Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Apache Dropout - Heavy Window

A major highlight from the Gizmos Indiana weekend was getting to play with Bloomington's fantastic
Apache Dropout. I've already raved about their live shows on my Facebook page and this blog but I also got this latest CD and while it doesn't quite capture the mania of their gigs, it is a very cool package.

The sound here is a little low-fi so you don't quite experience the primal/proto/primitive thump of their Monks-like rhythm section (drummer Seth and bassist Nathan make quite a team) but you are immediately drawn into their raw garage sounds and Sonny's psychedelic Roky Erickson shrieks and tripped out fuzz leads that sound like a theremin on acid! This is an entire package, though, from the comic book advertisement cover to the b-movie snippets between songs - this is wonderfully trashy rock'n'roll.

Nathan has a helluva fuzz tone on his bass and he gets to show off in "Heavy Window" as he trades off crazed licks with Sonny. The staccato, fuzz madness of "Trash is Treasure" was another memorable feature of their live show and the proto-stomp comes through here - as it does on the Velvets-y pop of "Movie Magic" that comes drenched in layers of noise. More VU-type incessant rock in "Little Georgie" that lets Nathan get a little loose, as does "Tired Old Story", where Sonny also gives up another crazed solo. There's a bit more concentration on melody - and even an acoustic guitar! - in "Crystal Ball", though the vocals are still drenched in effects, making it sound like you're on drugs as you listen!

More drivin' riffs propel "Left the Nest", giving it a feel like the Velvets' "Train Comin' Round the Bend" with more action - and a slide guitar! "Detective" is a freaked-out re-write of "Sweet Little Rock'n'Roller" with a pulsing rhythm that is a hook in and of itself. Pounding into your brain like a bad trip is "Radio Double Agent", where Seth finally smashes some cymbals to great effect as washes of noise float through the atmosphere and Sonny bequeaths a truly psychedelic solo. They mix the Monks with bubblegum for the finale, "After the Space Age" and even add a lead stolen (sorta) from "Telstar".

As with most bands, live is where it's at with Apache Dropout, but if you can't see 'em, or if you want a souvenir, this is a fine slab of rockin' psych-rock'n'roll!