In my last column of 2017, I’ll talk about Prayers, Corrosion of Conformity, Big Star, and L.A.M.F. See you in 2018!
Prayers, Baptism Of Thieves: Available Now (BMG)
Where do I even start with Prayers? These days it’s pretty hard to come out with something that’s truly unique, but Prayers brings together two worlds that don’t seem like they could coexist peacefully, namely Mexican gang culture and electronic, goth, and death rock music. The newest video, “Edge Of The Blade,” is a gorgeous, near-surreal, black and white work of art. The contrast of religious iconography against singer Leafar Seyer singing “I’m on the edge of the blade, carving 666 on my flesh,” covered in some heavy duty ink, while his bandmate, producer Dave Parley, appears as Christ, complete with a crown of thorns is heady to say the least.
Seyer, who was an actual gang member (members of his gang have appeared in their videos: check out the video for their Pet Shop Boys cover “West End Girls”), has a longtime love for goth and death rock, particularly LA’s seminal death rock act Christian Death (Prayers collaborated with surviving members for a cover of their song “Dogs,” repurposed as “Perros”). Their newest album, Baptism Of Thieves, is a haunting, angry, and beautiful piece of art and street poetry filled with esoteric imagery. Prayers is definitely in a league of their own right now.
Corrosion Of Conformity, No Cross No Crown: Available January 12, 2018 (Nuclear Blast)
Pepper Keenan has returned to Corrosion Of Conformity after a two-album hiatus and with his return brings back the more southern rock/groove metal vibe of Deliverance and America’s Volume Dealer. The group has released two singles/videos so far: “A Wolf Named Crow” and “Cast The First Stone.” I really liked the harder direction of the last two albums, but my favorite COC album is still Blind, which was Pepper’s debut with the band, so I’m down for this.
Big Star, Live At Lafayette’s Music Room – Memphis TN: Available January 12 (Omnivore Recordings)
Also on January 12, a great live set from Big Star will also get a re-release, appearing for the first time on double LP, it was previously available in the Keep An Eye On The Sky box set. It’s a killer set and will be remastered. There’s also covers from The Kinks and The Flying Burrito Brothers. If you’re scratching your head over Big Star, one of their songs was appropriated for some TV show a few years ago; feel free to Google it. Big Star never got the due they deserved, but it’s nice to see their music get bumped back up every few years.
L.A.M.F., A Very Special Performance of The Heartbreakers’ L.A.M.F, Live At The Bowery Electric: Available Now (MVD Audio/Visual)
Marking the 40th anniversary of the punk classic L.A.M.F. (Like A Mutha Fucka), the last surviving member of Johnny Thunders and The Heartbreakers, Walter Lure, has teamed up with Blondie’s Clem Burke, MC5’s Wayne Kramer, The Replacements’ Tommy Stinson, D-Generate’s Jesse Malin, Liza Colby, and The Dead Boys’ Cheetah Chrome. The band tears through the album, which included such classics as “Born To Lose,” “Chinese Rocks,” “All By Myself,” and “One Track Mind.”
Johnny Thunders had split from the New York Dolls and formed The Heartbreakers (some time before Tom Petty’s unrelated band of the same name, BTW), originally with Richard Hell on bass, who had just split from Television, but that only lasted long enough for a bootleg live recording to get made. Thunders took the group to England for the ill-fated Anarchy Tour with the Sex Pistols, The Clash, and The Damned. Thunders was a tragic figure whose life was sadly cut short by drugs in the 1980s. He left an indelible mark on rock and roll though, with both the Dolls and The Heartbreakers, but also some solo albums.
L.A.M.F. is a solid punk and roll album and the special performance really does it justice and hearing Wayne Kramer singing “Do You Love Me” at the end is just awesome. The performance is available on both CD and DVD. The quality is great; the playing is electric. I think it’s a great gift for long time fans, but if you’re new to Johnny Thunders’ music, start with the original album… then get this one!