Thursday, January 04, 2007

SOLAR ANUS - Skull Alcoholic 2CD (tUMULt/USA)
tUMULt is a rather terrific label owned and operated by one Andee Connors, the man behind one of America's finest music outlets, Aquarius Records in San Fran. I stopped by there in my US travels in '99, and, despite being initially put off by the volumes of Black Metal picture discs, posters and CD lining the walls (this is before I really cottoned on to it, OK?), was impressed enough to blow about $60 in 15 minutes and figured I'd better get the hell out of there before I blew half my dough on my first week in the country.

His label possesses a similar A & R/commercial ethic to mine: release whatever the fuck you want, no matter what genre, and if it sinks, well, you've always got insulation for the roof in the colder months. Which brings us to Solar Anus. SA were a Japanese four-piece from the latter half of the '90s whose name I remember seeing splattered throughout various 'zines at the time, probably interspersed w/ a few Ajax and Forced Exposure listings, though I never took the plunge. To make up for this lack of foresight, tUMULt has put together this impressive-looking 2CD which compiles absolutely everything they did, plus a previously unreleased track.

The front sticker says something about the band being the missing link between the Boredoms, Black Sabbath and Hawkwind. I'd probably take the Boredoms out of the equation and add that they were more like a combo twixt 'Sabbath, Hawkwind, St. Vitus and various Krauts of high repute: Amon Duul 1 and 2, Guru Guru and a touch of bongo-bashin' period Popol Vuh. The liner notes, which are all in Japanese sans their list of influences, naturally mean squat to moi, though the list in question is a hoot and may give you a clue as to where they were coming from: Electric Prunes, Twink, Amon Duul 2, Church Of Misery, Budgie, Beatles, Cathedral, St. Vitus, Gong, Funkadelic, Brutal Truth, etc. Oh yeah, I also forgot to mention Dark Angel, Pungent Stench and Sodom. No death metal actually present here, but if they dig 'em, who am I to argue?

The songs featured fall into three basic categories: metallic doom-sludge, much of which could pass for an early Saint Vitus or Electric Wizard track (especially given the unfortunately flat production some of the songs suffer from); more Kraut-influenced freak tracks which go for a gonzo Gong/Amon Duul vibe; and a couple of "experimental" pieces which make for a nice break between the former two. I've been giving this a spin whilst baking in the heat the last few days, and it's given me a much-needed slice of guitar-fuzz OD and even made me pull out a few doom platters to augment the proceedings. Now, when it comes to doom, the kings will always be Electric Wizard (nobody has ever surpassed Come My Fanatics or Dopethrone); for guitar-OD space/noise-rock, one can never go past early Skullflower (their Ruins and Xaman CDs should be in each and every household reading this) or F/i (sorry, but that's why I released 'em), so Solar Anus could never reach the top of the pile at this late stage, but their efforts are more than appreciated, their drones a pleasure to drown in, which is why I'm giving this a belated yet honourary entry into my list of Best Reissues of 2006.

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