This is your big rock moment
Rock ’n’ roll? Oh. Yeah. That.
I mean, does anyone still listen to that junk? Hasn’t the music world moved on to some textural, electronic amalgam of buzzes, beeps, dental equipment in full radial uproar and celebu-tard waifs locked into mortal vocal battle with whatever guest griot du jour the major label machine is throwing at them?
And why bother with rock, anyway? It’s a tired old genre that’s only been kept afloat with the grand hope that, maybe, just maybe, Axl Rose (and whoever stumbled onto the Guns N’ Roses crank-lab Winnebago this week) will finish Chinese Democracy and save the world.
Why beat a dead mule? Because when rock’s done right, it’ll rectify whatever condition your condition is in, and it will cure those jinky and crossed-up conditions that may be afflicting you.
So here’s the deal: Magic, by a local band named the Red Tyger Church, is the kind of album that will squirrel your ill business away and plant you in the driver’s seat of a powerful automobile motoring through a landscape of Pamela Coleman Smith paintings. It is an utter surprise, the momentum of which, carried through its 18 songs, took me to a few places I haven’t visited in a while.
A caveat: This is rock, but it ain’t Marshall stacks with sludgiferous riffs and beatweeny guitar solos rock, or ponderous emoting rock, or any of the other stuff some people define as “rock.” This is rock as nailed down by the Rolling Stones circa Between the Buttons and Their Satanic Majesties Request, with plenty of Nuggets-era psych (the Seeds, the Standells) and maybe some Iggy & the Stooges’ Raw Power, the New York Dolls’ debut album, some early Velvet Underground and Roy Loney-era Flamin’ Groovies (Flamingo, Teenage Head) mixed in, along with plenty of Bowie and T Rex-style early ’70s glam and a dollop of Satanic hippie-cult campfire music. You know: vocals up front, underpinned by decomposing Telecaster crunches and other studio party noise.
I’ve been seeing singer Mike Diaz, the guy who wrote all the songs on Magic, schlepping his battered acoustic guitar around to open-mic nights for awhile now, and I’ve heard some of these songs in stripped-down form. Listening to him sing “Submarine,” with its infectious refrain, “I’ll change, baby, I’ll change, baby, I’ll change, baby, one day, baby,” from a stool at the True Love is one thing; hearing it in its glorious fullness on this album is another.
And the record is packed to the brim with should-be hits. It’s got more hooks in its 18 songs than you’ll find in the entire Oasis catalog, which is a real credit to Diaz as a songwriter.
When R.V. Scheide wrote a short review of Magic last week in these pages, he referred to the song “Come Over” as “embarrassingly goofy.” I disagree, especially when placed into context with what follows, “Dance Baby,” one of the coolest Nuggets-style rave-ups I’ve ever accompanied with my stomping foot. There is such an embarrassment of riches here, I’m here to tell you that, well, if the influences cited above float your boat in the least, then you should run out right now and buy a copy of Magic at the local independent record store of your choice.