Monday, April 30, 2012

Mo' Doom Ghost

Producer Britt Robisheaux shared with me the latest set of recordings from Doom Ghost: seven new songs, two of which will be released on a split 7-inch with War/Party in a couple of months. I was sorry I missed their performance at Doc's on Record Store Day, but these new sides show a clear progression from the demos that first caught my attention towards the end of last year.

Frontman Lavern Marigold and his boys paint with broad strokes and eschew everything inessential. This results in songs that are brief, but substantial. The ones here average two minutes or less, with the festival of self-flagellation they call "Shoes" (sample lyric: "I'm a cocksucking bastard, there's a reason I'm alone") the lengthiest at 2:32 and "Chem Trails," which sounds like a TV show theme, the shortest at just 47 seconds -- over before you know it, but long enough to burn itself into your synapses.

"I'm sitting on the fence between the past and the future, can't decide which way to go," Lavern sings on "Cherry Berry," the title to which might refer to the willful perversion of Chuck Berry's signature guitar gambit that propels the tune. There's plenty of slop here, in the grand tradition of the Replacements' cassette-recorded drunkfest The Shit Hits the Fans (particularly the "solos" at the end of "Dog") and Johnny Thunders' entire career, but that only goes to show that these guys possess the correct spirit. (Rock 'n' roll is not a music of technical precision, which players forget at their peril.) Lavern spits out the lyrics with a quiver in his voice, like Marc Bolan channeling Ray Davies, but he chops out the chords with slashing authority, while Jeremy Brown beats out a slapdash rhythm and new bassist Mama Cass (um, I'll bet that isn't his real name) thumps the thudstaff. Me like real much.

In a just universe that exists only in my imagination, somebody with a couple of grand in their ass pocket would release all of these songs along with the 2011 demos on an LP. Sure, it'd only be 20 minutes long, but so was The Kinks' Greatest Hits.


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