By Kristi Houk
Recommended if You Like: Doesn’t matter. Just listen to it if you never have – but seriously;
Velvet Underground, T.Rex, Love and Rockets, The Kills, Film School
Stand out tracks: “Love Burns,” “Spread Your Love,” “Red Eyes and Tears”
2001 was a pretty good year for music releases. You had a little record called Amnesiac by Radiohead, Is this It? by The Strokes, and Vespertine by Bjork to name three. And while all of those records are classics—I’m not here to talk about them.
Instead, I’d like to turn your attention to arguably the best rock/garage/psych rock record of the early aughts (is that how we say it now?) Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s self-titled debut. Interestingly enough, it was released on April 3rd, 2001 just five months before the world as we know it changed forever with the terrorist attacks on 9/11.
The original band line up was Peter Hayes (one of the best rock and roll singers of all time – on vocals, guitar, and bass; Robert Levon Been on bass and vocals; and Nick Jago on drums who has since been replaced by Leah Shapiro. The band took its name from the Marlon Brando led biker gang in the 1953 film, The Wild One. Very apt band name indeed. All that leather and tough as nails swagger much like the music itself. Not to get too nostalgic, but I distinctly remember where I was when I first heard the record: I was sitting on the roof of my shitty apartment off Highland Avenue smoking cigarettes and thinking that 1.) I needed a leather jacket and 2.) I needed to fuck some shit up. Pretty sure I did both.
Moving on, the album opens with my favorite single of that year, “Love Burns.” It’s the perfect break up song but not that cheesy, sentimental drivel. It’s more like, watch out, I might key your car later… Try writing this lyric –
She cuts my skin and bruised my lips
She’s everything to me
She tears my clothes and burns my eyes
She’s all I wanna see
She brings the cold and scars my soul
She’s heaven sent to me.
I’m sure by now you’re wondering why I’m reviewing a record that was released 22 years ago. Well…the answer is that Levitation fm has released a definitive vinyl reissue of the album for Virgin Records, cut as a double LP with gatefold sleeve.You can order it HERE
Last thoughts: If you stripped down the entire record, it’s a love letter. I defy you to name a tighter, more sonically inspired rock album of its time. Listen to it on headphones and fuck some shit up!
Written by: kristi houk
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