“Dirt” – Spider Heart

Just discovered this incredible new band today, Spider Heart from San Francisco.  They could best be described as a cross between early Wire, the Stooges, Jane’s Addiction, Black Sabbath, and the Nymphs.  But even that description falls far short.  There are few bands that can be described as true originals and Spider Heart is one of them.   Lead singer May Black has been described as a cross between Iggy Pop and Janis Joplin and damn if that’s not an accurate assessment.  Except I would also throw Inger Lorre, Courtney Love, and Darby Crash into that mix.  This is authentically dangerous and thrilling music and if you like what you hear, do yourself a favor and check out their awesome EP “Dirt” available on iTunes and Google Play.  And of course, you can also enjoy them on Dave’s Strange Radio!

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The Mellow Moods of Black Sabbath

By the time Black Sabbath recorded their fourth album in 1972 (the ingeniously titled “Black Sabbath Vol. 4″), it seems like they were taking some cues from another famous 4th album of the time (“Led Zeppelin 4″) and expanding their musical palette beyond the goth doom and gloom heavy crunchers that made up their first three albums. In any case, the album had these two stellar ballads. The first is a painful breakup anthem (“Changes”) … the other is a lovely, acoustic instrumental number (“Laguna Sunrise”). Despite the fact that this is a heavy band playing mellowing out, these efforts are not forced or cheesy. They are truly splendid songs and makes one wish Sabbath had done more in this vein. To this day, they are still a supremely underrated band.

Changes:

Laguna Sunrise:

“Sweat Loaf” – Butthole Surfers

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The Butthole Surfers’ “unique” take on Black Sabbath’s “Sweet Leaf”. One of the greatest openings to a song ever:

“Daddy, what does regret mean?
Well son, the funny thing about regret is,
It’s better to regret something you have done,
Than to regret something you haven’t done.
And by the way, if you see your mom this weekend,
Be sure and tell her, SATAN, SATAN, SATAN!!!”

From the 1988 album “Locust Abortion Technician.”

“Black Sabbath” – Black Sabbath

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The opening track of Black Sabbath’s self-titled debut album, this song sets the stage for the marriage of heavy metal and Satanism, Goth, and other things some people are scared by and other people laugh at derisively. Yes, a lot of this is pretty silly, but the song still knocks me for a loop every time I hear it. And if I ever fulfill my childhood dream of becoming a filmmaker, I get first dibs on using this song for a scene in a mob film where a hitman plots taking out some enemies. This post will be registered with the WGA, so if any of you wannabe Tarantinos decide to steal from this wannabe Tarantino, my team of lawyers will see you in court.

By the way, Black Sabbath’s debut album was recorded for a mere 800 pounds ($1200 in American dollars). This is 1/5 the cost of the Ramones allegedly “low-budget” debut album which cost $6000 in American dollars.

“Paranoid” – Black Sabbath

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Even though Black Sabbath are considered kings of heavy metal, “Paranoid” is pure punk rock in my humble opinion. While Led Zeppelin were bragging about giving you every inch of their love, Sabbath was fretting about war-mongering politicians and generals (their classic “War Pigs”) and emotional breakdowns. “Paranoid” contains one of my all-time favorite lyrics: “Make a joke and I will sigh and you will laugh and I will cry.” Damn, if that one line doesn’t sum up the downward spiral of the victim of a bully, I don’t know what does.

“Going Blind” – The Melvins

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A terrific sludge metal cover of an early KISS classic, by Aberdeen, Washington’s The Melvins. I’ve never confirmed for sure if this track was produced by an obscure former Melvins roadie named Kurt Cobain, but this is some extremely heavy, artery-clogging s–t that makes Black Sabbath sound like Wham! If you could make music out of a quaalude, it would sound like this.

“Mercy” – Wire

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The sound of paranoia and imminent dread … Kind of what Black Sabbath would’ve sounded like had they gone to grad school and worried about writing their theses … OK, it’s actually better than that.  I always thought this would be great to use in a film where the lead character gradually realizes they are in a world of s–t they can’t get out of.