On Wednesday night, Southern Lord labelmates PELICAN and BLACK COBRA come to the Troubadour to showcase their new albums, What We All Come to Need and Chronomega, respectively. You can stream the PELICAN record for free on their Myspace site. I first saw those guys at the Double Door in Chicago opening for BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB in 2001 or so. They've come a long way from that rather odd gig to being signed by Greg Anderson. Still, they seemed to have hit a bit of a creative rut over those years (their debut Australasia was always going to be tough to top), leading many to believe they had exhausted their sound. The decision to split with Hydrahead has never been explained to me, but there's no reason to believe it was anything but amicable. The motivation may have been as simple as finding a new beginning, and it sent a clear message to their fans that PELICAN was intent on recommitting to their heavy roots. I haven't had a chance to properly experience the new album, but the BBC is pleased with the new direction:
What We All Come to Need is a fantastic, dynamic collection which ups the ante considerably from the band’s previous long-player, 2007’s disappointingly generic City of Echoes. Whereas that album followed a tried-and-tested formula to the letter, here PELICAN adopt compositional elements from stoner-rock circles and beyond, slowing their riffs down so that they bludgeon like a cartoon anvil inside a pillow case – softly enough initially, but once the blows have accumulated a delightful dizziness sets it. There’s menace to the band, too, with tracks like Ephemeral layering ominous guitar lines atop each other until the listener either embraces their fate or flees from their home stereo.
Though I'm sure PELICAN will deliver as always, I'm most excited to see BLACK COBRA grace the Troubadour stage. These guys are devastating but true gentlemen, and are probably most responsible for any loss of hearing I've suffered over the last few years. Martin of OVRCAST has been a big supporter, bringing them down for gigs whenever he can, and now they get a chance to make an impression on the uninitiated at one of Hollywood's most famous clubs. Chronomega is a outstanding listen, coming as close to their live sound as I could have expected from a studio album. But you owe it to yourself to see BLACK COBRA in person, and to walk away wondering how just two people can make it sound like the world is coming to an end.
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