My credo for the coming year is "hipsters out of metal"! Ironic impostors and smug pretenders to the throne...throw 'em all to the fucking lions. This sentiment is really just an extension of my previous credo, "suffer no fools" (which I borrowed from Ryan who probably borrowed it from Green Goblin). That said, forgive me as I endorse one event this week which will undoubtedly feature hipsters galore. The show is this Wednesday (9/3) at the East End in Portland, Oregon and the band is Vermont's mighty WITCH (not to be confused with Witchcraft from Sweden). Below is a review of their debut LP that I wrote a few years ago for a local zine. I've spent months playing air-guitar and air-drums to this unlikely gem and I still feel as strongly as I did when I first penned the following words in 2006. After this indulgence the hipsters can get the fuck out for good!
I hate to bum anyone’s trip, but I’ve never cared for Neil Young and his whiny coke-nosed guitar noodling and I never got the appeal of his proto-grunge disciples like J. Mascis and Dinosaur Jr. They had one pretty cool drugged out ballad called ‘Bulbs of Passion’ a long time ago but as far as I’m concerned they also helped ruin flannel. So I wasn’t too excited about the prospects of a “heavy rock” band featuring J. Mascis, now older and more burned-out looking than ever, on drums. But the album cover art caught my eye and they’re called WITCH! I have a total fucking weakness for witches and album cover art that looks like it was drawn with crayons by a 6th grader on acid. Look closer at the cover and you’ll see a motorcycle riding through a kaleidoscopic dragonfly’s eye of sound waves and angels. You can almost smell the incense. They’ve already got me under their black magic spell. So I drop the needle down and out slithers the majestic sounds of my new favorite rock band! Witch is the real deal, brothers and sisters. They didn’t invent anything new here, but they’ve gone and harnessed the fuzzed-out heaviness of St. Vitus and Led Zeppelin to the ethereal flights of fancy made popular by prog and space-rock bands like Rush and Hawkwind (actually they sound like Mistreater from Cleveland, Ohio but who remembers them?). They even wrote a song about Rip Van Winkle that will knock you on your ass! Rip Van Winkle! The guy that fell asleep and…oh, never mind. Guitarist Asa Irons gets my vote for shredder of the year (note to Asa Irons: if I ever meet you, please don’t turn out to be a pretentious “guitar god” *). Asa and fellow Witch guitarist/vocalist Kyle Thomas also jam with an entirely different, though equally enchanting, project called Feathers which conjures earthy psych-folk not entirely unlike Steel Eye Span or In Gowan Ring. But I digress. This LP rips! If I smoked weed I would totally roll a Hells Angels joint, throw a mama on the back of my iron horse, and get lost in some desert with Witch blasting in the background. Hail Witch!
* See you Wednesday, Asa!