Saturday, June 28, 2008
Been a long time between blabbin', so let's get down to business. Picked up that LP above: Fatso Jetson's live LP on the Cobraside label), recorded at Safari Sam's in Hollywood in March of last year. I've cottoned onto Fatso Jetson real late. Knew the name for years - two albums on SST back in the mid '90s, plus a 10"/CD on Man's Ruin I recall picking and packing countless times back in my Shock days - but they just passed me by at the time. Now I'm making up for it. I scored a copy of their Flames For All CD (on Man's Ruin) on ebay recently, and it is indeed a hot-wired brew of heavy, punkish aggression, almost like a slightly poppier, more psychedelic take on Black Flag ca. Slip It In, and I've rattled on about their two, excellent outings on SST in previous posts, in which I remarked that, judging by those releases, they didn't strike me as a "stoner"-oriented outfit at all, despite the god-like status they hold in that scene. Well, now I get where their "stoner" tag comes from, not that there's much of any 'Sabbath-like riffery to be heard in the bulk of their output. The sticker on Live describes them as "punk blues". Gulp! They may just have a point, though you should get The Black Keys outta yer head (and quick!). When I'm thinkin' "punk blues", I'd like to throw you in the direction of the Dicks, MC5 and the Groundhogs, three bands FJ remind me of a lot on this record. Mario Lalli's hoarse throat wails have me thinking of no-one else but Gary Floyd (and a bit of D. Boon), and the band, aided by plenty of sax work c/o Vince Meghrouni, break out into epic free-rock territory w/ the opener, "Too Many Skulls", the kinda track High Time shoulda finished with. Throw in plenty of mouth-harp and an aggressive, punked-up take on the blues as a backbeat, and I'll throw in the name "Groundhogs". Fatso Jetson, despite what I've just said, sound like no other contemporary band. It's almost like a complete reinvention of loud rock music, absolutely unique in its approach and shamefully underappreciated by rock hipsters who should pull their collective heads out of the sand. God knows it took me years to find my way here. Hats off to the frameable gatefold sleeve, which features a great photo of what I could only describe as an ornamental display gleefully showing off the elements that make Fatso Jetson as a band: LPs, ephemera and photos of their heroes: Ramones, Germs, Frank Zappa, Howlin' Wolf, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Saccharine Trust, Minutemen, Devo, Black Flag and more. Best live disc you'll probably hear all year, if you'll make the effort.