Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Lake Trout - Peel

A word to the Trout lads themselves:: You know I'm only tryiing to evangelise for my boys, get the word out on the street, buzz buzz buzzzzzz, etc., but I'm also not trying to make anyone feel robbed. Say the word and the song goes down.

As for the rest of you, may I present to you five young gentlemen who have done more for my musical education than any self-copulating record collection ever could, the quickest-evolving quintet I've ever encountered, a Baltimore band bound to rock both lobes of your brain... Lake Trout.

With four albums and at least one bona fide classic already under their belts, the boys drop their brand new full-length, Not Them, You, today. Amazingly, LT have again succeeded in producing an album that sounds little like anything in their catalogue. Building on the nocturnal post-rock that propulsed 2002's Another One Lost, the new album marks the rebirth of Lake Trout as a full-blown rock monster, armed with serrated guitars, tidal riffery, and a rhythm section that could flatten a town. The music is as dark and driving as ever, but never has is sounded this BIG.

Though the album's standout track is undoubtedly "Now We Know", that song is available as the B-side to the lead 7" single, "Street Fighting Man". (Yes, the Rolling Stones song, and yes, they do much more than another somnambulist garage-rock run-through.) So instead, I give you "Peel", a live staple at Trout shows for the past two years. The verse is vintage Lake Trout: an ominously rippling guitar riff rides on Mike Lowry's DJ Shadowy drums. It's tense and forboding, until a riff that could've been written by Kurt Cobain enters the fray. From there, the chorus explodes in cavernous reverb filled by shoegazer squall, and the beat thunders like a salvo of heavy artillary. Woody Ranere's vocals quake with a kind of raw honesty that today's top singers are incapable of.

I will grant you that there's a certain conflict of interest in blogging about a band whom I know (and who used to be my employers). To that I say: fuck off. I want to celebrate my friends, without whom I wouldn't have traveled to all lower 48, toured alongside a childhood idol, chatted up a crackhead backstage at the Palace in L.A., gotten a firsthand look at the pitfalls of the music biz, almost gotten shot by the Seattle cops, discovered how hard-rockin' Kansas City is, learned to live large on a ten dollar per diem, or witnessed the David Lynchian nightmare that was (is?) the backstage of the Stone Monkey in Huntington, WV. For that and so much more, I consider myself very lucky to have such friends - who just happen to be one of the best bands in America.

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