Friday, March 21, 2008

Burnt Hills - Green Blare (The Lotus Sound CD-R)

When I first met Jack, guitar slinger and shelter-provider for Burnt Hills, he came into the record store I work at with his son. My boss introduced us, mentioned that he was in the group, and we shot the shit for a bit before his son picked out a Hilary Duff CD for purchase. He looked at me and said something along the lines of "you know what? I've always told him that he should never let anyone tell him what to like. Guess he really listened to me huh?" It's true in a way. If Jack's son is trying to rebel by listening to the music most unlike his dad's, he found it.

I had said I would get around to reviewing these guys in that Century Plants review below, and I sure hope I ain't no deceiver, so here goes. My sister came down to visit me at school midweek, starting the whole college search and whatnot, and I had to bring her back up so I decided I'd make a weekend of it. Well no weekend home is complete without a stop by my sometimes employer and always-times music buddy Hal March's Toonerville Trolley Records. As far as my high school years went, Hal's is the epicenter of musical happenings in my town, let alone the closest hour--he's got it all, knows it all, and sells it all. One of those real deal independent record stores that are disappearing so fast nowadays. So anyway, I swung through, chatted a while, and Hal laid the latest Burnt Hills on me. Jack, the man behind the madness, had sent two complimentary copies of it for me and Hal, so I was psyched. Free is good, but it wouldn't be quite as good had Burnt Hills not had that special something that always made my feet tingle and my head travel in just the right direction. So thanks ahead of time to Jack for hooking me up--and if you haven't already been clued in, Jack runs the killer label and distribution center Flipped Out Records. Check it out for all kinds of goodies.

So on to the soundz. The Lotus Sound has released killer works by the likes of Graveyards, Loren Mazzacane Connors, Arthur Doyle, Milo Fine and Suishou no Fune, so when I heard that our very own local titans of madness would be releasing with them I got all kinds of excited. Handed the package, it looked just the way I hoped it would, with simple paste-on art over a cardstock fold over case just like all those other little "Handmade Series" numbers. The CD, laser etched, was cautiously placed in my car player, and off I was to the sonic no-man's land.

Burnt Hills sounds like exactly what they say they sound like. This is the music of flames ripping down canyons, bears and rabbits booking it trying to escape. The music starts off quite differently than many of their efforts on this one actually, sounding like the septet is trying to cover some Replacements demo or something before they begin to get loose and head into darker, murkier, sludgier terrain. Comprised of, get this, four guitarists, a bassist, a drummer, and this time around a xylophonist (Llana, whose cover art is as compelling as her playing, when you can hear it at least), so you can assume that there's not much room to breath on this platter. Knowing that these sounds are consistently recorded in Jack's basement, where all those riffs are able to mesh and echo against each other like huge swelling waves clashing on some poor deserted island, makes it all the more compelling.

Saw these guys live once the same night that that new Peasant Magik Century Plants 3" and Dead Machines played and they all switched instruments all the time, just slaying the walls. Surprised they can still hear, though I guess the senses aren't exactly what this stuff is about. This is more in line with overcoming your body through sonic means, like driving towards the sun and forcing yourself to maintain visual contact with the sinking rays. You might go blind, but at least you'll be one step closer to enlightenment.

Another destructo blast from a killer Albany unit. Sure, it's composed of those cautious noise mongers Century Plants, but the approach really couldn't be more different. Opposite approach, same level of delicious. Eat it up. Yum.

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