Ever since the 1990s, The Brian Jonestown Massacre have released an inexhaustible discography with their psychedelic 60s soaked music. They are the brainchild of Anton Newcombe and found certain notoriety in the 2004 documentary DIG! which drew attention to the prickly relationship between Newcombe and Dandy Warhol’s frontman Courtney Taylor-Taylor.
In the last five years, they’ve released 4 critically acclaimed Brian Jonestown Massacre albums and an EP, a soundtrack, and two albums with Tess Parks. Their latest album is a self-titled one and their 18th full-length album to boot, only seven months after recording their previous one. Released on Newcombe’s A Recordings on 15th March 2019 it was recorded and produced at his Cobra Studio in Berlin. It features Sara Neidorf on drums, Heike Marie Radeker (LeVent) on bass and Hakon Adalsteinsson (BJM / Third Sound & Gunman & Holy Ghost) on guitar and Anton Newcombe on multiple instruments.
Originally due for release in September last year, it was delayed to due to a hugely successful tour that included USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Europe (where they played the new tracks). First song Drained gets straight down to it with the alt-country-rock track with Newcombe sounding a touch like Bowie. A song about feeling lost with some galloping guitar and drums.
I love Tombes Oubilees with its Velvet Underground vibe of dirge-like guitars. The breathy chanteuse voice of Rike Bienert as guest vocalist continue the effect. (She has featured on previous BJM albums). My Mind Is Filled With Stuff is a groovy, chilled-out instrumental that fills my head with the thought of lava lamps and the like!
Cannot Be Saved is another sultry affair with moody, jangly guitars and assured drums. Too Sad To Tell You is sombre with a tight, arresting rhythm section and some great Hammond organ style sounds. Remember Me This is a kaleidoscope swirl of guitars, drums and a drone-like vocal from Newcombe. The intro sounds like the Monkees A Little Bit Me but this has acerbic overtones.
There are one or two somewhat monotone moments on the album such as on What Can I Say which drifts slightly into pedestrian sounding. However, the track is saved midway by elements of that Hammond organ combined with a spaced-out electrical soundwave that injects a spark of surrealism into the mix. The Brian Jonestown Massacre are back with another phantasmagorical creation. If you like your music far-out and with a distinct nod to the 60s you’ve come to the right place. Hop on for the ride.