Sir Lord Von Raven
The goofy band name could easily throw you off but this Oakland, California bunch, led by the wild guitar playing of one Greg Ashley (you know him from Gris Gris), the vocals of Eric Von Raven (of the Time Flys – who occasionally sounds like a witch) and the caveman thump of Bronzo on drums and Josh Miller on bass are the real deal. These guys didn’t decide to do garage rock because it was the cool thing at the time; no, these guys have studied their Sonics records and Nuggets comps over and over again because it’s in their blood (like Russell Quan).
Opener “The Glass Castle” begins like a Brian Jonestown Massacre lost classic but then rumbles into a full-fledged massacre after the middle break grinds down and it really starts to swing, which leads right into the jaggedy “I Do!” (some of Ashley’s best guitar playing is on here) which then slides right into the mid-tempo scorch of “I Keep on Tryin.” Later comes a pure frat rock cover of Fats Domino’s “I’m Ready” and even more brilliance from Ashley on “Take it or Leave It” (which tosses in some frenzied MC5-isms). I honestly don’t think there’s a bad song to be found on here and when Von Raven howls “Maybe I’ll jump in the river, maybe I’ll cut out my liver” (on “I Keep on Tryin'”) you have no doubt he absolutely means it.
Standout Tracks: “I Keep on Tryin'”, “Take it or Leave It”, “I Do!”, “The Glass Castle”
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