Welcome to the top 25 for 2010 Countdown! Each day we'll countdown, today we continue with number 7, culminating with our (okay, my) numero uno album of the year. When they're handy I'll borrow my earlier reviews from the KC Free Press.
10 (tie). J. Roddy Walston and the Business - s/t (Vagrant)
10 (tie). Aloe Blacc - Good Things (Stones Throw)
9. Roky Erickson & Okkervil River - True Love Cast Out All Evil (Anti-Epitaph)
8. Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest (4AD)
7. Wounded Lion - s/t (In the Red)
"Post-grad, two-chord, cut-up, butt-shakin'"
There’s a vital tradition of rock neo-primitivism. Sometimes it’s a product of the musician’s limited skills (the Ramones); as often as not it’s at least in part aesthetic strategy (Talking Heads). Of course, it’s frequently both (Wire). Such is the case with Wounded Lion, I suspect. These Los Angeles conceptualists combine pan-generational two-chord rock with simple, but sophisticated lyrics. Their self-titled debut is a gas.
Delivered with authority and brevity it never ceases to amaze me how potent two (sometimes three) chord rock songs can be if the messengers have personality and point of view. Throw in some smart moves like the “There She Goes Again” (Velvet Underground) bridge for “Hungry” and the Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments harmonies on “Belt of Orion” it’s obvious that Wounded Lion are sharp enough to be students of Wire.
In fact, much of this debut reminds of Wire’s debut Pink Flag another arch, knowingly stripped down blast of post-rock. Wounded Lion’s aleatoric sensibilities are manifest in “Belt of Orion’s” mixture of astronomical wonder and “Chinese Rocks” (Heartbreakers/Ramones) paraphrases. The Burroughs-ian cutup approach to lyrics, especially on “Silver People,” which weaves Buffalo Springfield lines and Coors-Lite commercial verbiage is further evidence of Wounded Lion’s fractured methods.
Wounded Lion isn’t recommended for fans of prog-rock or worshippers of fast-fingered virtuosity, but if you love art-damaged, stripped-down rock this band is for you.
Reverberating: 8.3 (original), upgraded to 9.1