Gonna open with a cheery shot across the bows paragraph before descending into what’s sure to be one long dank deep journey, though hopefully ultimately redemptive. Y’all should go right now and download the latest to drop from epochal seventies-deniers the Be Helds, part of the Kitty Comp on Burger Records, why? Because it’s so catchy I found myself singing along on my first listen. You bedda believe it! It’s a sunny frothy beer-glug wash of pure joy and there’s a cat on the cover. Go forth my minions! It’s freeeeee. Anyway, onwards!
What time is it? Somewhere between 1968 and 1976, probably in the golden few months between the release of Vincebus Eruptum and OutsideInside somewhere in the bluesy southwest; but ‘tis worth recalling that while Blue Cheer are now viewed with the benefit of hindsight, as are Pentagram and half of those righteous motherfuckers doing the thankless guitar jive back in the golden years, at the time they all went as unappreciated as anyone who tries to change the world in a straight-up and manful way. They were only resurrected to sit in the halls of the sonic initiated (and on any self-respecting amp-worshipping dropout’s record shelves) with the resurgence of Melvinite wonderment in the wake of Kobain’s mighty cut-and-thrust with the appropriately named Nirvana. Were it not for the sudden enthusiasm for all things thick and heavy, and an exploration of the Melvinite underpinnings, the world would be a much less interesting place, as well as much quieter. So while our parents (or grandparents, depending how quick yer family breeds I guess) grew up with Blue Cheer, we are the first generation experiencing Blue Cheer et al; we, not them, are the Blue Cheer generation. Even five years ago, a mention of the sonic conquistadors of yore would have gained nothing more than a “Who Cheer?” from all but the most switched-on head, and now I take Blue Cheer for granted, like oxygen or gravity, and I take Radio Moscow and the Melvins and Nirvana (not so much Nirvana) and Pentagram and the Groundhogs for granted because I’ve always had them on me sonic radar. My parents, despite growing up at a time to see these guys live and pick up merch that would be worth the price of a BMW, totally missed this wave and are catching up on it second hand (possibly unwillingly) through my sonic explorations. This is also the first generation that’ll reap the whirlwind of copycat Blue Cheer knockoffs and quality inspired bouts of hero worship that’ll come about from this new awareness. I bring you one such frontline dogfighter contender today, the new demo by Von Thundersvolt is a solid cliff face of ‘zactly the kind of electric worship Blue Cheer oughta inspire; absurdly overwrought amplifier appreciation anonymous, “hello, my name is Steven, and I am addicted to wah”.
|Von Thundersvolt overload the studio, beards 'n all.|
P’raps I overstate the influence of the Cheer, twoof be told it’s closer to Red Dirt’s heavy moments, I’mma thinkin’ Brain Donor and Death Letter; there’s the same dedication to outta place southern rockisms (Von Thundersvolt hail from Wellington, NZ) that bring to mind a whiskey-stained blackened bar interior, gruff native American disenfranchised playing pool and these yowling hounds in the corner cranking out their barbarian rebel hillmen anger noise. The same dedication to solidly opiate addicting intermeshed insanity throughout the song and righteously yowling howling vocal lines soaked through with blue-collar barbarian anxiety. When the solos come they are almost solipsistic, in each musicians mind, only they exist and it’s wild as they assault our minds again and again with their racket. The middle song on this EP, by far the shortest but also the most energetically free-rock, it contains the same number of notes as the other two so they just jam the solos right in’ta the middle of the song. It’s harsh, it’s rough and it’s got a brutal edge. They’re two men and two women in this band and all of them help rain down this thunderous voltage axe-murder with furious abandon. The racket of this record, the sheer volume is wax-meltingly hysteric. The spinning UFO madness on display, the true rock cred bleeding from the riffs, it all just seems so right. It’s short, it’s sweet, it’s upfront and Kamikaze-inclined electric guitar panorama, no wonder they call themselves Von Thundersvolt.
As usual, bandcamp has all the Von Thundersvolt y' need.