Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – “Baby 81”

BRMC might be the first band that Holly ever got me into, and I told a version of that story on my post about their album Specter At The Feast.  They, in turn, indirectly got me into The Kills, who I “discovered” thanks to playing BRMC on Spotify and having The Kills recommended to me.  The path of the music junkie is a crooked one.

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My version of Baby 81 came to me via the band’s website when they released some limited edition vinyl a while back, which included a 2X12″ clear version of this record.  Baby 81 is unquestionably my favorite BRMC record.  Why?  Just listen to side A – “Took Out A Loan,” “Berlin,” “Weapon Of Choice,” and “Windows.”  The sound is grimy, raw, and desperate rock ‘n’ roll.  It sounds painful, like the process of getting a tattoo… with that long, slow, needle burn across your chest while you just sit there and take it, with the drawn out guitar sounds and feedback sounding disturbingly like that tattoo needle as it tears its way through your flesh.  It’s music custom made for motorcycle riding, whiskey, black leather, cigarettes, and break-ups.  If you don’t do those things, you’ll want to take them up.  Immediately.  And side B just continues to bring it, from the plodding “Cold Wind” to the in your face “666 Conducer” (She’s got eeevverryyy oneeee…. to help her on her way…. dooowwwnnn…) to the resignation of “All You Do Is Talk.”  It’s a record I could just flip over and flip over and flip over… again and again and again.

In addition to the 13 tracks that comprise the original album, this particular vinyl version also has remixes of “666 Conducer” and “Am I Only” that are surprisingly good.

BRMC is the darker side of rock ‘n’ roll, a band I’m desperate to see live.  Baby 81 is a great introduction to their sound – I think it’s the most approachable of their albums, not quite as weighty as some of the stuff that came before or after, sort of moody and dark without being depressing.  I don’t even know what you’re waiting for… go get your copy!

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