Welcome to my latest obsession involving Alabama and big guitars. Vulture Whale hail from Birmingham and sound like huge chunks of my record collection bolted the stacks and formed a band. There are moments that remind me of Dinosaur Jr. (“The Waves”), R.E.M. (“Head Turner”), The Neckbones (“Guillotine”), Bare Jr. (“Rainbow Lies”), and both singer Wes McDonald and the band in general have a slinky, sexy, My Morning Jacket thing goin’ on. Apparently, vulture whales feed on the flesh of kickass rock bands.
To celebrate my latest investment in 180 gram vinyl — VW’s new, self-titled album, which includes a free digital download, hint hint — here’s a couple of songs I’ve played about 300 times in the last week. If you likes, check out the links below. FYI, Vulture Whale are signed to Skybucket Records, also home to the mighty Dexateens. That would be Alabama for the win.
What pop music should sound like. You got the lurching rhythms and angular guitars of early Archers Of Loaf (“Web In Front,” “Audiowhore”), girl group harmonies, a brief cameo by the la-la-las from “Trigger Cut,” and McDonald holds it all together with a great vocal, like a sans reverb Jim James. In fact, “Sugar” sounds like it might be kin to MMJ’s “Just Because I Do.” We might need to get DNA samples.
“I tried to come home once when I was a young man
I couldn’t remember right where I lived
Oh Annie, I might crash land it
I’m not coming in until I figure it out.”
Sure, I could talk about the Neil Young & Crazy Horse grandiosity. Or that, as an anthem, this stands toe-to-toe with “Teen Age Riot,” “Celebrated Summer,” and “One Big Holiday.” I could talk about brilliant dynamics, double lead guitars, lyrical rootlessness, and a half-dozen other things. But, the best thing about “Land It” is that it sounds like great sex. Dig it.