brimstone howl: review by brother jimmy “the truth”

August 14th, 2007 · No Comments · By

(the brimstone howl – photo by kaytlyn naranjo)

Can you say enough about this band??? Perhaps in the rambling of a 36 hour cocaine binge, but right now, at least for me, that’s not the case, so I’ll try and stay focused to the task at hand. First off, the Brimstone Howl are from the Lincoln, Nebraska area. Try and wrap your head around that one- it’s not exactly the hot bed of American music, but that statement is enough to make me question everything I know about what’s happening musically in this country. Nebraska: not a whole lot going on in the amber waves of grain? You may say so, but this small label called Boom Chick Records that has put out some pretty note worthy 7” records of which the Brimstone Howl (BH) have released two; another released on the Speed Nebraska label.

I’ll save the Nebraska conversation for later, for now the let’s talk about the music. Ah yes, “All we need is music, sweet music, there’ll be music everywhere…”

The first BH 7” on Boom Chick is “Blood on the Rocks, Bones in the River” Did I mention how absolutely sick a title that is? If that alone was not worthy enough of the price of admission, the 7″ is recorded and mastered by none other than Jay Reatard, no stranger to a diverse and complex body of work of his own. The BH is sheer garage bluesy brilliance. Both sides “Lynne” and “In the Valley”, are pieces that call out to a cold insolation which would bring weak men to the desperate act of fighting urges to put a knife in the belly of an unsatisfied lover.

The second Boom Chick 7″ is deceivingly simply entitled “M-60.” Four tracks of a raw, driving, gut wrenching menace that sound as if they were recorded in a narrowing tunnel are equally as compelling and as the first track suggests that of a “soulless” man. They bring to mind being left out in the in the blistering desert heat with the sun beating down upon you and no hydration; only to carry on with solitary thoughts of consciousness. Dismal and bleak? Maybe so, but a very real sobering experience.

Lastly, from the Speed Nebraska label comes “Speed Gospel” 7″ that holds two tracks which any other alternate universe could have been preformed by a young Albert King as in 1968’s Live Wire/Blues Power. An intense piercing A side “Heat of the Beat” and more subdued gospel flavored B side “Six and Seven”; neither will disappoint.

Obviously they must have much time on there hands in Nebraska to have been able to create such a live, organic feel to each of these separate three recordings. All songs contain the classic ingredients of being under three minutes, short focused guitar solos, and lyrically strong numbers. Not a note wasted and not an unnecessary word sung. That’s how it should be done!

Check out the other releases on the Boom Chick and Speed Nebraska labels, as I believe there may be something in the seed of those Nebraskan crop fields. Hell, I’m thinking I may want to go to Nebraska on my next vacation, just to investigate.

In the mean time, in the back of my head, I’m siting behind this mindless computer still humming to the tune of Martha and the Vandellas “Dancing in the Street.”

Note: The Brimstone Howl are playing at Atomic Burrito Wed 8/15, like most shows there it will be free and a late night start, but that just gives me time to plan out my next scam…how to get a few free cold beers.The new LP/CD “Guts of Steel” is on the Alive Records label and produced by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys. I plan to hand over my hard earned dollars to these fine lads in person. See them and your soul should thank you in the morning.

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