Friday, July 20, 2012

Blues Pills on Maximum Ames Records

The guys over at Maximum Ames Records sent me the advance CD-R copy of this Blues Pills single a while back and I didn't actually end up getting to it before putting on the vinyl the other day. I'm glad I waited to catch this on rumbling vinyl, but I can see why they were so eager to share this amazing debut of eerily authentic power psych with probably one of the most incredible female vocalists out there from this Iowa based band.

A-Side, "Black Smoke" is going to let you work up to what they have in store, the reverb thick slow guitar and rolling snare launch this in a classic groove direction, but right away for me the second Elin's vocal comes in this whole thing completely changes. She's got the same big striking chops as someone like Shannon Shaw, with her unbelievable range and tone. The classically trained sounding skill lying just underneath this reckless abandon style vocal, not afraid to push her limits and get into an uncomfortable place. It's not right to think Janis immediately but let's just get that out of the way right now...and it's uncanny. This one picks up really quick, she's just as easily loudly up front hitting a growly, raspy yell...but just to act as a foil to this really impressive verse section. Like she's been quietly waiting over there to bust out along with the cymbal crashes and this low groove. Seriously a new impression of classic rock, huge riffs, while everything has this deep big room tone, but with a once removed feel of texture to the whole track, it can't possibly have been recorded this last year. The Enthusiasts actually have some kind of contemporaries in their neoclassic take on this genre, make room for heavy-psyche. The gutsy riff that ends up plowing through the midesction of this is almost completely overtaken by this out of control lower range bellow and they've saved the last third of this track to completely show off their chops as well from the call and response of drum fills to a growly guitar. Big period appropriate theme's of The end of the world and Death, but delivered by Elin Larsson it doesn't sound half that depressing.

B-Side's "Bliss" breaks out the Wah and destroys the heavy groove bassline, this time Elin's vocal has some kind of slight distortion here, everything pushed into the treble end of things maybe. Opposite on the low end the bass rhythms are doubled up and punchy. This one is a little overwhelming, they get into a pretty serious racket coming out of these three, weirdly all I can reference is that Mothers Milk record I must have listened to a million times before the internet. This one has that kind of subtle nod to funk, but with a Dead Meadow utterly out of range low end. They're blowing this one right off the turntable, I don't know why but I really just want to hear her voice again, whats she up to?

Maximum Ames' mantra is: "all Iowa, all vinyl". The thick grey kind here with a pitch perfect design on the reverse of this psych front sleeve and in one of those thick fold over bendy picture disc bendy plastic outer sleeves that if you take a long whiff... it's going to help the ride. Insert card and download...from Maximum Ames Records.
No bandcamp, you have to go over to Maximum's site and scroll down for a streaming player.

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