I’ve got a news flash. Rock’n’roll is not dead. Enough with that already. No it’s not what it used to be, no it’s not at the center of the pop cultural universe but can we stop with the witless headlines that arise pretty much every year about rock being dead, or indie rock being dead, or whatever preferred “death of the month” is being declared. I mean sheesh. It is a meaningless and idiotic editorial trope and any editor who runs it is lazy and any writer who writes it is a narcissist. There. I said it.
Rock’n’roll is not dead because there are still rock bands making it, and if you are one of those people who need your rock music to be revolutionary and without precedent well boy have you come to the wrong genre in the first place. Rock bands have been reworking the classics since before Led Zeppelin was ripping off Willie Dixon. So, okay, here’s Brooklyn’s Your 33 Black Angels, and this one just kills it: the vibe is terrific, the guitar riff insistent, the lyrics slippery but compelling, and the organ fills are perfect. (Do not underestimate the organ in the rock’n’roll bag of tricks.) And then there are the little, unutterable things. One example: early in the song (0:26), when the singer sings, “I was just reminded,” and there’s that long and perfect pause between “just” and “reminded,” and it’s exactly the kind of thing you do if you really know how to write songs. In the end there is something so precise and exquisite about this seemingly rough-hewn song. It sounds like something Ron Sexsmith would write if he were in a band with Neil Young.
Your 33 Black Angels is an elusive and idiosyncratic crew, encompassing at least eight musicians, who prefer to go by names like JW, D. Zots, and (my favorite) J. O! (exclamation point included), while apparently utilizing the additional services of “countless others.” “Patient Love” is a song from their fourth album, Moon and Morning Star, which was self-released last week. The band was previously featured here in October 2008. MP3 via the music site Consequence of Sound, and although the link looks generic and sketchy, this was an official premiere so it’s all above board.