beasts of bourbon - black milk

Beasts of Bourbon: Black Milk (1990)

It took album #3 for The Beasts of Bourbon to fall prey to what we’ll call for lack of a better word “safe” music.  Which is not to say that Black Milk is a bad album; on the contrary, it’s a terrific amalgam of everything that was present on the previous two records (their debut The Axeman’s Jazz is a terrific gnarled album, but I don’t own a physical copy, so no review).  But that amalgam is tempered, somewhat.  There’s a tunefulness and restraint that doesn’t have the vital spark of Sour Mash, but is sweet just the same. Continue reading “Beasts of Bourbon: Black Milk (1990)”

beasts of bourbon - sour mash

Beasts of Bourbon: Sour Mash (1988)

We all have those people in our lives who act as our musical sherpas, guiding us on paths we would not have otherwise taken to discover aural delights that reverberate in our souls and ears.  Over the last six or so years the largest of those people has been Henry Rollins, via his weekly KCRW radio show (seriously, listen here) as well as his collection of Fanatic books where he provides liner notes for every radio show.  Through him I discovered the hotbed of great music that’s been coming out of Australia for years, specifically the swerving, booze-drenched blues insanity of  The Beasts of Bourbon, here represented by their second album,  Sour Mash. Continue reading “Beasts of Bourbon: Sour Mash (1988)”

bad religion - the dissent of man

Bad Religion: The Dissent of Man (2010)

I used to think that Bad Religion alternated between great and okay records.  And at the time of picking up The Dissent of Man I thought this was proving the hypothesis: after the rage and aggression of New Maps Of Hell this felt lighter, less substantial.  Maybe the Obama years weren’t providing the fodder the band needed to thrive?  Closer, older listening over the weekend proved otherwise; here was a band moving into different sonic landscapes, but underneath a more relaxed rock vibe still lay the ire and rage of a much younger band. Continue reading “Bad Religion: The Dissent of Man (2010)”

bad religion - new maps of hell

Bad Religion: New Maps Of Hell (2007)

It took three years for Bad Religion to craft their follow-up to The Empire Strikes First, and while New Maps Of Hell doesn’t quite reach the heights its predecessor did, there are moments where it almost manages to strike that particular nerve.  It’s a little darker, a little angrier, and a little faster, but it’s still Bad Religion, which means it’s still a blast to play. Continue reading “Bad Religion: New Maps Of Hell (2007)”

bad religion - the empire strikes first

Bad Religion: The Empire Strikes First (2004)

It’s a sad reality that turbulent times feed art like little else.  Whether it’s internally generated or a product of the outside world, art seems to thrive and feel more vibrant when it’s railing against the tyranny of the negative.  Enter Album #13 from Bad Religion, the so good I didn’t realize how good it was at the time it came out The Empire Strikes First.  With the horror of the Bush years as fodder, the band makes the most rock and roll album of their career, and it’s brutally good.  Continue reading “Bad Religion: The Empire Strikes First (2004)”

bad religion - the process of belief

Bad Religion: The Process of Belief (2002)

You might consider the years 1996-2000 the lean ones for Bad Religion.  After the rousing success of Stranger Than Fiction for Atlantic the band, now without Brett Gurewitz, had to rely on Greg Graffin for the vast majority of the songwriting.  And so The Grey Race, No Substance, and The New America merged together into a slightly unfocused, softer and more radio accessible (though they got practically no radio play) period for the band.  Strange to say it, but the key to the band’s invigoration was easy: go back to the way things were.  And so Brett Gurewitz returned, the band went back to Epitaph, and The Process of Belief came to blow everyone’s doors down.  Continue reading “Bad Religion: The Process of Belief (2002)”

bad religion - all ages

Bad Religion: All Ages (1995)

So even though Bad Religion left for the exotic lands of major labels, Epitaph still had the rights to the early album and thus All Ages was born.  If you needed any proof as to the power of a band to righteously rock you with pulverizing riffs and sweet, sweet harmonized choruses, you need look no further.  From the very beginning Bad religion could seamlessly blend melody, power, and an erudite lyrical bent that was progressive and wise and clever and I might as well overuse righteous because, well..it was all that and more. Continue reading “Bad Religion: All Ages (1995)”