Fricke's Picks: Meet Boris, A New Blue Cheer


opened their July 10th show at New York's Webster Hall the same way the Tokyo ultrapower trio start their new album, Smile (Southern Lord): with a cover of "Flower Sun Rain," by the Seventies Japanese band PYG. On record, the song begins in a boxy mono, as if the band is in an atomic-era bunker. By the end, the track is — as it was in concert — unholy majesty, with distended fuzz-ball chords and corrosive mourning cries by guest guitarist Michio Kurihara, who did the honors live too. Drummer Atsuo, singer-bassist Takeshi and guitarist Wata make a Blue Cheer-quality noise onstage and on their many records since 1992. They are also one of extreme metal's most dynamic bands, and Smile packs their gamut into an action set of thrash-on-steroids ("Buzz-In"), devil's wah-wah ("My Neighbor Satan") and heavy elegy ("You Were Holding an Umbrella"). The untitled closing track was also the show's finale: a fierce cleansing grandeur, with Kurihara, of flattening power chords and choral feedback that, as I walked out of the gig, made me smile — wide.

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David Fricke

Rolling Stone senior writer David Fricke has more than 10,000 albums in his New York apartment. His first record review for the magazine was Frank Zappa's 'Sheik Yerbouti' (RS 290).

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