Sunday, July 27, 2008

King Khan & the Shrines Might Be the Funnest Band You've Never Heard of

I first decided to listen to this band based solely on that totally freaking rad album cover. I mean, wouldn't you listen to a band that looked like that? It's really a no-brainer, if you ask me.

For those who aren't familiar with King Khan, his story is kind of a confusing one to wrap your head around. For the last 14 years or so he's been involved with various garage and psychedelic rock outfits, beginning with Montreal's The Spaceshits, The Kukamongas, and later Les Sexareenos, eventually launching the King Khan brand in 1999 into three different incarnations; King Khan and His Lonesome Guitar, King Khan and The BBQ Show (a punk-garage duo), and King Khan and the Sensational Shrines. Along the way, his posse of bandmates has grown into quite a cast characters, including various horn players, percussionists and even a cheerleader. The result is a raucous mix of psychedelic Nuggets-era garage and Soul rife with more toe-tapping jams than your feet can handle.

While he's released three albums with The Sensational Shrines, most of them have flown way under the radar due to their limited distribution in the US. Their new record label, Vice Records, released The Supreme Genius of King Khan and The Shrines as an effort to erase that relative anonymity by showcasing the best material from those albums along with a handful of newer and previously unreleased songs. Basically, it's the perfect primer for anyone looking to experience the King Khan rollercoaster for the first time.

I've had this album for a little over a week now and I can't stop listening to it. Perhaps it's because of how well they pull off the whole garage rock thing. I've long been a huge fan of 60's garage/psych rock like The Creation, Count Five, and the Kinks, so when a contemporary band can recreate that style without sounding derivative (think Band of Bees and not, say, The Hives), I am totally sold. Add in the over-the-top bombast of King Khan himself, and the combination is lethal. I can only image how completely awesome it must be to see these guys in concert. For now, I got a bunch of sweet jams to keep myself occupied.

King Khan & The Shrines - "Torture" (from The Supreme Genius of King Khan & The Shrines")

King Khan & The Shrines - "Burnin' Inside" (from The Supreme Genius of King Khan & The Shrines)

King Khan & The Shrines - "Destroyer" (from The Supreme Genius of King Khan & The Shrines)

King Khan & The Shrines - "Que Lindo Sueno" (from The Supreme Genius of King Khan & The Shrines)

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