I have unilaterally declared November to be the ‘International Month For Records Beginning With B’ for 2013, or IMFRBWB for short. So after Black & White Minstrels & Bob Dylan*, for my next exciting adventure I have chosen something a little different, Brain Donor Drain’d Boner, a beautiful vinyl object from 2006 ce (as Julian Cope would count it). Brain Donor are a kabuki make-up’d (in the manner of Kiss), metal band set up by Julian Cope with two members of Spiritualized. They only use double-necked guitars which I think is a damn cool move too.
Now whilst Julian Cope has made some music I really like, particularly his Jehovakill LP which I don’t own, I find him a little bit scatershot. In all honesty I prefer him in author and journalist mode. His Modern Antiquarian book on stone circles is a thing of joy and beauty and has guided me on numerous stone circle related outings, Krautrocksampler ditto but in respect to Krautrock related delvings and Japrocksampler double ditto but further east. His Head Heritage website is always worth a look in a quiet moment too. He also contributed some inspired poetic proclamations on the Sunn O))) track ‘My Wall’, which is my favourite track of theirs by far**.
Anyway I got a bit excited by the prospect of the Brain Donor LP, or at least its release coincided with payday in December 2006 and bought it. It is a high quality item, great gatefold sleeve, all glossy loveliness, glossy inner sleeve, incredibly long declamatory poem inside the gatefold called ‘Habit’ equating the dark ages Viking monastic attacks with highly-amped sonic buggery^ and the LP itself is a divinely beautiful picture disc. Whew! Although I do now appreciate that all that thoroughbred glossiness makes it a difficult beast to photograph indoors at night, or at least with my rudimentary photo skills.
First track ‘Pa Doden’s Tree (Father Death’s Tree)’, is a dark slow atmospheric track, copping the rain and storms from Black Sabbath in the right mood I would praise its’ sense of foreboding and hopelessness, in the wrong one I’d say ‘nice rain FX, can we have a tune please?’. I’m in the latter camp today. Second track, ‘Nagasaki Mushroom’, riffs, pounds and snarls for three whole minutes without exciting me and then slows right down and gets tuneless for another seven minutes. The off-key ‘La-la-la’ bits at the end just grate.
The best bits of Drain’d Boner are ‘Where Do We Take U’ and ‘Just About Now’, both of which cop Hawkwind’s ‘You Shouldn’t Do That’ to good effect, albeit with some additional soloing and atonal bits lumped in, but the tinny production on the latter is just horrible.
Okay, I’ll come clean here. Conceptually I’m right there, I love the idea of uncompromising wonky sonic Odinist atonal garage metal played by wild men in kabuki warpaint wielding double-necked guitars, just don’t make me listen to it please. I’ll happily look at it though.
*my alphabetizing works on first name, surname basis which is the only same way of doing it – think about it, when was the last time you thought to yourself, ‘Hmm, I’d like to listen to some swinging blues jams from Mayall, John’?
**and a bit of a short one for Sunn O))), weighing in at only 25 minutes.
^you can spot I’m an English Literature graduate can’t you?