Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Southern Harm
Remember five years ago when Kings of Leon released a record and everyone claimed them to be the return of Southern Rock? Maybe you don’t, but I do. And do you know what else I remember? Them not being Southern Rock at all. Well, not in the Southern Rock sense that I know. Fine, they play some form of rock, and they’re from the South, but that’s as far as that comparison will go. Go ahead pal, give yourself a Robin Hood haircut and a little moustache as long as you keep in mind that Duane Allman had the facial hair of a walrus when he was born and is still considered to be one of the greatest slide guitar players of all time (despite having died at 25.)
Whether or not you feel as though that comparison is justified is completely irrelevant but here are some guidelines that will help you understand how something can be qualified as Southern Rock (yes, this is my opinion but fortunately for me you don’t have one on this subject. Or at least one that matters. To me).
1. Good songs
2. Good musicians
That’s it. There are your guidelines. If you’re confused I’ll provide some explanation using the band first mentioned in this post.
If you think the members of Kings of Leon are good musicians you have a very different definition of the word ‘good’ and how it applies to music. To be fair, the members of Kings of Leon are capable musicians. They get the job done. And their job has it’s place as far as satisfying an audience who loves (loved?) the Strokes and claimed to like whichever country artist had most recently died, and really would have really dug a combination of the two.
“Duuude, Johnny Cash ruuules”
“Yeah man, STRRRRROKES!!”
both in unison, “DUUUDE…imaaagine??”

These would be the same guys that would makes claims as ignorant as Kings of Leon being the new Lynyrd Skynyrd. A claim that made me want to stab myself in the butt with a desk just for typing it. Those who make quick comparisons such as that are generally those who are only familiar with Sweet Home Alabama and Freebird yet somehow are completely incapable of distinguishing between ‘good’ musicianship (or great, or shoot your face off great musicianship) for ‘capable’ playing. Have you heard Freebird? Surely you and your jean short wearing bro-skees have fumbled through guitar hero with it enough to know that it’s no run of the mill pop tune.
I’m exhausted with this post already and I haven’t even gotten to the point.

For those of you who care about the Southern Rock that I care about and have been unsuccessful in finding an updated version of it KEEP READING. It does exist, and it’s heavy.

Seeing as Southern Rock is performed by good musicians it is easily comparable to metal because both genres consist of people who wasted most of their youths working toward being a good musician. That’s not to say that all Metal and Southern Rock musicians are great with their instruments but it’s a generalization that I’m comfortable with. Sure, David Muse of the Marshall Tucker Band may not be the best flautist in the world but I don’t have any issues with claiming him to be more talented than Caleb Followill. And despite the fact that the individual members of Trivium may be able to shred to a certain degree, they still suck. But they don’t suck as hard as Caleb effing Followill.
And both Kings of Leon and Trivium don’t even come close to being as interesting and powerful and Georgia’s
Baroness.
Up until recently I knew very little of this band and the small amount I'd heard left me with the impression that the music was 
‘kind of slow’.
They were very good live. Huge tone and very strong vocals with a powerful delivery. Long held words with solid backups. They have elements of their Atlanta, and former Relapse compatriots Mastodon in the sense that the songs generally contain harmonized hammered on and pulled off guitar lines and a drummer content on carrying a fill over 200 bars. I was really enjoying it. Then it got better. Every time John Baizley, the frontman, performed a guitar break I got a nice big fresh breeze of twang. After that point it became more enjoyable as I could then not only put it through my doom filter but also the meshed goodness that is my love for the down-home. Apparently the Midnight Rider has added tight black jeans and a bullet belt to his wardrobe.

I’m not saying that it was as though Gary Rossington and Dickey Betts were on stage doing hair whips but the inspiration was clearly genuine and coming from the right place.
Go see this band if you can, and do yourself a favour and pick up some of their
merch cause it’s some of the best stuff out there. Not only can Mr. Baizley belt out some solid vocals and tasty twang but he also designs their, and many other bands’ artwork.

Yeah right

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Not fair


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Pig Destroyer!

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4 comments:

Lumbats said...

I will purchase this sound unheard because: (1) I like the Allman Brothers, Lynryd Skynyrd, Mastodon and Kings of Leon (2) I liked Johnny Cash before he died. (3) Baroness is the hotest lady from G.I. Joe. There had best not be any Destro cameos.

clanchatti said...

checked them out. fucking great! and the artwork is incredible too. now i'm happy

Paul said...
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Chaosbeard said...
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