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Burning Godzilla
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Hman wrote:
I listened to a few tracks (Israel; Halloween; Arabian Nights) by Siouxie and the Banshees, but decided that their sound wasn't for me.

It's almost a junkie-band sound in the early records. It gets much crisper in their later records, while still being recognizably of the same distinctive aural identity. There was a narrow window of time where they were my favorite band, sort of by default for lack of anything better at that time, but later on I started finding the gloom distasteful, and Siouxsie's ego is a tetch off-putting. Never saw the Banshees live, but I saw The Creatures once (with guest John Cale) and they waited an extra half hour to come out, apparently just to get the crowd riled up. I've seen reports of them being up to two hours late to take the stage. Not cool.

Still, Severin and Budgie might have been the coolest rhythm section in rock.

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Fri May 13, 2016 6:23 pm
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Burning Godzilla
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“Gas Station” Mixtape by Brotha Lynch Hung

Okay, I think you’d find an introduction to this peculiar musician to be rather interesting, as the man has established himself as the hip-hop equivalent to Ruggero Deodato and is both a pioneer and leading player in the sub-genre of rap known as “horror-core.” The Sacramento, CA native began his career in 1992 with the release of his first album, “24 Deep” (he lives on 24th Street in South Sacramento, not too far from where one of my aunts lives). The cover showed us a man in sunglasses lying in a coffin holding a shotgun. Most of the songs were your typical 90s violence-glorifying gangsta rap…that is until the penultimate song, “Back Fade.” Lynch then set himself apart from his peers by rapping about not only killing his rivals, but eating them as well. The album ended with a track that consisted of him having a conversation with the Devil before shooting him. So that was the beginning of a rather interesting career in lyrical horror and debauchery.

Three years later, BHL released his second (and most commercially successful) album, “Season of the Siccness.” The album is considered one of the most explicit albums of all time and brought the cannibalism angle to the forefront of his rapping, not to mention necrophilia and infanticide, among other unsavory topics. His third album, “Loaded”, was also fairly successful, although one could already see the onset of studio interference in his work. The lyrical anthropophagy and horror-core elements are dialed back considerably (although he does “compensate” by making a few throwaway references to rape and Oedipal incest) and some of the guest rappers, like Vallejo rapper E-40, feel a bit out of place. There were some nice ominous-sounding beats in the songs, but too many of the songs felt like they had too little Lynch, both quantitatively and qualitatively. It also didn’t help that Lynch gave listeners the impression that he had smoked enough marijuana to make leave Tommy Chong agape in astonishment before recording each track. I’m guessing the studio interference got worse for album #4, “EBK4”, as Lynch himself disowned it, telling fans that he didn’t mind if people listened to it, as long as they didn’t “buy it or steal it.” I personally had stopped actively following rap by the time it came out, so I can’t form an opinion of it.

Recently, out of curiosity, I decided to check out one of his later albums. So I found this mixtape uploaded to the Internet Archive and listened to it. The horror-core elements are there, but it’s not as good as his first two albums (or the songs he did for different compilation albums at around the same time). Probably for being a mix-tape, the beats themselves are a lot more upbeat and many of them are downright danceable. I missed the near-horror movie music that was the best part about “Loaded.” And much like his third album, many of the songs suffer from just too little Lynch. I respect him for giving local Sacramento talent a chance, but unlike the Wu Tang Clan, in which their best songs are collaborative efforts, I tend to prefer Lynch when he’s going solo. Songs like “Suicidio Morte” and “Slit Ya Wrist” are among the more violent and explicit of the songs here, even if they’re quite short. “Friday”, “Smoked Half”, and “Up Early Out My Casket” run about six minutes each, but only half of their run times are dedicated to actual rapping, whereas the other half is just the beat and or people talking. The highlights of the mixtape are “Rocc da Mic”, a semi-autobiographical track about BHL’s career (with the expected references to cannibalism thrown in), and “Gone RIP P-Folks” which has some good flowing from BHL and a catchy R&B chorus.

Listening to “Gas Station” is like watching a Jackie Chan movie made in the past 10 years or so. There are several moments that remind you of why you became a fan of him, but in no way is as good as his earlier work. There are a few tracks that bring me back to my adolescence, but the rest was routine and even a little disjointed. Or maybe I have simply just grown out of this sort of thing.

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Fri Aug 05, 2016 3:07 pm
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