Acid Baby Jesus, “Selected Recordings” LP

cover - acid baby jesus selectedAcid Baby Jesus‘ last proper full-length, 2011’s LP was kind of a hodgepodge of ’60s rock tropes. There were sludgy stompers, flower-power psych jams, and jangly bouncy things. It was fun, but never quite got into regular rotation the way their “Hospitals” single had originally hooked us.

In the meantime, they did a teamup with Hellshovel for the Voyager 8 EP, which was fun, but never really gelled the way I wanted it to. The two bands seemed to be doing their own things simultaneously, rather than finding a joint sound together, which really kept otherwise-agreeable numbers like “I Went Down” from clicking.

So, why should you listen to their upcoming full-length, Selected Recordings, out November 17 from Slovenly Recordings?

Because it’s amazing! It’s been a solid two years since the band’s released anything of note (not counting the “Vegetable” single they released in advance of this back in September), and they’ve changed, but in a good way. The whole psychedelic rock thing is 100% in the forefront. The album manages to remain thematically and tonally coherent, while also playing around with tempos and textures.

A big part of the problem with LP was that it sounded like a collection of singles, but Selected Recordings sounds like an album (although the names seem to suggest otherwise — weird). Acid Baby Jesus remains the band they once were. You can hear echoes of LP in this new album — “I’m Becoming a Man” rocks that dirty fuzz the same way “Tomboy” did, and “Row By Row” echoes the stomp and freakout of “Tyrannosaurus Rex.”

Also, in addition to just being recorded more coherently, Selected Recordings is sequenced in such a way that the album flows, rather than jumping from B to X to G to V to Z. By the end, you feel like you’ve journeyed down the river of Lethe, and things are groovy and all right.

Hellshovel’s Jeff Clarke on Voyager 8, touring, and the garage scene

hellshovel jeff clarke
Canada’s Hellshovel are described by their label, Slovenly Records, as “bumpkin punks,” and their most recent album, Hated By The Sun, as “the sound of Johnny Cash drowning in a pool of cough syrup.” These are apt descriptions, and when you factor in their work with Greece’s Acid Baby Jesus on the Voyager 8 10-inch last year, there’s a lot of drug references being thrown around. It’s not inaccurate — I’ve never heard a band who more accurately represented being fucked up through music.

Hellshovel and Acid Baby Jesus embark on a North American tour starting on February 22, at the Bell House in Brooklyn, and finishing in Milwaukee at Linnemans Riverwest Inn on April 6, as part of Lookout Weekend II. The tour hits the Replay Lounge in Lawrence on Saturday, March 2, and I’ll be there. In advance of the tour, we spoke with singer / guitarist Jeff Clarke via e-mail about Hellshovel, their collaboration with Acid Baby Jesus, and the garage scene in general.
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Four new releases from Slovenly Recordings (three of which are pretty great)

Slovenly Recordings has put out a slew of fantastic releases in the last few months, and as they’ve piled up on the desk down here in the basement, it seemed like a great idea to compile them all into one handy-dandy guide. Let’s explore, shall we?
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