It's been such a crazy busy week here with the year in review posts, not to mention my regular reviews it would have been understandable to not post my regular Weekly Mail Bag feature. For one thing it's not my most popular feature, but I just can't disappoint its loyal fans. You two better appreciate this! If you've taken a look at the year in review posts they have a lot in common with the Weekly Mail Bag only instead of doing 5-10 'quickie reviews' I'm doing 120 over the course of 12 posts! When I started this daunting task I thought I would burn out but I actually really enjoy it. So there you go, it's nice to squeeze in a Weekly Mail Bag amid the chaos. Some really, really great CDs came in the mail this week, pound for pound maybe my best haul to date ...
BLACK LABEL SOCIETY - 1919 Eternal - Now we finally emerge into uncharted territory, this is the first BLS album that I can't say I'd heard anything from before and guess what? It's their best yet (of the first three)! Way heavier than their previous efforts, it's more metal than southern rock. This album hauls much ass, and even the slow song is good. Highlights include "Bleed For Me" and "Graveyard Disciples". Rating 5/5
GANDHI'S GUNN - The Longer The Beard The Harder The Sound - For some reason I passed on this one the first time around, but after hearing the news of their signing with world's greatest record label Small Stone, I gave them another chance. They craft terrific hooks and thick fuzz and they now go by the moniker Isaak. The CD version was something I had to get as a kind of historical document. Highlights include "Haywire" and "Under Siege". Rating 4/5
HEAT - Old Sparky - This was just something I had to get. One of the best releases of the year and definitely one the absolute best in the 70s inspired hard rock genre. You don't always know what's even available on CD until you check the Ozium records website. It's a treasure trove. This CD will now sit nicely on the shelf between Hawkwind and High on Fire. Highlights include "Warhead" and "Old Sparky". Rating 5/5
MANFRED MANN - Mighty Garvey - This was prohibitively expensive ($70 - wtf?!?!?!) on Amazon for the longest time. Finally importcds got some in and it was time to grab Manfred Mann's best album (with the possible exception of the 'Up the Junction' soundtrack). Their most solid effort with great hook after great hook. Also has "Mighty Quinn". One of my top favorite albums of the 1960s. Highlights include "No Better No Worse" and "It's So Easy Falling". Rating 4.5/5
THEM - Time Out! Time In For Them - Last week Them's 'Now and Them' came in and I talked about this one. This is the better of Them's two psych albums, one that I thought was really strange and kind of stagey the first time I heard it. But before long I realized just how good this album is. Moments verge on the heaviness of Pretty Things and this album out sitars anything else. Certainly an underrated classic. Highlights include "Time Out For Time In" and "Market Place". Rating 4/5
YEAR OF THE GOAT - Angels' Necropolis - Just gave this one its first listen and I can see that the review is going to be easy to write. Some albums just do that. The CD is a cool package with a pretty big booklet with full lyrics and photos. Van records also sent some stickers, one for each of their December 7 releases (YOG, Gold, Vanderbuyst, Attic). Highlights include "Spirits of Fire" and "I'll Die For You". Rating ?/5. Review in the works.
Again I just had to gush about a book that came in.
"The Complete Books of Charles Fort" is something I've been wanting for about ten years now and finally I can read the original works of the original investigator of 'unexplained phenomena'. If you don't know Charles Fort kind of popularized the whole paranormal thing as its own field of research. His first book, "The Book of the Damned", was published in 1919 and since then his work has influenced countless writers, thinkers and philosophers, etc. His explanations are tongue in cheek and his idea of a 'cosmic joker' has also gained traction as a popular theme for explaining anomalous or weird events. He also has a magazine named in his honor, Fortean Times.