Musings on music, old, new, popular and obscure. Post punk, metal, hip-hop, funk, and rock in general. A music fan with a desire to lose boundaries on what should and should not be listened to writes about experience in music from a listener's perspective, hopefully unhindered by prior expectation.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tiny Music...Songs from Various Record Shops III -- The Cult's Sonic Temple

Tiny Music...a series of entries on recent and seemingly random purchases. Why I made them, and why, perhaps, you ought to do the same--or at least take up the methodology!

I wandered into The Cult more by chance than anything else. I discussed the Beggars Banquet Omnibus Edition series releases some time ago, and The Cult's Love was amongst them. I didn't know the band and they had a weird reputation--weird in the sense of "normal." It meant it was the last of the Omnibus titles that I purchased (The Fall followed The Fall, and Bauhaus came close behind). The liner notes themselves reference this, noting all the reviews and interviews that suggest that "rock" was a 'dirty word' at the time of Love's release, at least in the independent community that they came from.

Since then, I've been seen rocking out to highlights like "Nirvana" and "She Sells Sanctuary," but never really wandered any further out with the band. I wasn't sure what anyone was to like about the band--sure I really liked Love, but I was wary of where they might have gone after that. Amusingly, I bought Sonic Temple for something like $3 and discovered almost immediately that, actually, I'd heard a Cult song many times in my life: "Fire Woman." I didn't know it at all by title, but the chorus echoed strongly in my head in the way that singles I heard on the radio years ago often do. The confidence and general rock nature--as if the pose Billy Duffy takes astride the title with the red-tinted image of Ian Astbury throwing his hair back didn't make it clear--mean that it wasn't a stretch for this album to appeal to me.

I've also just spent much of my morning reading the "Baker's Dozen" entries from The Quietus that came from people I found interesting, which amounted to 13 isolated pages, an album each, from various musicians--running the gamut from established, if still, ahem, cult stars like Ian Astbury on to somewhat obscure modern cults like Dylan Carlson from Earth (another Gerald introduction--a copy of Hex; Or Printing in the Infernal Method with a short note suggesting I'd like them)--but then hitting on high points of fame like producer/Garbage-member Butch Vig and Rush vocalist/bassist Geddy Lee. Still, it was Ian's entry that earned the most comments saying, "Wow! He sounds like he really loves music! Hire him for a column!" Indeed, he reminded me a lot of Marty Willson-Piper of the Church in the authoritative and intense way of discussing music. Of course, he's a bit more mystical in that respect and verges a bit more into Kilbey territory at some points, but there's nothing wrong with that, either.

This is rock in a "safe" sense: you needn't worry that they are going to scrape at your ears or grate on your sensibilities--but they're still hard rock for certain.

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