Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Radio Moscow Turns It Up To 11 On 'Radio Moscow'

Radio Moscow
Radio Moscow
Alive Records

Review by Nightwatcher

Imagine an alternative universe where Peter Green from Fleetwood Mac would've come out of his acid daze, formed a band with Dickie Peterson and Paul Whaley of Blue Cheer, and you might come close to approximating the sound put down on the debut self titled release from Ames, Iowa's Radio Moscow. A blues drenched, wah filled slab of late 60's, early 70's sludge rock, produced by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, this album will conjure up flashbacks of lysergic fueled, extended guitar filled frenzied jam sessions when rockers weren't afraid to solo. And if one weren't enough, they'd take another just for the hell of it.

Led by 23 year old guitarist Parker Griggs, an unapologetic disciple of Green's whose influences obviously include the young Eric Clapton in Cream, the aforementioned Blue Cheer, Grand Funk Railroad, and any other power trio who got the idea to take the blues and crank the amps up to 11, this is heavy blues influenced psych where solos rule supreme. Launching off into the skies with "Introduction", a ferocious short instrumental wah guitar workout which almost sounds like something a pre Ian Gillan era Deep Purple might've come up with minus Jon Lord's keyboards, right away you're served notice this isn't going to be a polite blues rock album, After melting your mind with searing guitar, the band immediately segues into a groove on "Frustrating Sound". With chordal work remindful in tone of Cream, Griggs takes a journey back in time and space, melding the Missisippi delta with the late 60's counterculture. Sounding somewhat like something a British blues band would've done mixed with searing guitar, it's quite the one-two punch and is a great start to the album.

Along the way, you'll hear bits and pieces of Griggs' influences - a bit of early Zeppelin era Jimmy Page here, some MC5 there, all blending into one of the most promising debuts of the genre in recent memory. "Deep Blue Sea", co witten with and featuring a contribution on slide guitar courtesy of producer Auerbach takes The Key's rudimentary blues rock and amps it up, and is yet another highlight on display here.

Throughout the entire 37 minute length of the album, with the exception of the raga influenced "Ordovician Fauna", you'll be treated to molten fretwork in the pre-punk tradition, with almost all the songs, which include two instrumentals, both of which showcase Griggs' quite impressive playing skills, not only on guitar, but on drums as well. The only misstep on the album being the previously mentioned "Ordovician Fauna", its droning chords seemingly out of place amongst all the white hot blues heavy boogie rock put down. Trippy and suitably authentically retro, this shows that Parker Griggs has emerged onto the scene as one of the most promising young guitarists who might be the new guitar gods of the new millennium. Much more guitar intensive than The Black Keys, if you're into the heavy sounds of the late 60's and early 70's, you should grab this one as soon as possible. http://www.myspace.com/radiomoscow

To download an Mp3 of "Frustrating Sound" from the album for free, go to this location

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