Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Other Music You Should Be Listening To - Earth Rocker edition

Other Music You Should Be Listening To is an ongoing series wherein I identify bands and musicians whose work I enjoy.  Many of you already know about this music and will either revel in our shared opinions or post comments about just how wrong I am.  Either way, it should be fun.  If you don't already know about this music rest assured it is worth your time to check it out.

Clutch has a new album out. I love Clutch. Old school hardcore Clutch to new school blues rock Clutch, I enjoy it all to varying degrees.  Oh hey, I have a shiny gift card with which I can purchase this new Clutch record...awesome. 
That's pretty much how my thought process went when I picked up Earth Rocker, Clutch's record that came out in March this year. I had enjoyed the two or three songs I heard on YouTube prior to getting this, but I was in no way prepared for the pure sonic awesomeness that followed when I cranked the record up for the first time. I am indeed a fan of all of the different sounds that Clutch has had over the years, but my favorite version of the band by far was the 2004-2006 or so version.  Blast Tyrant was my favorite Clutch record, and Robot Hive/Exodus was a close second.  I say was in that last sentence because Earth Rocker may just beat them both out.

One reason that Earth Rocker is so good is that Machine, the producer for Blast Tyrant, once again filled that role.  You can also tell while listening to this record that Clutch was influenced in a big way by their tours with Motorhead and Thin Lizzy. There is a certain aggression in the sound of the record that was diminished on the last couple of Clutch records.  Neil Fallon once again sounds like a rock and roll minister losing his mind over a wall of blues, funk, and heavy boogie-rock that is tighter than a rusted lug nut.

Fallon is often credited as one of the great lyrical poets of our time, and he once again shows why on this album.  There is not a bad track on the entire record, and some of these songs are among the band's best work ever.  The poignant political fire and social commentary of "Mr. Freedom" and, even moreso, "D.C. Sound Attack" are a call to action for mindful Americans. Following those, the anthemic call for rock and roll salvation that is "The Face" and the following how-to of "Book, Saddle, and Go" provide a call to arms for musicians and fans alike.  "The Wolfman Kindly Requests..." closes the album out with a swaggering definition of what letting rock and roll set your wild and free side out is all about.  Of course, we are talking about Neil Fallon here, so his intention with some of those songs could have been completely different, but that's what I take from it.

Preach on
In several interview I have seen or read, the guys in the band have said that they firmly believe that a band's place is on stage, and Fallon reiterates this belief in the title track when he says, "If you're gonna do it, do it live on stage, or don't do it at all." Earth Rocker may be my favorite Clutch album ever if for no other reason than it flows much the same way that most of their live shows do. There is a furious energy throughout this record that leaves you feeling like throwing down to some great music and living free is not just an escape from life, but a huge step towards actually being free and living. Earth Rocker is the first must-have album I have encountered in 2013.

Official Clutch Site

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