OTR: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - B.R.M.C.


17. Jul. 2008, 0:09

I think it is one of the coolest band names ever - Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Say it aloud; it sounds dangerous, sexy, cool and mysterious. I first heard of the group when a four-song sampler arrived at WAIH. With a name that awesome, thank goodness the music didn't suck!

The band is essentially the embodiment of what a bastard child of The Jesus & Mary Chain and The Stooges would sound like. The bassline is high in the mix, with drawn out notes that drone, instead of emphasising the percussion. The guitars wail and buzz and feedback in glorious needle-pegging cacophony. A bit derivative? I didn't fucking care - B.R.M.C. was one of my favourite records of 2000.

The first four tracks on the album are sheer dark rock perfection; "Love Burns" along with "Red Eyes and Tears" ache while "Whatever Happened To My Rock 'N Roll (Punk Song)" is a balls-out scream. "Awake," the fourth track on the CD is simply fucking epic with verses that chug along into a chorus that explodes out of the speakers. This disc was mastered "hot" - that is, it demands to be played loudly...the only way to make it sound quiet is to turn off the stereo. And who would want to do that? These four tracks, incidentally, were in heavy rotation at various times on my radio show.

I remember that Virgin seemed to be heavily pushing this band back when B.R.M.C. was released. While I was taken with the group, they didn't seem to be getting as much love elsewhere. It seemed that the label was intent on pouring money into the promotional effort - perhaps not to get a hit, but at least some traction on college radio. I wish I could remember where they peaked on the CMJ charts, but the vast majority of my back issues of CMJ Weekly from my music director days have been lost to the sands of time.

In any case, the promotional items that did arrive at WAIH included the aforementioned four-song sampler, the proper album, a poster (which was the result of a vote by fans among three choices), a special edition 45 RPM vinyl pressing of the four-song sampler and a promo-only collection of "B-sides and rarities." The poster and the 45 RPM vinyl I yanked for myself - not without much urging from the individual promoting the album. "Those records," he told me, "don't put them in your station's archives! Take them for yourself - I've never seen that package anywhere else...if you don't take them, someone else will." Fair enough; as the CD versions of all the songs were already archived at the station, I didn't feel any moral aversion to taking the records for myself (and thank goodness I had somehow not scribbled "WAIH" across the cover like I did with every other piece of media which arrived in the mail).


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