Classic rock-styled bands playing original material that are content to rock without treating the form in ironic, pretentious or post-whatever ways have been in short supply since punk rock -- aided by the bloat of prog rock -- consigned them to the parade of passe. However, Madison's had some excellent, direct rock bands in recent years, many of which unfortunately have been met with disinterest by a public seemingly hungering for anything other than loud guitars and real drums.
There are exceptions that have captured a wider audience, though. Given a longer period of time together and without the barrier of its members' involvement in umpteen other projects precluding them from playing many shows, The God Damns likely would have built a devoted following along the lines of past local standard-bearers such as Shot Down. Those lucky enough to have witnessed these damned during the past couple years will be left with the memory of manic live performances, and probably a little bit of hearing loss. Thankfully, the group found time recently to record an album at guitarist Kyle Urban's just-opened Motorco Studios, leaving behind a final love letter to high energy rockin'.
This new release careens through eight originals (seven by Waylan Nate Palan, one by producer/engineer Urban) and two covers (of Chocolate Watchband and Paul Collins) in about a half-hour. Much of the disc sounds like a combination of the speed of The Damned's first album, the grit of The Sonics, and the grease of the New York Dolls, but the track "Call the Doctor" heads straight for AC/DC territory. The dual guitar attack of Palan (left channel) and Urban (right channel) is aided & abetted by the locked-in rhythm section of bassist Darwin Sampson and drummer Chad Ovshak (who are currently also members of Helliphant). These guys may wear their influences on their sleeves, but they pull it off without sounding derivative.
An MP3 of the track is available in the related downloads at right. More songs by the group can by listened to on its MySpace page. The God Damns will perform at Mickey's Tavern on Thursday, September 25 to celebrate the new album. The show gets underway at 10 p.m. with a reunion set from another Palan project, Electric Automatic. Though Palan has relocated to New York City, performing there under the Waylan Daniel moniker, he's returning to Madison occasionally over the next few months for some previously scheduled engagements with the Hometown Sweethearts, and picking up a few other gigs as well. He'll also play solo at the Weary Traveler at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, September 24.
MadTracks highlights and provides MP3s of songs performed by local musicians. All tracks here are provided with permission of the artist. If you are a musician based in the Madison metro area and are interested in sharing your work as a MadTrack, please send a message.