, flanked by fellow ex- Atomic Bride bandmate Collin O’Meara with Autolite Striker guitarist Damion Heintschel deliver a swift kick confidence that isn’t unlike Le Tigre. But less girly and with more tongue hanging out the side of her mouth. In their new video “I Am the President,” the lo-fi rock saunters in with wah-wah pedal and stark vocals. Not what you’d expect from the cliffs of Mount Rushmore, but as the band explains “the unspoken fourth member of the band is space.” True to name, The Gods Themselves have impeccable musical taste and are here this week to give us the scoop on must-listen albums.
The Gods Themselves’ Picks:
Weird War – Illuminated by the Light
Weird War is my all-time favorite band. All of Ian Svenonius projects are top notch, but this band I have on constant rotation. I love far out guitars and the licks in Weird War’s tunes are electrifying! Crying wah-wahs, pitchy envelope filters and other fuzzy psych effects are so tastefully applied to the catchy riffs, and Ian’s screeching/snotty exuberance makes WW a group I will hail ‘til I derail.
Listen to: “Put It in Your Pocket”
The D.O.C. – No One Can Do It Better
Eazy-E wasn’t lying when he said Dre is a dope producer. I grew up on a lot of the soul/funk records he’s sampled, and I love how he revives old tunes with his tough, syncopated, ass-moving beats. Pretty much anything on Ruthless Records is cool with me, but I dig The D.O.C. because his flow’s got rhythm and he serves it up with conviction. BAM!
Listen to: “It’s Funky Enough”
Damaged Bug – Hubba Bubba
Henry Rollins turned me on to this band. Not personally, but I read an article where he mentioned some happening bands and this one positively stood out. This is the basement project of John Dwyer from Thee Oh Sees. You can hear hints of their harmonies and airplane hangar reverb scattered about, but mostly Damaged Bug feels lonelier, sadder and brings me back to teenage years when I first stumbled upon the fantastic Ralph Records roster. Hubba Bubba sounds like an 80s experimental synthtastic mish-mash of warbly Melotrons, Arps and Moogs put to some dirty lo-fi beats. It’s got heaps of good angles and swells. In fact, “Hot Swells” is the track I like enormously. Sexy and weird.
Listen to: “Hot Swells”
Pierre Cavalli – Un soir chez Norris
I always come back to this single by Pierre Cavalli, a Swiss virtuoso guitarist who is a master with tones and effects. It is some of the coolest music of all time. Anything with a wah-wah is OK by me.
Listen to: “Un soir chez Norris”
Shocking Blue – At Home
Because I was in a SB cover band, their songs will forever be etched in my brain, and also for the reason that they are finely crafted, colorful pieces of art. Hailing from the same musically significant era, singer Mariska Veres is often considered the Dutch version of Grace Slick, but far more fetching in my opinion. Shocking Blue was never big stateside, but songs “Venus” and “Love Buzz” got some airplay in the early 70’s, and then again years later when they were sordidly reinterpreted by bands I will not name. Nothing like the real thing though – cold and dark, warm and fuzzy. For me At Home is a fab rotation for inspiration.
Listen to: “Long and Lonesome Road”