Monday, June 15, 2009
I like to mix things up, ya know. Lately, it's been a little bit of Ian Matthews blended in with a touch o' Moby Grape and even the pulseless drones of Stars Of The Lid. If I dig it, it gets a spin. Occasionally I need something to simply wake me up, blast my senses and have me cursing the world with clenched fists. This is where NYC's BRUTAL TRUTH come in, a "grind" band I'll swear by. Saw 'em when they toured here back in '97 or so and they flipped my wig and then some. Playing 1,000 miles an hour with songs that appeared to be over before they started, and lyrical topics ranging from smoking copious amounts of cannabis to fightin' the man - usually in the space of one song - I was won over. These guys were aaaawright! I worked for their label's distributor for the latter half of the '90s and found myself occasionally blasting their wares in the workplace, coming to the conclusion that any such band which had the balls to tackle cover versions of Germs, Boredoms and Sun Ra songs on their recordings in such a manner was a band doing the right thing their own way. After 1997's Sounds Of The Animal Kingdom - probably their best record - they disappeared for over 10 years and... you know where this is heading: they're back.
That record above, released on the Relapse label, is the newie, and it picks up exactly where they left off. Lemme tell ya, the best thing about the 'Truth is this: they can write an actual "song". They mix up their records with the fast, the slow and the in-between. Other than the blink-and-you've-missed-it grind numbers, they make one heck of a good "rock" band in a strictly Black Flag-derived sense. That is, heavy-duty rock of the tortured-soul variety, all pain/no gain stuff obviously heavily influenced by My War and Slip It In. Sounds Of The Animal Kingdom was full of Ginn-damaged moments, especially the slo-mo tracks which sounded like they coulda subbed for the B-side on My War, and Evolution... follows that same path. Just to get into further SST-damage mode, the band even tackles the old Minutemen chestnut, "Bob Dylan Wrote Propaganda Songs", and their reinterpretation nails it. If you ever wondered what the second side of My War would sound like on 78, you might wanna investigate. This is good, chest-beating noise.