Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Liquid Generation - Quarter to Zen

I've been pals with Bob Blackburn, who played guitar in Bellevue, Washington's Liquid Generation, for several decades now, but never got to see the band, as it broke up before Bob moved to Los Angeles in the 80's. Bob actually played in a garage band in the 60's in Portland before moving to Bellevue and joining LQ in the early 80's. The rest of the band was comprised of John "Sky" Branin on lead guitar, John Conrard on bass, Jeremy Meyer on vocals and Randy Nash on drums, along with a few miscellaneous other musicians appearing here & there. Their sound was a fusion of raw garage and 60's psych, with an emphasis on fierce covers of older tunes, but with a few wild originals mixed in.

This CD is put together with tracks from several recording sessions, starting with the original title track, which is a rockin' piece of fuzz-garage with some psychedelic attributes, wild lead guitar and cool harmonies. Snotty vocals highlight their take on "We're Pretty Quick", insanely overdriven guitars give the Remains' "All Good Things" a completely different feel from the original, the Wailers' "Hang Up" is equally crazed, with demented vocals provided by Jeremy, who held a can opened blade to his fingers to get the proper "painful" sound! Their "She's Mine" is a slight let-up in intensity, but is pretty damn frantic and the lead is fuzzily deranged. The Troggs' "From Home" gets a fine reading, the Wailers' "Out of Our Tree" has some frenzied rhythm guitar by Bob, and they bring us another one of their own creations in "This is the World We Live In", another combination of fuzz/psych.

Back to the Remains for a bit more traditional take on the fab "Once Before" and then the Kinks' "I Need You" (though with their own idiosyncrasies thrown in) before they give us a manic, punky, low-fi version of the Syndicate of Sounds' "Little Girl" (one of their first recordings,with a psychotic lead break owing nothing to the SoS version). "Til the End of Time" is another of their own, which reminds me of bands like the Gonn, incorporating more psych licks into their fuzz, then another oldie with "Nothing", the Easybeats' "Going Out of My Mind", Blackburns' "I Love You" (you would think it was a 60's classic - dig the percussion break and ravin' fuzz guitar) and ending with another one of Meyer's, the organ-dominated, mid-tempo "Endless Summer".

These cats could easily have fit in with LA's 80's garage scene (though from the photos, they couldn't find as good of clothes as we did in LA thrift stores - hah!) with their fine playing and vocalizing and interpretations of 60's tunes. I think that this is a limited edition so get it quick (Green Monkey Records in Seattle) before it disappears if you dig 80's garage madness!