The Linus Pauling Quartet

The Linus Pauling Quartet

Long time coming, this one. Six freakin’ albums in, and I’ve finally been sucked in by the LP4’s heavy-ass, sludgy brand of psych-rock. Their latest, All Things Are Light, is what really hammered it home for me, honestly — it’s got fuzz thick enough to slice and spread on toast, songs about aliens, clubs in Montrose, mythical warriors, and malt liquor, and some of the sweetest psych-guitar melodies this side of Silversun Pickups. Plus, this time out the band’s toned down the endless jams a bit; my main impression of the band before this release was, “yeah, that’s cool, but damn, is it long…”

It occurs to me now, though, that I need to head backwards & check out the band’s earlier stuff, from 2003’s C6H8O6 through 2000’s Ashes in the Bong of God (and by the way: most. badass. album. title. ever. Seriously…), 1998’s Killing You With Rock, and 1997’s untitled “alien” album, all the way to 1995’s Immortal Chinese Classics. ‘Cause now I’m thinking hell, maybe it’s not the band — maybe it’s me that’s changed, y’know? The thought hit me while watching the awesome Mike Gunn reunion show, when I realized it was probably a good thing I never got to see the MG back in their heyday; I would’ve hated it, without a doubt, just because that’s what I thought of stuff like that — and this — back then.

These days, though, I guess my tastes have broadened a bit, at least in the heavy-rock realm. And listening to the Linus Pauling crew brings to mind all the folks out there that do this sort of shit that I really like — Federation X, the aforementioned Silversun Pickups, and Priestess, for three — only the LP4 throws in a wonderfully self-effacing humility, fun Houston self-referentialism, and a wicked sense of humor. Half the time, I’m not sure if the joke’s on me or the band themselves (or both), and I respect the hell out of that.

Oh, and the live shows rule, not least of all because said sense of humor is flying high as a kite every damn time the band plays. The last time I saw them, guitarist/ringleader Ramon Medina (who, it happens, also trained me as a DJ many, many years ago at KTRU, although I can’t remember a damn bit of what he taught me, now) kicked off one song by literally launching himself through the air at bassist Steve Finley and wrapping himself, koala-like, around the guy (who didn’t bat an eye, which I guess means it happens regularly?), all the while roaring Satanically into the microphone. (Don’t let that put you off, mind you; believe it or not, most of the songs these guys play are actually damn tuneful, even catchy.)

Of course, all this is helped by the fact that all the guys in the band — Medina, Finley, drummer Larry Liska, guitarist/vocalist Clinton Heider, and guitarist/vocalist (and fondly remembered SCR reviewer) Charlie Horshack/Naked/Ebersbaker — are the friendliest, most down-to-earth bunch of anti-hipsters you’ll ever meet. They’re in a rock band to rock, not for any reason to do with cash or fame (okay, and to get stoned/drunk, too, but still). Which I respect a hell of a lot. And it’s nice to see the nice guys getting some recognition these days — reviews of All Things Are Light seem to be everywhere, and the album itself was released by highly-regarded Aussie psych label Camera Obscura. Twelve years down, and here’s hoping the band’s got at least another dozen in ’em.


Band writeup by . Band writeup posted Saturday, May 12th, 2012. Filed under Posts.

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One Response to “Yr. Weekend, Pt. 2: Alkari (Rev’d!) + Linus Pauling Quartet + Better Block + Benefit for Bill DeGidio + More”

  1. SPACE CITY ROCK » Yr. Weekend, Pt. 1: Featherface + New York City Queens + Snow Patrol + Guilt Party + The Suffers + More on May 18th, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    […] Suffers/The Failed Attempt/DJ Simmer Down @ Mango’s Ooh, nice. As noted previously, I’m not entirely sure which show’s going to actually happen tonight at Mango’s, […]

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