Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band- Safe As Milk
So, ye never heard of Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band, eh? Ever think to yourself that your listening habits may be too typical, bland, and conventional. Good, because if you haven't heard of this, they are. Too put it into small words, it's easier said than done when you are trying to describe The Magic Band"s sonic characteristics. The closest you"ll come to a good description of their sonic characteristics is this: The members of Creedence Clearwater Revival all had impregnated Mike Patton with what would turn out to be an extra-chromosome infested, transsexual love child on a drunken one night stand. But Mike Patton suffered a tragedy and had a miscarriage, killing this baby. But the doctors at the local $5 Emergency Room convenient store (assuming there is one in that area) revived the dead fetus just for the hell of it. But then the ugly fetus got SIDS, but still, the doctors brought the child back to life. Just for the hell of it, they wanted to watch this atrocious baby grow up miserably, being the center of childhood gossip and alienation in every grade, K-12. He was the protagonist of every joke where some other inferior child screaming "Look at that ugly l00zer kid walking with his head down; His life probably sucks because he's so ugly. Let's make his life even more of a living hell." But in the midst of all the angst of growing up uglier than Michael Jackson's nose, this ugly redneck kid had a deep passion- guitar rock. And so every day, after long hours of school, this child would pour his heart out on guitar, making some really cool licks that combine his passion of blues, with the his deep fried country ancestry. You"re probably not too familiar with such an idiosyncratic story such as this one, which I majestically made up from the top of my head. And that, everybody, is what Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band sounds like. Sounds peculiar, huh?
And who said the southern man couldn't be bluesy and psychedelic?
Well, even if the name is odd, and the sound is anything but familiar, not everything on Beefheart"s debut, "Safe As Milk" is all wowie zowie. A lot of the music on it is riff oriented, and some of the guitar riffs kick some serious ass. But do you know what would be even cooler than an awesome guitar riff? Awesome bass riffs. Which is what Captain Beefheart and the Magic band employ into their music. Just to toss up the styles a teeny bit, a couple of the selections on Safe As Milk are entirely bass driven, only showing that the bass clef can own just as much as it"s popular, trebly cousin. Beefheart himself, is a multi-talented musician. He knows how to play guitar, clarinet, and a number of woodwinds, like alto sax, but what"s just as cool as his instrumentation abilities is his vocal ability. Owing as much to Jim Morrison, Iggy Pop, and Bob Dylan as he does to Ronnie Van Zant and Frank Zappa, the Captain"s voice is raucous, raspy, and quirky. Like a Jim Morrison on steroids, his voice is the sonic equivalent to the fall of the Berlin Wall- booming, and jagged. Enough to make Howlin" Wolf proud, anyway. Well, if you haven"t noticed, the genre of Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band"s music is listed as psychedelic. While this is true to an extent, because in numerous locations throughout the album, psychedelia can be nodded at, especially with all the quirky noises and sound effects that you"ll be sure to catch (If you even consider listening to this, that is), as well as lyrical content and the pure whimsy on some tracks. And what makes this different from all the other mindless, spastic bands of a similar caliber, is that while the other bands (won"t mention names, for personal safety reasons *cough* Bungle *cough*) exaggerate the "experimental" nature of their music, like annoying song lengths and overbearing time signatures and key changes, The Magic Band are still very easy to listen to. Their music is not the slightest bit overdone, or annoying, even if it does remain to be experimental. They do it in subtle, yet noticeable ways that makes listening that much easier.
Lyk, 0mFg!!! H0w 3ffing c00l is t4ht?!
So, as you can see, country-psychedelic-experimental-blues-avant garde rock doesn"t exactly appear to be the most "tame" of listens, but upon further examination, you"ll find it to be a cooler listen than most other "normal" bands out there. Who wants to be normal anyways? All the cool people are being weird, and you don"t want to be a social outcast, do you? How ironic would that be, especially when you"re a fan of Beefheart. But in all seriousness, evaluate your listening habits. Chances are, they need some spice. And Beefheart will provide that spice, free of charge, too. So come on, stop being such a music snob and take off the earphones as you listen to manufactured pop, and pop in Safe As Milk. Because I guarantee, whether it be a negative outcome or a positive one, this CD will change your listening habits. It might become your new best friend, and it might become your worst nemesis. Hell, it might even be both at the same time. But you"ll never know unless you listen. And listen, you must."