WRESTLING ROCK 'N' ROLL - Lightning Beat-Man & His No Talent (Voodoo Rhythm)
This is about as basic as lo-fi rock and roll gets without becoming noise. Compared to this, Hasil Adkins sounds like sophisticated cocktail music, Charlie Feathers is a crooner and The Legendary Stardust Cowboy seems perfectly lucid.
This is where it all began in the recording sense for Lightning Beat-Man, the Swiss maniac who made wrestling masks and fucked-up one-man-bandship go hand-in-hand across Europe and pockets of the USA in the late '80s. "Wrestling Rock 'n' Roll" was his first album and many hoped it would be his last, such was the extreme place he'd taken his '50s and early '60s inspirations. Inept in places - but somehow charmingly so - it became a warped collector's item for warped collectors. Hence its re-issue in 2008 on CD.
The Beat-Man ethos was, and remains, simple, whether it's with a band or solo: Strip it back till it doesn't have a stitch on, come up with your own tuning and thrash the shit out of instrument, voice and song.It's not pretty to watch but neither is amateur brain surgery.
Like the Cramps taken to their n'th degree, most of these songs are about sex, sex or sex. His vocal sounds like Popeye doing 12 rounds bareknuckle with Brutus Beefcake after dropping mescaline.
If you don't get the drift after reading song titles like "Baby Fuck Off", "MIdfuckinbitchass", "I Wanna Be Your Pussycat", "Wrestling With Satan" and "I'm Gonna Kill You Tonight" you're probably a Metallica fan or in rehab already.
So you've gotten this far? You're probably familiar with Lightning Beat-Man's modus operandi or wondering why you're bothering but believe it when I write that there's a visceral thrill and amusement in hearing this. Yes, the lead-break in "Baby Fuck Off" is so far out of tune it'd give a deaf man a headache but that's the point. Noise Annoys and that's Beat-Man's reason for being.
Maybe not essential unless you're a fan but if you don't try it out how will you know? - The Barman
SURREAL FOLK BLUES GOSPEL TRASH Vol 1 – Reverend Beat-Man (Voodoo Rhythm)
SURREAL FOLK BLUES GOSPEL TRASH Vol 2– Reverend Beat-Man (Voodoo Rhythm)
Here’s a classy, two-volume collection of radio-friendly tunes, over the course of which the Reverend Beat-Man mellows out and produces sensitive and heartwarming hymns,
AOR folky ballads and lite gospel, accompanied by strings and a 15-member choir populated by vestal virgins in flowing white robes. Yeah, right.
If you haven’t caught up with the blasphemous, one-man garage trash party that is Reverend Beat-Man you might not be aware that “mellowing out” is his least likely course in a weird and wending career path. He’s more likely to stick sharpened bamboo spikes under his fingernails and gargle with 40 percent proof white spirits. Come to think of it, that could well be what’s happening in some of the more extreme studio moments.
Switzerland should make him a baron or award him a gold cuckoo clock - whatever the fuck they do to over-achievers in their field of endeavour in that funny little country of theirs. They’re unlikely to get him to wear a suit and work in a bank.
The “folk” reference in the title is no misnomer. There is that feel to some of these songs, especially on Volume 1, with the follow-up leaning a little more towards gospel. But any resemblance to Peter, Paul and Mary is purely coincidental. You get the impression that Beat-Man would have driven folkies to insanity and risked being beaten to death by a wild-eyed coffee addict in a black beret if he’d poked his head into a Greenwich Village beatnik coffee shop and played this stuff in the genre’s heyday of the early ‘60s.
References to all sorts of liquor and drugs madness, jail cell rape and whatever other harrowing or debauched excess seeps into Beat-Man’s consciousness abound when he’s within spitting range of a microphone make it clear that Blowing In The Wind is the last thing on this madman’s mind. He’d rather Blow Your Brains Out, and when he sings about his heart being broken, it’s clear that a meat cleaver is implicated.
The music runs the full gamut as the labeling says, with bongos, cello, dirty slide, banjo, fiddle, stand-up bass and “strange bamboo thing” deployed for good measure. I have a leaning towards Volume 1 where there’s the odd detour into Central European folk (“Coco Grace”, “Lonesome and Sad”) and garage brutality (“Jesus Christ Twist”, “Letter To Myself”), exposing the beautifully blunt guitarwork of Robert Butler (ex-Get Lost/The Miracle Workers.) Volume 2 is growing on me, though. Like mould.
