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The Black Lips – [Album]

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Wednesday, 24 October 2007

When I think of Atlanta, I think “Dirty South.” I think of the word “crunk.” I think of a city that has changed the face of hip-hop and R&B for the past two decades. By breeding such legends as Outkast, Lil’ Jon, Ludacris, Usher, Da Brat, Toni Braxton, TLC, T.I. and Goodie Mobb, the A-T-L has become a stalwart in the lexicon of rap music. To describe this city, my man Jermaine Dupri once said, “big beats hit streets, see gangsters roamin’.” And, with the parties (and beats) that last until around 8am, it’s hard for me to imagine much rock ‘n’ roll being played in this town. Not to discredit the influential Atlanta musicians like John Mayer, Sevendust, The Black Crows or Mastodon, but their brand of music isn’t what defines this Southern city for me.

Therefore, it seemed strange that the psychedelic/retro outfit, The Black Lips, have built a following in a city not well known for exporting such acts. Upon my first listen to their latest release, Good Bad Not Evil, I felt like I just walked on the set of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (and was ready to freak out with Kelly and her friends). If I didn’t know any better, I’d have a hard time believing that this band isn’t a product of the 60s, as their guitars rage on like they are a cross between The Doors and The Rolling Stones, with a slight pinch of Strawberry Alarm Clock.

Since their conception in 2000, The Black Lips have built quite a reputation for the antics that take place during their live shows and I could only imagine the chaotic atmosphere that would result when they start some of the sing-a-long songs off Good Bad Not Evil like “Bad Kids” or “Katrina.” These spirited blues ballads move through chords at an addicting pace as this album traverses the landscapes of death, the loss of innocence, love and lust. There is a real gritty and unrefined feeling with Good Bad Not Evil, and it shows that The Black Lips never tried following rules of conventional rock ‘n’ roll. It’s a little rough around the edges and not quite as polished as some multi-platinum selling rock bands out there. But, like many indie bands, these blemishes are all a part of their appeal. Yet, I get a sense that The Black Lips meant to do it this way and isn’t a band looking for that typical studio sound. Still in my infancy as a fan, I’m thinking that I might have to make a few more trips to Atlanta.

Good Bad Not Evil is out now on Vice.

Download – "Cold Hands" from Good Bad Not Evil – [mp3]

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