Now I may be guilty of slightly overrating my cultural influence but what the hell is wrong with you folks? I bang on and on endlessly about how great Endless Boogie are, my faithful hordes read it and still, they aren’t headlining arenas yet / have their own theme park / own Caribbean islands. Come on, sort it out my followers.
Okay let’s start from the beginning again, Endless Boogie are a bunch of gnarled chaps of a certain vintage form New York, lead honcho Paul ‘Top Dollar’ Major being a high-profile rare record dealer* and the others worked for Matador Records. They make, oddly enough, perfect desert rock and when I say perfect, I really mean P-e-r-f-e-c-t. At their best on their LPs Full House Head and 1537 LP of the Year 2013 Long Island, they lock their top ZZs into a hypnotic groove and just stretch way out under the stars, through to the very empyrean itself.
It’s a clever trick. They take one of the very simplest, most retrograde forms of music imaginable, boogie rock and fashion something incredibly arty out of it, through sheer repetition and bloody-minded perseverance, BUT without losing sight of the fact that it’s all meant to rock. These guys really put the Can in Canned Heat. This isn’t on today’s offering but it’s my favourite example of their brilliance, click it whilst you read, if you will:
Majorly Jonesing for another slice of the Endless pie, I swooped on a 12″ EP they released called Matinicus at the end of 2013. It was limited to 200 copies and had three new tracks on it … totalling 33 minutes**. I really like the cover and the stamped record centres, all very low-fi and self-made. Matinicus is a small island off Maine, the word meaning ‘Far Out Island’ in the language of the Abenaki – which is pretty fitting.
Matinicus first hoves into view with the teeny tiny track ‘Geting It Together’ where Major gets to show us his best Beefheartian honk, bark and drawl over the top of a bite of really rather ferocious boogie, the impression gained is that no, Mr Major will not get his shit together thank you, he would rather just play some blistering licks. The guitar tone on this track is just filthy, if you ever cut yourself on the edge of this record you would need a tetanus jab immediately if you were to survive the night.
Tracko secundo enormo is the geniusilly named ‘Regresser’ which is, I think, possibly the best track the band have cut to date^. The whole shebang kicks off nice and slowly, a boat edging out gently into the current, but we’re soon accelerating away, shooting through the rapids towards the waterfall in the distance. It’s easy on a cut like this just to praise the lead guitarist, not difficult when the playing is just so damnably great, but the whole band is awesome here pulling off that neat trick of being simultaneously tight and loose – take a very deserved bow Mark Ohe (bass), Jesper Eklow (guitar) and Harry Druzd (drums). There are too many great bits to mention here but my personal favourite is when Major starts growling^* about rolling around in the mud with his ‘baby’,a sentiment both transgressive and regressive – forget about taking it to the bridge’, let’s take it off the bridge and back into the primordial soup; just make sure you wash your hands afterwards.
Matinicus concludes with ‘Rollin’ & Tumblin”, clocking in at a Ramones-like 12:42. Endless Boogie again do what they do best here as it is simultaneously their most trad and their most far-out track on show. After all manner of blues-based boogieing the band again lock into a hard-driving no-frills groove that apes all manner of Krautrockian motorik sounds. Again, it almost goes without saying that the playing here is absolutely blistering. It really is something. The track even has a rather lovely Allman Brothers Band-style coda as well.
I’ve bought LPs by bands who have fewer ideas in their entire careers than you can find on this 12″ of joy and I cannot wait to see what they come up with next. This was a great trip over to the far-out island and I can’t wait to pitch base camp there again soon. I know exactly what I’d want to play out loud into the starry sky too, Matinicus.
*his book on home-made records is just brilliant.
**or 1.79 Van Halens, to use the universal standard unit of album length measurement.
^new LP Vibekiller! is due out this year.
^*the vocals kick in around the 12-minute mark, always the sign of a good song that.