White Hot Peach by Primitive Radio Gods
The major label system can be quite a bitch -- just ask Primitive Radio Gods. Following the runaway success of their first single, "Standing Outside of a Broken Phone Booth (with money in my hand)" and their subsequent debut album Rocket the band caught a raw deal on more than one occasion. Label mergers, label collapses and all that other crap nobody ever talks about -- it all happened to them on at least one occasion. Four years down the road, the Primitive Radio Gods have finally gotten around to releasing Rocket's follow-up.
The terms of White Hot Peach's release are interesting in their own right. In lieu of a massive barrage of little plastic cases stacked to infinity in your local record shop, the band has decided to release the album, at least for the time being, as a free MP3 download from their own website (or via the notorious MP3 dumping ground that is Napster). It's an attempt to test the album's viability in today's oversaturated, cuddly pop fixated market. Luckily for them, the Primitive Radio Gods have the tunes to cover their bet.
White Hot Peach displays a precise and inventive nature that has a lot in common with Guided By Voices' Do the Collapse. Originally titled Mellotron On!, this is as fully realized a pop rock album as you could ask for. Whereas lead singer/songwriter Chris O'Connor recorded Rocket by himself in his friend's garage, White Hot Peach is a fully collaborative effort. Capitalizing on the full band format, O'Connor has expanded the group's sound to include subtle electronics, sampling and densely layered sounds. "Devil's Triangle", for instance, is a full-bore rocker with multi-tracked guitars and fantastic drumming, while "Skin Job" is a sensitive, acoustic guitar-driven ballad that screams "radio hit". "Motor of Joy" and "Whatever Makes McCool" utilize samples and odd dialogue snippets to create an otherworldly ambience that's ghastly, yet oddly inviting.
I hope that a new generation of music fans is willing to embrace the off-kilter rock stylings of The Primitive Radio Gods. If you're looking for proof that the major label man can't hold a good band down, check out White Hot Peach.
-- Jason Jackowiak