There really is something to piss off everyone and an incest song like “I See The Light” just about qualifies the Reverend as an honorary Tasmanian.
Don’t sing “I Want You To Feel” in church. Or maybe, do sing it. I dare ya.
The all-pervading factor here is Beat-Man, whose resonant, sometimes off-key bullfrog vocal gives these 24 tunes the sort of character that most trash bands can only think about.
The pigeon pair of albums (no bird shit puns) share a common thread – a spoken word closer. On Volume 1 it’s “The Beat-Man Way” a jazzy narrative that ends up with the vocalist eschewing a paying job for drugs and rock and roll. And drugs. On Volume 2 it’s “The Swiss Army Knife” where, er, forget it. You’re better getting it straight from the source anyway.
Britney has Dr Phil. The rest of the world’s fuck-ups can seek spiritual guidance from the Reverend Beat-Man. - The Barman
YOUR FAVOURITE POSITION IS ON YOUR KNEES - Reverend Beat Man & the Church of Herpes
I'm not a hidebound old rock dinosaur, honestly. In my youth I made a point of seeking out new and unusual slants and ideas on the three chord format I loved - I found and embraced Shockabilly, the Meat Puppets, United Mutations, and more. But this disc had me thrown.
The Good Reverend is best-known for crazed one-man rockabilly - endorsed by Hasil Adkins himself, no less. But this project, wherein he teams up with some Swiss industro-noise merchants, was cold sticky fondue to my ears.
Look, the key to staying on top is to know when you're beat. Accordingly, I passed this along to an expert for her opinion. I only wish you could all see the gestures that accompanied her original rave to me. This is what she had to say, scrawled in blood on black parchment:
"This may be the very best atmospheric dirge rock 'n' roll you will find anywhere!!. With a singer whose voice conjures thoughts of a serial killer singing from the bottom of a gravel pit- fucking fantastic!!
"It's so refreshing to find a band that will not be bound by the constraints of the term "MUSIC". Reverend Beat-Man & his Church are of that rare breed that focus on moods rather than traditional notions of musicality. This is not for the faint hearted though!
"Stand-out tracks for me include: 'Prophecy', which has the catchy and uplifting phrase "NOW YOU'RE ALL GOING TO DIE" repeated continuously; 'Home', which should come with a postscript (or at least some kind of warning) stating this is music to slash your wrists to.
"There is also a rendition of 'Blue Suede Shoes', complete with what sounds like clanging pots and pans as the rhythm track - it's priceless!
"If you like your rock with a liberal dose of irony, this is highly recommended."- DJ Ghoul Girl (Resident DJ at Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang - Melbourne's only deathrock club)
So there you go- sometimes it does pay to seek proper advice. The payoff is that this got a proper review, and she got to keep the review CD, which may come in handy when she hits the decks at the Drop Dead festival in LA in September.- TJ Honeysuckle
- TJ Honeysuckle
- DJ Ghoul Girl
GET ON YOUR KNEES S - Reverend Beat-Man and the Un-Believers (Voodoo Rhythm)
I SEE DEAD PEOPLE - The Monsters (Voodoo Rhythm)
Enter the dark, disconnected and throughly messed-up musical world of Beat-Man. Leave reality at the door and go hog wild.
Beat-Man is the Swiss head honcho of Voodoo Rhythm Records. He gargles with paper clips and is currently in receipt of religion, living life as a trash rock evangelist known as Reverend Beat-Man (with a band called the Un-Believers.)
Seems Beat-Man's musical antics go back to the 1980s when he was a attraction on the Euro trash rock scene, both as a one-man band (he plays kick drum and guitar) and wrestling show. Not sure how you pull off being a one-man wrestling show, but word has it that Beat-Man ended up in a wheelchair after one particularly violent show. His getting of religion had something to do with having his wrestling mask's spirit exorcised. Tunes with a recent combo, Beat-Man and the Never Heard of 'Ems, include "Bring Back the Death Penalty" and "I'm Gonna Kill You Tonight".
