METAL MENTAL TESTIMONY
Like a Sabbath -- Black, that is -- for the new millennium, Detroit's 500 Ft. of Pipe blasts bongloads of Moog-metal testifying to the ascension of The Electrifying Church of the New Light, the name of the band's second full-length. 500 Ft. of Pipe drops bottom-heavy, MC5-informed, future-lingo-laden bricks of rock -- and they kick it bassless. Keyboardist-vocalist Ross Westerbur handles the low blows just fine, though, with the help of guitarist Kevin Edwards and drummer Mick Stone. The Electrifying Church of the New Light works for two reasons: Stone, Edwards and Westerbur keep the tranced-out jams that invariably fill their songs' girthy middles firmly planted in the earth while tripping out on the idea of space; and, perhaps more importantly, these guys realize all too well the necessity of raw-fucking-power to headphone metal and work their sci-fi thunder accordingly. Check your head this Saturday night, Nov. 14, at Alvin's (5756 Cass Ave., Detroit) when 500 Ft. of Pipe celebrates the release of The Electrifying Church ... The jams kick out starting around 9 p.m. with sets by the Motor City Burgers and Die Grinder. Call 313-832-2355.
Further proof that the race is not for the swift, but those who can endure are two releases from the Southwest Detroit-Oak Park tag team of the White Stripes and 2 Star Tabernacle. Both acts have worked the liveage much longer than most bands shooting out records, but the wait has been worth the while. The White Stripes -- comprised of husband and wife, Jack (vocals and guitar) and Meg (drums, tambourine, cardboard box) White -- have further extended rock 'n' roll as true populist art with the double B-sided 45, "Lafayette Blues"/"Sugar Never Tasted So Good" on Italy Records. Where most bands would be content to just get the led out and have items in bins, the White Stripes, in keeping with their complete aesthetic package, have managed to craft a musical and visual ear-and-head-turner -- and if you've seen them live, you know how a simple red cloth and the duo's minimalist-blues poetics can leave even a sparse crowd transfixed. The first side "B" travels scorched-blues terrain and launches into a rave-up capped by Jack White ticking off a dozen or so names of Detroit streets -- proper French pronunciation, of course -- Civic pride rides again! The second side "B," "Sugar Never Tasted So Good," reclaims from Robert Johnson the acoustic blues that Led Zeppelin swiped. Write Italy Records at 4530 Avery, Detroit, MI 48208 for more info.
Part deux of the tandem is a little more unlikely, certainly more unsettling and equally inspired. We're talking about ghost-of-Appalachian-folk-music-chasing quartet -- call 'em country if you wanna -- 2 Star Tabernacle's pairing with the lately ubiquitous R&B-crooner Andre Williams. The Williamses are in full effect as the A-side here is a cover of Hank Williams Sr.'s "Ramblin' Man" that finds 2 Star guitar-slinging frontman D. Buell Miller trading lyrics with Williams, Andre. A. Williams' "Lily White Mama & Jet Black Daddy" finds the sexagenarian in rare vocal rumble, sounding every bit the man your mother warned you about being sweet-talked by -- but creepier. Couched in the murder-ballad-tested interplay of Jack White (here playing piano and dobro), T. Racee Miller (bass) and Damian Lang ("The Drummer"), the effect of Williams' weathered growl should have you reaching for that special someone. Thank Chicago's Bloodshot Records for this inspired pairing -- write Bloodshot at 912 W. Addison, Chicago, IL, 60613. For more info, drop 2 Star Tabernacle a line at 23850 Majestic, Oak Park, MI 48237.
That's what you get for publishing just a little teaser of info: The details are sure to follow. IOE's learned that the Atomic Fireballs are holed up in a studio in Vancouver, B.C. with producer Bruce Fairbairn who is better known for rockin' albums such as Kiss' latest release Psycho Circus, slabs from AC/DC, Aerosmith, Scorpions, Loverboy, as well as work with the Cranberries and Inxs. To date, things seem to be going well. The 'Balls are also shuttling back to LA LA land to cut a tune for a new Matthew Perry-Neve Campbell flick ... Word is that they may even be in the picture, although it's not clear yet. The band should be back in town in mid-December with the folks at Lava-Atlantic shooting for a late winter-early spring release date on the album.