Key To Music Grades

A - You will never be whole without it
B - Highly recommended
C - Flawed, but still pretty good
D - It's your money, not mine
F - Why couldn't this have been burned in Fahrenheit 451?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Bad Brains - Black Dots (1996)

Originally recorded in 1979 in the best studio known to man -- a basement -- this collection of gems shows us the Brains on the up and up, still bearing some of their Pistols influence, especially H.R's trilled sneering on "Redbone In The City," and playing at a slightly subdued tempo. Hearing slowed-down earlier versions of their debut album isn't a problem though, because their debut album was superinsanelyfilthyfuckingfantasticawesome, and these versions simply give you more time to appreciate that. (Understanding H.R.'s lyrics is an added benefit as well.) For me, this album shows exactly why the Brains are the greatest hardcore punk band ever, not because this collection is the greatest compendium of punk music, but precisely because it is not. If this was all the Brains ever released, or if they released a few just like this, they'd probably have a decent niche following today. But as we know from their debut -- a manic display of searing musical riffage interspersed with reggae, the pinnacle and standard of hardcore punk -- that is clearly not the case. Aside from that, any fan of the Brains probably already has this, but for those who'd like to hear what they sounded like before everyone tried to sound like them, this is an excellent listen. Like at least 50 times on my part, much to the chagrin of my wife. A-