To quote Reverend Joey "Run" Simmons, when the rapper spat about fairy tale hero Peter Piper on the 1986 Profile Records classic Raising Hell, "Tricks are for kids he plays much gigs, He's a big bad wolf and you're the three pigs, He's a big bad wolf in your neighborhood, Not bad meaning bad but bad meaning good." That's exactly what Black Lips meant when they christened their debut studio recording on VICE Good Bad, Not Evil. At least I think that's the case. Who the shit knows with these punks from Atlanta? One minute they're plucking feathers from chickens in New York or vomiting spaghetti dinners in dive joints out in Seattle and the next they're spurting various juices from their filthy boy holes to the erotic titillation of trash bag cools worldwide.
I constantly backhand compliment Black Lips as if they are someone I love. To the perverse pleasure of all my friends and fiends, I'm quite mean when I'm praiseworthy. Like when I'm in the sack, I usually give my lover the old Chuck Norris to the nose after I've done my thing, just to say I love you. So when I wrote this live review of both an in-store and makeshift show in the back room of a gay dance club in Seattle last month, some homeboy sent me hate mail and requested that my "hipster journalist bullshit stop at once." I of course replied to his myspace message with a standardized "thank you for your opinion" before asking dear reader to open his mouth and then fuck himself in it.
While I hate to see the lazy youth happy and alive, Good Bad, Not Evil is destined to be the soundtrack of their dysfunctional lives. These thirteen tracks are as spirituous and pressing in this year of our sweet lord 2007, as much as Green Day's initial 1990 release 1039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours on Lookout! Records or Nirvana's first spike into the world, Bleach, significantly recorded for $606 by Jack Endino on the Pop, Sub that is, making Black Lips just as suckable, fuckable, and marketable as the aforementioned superstar bands.
Black Lips, Cole Alexander, Jared Swilley, Ian St. Pe, Joe Bradley, come out with a pulverizing face grinder called "Lean" which two-steps nicely into the shuffle-foot square dance with this country's biggest disaster since the re-election of Bush in 2004, "Katrina." Speaking of Bush, when asked how he felt after the Democrats rightfully took back the House and Senate in 2006, old prezzy said in reference to the harsh defeat that "it was a thumpin." So too shall this record be deemed "a thumpin."
"Veni Vidi Vici" attacks the 'need' for religion, tossing all of the planet's Gods into one pot of useless stew, like the Kinks or Velvet Underground stoned to the eyeballs on some retro, universe questioning funk.
"It Feels Alright" is an ode to the ATL. 'Peachtree and fifth is the jump off tonight.' Ever the street poet, Alexander's lockjaw drool pours out scrumptious memories of Garvey burgers drenched with prince dressing at Soul Vegetarian in Little Five Points, or shoplifting two dollar t-shirts at Junkman's Daughter, or the evening I lived through the Centennial Park bombing while broadcasting with WPBZ-fm 103.1 The Buzz at the 1996 Olympics. Since we're talking open and honestly here, is Cole Alexander actually retarded? The voice connected to the young Jewish guitarist/lead spitter scrambles a taco worse than Kentucky Fried Chicken with the bewildered yelp matched by Lint Armstrong, Mark E. Smith, or the late Kurdt C.
"Lock And Key" is ultra scuzzy like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club if they were having their necks chewed apart by the Santa Cruz vampire gang in The Lost Boys. Oliver Stone should use this to score his next piece of flaming hot controversy. The cool takes a spill and chills with a frosty cold mug and a shooter of whiskey on "How Do You Tell A Child" where an old man explains to a young tyke that his loved one has passed on. This is some slowed down country heartbreaker worse than Old Yeller yet more humane than the mutt-mutilating profiteer Michael Vick, who hopefully will be throwing bows against naked killers in the penitentiary showers rather than tossing touchdowns for the Atlanta Falcons this season.
"Bad Kids" is the kind of degenerate anthem that tweens and skunks, all of the twenty-something spazzballs slumping around North American malls can rebel and yell along to, a spicy tug of bathtub alcohol made way out in the hot clay fields of Atlanta, where Ted Turner and his silver mustache drink Jamaican Mango Cisco out of platinum goblets with Andre 3000 from Outkast, 39th President and number one peanut farmer of the United States Jimmy Carter, and the severed head of blind piano legend Ray Charles.
"Off The Block" is a kooky space adventure through the glittered cavern where the 8lb. brain of Alexander was before the Freon and formaldehyde that he and his miscreant mates huffed has slowly yet sophisticatedly melted this slovenly crew's conventional thought processors away.
Oh, and for shits and giggles, another creepy ass mystery track, like the oddball found on the end of the Mexican massacre Los Valientes del Mondo Nuevo slips its way onto the far end of Good Bad, lunging out of the sizzling speakers for the waxy ears of hopheads as they silently sit still, still sitting silently pondering the magnitude of the deep fried, down home, country crock of amazing which just disrupted their daily programming.
BITE MY TONGUE if I were to say that these feculent skids took their advance money from VICE and bought three piece Italian suits, primed their hair with hippopotamus seamen and cleaned their faces with the ripe bladders of a pregnant Ecuadorian wildebeest in the name of flashy-fun-fame, but they did spend the summer practicing their instruments instead of brutally raping them like a teenage boy's first awkward hump.
Of all the buzz bands at the moment, whom I would list as Liars, Deerhunter, Bloc Party, Art Brut, Arctic Monkeys, Spoon, I'll bet the biscuit and the basket that Black Lips become famouser, or more famous, than any and all of them, how could they not? Their blistering energy is a formidable opponent for every level of authority and the fact that they appear to have improved their "playing" now makes them that much more virile. Think of how many home runs Hank Aaron would have hit for the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves if he were shooting roids in his Hall of Fame rectum?
Good Bad, Not Evil is totally so very 2007, polluting coral lungs of hipsters, dumpster divers, and shit kicking cowboy-rockers like a complimentary carton of Marlboro Reds with thick gray clouds of irresistible smoke that smothers nostrils and suffocates artful mouths like a quick ticket peace trip out of this world in the passenger seat of a Dodge Dart running idle inside the carbon dioxide filled garage of your teenage prison.