If I were to name two things that always seem to work well together, I think the best answer would be noise and rock n roll. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying intricate production and engineering is a bad thing. Some of my all time favorite albums like Superdrag’s “Head Trip In Every Key” or The Beach Boy’s “Pet Sounds” owe just as much of their respective magic to meticulous production as it does to the song writing and performances within them, but there is just something about the raw energy of a garage band, that is next to impossible to recreate in a studio setting. The discord marriage of noise and music is the indispensable quality of rock n roll in itself.
For example, there isn’t too many things as satisfying as a power chord ringing out on an electric guitar right? In theory, distortion would be a bad thing. It takes a pleasurable sound and distorts it into something ugly and noisy, that by all rights, should ruin it. However, for some strange reason unexplainable by even science, it sounds wonderful,sexy, and empowering. Noise and Rock n Roll doing it’s thing.
Just as noise and rock n roll work well together, so do split EPs. Getting to hear selections from two separate bands on one piece of wax, is just as magical. Even more so when it’s the synergy of two very different bands working a similar angle. Such as the case with the new split EP from Black Mekon and The Castillians.
Black Mekon are a blues-based noise rock duo from the UK, sporting Green Hornet-esque masks, and a mysterious history that’s hard to separate fact from fiction. Part Suicide and part Rolling Stones, Black Mekon rip through Side-A starting with garage fury of White Lunch, and finish with Toast The Dog, sounding as if early Velvet Underground recorded a Jimmie Rodgers’ tribute.
Side-B belongs to The Castillians, another UK noise rock outfit, but one that applies a surf-punk element to their swagger, bringing a brighter, power-pop side to the EP. Beating Blue features a lo-fi 1960s vibe behind a wall of distorted vocal harmonies, and close out the split with Lullaby, a bitter-sweet earworm built around a melancholy vocal riff and an almost Beatles-esque chord progression.
This split EP is available on limited edtion vinyl exclusively through Lazy Boy Recording Co. (the same label that put out one of my favorite EPs of 2015, Scantron’s Palamino Blackwing). It’s available in a few different color variants and one extremely limited test pressing that features a hand-made denim sleeve, that would make any vinyl collector’s mouth water. To sweeten the deal even more, a digital download comes free with each vinyl purchase that includes a bonus track from each band!
Both Black Mekon and The Castillians do noise and rock n roll so deliciously, I’m having a hard time deciding which side I favor more. One minute it’s the blues flavored noise from Side A, then the next minute it’s the infectious surf punk of Side B. Either way, this is going to be a record I’m going to be spinning for quite sometime, and even though we are only two months into 2016, this split EP is already a contender for EP of the year.
For more info on Black Mekon, visit their Official Website
For more info on The Castillians, visit their Facebook page
To purchase the split EP, head over to the Lazy Boy Recording Co. store.