If his conversion came via Robert Johnson and Screaming Jay Hawkins, the latest stuff on Beat-Man's Voodoo Rhythm label occupies a musical niche almost entirely of its own making. Three parts trash and garage, four parts voodoobilly, it's as primal as fuck and not more than a little demented. You've heard garage music but this is about as far removed from the cutesy demo antics of the White Stripes or the energetic but comparatively polite Mooney Suzuki as you can get.
This is fucking w-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-y out there.
If you'll excuse an obvious Swiss jibe, there's something strange in the chocolate that Beat-Man and his friends eat and all the cuckoos aren't only in clocks.
Not that the brand of religion the good Rev is pushing will offend many I-94 Bar patrons. Like the amiable senior citizens from the Salvation Army who waltz into Australian pubs every Friday afternoons and relieve half-cut patrons of loose change in return for a copy of the War Cry newspaper with just a rattle of the collection box, I predict you might consider Beat-Man's oeuvre worth shelling out hard-earned to hear.
"Reverend Beat-Man and the Unbelievers" is a relatively gentle introduction, even slightly mannered in parts, but nevertheless might take some acclimatisation, especially to the musically refined ear. This is warped rockabilly-blues, with a touch of gospel, that makes few concessions to sounding commercial. And at times Reverend Beat-Man, well, sings like Popeye the Sailor Man, not to put too fine a point on it. Looks like a late-period Clash Joe Strummer on the cover, too, but the comparisons end there (the late Joe Mellor would have been hard-pressed to push his vox this far).
A couple of the contemplative tunes drag, but the picks are the call-and-response "The Lord is Coming Back", the fuzzy "Come Back Lord" (where I can forgive the engine room's variable pace) and the swinging "Oh Lord!" Not to forget, "Fuck You Jesus Fuck You Oh Lord", which is full of bombast and dirty slide and boasts the best blasphemous title we've heard in some time, maybe ever. "Show Me How" has hints of "Sour Mash" Beasts of Bourbon lurking in the guitars and "They Ring the Bells For Me" hovers on the edge of reality thanks to Beat-Man's overwrought delivery and some one fingered piano.
The packaging is stunning, too, coming in a digipack with a 32-page book which unlocks the secrets of how you, too can become a Beat-Man. It's as unhinged as some of the music within. Production was via the fab and authentic Toe Rag Studios in London and it does sound fine.
The Rev is a grower. The Monsters, on the other hand, are musically week-old instant coffee - hard to ignore but if it's going to cure the morning-after shakes, you'll ignore the green scum floating on the top and drink it down 'COS IT'S GOOD FOR YOU. This is trashy '60s punk - or a very dirty European approximation thereof. It's devoid of flash, fuzz-edged and edgy and has what poppets to be "the world's first clone drum set" (read: dual drummers).
This is the Monsters' sixth full-length album and they've been dealing in this primitive line of rock and roll since 1986. Despite the impression that they raced this off in 10 minutes in a studio, they have good songs too. "Fuck My Brain (Buddah Buddah)" is pure electric trasharama - 240 volts with no earth. "Sonic Nightmares" is a (comparatively) slick piece of hot rod instrumental action with rippling guitar.
The title track, "I See Dead People", is unhinged acid rock that recalls a dozen one-shot '60s punk bands and is the best song Sydney's late, great Crusaders never recorded, maybe the best thing here, and recalls We The People at their peak. (Then again, the guitar line in "The Other Man" is the most blatant cop of "You Burn Me Up and Down" that you'll hear outside a cover version.)
"Acid Dreams" could be the stuff that fried the hippies' brains at Woodstock (i.e. it's one bad trip). "I'm Going Away, Girl" is purely damaged, a ranting, furious vocal over the top of hot-wired guitar.
Lyrically, The Monsters are spitting invective or breaking down (and in a song like "Oh Wrong", they do both). "You Know Why" takes the ranting a step closer to a rubber room. The Monsters also dabble in instrumentals with the "Goo Goo Muck" of the Cramps-like "Boss" a prime example. Drums and over-driven guitar career all over the place, while Beat-Man's occasional screams punctuate the madness. The closer, "Diggin' My Grave", is another (mostly) instro that's positively lounge music by comparison.
Hugely deranged and highly recommended. Order from the label or go hassle Off the Hip if you're in Australia. - The Barman
3/4 (Reverend Beat-Man)
1/2 (The Monsters)
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