The Brian Jonestown Massacre to get us out of Hump Day, in a session for John Peel at BBC Radio 1 – recorded on October 25, 1996 and broadcast on November 18th of that year.
The Brian Jonestown Massacre is a collective founded by Anton Newcombe in San Francisco between 1990-1993. Their first albums were compilations of multiple recording sessions and an early demo tape. It was titled Pol Pot’s Pleasure Penthouse. This release became a popular bootleg.
A second album, Spacegirl and Other Favorites, was released in 1993 as a vinyl-only release and was compiled from what Anton called his “studio trash”. The album includes “Hide and Seek”, which was released as a single in 1994. The band’s follow-up album, Methodrone, was developed largely out of the concepts explored on ‘Spacegirl’ and heavily influenced by the shoegaze genre that had gained prominence several years prior to its release. The album’s ethereal rock sound is comparable to bands such as Galaxie 500, Spacemen 3 and My Bloody Valentine. Two tracks from the album, “She Made Me” and “Evergreen”, were released as a double A-side single in 1992. ‘Methodrone’ was recorded primarily at a studio in the Hunter’s Point region of San Francisco called The Compound, where Naut Humon provided an environment for Anton to record for hours on end.
Over the next couple of years the band would shift its sound from their more shoegaze, goth, and dream pop influences of the 80’s and 90’s into a 60’s retro-futurist aesthetic. As lineup changes persisted, the band continued to record and in 1996 released three full-length studio albums. The first of these, Their Satanic Majesties’ Second Request reflects a pastiche of 1960s psychedelia. The album also includes vast experimentation with a variety of different instrumentation including Indian drones, sitars, Mellotrons, farfisas, didgeridoos, tablas, congas, and glockenspiels. The title of the album is a play on words of the Rolling Stones’ 1967 album Their Satanic Majesties Request. Anton has similarly named songs and records this way throughout the band’s catalog.
The band’s second album released in 1996, Take It from the Man!, is rooted heavily in the maximum rhythm and blues aesthetic of the 1960s British Invasion. The album includes the song “Straight Up and Down”, which was later used as theme music for the HBO television drama series Boardwalk Empire (2010–2014), and was engineered by Larry Thrasher of the influential group Psychic TV.
Fast forward to 2019, Brian Jonestown Massacre burst into the new year with the release of their 18th full-length album, just 7 months after their last one. The self-titled 9-track album is released on Anton Newcombe’s A Recordings on 15th March 2019. It was recorded and produced at Anton’s Cobra Studio in Berlin.
The album was originally going to be released in September, but due to a hugely successful global tour – taking in USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Europe the release was delayed.
Recorded this time last year, the album features Sara Neidorf on drums, Heike Marie Radeker (LeVent) on bass, Hakon Adalsteinsson (BJM / Third Sound & Gunman & Holy Ghost) on guitar and Anton Newcombe on multiple instruments. Also making a guest vocal appearance on ‘Tombes Oubliées’ is Rike Bienert who has sung on previous BJM albums. The band performed songs from the album throughout the European leg of the 2018 tour.
Anton Newcombe has been a very busy man these past 5 years, having released 4 critically acclaimed Brian Jonestown Massacre albums and an EP, 1 soundtrack album and 2 albums with Tess Parks. All releases were fully recorded and produced at Anton’s studio.
The Brian Jonestown Massacre track ‘Bon Bon’ was used in the 2015 Palm D’Or winner Dheepan. Anton penned the soundtrack for ‘Moon Dogs’, a film directed by multi-BAFTA nominated Philip John (Svengali, Downton Abbey, Being Human).
To get an idea of what they were up to in 1996, here is that Peel session, as it was originally heard on November 18, 1996.
You really DO need to crank this one up.