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Black Owls: June '71 (Amish Girls)

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Somebody recommended several weeks back that I check out Black Owls, a band from Ohio, describing the music as a mixture of psychedelic blues and glam-punk. Good call.

The band's second album shows off a sense of classic, take-no-prisoners rock 'n' roll, with an undercurrent of just enough artsy pretention. The rambling poetry and insouciance with which David Butler—who also plays drums—attacks his vocals recall Ian Hunter, and the band kicks it into overdrive like Mott the Hoople jamming with The Faces, but with the threat of the English punk-rock movement breathing down their necks.

In comparison to the relative innocence of 1960s psychedelia on the group's debut album, Lightning Made Us Who We Are, this one is darker and a little more confrontational. With the spirits of Iggy, Morrison, Bowie and early Alice Cooper hanging over it, the album feels genuine and a little stoned, as if it's observing a culture in which Woodstock is long over, and Altamont has left the music world with a sour taste in its mouth.

June '71 still has shambling acoustic guitars, but they are subordinated to motorcycle-roar electric guitar by Ed Shuttleworth and occasionally the warm charm of Mellotron, as Butler pounds on the drums convincingly. Decadent and ramshackle and glorious, it kinda makes me cry.

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