Thursday, October 9, 2014

Bass Drum Of Death Can Rip This

Bass Drum Of Death
When Bass Drum Of Death (BDoD) originally put out GB City several years ago, the whole of it was recorded by John Barrett using whatever instruments he had on hand and a few USB microphones. He produced it all and promoted it too. And, he might have stuck with his original arrangement — touring with a guitar and bass drum — had Colin Sneed not stepped in to assist with big bad drum beats.

The band then added Trent Choteau to make it all the more noisy for their self-titled full length. Since then, however, Barrett has changed up the lineup to include collaborator Len Clark. The newly formed duo quickly went to work on new material while touring with the Unknown Mortal Orchestra.

They even convinced Unknown Mortal Orchestra bassist Jake Portrait to produce their third album. With a few rough demos in tow, the three of them banged out Rip This over two weeks at Prairies Sun Studios in Sonoma County. The idea was to make a progression. They doubled down instead.

Rip This fires up more garage buzz rock from BDoD. 

If there is anything to listen for it is the effort Barrett has put into making the music more accessible. The goal here seems to be bringing heavier hook-laiden guitars, kinetic drums, and dorm room swagger back into the mainstream. The title says it all. Don't overthink it. Just let it rip.

On the best tracks, Barrett and Clark make their case. Most of it is made up of crunchy trash rock with big blues influences. For Blood begs to be blasted for its early punk punch. Never mind that it's about a hangover and Barrett wanted to sneak in a quiet-loud-quiet track amongst the usual loud-loud-loud.

For something more searing, turn up Left For Dead. The tune and accompanying video is especially fitting for the new label location in Los Angeles. The Tarantino treatment and nip and tuck theme rips along nicely.

So does Sin Is In 10, which drops the treble for a heavier rock throb that's only broken by the guitar screeches and solos. The track has a smoky groove about it, leaving Barrett plenty of room to bellow about the circumstance.

From that midpoint in the album, BDoD drifts through influences that include an assortment of garage rock pioneers and greats. None of them are knockoffs per se. Barrett tends to make his music on the fly, settling into grooves not because he remembers them but because  he feels them well up in his veins.

Some standouts include the fuzzed-up and woozy Black Don't Glow and the amped up alternative Lose My Mind, a stripped-back near ballad that may give a nod to a songwriter on the other side of the pond.  Combined, it seems BDoD is looking to capture some new listeners from a smattering of other niche rock audiences.

Even if the band has suggested a desire to tap into something more mainstream, it's won't be made up of the typical masses but rather many niche parts to make up a new one. In much the same way BDoD were introduced to NASCAR fans and Grand Theft Auto players on previous albums, the band will certainly add fans as it crosses the country on tour.

Rip This By Bass Drum Of Death Roars 8.1 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale. 

If someone is to find any criticism in the album, it might be that even the standout tracks sometimes sound as just more of the same. Others are more inclined to hang onto the nuances of great music and find a suitably diverse album with ten great tracks. Sure, none of them necessarily stand out from each other, but it still beats those days when bands crafted two solid songs to sell a set on disc.

You can find Rip This by Bass Drum of Death on Amazon. The album can also be downloaded from iTunes. You can also find the Bass Drum Of Death at Barnes & Noble or at a discount at FYE.
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