Monday, April 16, 2007


This weekend, I wanted to listen to Sensational's Loaded With Power, one of the most fucked hip-hop albums in the history of the genre. But I only own it on cassette, and when I went looking, it wasn't in the box I thought it was in. I did spot something else, though: Keith Leblanc's Major Malfunction. Also on cassette. I've owned it since about 1988, a year or so after it came out, but it still plays perfectly. I immediately threw it in the stereo, and high school came rushing back.

I was a big Tackhead fan in high school (roughly 1987-1990), from Tackhead Tape Time and Major Malfunction (and the 1989 follow-up, Stranger Than Fiction) through the "Ticking Time Bomb" single. I had Gary Clail's Emotional Hooligan album, too, and Metatron, by Mark Stewart, though I never did track down any of his earlier releases, with the Pop Group or as a solo artist. (As I type this, I'm downloading his 1985 album As The Veneer Of Democracy Starts To Fade, though...bless you, Internet.) When they hired vocalist Bernard Fowler and put out Friendly As A Hand Grenade, I lost interest, and the follow-up, Strange Things, was even worse. But before that, they were fantastic. I've spent much of this morning listening to Keith Leblanc's solo single "Malcolm X - No Sell Out" and a bunch of the early Tackhead and Fats Comet singles - "What's My Mission Now?," "Mind At The End Of The Tether," "Reality," "Hard Left," "O.K. Bye!" The combination of huge, hip-hop/pile-driver beats, noise guitar, jagged funk bass, and all those sampled vocals and sound's all one of the best things "industrial" music ever coughed up. Easily my favorite Adrian Sherwood-related project/direction (though I do love some Creation Rebel stuff). Go searching - there's a fair amount of Tackhead/Gary Clail/Mark Stewart/Keith Leblanc material floating around various MP3 blogs. If you already know, you'll spend the day blasting your skull apart like I'm doing. If you're a newcomer, oh man are you in for a kick in the ears.

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