Posts Tagged ‘King Khan’

May be an image of child, hair and outerwear

Hailing from Canada, King Khan Unlimited have filled this release with biting social insights (mostly about their southern neighbour) driven by some very analogue sounding punk rock that will take you back to the hey day of CBGB’s (think Ramones, Dead Boys even Blondie). For all that they have found a very appropriate home on the Australian based Bargain Bin Records. Featuring his majesty’s dream line up of Bordeaux’s finest rock‘n’roll lifers, The Magnetix and Fredovitch (from King Khan & The Shrines), King Khan Unlimited’s new slab of punk rock is chock full of stinging social critique delivered with wit and a wry smile.

Their first single “Pigment Of Your Imagination” tackles the complicated topic of pigment as related to the tidal wave of racism all over the world. “Pigment Of Your Imagination” also features Eamon Sandwith from The Chats professing his love for, uh, Shea Butter amongst other things… Opening the charge is “Bedwetter”, a very Ramones-esque lament to exactly that. Heavy bass and drums underpin this song and you can imagine how great this would be live. Second song Narcissist has the refrain “narcissist, you don’t exist” and could be a tribute to the now former president of the United States (even though they reference Napoleon throughout the song). “Trapped in your own illusion” is much like the aftermath of 45 leaving office. Megpie Eyes is equally Dead Boys and The Stooges, with a heavy blues undertone.

The title track “Opiate Them Asses” carries along in the same vein as Narcissist, with messages of people being blinded by media and online tropes. Then we step away from the somewhat socio-political messaging to Al Capones Symphallytic Fever Dream, a song referencing what Al Capone might have dreamt about (whiskey running?!?) and exploring the Capone mythology in their own way. Crime Don’t Pay seems like a deliberately ironic song to include after a song about Al Capone. This morphs into Foaming At The Mouth, it took me while to realise that this one actually sounds a lot like The Vapours, Turning Japanese, never the less a good fun song.

The second half of the album is less hook-you-in, but is still pretty solid and listenable. Modern Frankenstein, Do You Wanna Get Hurt and Kamikazi are all pretty solid efforts, but compared to the first 3 songs are exactly what they are – solid B-sides. Pigment of Your Imagination has some interesting and clever word play. Kamikazi is an ode to over doing it on the drink, then crashing and burning(they will fit into the Bargain Bin collective well).

The end song is Play Safe has some nice plinky-plonk piano and is the most ballad type song on the album.

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“Opiate Them Asses” is a solid punk rock album. The songs where they are making a socio-political comment (perhaps where the bands passions lie) and that are underpinned by a great track are the strongest on the album. When the band settles in to just being a punk band singing about girls and beer the strengths taper off a bit (lyrically, the band are pretty clever almost through the whole album).

Opiate Them Asses is definitely a play through with the best songs being Bedwetter, Narcissist and Megpie Eyes, just don’t listen too hard to the second half and the whole thing will feel like its still all good fun the more you listen.

Released January 29th, 2021

My name is A. A. Khan (a.k.a. “King Khan” or “the artist formerly known as The Blacksnake“). Welcome to the Art of Khannibalism… featuring music I have recorded and produced from my Moon Studios in Berlin, Germany. Music is my religion and can heal all wounds…. Enjoy these sounds and share them with the ones you love.

King Khan has worn many hats over the years and this year he has added jazz artist to that hat collection. With members of Sun Ra Arkestra and Calexico, as well as some regular collaborators, King Khan goes all-in right off the bat. Opening with “Wait Till The Stars Burn” a song that has a psychedelic tribal acid free-form jazz to it that only King Khan could cook up in his bag of tricks, we know we’re in for a ride immediately. I mean this record goes far out into the realms of space and never touches down to Earth. If you listen closely throughout the album, there are hints of Ennio Morricone sprinkled about, which feels like a beautiful tribute for an absolute legend that we lost this year. While the record is only 37 minutes long, it feels far longer, in a good way, as not a single track is in a rush to leave your ears. The trumpet playing by Martin Wenk in “Theme of Yahya” just envelopes your ears like a hug. “Mister Mystery” is freeform jazz meeting garage rock in an intertwining tussle where everyone wins. “Follow the Mantis” feels like film noir, but in a song. Go in with an open mind and let this band of misfits into your soul. 

Sometimes a work of art comes unintentionally from a place from deep within the soul. It meanders and flops onto a table and sits and waits for its birth. The album begins with “Wait Till The Stars Burn”, a planetary ode to the Sun. The second track “Tribute to the Pharoahs Den”, is a requiem for Danny Ray Thompson (R.I.P.) of the Sun Ra Arkestra, his music and legacy now floating above us in the infinity of space. Both tracks and featuring Marshall Allen and Knoel Scott (of the Sun Ra Arkestra).

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The song “Theme of Yahya” was a song I wrote for Yahya El Majid who played for many years with the Arkestra. I met Yahya in 2005 during my first meeting with the Arkestra. He shared many stories with me about the teachings of Sun Ra, the discipline he learned from him, and the many adventures he had all over the world travelling with the Arkestra. He told me these tales while playing a chinese harp, jamming to the sounds of Tuvaan Throat Singers, while burning a large amount of frankincense and myrrh. When I recorded the song I had four harps panned in stereo to form a sonic flower. When Yahya heard the track he telephoned me and told me that he was really moved by the piece and was proud of me. Yahya had been struggling for years with cancer and sadly passed away late August, 2020. I did not realize that my tribute to him would become a requiem, and it means the world to me that he was able to hear his tribute before he left the planet.

feat. Marshall Allen & Knoel Scott (Sun Ra Arkestra)

John Convertino & Martin Wenk (Calexico)
Brontez Purnell (Younger Lovers)
Ben Ra (King Khan & The Shrines)
Davide Zolli (The Mojomatics)

The album ends with a requiem for Hal Willner (R.I.P.) whose devotion to celebrating the weird and insane was like an insatiable thirst leading to deep introspection and joy in harmony and sonic dissidence.

Coming soon on In the Red Records.Black JaspersScum of the Moon!!!! Featuring John Boy Adonis of the Shrines on drums, King Khan has, in his Moon Studios and elsewhere, collaborated and recorded with friends and people he respects; as he told an interviewer, he records only people he loves, Khan and Jasper Hood of the Moorat Fingers became The Black Jaspers, under which they recorded an album released in 2009 on In The Red Records.  In November 2011, during the first Tandoori Knights’ North American tour, he announced that new releases were soon to come from both Tandoori Knights and the Black Jaspers.