|One of the great things about being a reviewer is all the great tuneage I get in the mail. I hear everything from one-man basement bands to well-known "major" label types, so something's really got to grab my attention in order to get me to part with my hard-earned shekels. Such was the case with Lord Sterling's previous effort, 'Weapon of Truth'. Reliable sources indicated that these bad Jersey shorecore mofos had something weird and wonderful going on, something nobody could quite put their finger on. It turned out to be true.|
Lord Sterling are tough to categorize. Unmistakably heavy but not monumental, they mix up everything from space to psych to garage in a blues-based stew that will never, EVER sound normal, no matter what they do. It seems that they just can't help themselves. So I was delighted to hear that the band had jumped ship for one of my fave labels, Small Stone. Knowing the label's predilection for Detroit ca. 1970, blues-based rawk, however, I wondered if the Lord' could retain their commitment to idiosyncratic eclecticism, or if they would allow their own tendencies towards The Stooges and MC5 to predominate. Well, I'm here to tell you that 'Today's Song for Tomorrow' has more of everything they do: more psychedelia, more punkish dissonance, more space, and yes, Detroit is in there, too. This is the best yet that I've heard from these guys. 'Pivotal Planes' leads things off in heavy, Hawkwind-ish style with plenty o' brain damaging effects. The interesting, mellow 'Thread Will be Torn' sounds like 'Ege Bamyasi'-era Can mixed with Spiritualized and The Velvet Underground, providing an interesting changeup. 'Password' has a Sonic Youth vibe, with lead-in vocals that are a dead ringer for Thurston Moore. In classic Lord Sterling fashion, they provide a cover from a well-known band. The last go 'round it was the MC5 chestnut 'Black to Comm', this time they provide a faithful version of Pink Floyd's 'Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun'. Man, how I love that song! Yes, its a faithful version....until Bink Ryan's vocals go into edgy overdrive, as they are wont to do. At that point he starts sounding more like Hank Rollins than Roger Waters, but its all good. I suspect that Mike Schweigert is responsible for much of the eclecticism in the music, which goes beyond the standard guitar/bass/drums to include harmonium, shenai, and lots of analog synth. Jason Silverio's drums are right-on and never obtrusive, and bassist Jim Baglino's work shows that his talent extends well beyond providing the low end for his day job with Monster Magnet. Additional talent is provided by man-about-'Jersey Keith Ackerman and Nudeswirl's Shane Green, among others.
It would really be impossible in the space allotted to accurately describe this band, but if you're into anything from The Stooges to the MC5 to Hawkwind to Novadriver to The Glasspack to Can to The Atomic Bitchwax to Sonic Youth (whew!), then you've got the spirit to get into these guys. And hey, Lord Sterling and Small Stone seem to be a good match! The label gets another set o' high quality tuneage, and Lord Sterling doesn't compromise an inch in their journey up the Mountain of Strange Ideas to wherever it is they're going. Whether they fall off a cliff or make it to the summit, it’s a journey well worth taking.
1. Pivotal Planes
2. This Time It's for Real
3. Hidden Flame
4. Thread will be Torn
6. Poison Lips
8. Tough Times for the Troubadours
9. Today's Song for Tomorrow
10. Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun
Duration : Approx. 55 minutes
Visit the Lord Sterling bandpage.