The BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE – ” My Bloody Underground “

Posted: June 26, 2021 in MUSIC

Recorded with select members from the Brian Jonestown Massacre, Icelandic musicians, and Mark Gardener (Ride) After spending time writing and recording in Liverpool, England and Reykjavik, Iceland; “My Bloody Underground” is the thirteenth full length album released by the band, and is released on Anton Newcombe’s own record label A Recordings.

After a four year hiatus (with the exception of a five-song EP released in 2005) and another line-up change, Brian Jonestown Massacre take their sound full circle returning to the shoe gazer roots that prompted the band to make their first album Methodone. My Bloody Underground takes cues from two of the most important and influential bands of their respective eras, My Bloody Valentine and Velvet Underground, just as the title suggests, as well as Julian Cope’s “My Nation Underground”. Noise pop and neo-psychedelia are the most notable sources for Anton Newcombe’s new music, and after eight albums and a handful of EPs, his rekindled interest in bands like The Jesus And Mary Chain keeps his songs from sounding redundant. 

Newcombe’s key talent is his ability to take music from the past and project it as music for the future. Despite the fact that his quick mouth and serious ego might persuade you otherwise, he’s not a god or a superhero (too bad, because “Osmosisman” has a nice ring to it), but there’s no arguing that he has a supernatural ability to soak up his record collection and project his favourite elements spot-on, filtered as a unique vision. The first couple songs feel a lot like the Brian Jonestown Massacre we’ve grown to know, love, and fear, with the expected psychedelic ’60s Stones or Kinks throwbacks, charmingly slopped up with a junkyard of instruments and the occasional out of tune guitar. As the album picks up, things get truly warped and a new angle is introduced when ’80s shoegazer aspects and ’70s Krautrock are thrown into the mix. Imitation Kevin Shields guitar drones with slight whammy bends fill the air alongside breathy vocals in “Who Cares Why” and “Just Like Kicking Jesus”, and faux-German Neu vocals and a driving guitar fuzz permeate “Golden Frost.” Running almost 75 minutes long, the album’s as surreal as anything Brian Jonestown Massacre has done, and fans who appreciate their controversial side will appreciate that it is still intact, as evident in song titles like “Bring Me the Head of Paul McCartney on Heather Mill’s Wooden Peg (Dropping Bombs on the White House),” “We Are the Niggers of the World,” and “Automatic Faggot for the People.” Hellbent on pushing the envelope, Newcombe shines as a prolific madman once again and as recycled as the ideas are, My Bloody Underground is a fantastic new direction and a forward thinking album that indicates that however combustible, there is a lot more life left in the Brian Jonestown Massacre in any incarnation.

Stirring visions of sunny Californian communes to New York City bars on the Lower East Side. From Rishikesh to Reykjavik, the entire album provides provocative glimpses into Anton Newcombe’s head, both the darkness and the light, so clearly and so beautifully self produced.

“My Bloody Underground” is the tenth work of The Brian Jonestown Massacre, led by the brilliant, ingenious and fickle Anton Newcombe.

BJM is perhaps the most relevant band of the last 30 and a bit years that remains in continuous activity, always reinventing itself, adding new elements to the band’s famous acidic, psychedelic and meltdown recipe. Experimentalism, kraut, shoegaze, folk, catchy melodies, all serves as fuel for Anton Newcombe and whoever stands by him anyway, never expect the same formation at BJM, shouldn’t be easy to hang with the guy at all, well, geniuses are like that.

The album is a tribute to three of BJM’s biggest influences, Velvet Underground, My Bloody Valentine, the title pun clearly refers to the first two bands and J&MC subtly through the classic “P” bible “My Little Underground” sychocandy”. Soundly, it sounds more experimental than its predecessors, entering the acid psychedelia, notorious band, elements of kraut, avant garde among other sound fronts, starting from there a series of even more torturous albums.

“My Bloody Underground” remains as one of several BJM masterpieces.

Basically, essential.

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