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Label News (more headlines) 06-19-2017

Profoundly Album LIGHTNING HEAD By Doug MacDonald Band Gets Six Scowls Out Of A Possible Five

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Email: Info@bongoboyrecords.com
Website: http://www.bongoboyrecords.com/
Album: Lightning Head
Band: Doug MacDonald Band
Record Label: Bongo Boy Records
Album Review by The Grouch | Sweden

God Morgon från Sweden America!
My apologies to the people at Bongo Boy, I had planned on having this review finished by the time we landed the other day.
My advice when flying Scandinavian Airlines, do not eat the concoction they call ‘fajitas’.

So, on with the task at hand. This time around the people at Bongo Boy were pretty excited for me to listen to a two piece band out of Boston they have signed. The name of the band is The Doug MacDon-ald Band. Boston has a special place in my heart as one of my favorite bands, the J. Geils Band, was out of Boston. I was saddened to hear of his passing. The Doug MacDonald is comprised of two people: Doug who plays guitar and sings and Patty Short who plays the drums. The name of their album is LIGHTNING HEAD.

In the name of full disclosure, I feel obliged to mention the elephant in the room. The White Stripes. De-spite being from my home town, I cannot, in all honesty, say I have liked anything I have heard by The White Stripes. Yet, every place I look there is Jack White hanging with some musical gods. I actually saw a YouTube video in which Jack ‘taught’ Jimmy Page how to play Seven Nation Army. Pity that Bonham is dead, I am sure he would have appreciated a lesson from Meg.

Having said that, I fully realize that The Doug MacDonald Band is a different band. Each band deserves to be taken on its own terms. I said it before and will say it again. I used to hate Country music and then Hank III showed me the light. Hank, if you don’t know, is one bad cat, who plays some killer music. The man has soul. Doug, it is with that in mind that I cue up your album.

Track 1 - Atomic Phunk 3:01: I dig the heavy roll that starts the song. I think this is going to be a surf jam, then I am proven wrong. I really dig the words. “I have a liquid lunch and get paid to smuggle im-migrants in my trunk.” This combined with the falsetto chorus makes for a very enjoyable song that makes me laugh - with them not at them. Somewhere during the song after the chorus I realize these two can really play. I mean the music is good. Very nice guitar work and Patty *is* a drummer. She is not a gimmick. Anyone who thinks women can’t rock is simply a moron.

Track 2 - Drawbridge Troll 3:45 - Nice guitar work starts before a frenzied vocal kicks in - I hear a Ra-monesesue 1 2 3 4 and boom the tempo picks up while the band goes into a simple progression. Hey it is Rock and Roll, and I am digging it. The words are humorous, yet pointedly sharp, as when Doug asks “Where were you when it was going down? Where were you when I was coming down?”

Track 3 - Mallory 2:38 - A melodic 1950s style sweet sounding vocal starts the song and then boom the band channels their inner ‘Mommy’s Little Monster” and goes into a jam that reminds me both of the Ramones and Social Distortion.
I have that goofy grin I get when I really dig what I am hearing. I am starting to really like this band! This folks, is classic Punk Rock in the making.

Track 4 - Downtown Crossing 3:07 - Oh yeah! Hit those drums baby, This is an ode to anyone who re-members the days when it is was dangerous to be a punk. I actually spent a lot of time in Salt Lake dur-ing the time period depicted in SLC Punk. The tribes were at war at that time. It sounds, from this song, like the war extended to Boston. It was not fun. It was not glamorous. The only really good thing was that the freaks found comfort and security in each other. As Doug sings in this song, a lot of time was spent blocking out the world. We covered our ear and sang “La la la la la la”.

Track 5 - Jason's Record Store 3:30 - God I did this song! We had record stores where I lived too. I could spend hours there. I can relate to the violence Doug sings about. This was back when the kids who were into ‘real’ Rock and Roll wanted nothing more that the start a fight with the kids who were into the Dead Kennedys. For those of you too young to understand, simply put if you did not agree that Eddie Van Halen was the absolute greatest guitar player on the planet, there were at least 5 or 6 football player types who were more than ready to beat some sense into you - literally. Funny, Doug sings that he still drives by Jason’s Record Store. The last time I was in Detroit, all the records stores I knew had long since closed up shop.

Track 6 - Silent Alert 3:32 - Nice fills start the song and then a piano comes in while Doug reminisces about hearing music from the VFW hall. The theme changes to the announcement of an Amber Alert. Then, is it a cello?, that starts playing tones appropriate for an Amber Alert. I find myself oddly memo-rized by the combination of the piano and strings. The only way to describe this song is beautiful. I am actually stunned.

Track 7 - Lights On 2:38 - I dig the beginning. Having learned to play drums listening to J, Geils Live Full House and Cheap Trick’s Budokan album I am reminded of Bun E. I like what Doug is doing with the guitar, but it is Patty that has my full attention. I really like her groove. Subtle, she gives Doug room to solo and make some noise, but this track is Patty’s show - hands down.

Track 8 - Shark Attack 2:27 - God I love well used feedback! Reminds me of the master, Iggy Pop. This song is just a blistering assault on the senses, that all of a sudden turns into a massive blues jam, before going into the Jaws theme and breaking out some killer two string licks. The goofy grin is back! Excel-lent work guys!

Track 9 - Open Window 3:03 - A hug wave of sound hit the listener and some blues based sounding gui-tar screams, then Patty cranks up the tempo and Doug goes into what I can only call ‘Cow Punk’. I mean the music is fast and furious, yet melodic and the lyrics would fit nicely in any Country song. Once again, I am pleasantly stunned.

So folks, what is the bottom line: LIGHTNING HEAD gets six scowls out of a possible five. Bongo Boy has released a lot of very good albums, but this is the best album by a single band that I have heard from this label. The music is fresh, poignant, original and well played. This is not hyperbole when I say, that to me, personally, this record is as important as Beggars Banquet, Cheap Trick’s Live at the Budokan or Social Distortion’s Live at the Roxy which although they all very different albums, each affected me profoundly.

The Grouch | Sweden

Album Info: https://bongoboyrecords.com/dougmacdonaldband

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