Giant Brain came about because of a painting, really… When Detroit art-tiste Mark Dancey painted what he thought Detroit genius-savant Andy Sutton’s brain might look like, the concept for a group came about one that would fuse all things good about Detroit music with the improvisational aspects of Krautrock. If only because the Giant Brain is native to the Motor City, one could think of Giant Brain as Can gunning a GTO down Route 66, or the Stooges speeding down the Autobahn in a late model Porsche.
Andy (bass, drum programs, and general concepts) had played in bands with his brother, Al Sutton, producer of records by such indie -rock stalwarts as Big Chief, Don Caballero, The Laughing Hyenas, as well as “stoner-rock” acts like Five Horse Johnson and Halfway to Gone. The siblings enlisted the musically and otherwise unemployed Philip Durr, former lead guitarist of Big Chief, and conveniently the only real Kraut in the neighborhood, and Al took the reins as editor/arranger. Together they began recording pretty much immediately. This Philosophy-101 musical method of thesis/antithesis/synthesis has finally yielded Plume, a merger of Krautrock and Stoner-Rock that will undoubtedly make Daimler-Chrysler wet its corporate trousers with envy at the Teuto-American synergy it can only dream to someday achieve.
As with the great Krautrock bands they so admire, improvisation is a major part of the Giant Brain, in-studio as well as live. The concept is devilishly simple: establish a basic premise, deconstruct, demolish and re-construct it, (if necessary) invite some friends to do whatever they’re good at, until the end-product is a right, mostly-instrumental, Detroit-cum-Stuttgart jam… Ear candy abounds on Plume, an album that should be experienced at least once with headphones and under the influence of something, anything. Live gigs, though rare, consist of the core band of Andy and Phil on stage with any and all manner of guest musicians, while Al mans the controls to create that “come-hither-so-we-may-rock-your-pants-wet” atmosphere out of the controlled chaos that is so desperately lacking from other, less off-the-cuff bands!
Plume is a record for fans of Kraftwerk and Kyuss, Neu and Blue Cheer, but we leave you with a word of caution: early versions of the Giant Brain’s Plume have been shown to cause impromptu outbreaks of provocative dancing. Consider yourself warned.
1. Raze the Leghorn Bar 03:58
2. Goddess of the Metal 03:50
3. Eating Cigarettes 04:45
4. Lefty Among the Leeches 03:05
5. Jesus Has My Leg 05:46
6. Stink of Two Men 03:35
7. Spatial Interpolation 04:43
8. Jimbo the Hutt 05:14
9. Way of Intercepting the Fist 04:47
Thunderous, fuzzed-out, heavy metal with a touch of grunge. A definite mix of early-’70s Black Sabbath and early Metallica (without the thrash, but with the James Hetfield vocals), with even a nod to White Zombie. Massive emphasis on a the fuzzy bass and bass drum. Lots of thud thud thud boom boom boom and plenty of tempo change-ups during the songs. The album begins with a sample of Yoda, and there’s even an Aerosmith cover as the extra song on track number 39. Forget the discordant, overly aggressive and pre-adolescent tripe that masqueraded as “metal” on the radio at the turn of the 21st century; go for something that has a bit more meat on it.
THE BOSTON PHOENIX
And the award for the best use of a Jedi master on a metal album goes to… Puny Human, who begin Revenge Is Easy (Small Stone) with an edited snippet wherein Yoda reminds us, “You must feel the Force around you…here, between you…me…the tree…the rock.” It’s all, of course, about the rock – in this case, guttural throb and boogie in the storied tradition of Sabbath, Cactus, Scissorfight, B.O.C.,, Clearlight, Blue Cheer, and Alabama Thunderpussy, with enough subterranean snarl and swagger that they haven’t had much problem covering Aerosmith or Skynyrd when the mood hits ’em. Their own songs ain’t bad neither, ‘specially the grindhouse muscle-car shitstorm “Jesus Has My Leg” (“Satan’s got my hand/Vaders in my head/ Leia’s not my friend”), “Goddess Of The Metal” (something about strippers and the apocalypse’ downright Danzig-ian), and yet ‘nother hyperdrive Star Wars nod, “Jimbo The Hutt.” And “Stink Of Two Men” has the strength of at least three. Drummer Ian Robinson has a cool day job as MTV News’ “metal correspondent”; The Puny ones have played up here almost often enough to qualify as honorary Rock City inductees, and they’ve got the Ironlung beards to prove it. Five Horse Johnson, Lamont, and Bottleneck Drag are also on the bill at The Linwood.
Hey, just when your thought your were safe from those damn tribute records, we decided to throw one at you. So you want the lowdown…well…take a look at the line-up below and imagine these underground power-houses aggressively kickin’ the jams of America’s finest rock n roll band. From acid to sludge to funk to punk to blues and beyond…it is all in there. The cover is rendered by the world famous Mark Dancey (Big Chief, Motorbooty Magazine).
Fireball Ministry – Movin Out
Altamont – Make It
Scissorfight – Lick And Promise
Atomic Bitchwax – Combination
Puny Human – Rock In A Hard Place (Cheshire Cat)
The Quill – S.O.S. (Too Bad)
Five Horse Johnson – Bright Light Fright
Honky – Adam’s Apple
Voltage – Draw The Line
Speedball – Rats in The Cellar
Electric Frankenstein – Sick As A Dog
Drunk Horse – Kings And Queens
The Want – Let The Music Do The Talking
Soul Clique – Last Child
Iron Boss – Train Kept A Rollin’
Alabama Thunderpussy – Sweet Emotion
Half Man – Round & Round
Roadsaw – Toys In The Attic
Solace – Nobody’s Fault
Natas – Remember (Walking In The Sand)
The Men Of Porn – Lightning Strikes
Gideon Smith & The Dixie Damned – Chip Away At The Stone
Raging Slab – Bone To Bone (Coney Island White Fish Boy)
Volume – Walkin’ The Dog
NovaDriver – Seasons Of Wither
Red Giant – Lord Of The Thighs
Core – Soul Shaker