Saturday, February 2, 2013

Bag of Hammers - The Linus Pauling Quartet (#2, 2012)

No way! It's The Linus Pauling Quartet again. (#14 of 2010, #3 of 2007, #2 Repertoire of 2005, #2 of 2003, #9 of 1995, #3 Live Shows of 2012 and #7 Live of 2010, with still more to come...)

Linus Pauling Quartet - Bag Of Hammers by audibletreats

Stream it all! Unusual for Linus Pauling Quartet, getting stuff out on the internet promptly. First they put together a media package after 5 or 6 albums, and now this! I blame/credit the PR firm.

"Victory Gin" from Bag of Hammers (2012)

Rather than start at the beginning, let's start at the most recent 'single' - other than the video for the free download of the not-included title-track (#4 Free, 2012) to the late-season archival 3xCD module-set (#3 Repertoire, 2012). Wait, what was I talking about?

Ah, "Victory Gin!" Check it out live at Walter's. A good melding of 2 sides of Linus: the more upbeat garage punks & the stoner-riff monsters. The lyric explicitly namechecks Soylent Green (1973), and possibly references The Omega Man (1971) - so maybe there's an old-school Heston dystopian sci-fi vibe underneath "the black flood?" The next song, "Starchimp," also quotes 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968, the book).

"Crom" from Bag of Hammers (2012)

So that's how the album opens, and the first official video (maybe ever?) from the Linus Pauling Quartet. Spoken-word intro comes from "The Song of Roland" as translated by C.K. Scott Moncrieff, read by Mlee of Hearts of Animals. Additional video introductory quote from Conan author Robert E. Howard - because, as y'all know, that's where Crom (fictional deity) comes from. Wow, that's a lotta Wiki links! O yeah, also "Crom" (actual song) rocks out real good, playing to strengths like - somewhat reminiscent of their original sw├Ârd metal anthem "Waiting for the Axe to Fall."

The next song, "She Did Not Know," sings about some girl who smokes too much of the weed. All of it, in fact. I mostly like the bridge (?) with the strident metalloid riffing & sustained, climbing lead. Check out the live reference demo rarity.

"Saving Throw" from Bag of Hammers (2012)

Oh, no! I'm out of YouTubes... Guess I'll have to do it myself. "Saving Throw" is a concept familiar to all table-top role-playing game (RPG) enthusiasts. "Wake up! Wake up! Raise your swords - There's a gibbering mouther among us!" Awesome blend of sizzling Cro-Magnon riffnastics & terrificly ludicrous lyrics about the Mind Flayers and psionic blasts and suchlike.

Wait, I forgot about "Rust" before that. Ofttimes mellowish & this time Mlee sings, until the levee breaks - check out the MySpace reference demo.

Bag of Hammers
We're almost at the end now. First we've got "Homonculus," a prime example of what was once called: "the obligatory Linus garage rock song. Always the shortest and fastest song on whatever Linus album it resides on..." Only technically correct in a very limited sense (shortest), I just like that quote a lot. This time it's more of a restrained-yet-tense slow-burn drone-build about, uh... schizoid-dissociative disorder? Pod-people parasitic-symbiote mind-control? The cumulative psychic stress-faults driven by anomie within the modern post-capitalist world? The homonculus metaphor has been under-served by our psych-rock forebears.

And finally, the closing epic "Stonebringer." I think I first heard this one at the Khon's rooftop show in Oct 2010. Great song. But the important thing to remember here is that "Stonebringer" of course bookends (after 17 years) the Linus Pauling's debut album closer "MourneBong." These are, naturally, the two Bongs of Power in the greater LP4 Mythos.

Cool, right?!

Genre - Heavy Stoner Psych-Metal Rock-core
Official/blog -
Myspace -
Location - Houston, TX

Review - Space City Rock
Download - Amazon, iTunes
Purchase - CDbaby

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