Posted: Sep 12, 2008 12:34 am |
Edited by: jenna
"On their 1968 album Living the Blues, Canned Heat set some kind of jam-endurance record with the live 40 -minute track “Refried Hockey Boogie.” The New York quartet Endless Boogie go even further --79 minutes-- on their fantastic, note-perfect update of electric-blues drone and railroad rhythm, Focus Level (No Quarter). The album is divided into 10 so-to -speak songs, such as the Can-like chug “The Manly Vibe” and “Executive Focus,” a dead ringer for a 1971 Pink Fairies wig-out. But the cumulative effect of the hog -sneeze distortion, twin -guitar skirmishes and John Lee Hooker -style chooglin’ is nonstop stoner-rock delight. The vocals are cartoon -demon yowling, but the rest is as authentic as my old Groundhogs LPs. Singer-guitarist Top Dollar (the band members use pseudonyms) is also a renowned rare-record dealer -- real name Paul Major -- who has now made an album as freaky as those he sells."
-- Rolling Stone
Debut of the Month
"Imagine Kraftwerk's Autobahn rescored for monster trucks, and you're a little bit of the way to grasping the appeal of Endless Boogie's first album. Four music-industry guys of a certain age from New York, the Boogie (as one feels compelled to call them) might act dumb, but they're smart enough to understand the affinities between the fastidious, linear motorik of '70s Germany, and some of their looser, jamming contemporaries in North America and Australia. Consequently, Focus Level finds them selecting a bare minimum of riffs and rigorously sticking with them for a
very long time indeed. They chug, they choogle, they jam in a ruthlessly tight sort of way, and they're going to terrify the hell out of anyone who finds Southern boogie a tad recherché. There are times, in fact, when you could almost suspect Endless Boogie were some ironic in-joke for Stephen Malkmus' extended circle of friends: songs called "The Manly Vibe" and "Gimme The Awesome"; a frontman called Paul "Top Dollar" Major, whose singing chiefly consists of a series of scrofulous, good-ol'-boy hiccups indebted to Captain Beefheart at his most mannered and obtuse.
But for those of us who love AC/DC and their Aussie bootboy cousins Coloured Balls, who appreciate the first few ZZ Top albums, and who are gingerly considering a re-evaluation of Status Quo, Endless Boogie aren't some southern-fried guilty pleasure, they're a straightforwardly exhilarating rock'n'roll band. Apparently, Major is a dealer in rare records, so there are doubtless more obscure antecedents behind these ten superb tracks. Still, as the opening "Smoking Figs In The Yard" proves, he clearly understands that Malcolm Young and military discipline are the most important elements of AC/DC. He grasps that a record like this is obliged to have a Canned Heat tribute: it's called "Jammin' With Top Dollar", sweetly, and it betrays a deep working knowledge of "Spirit In
The Sky", too. And he knows the blues - the bandname comes from an old John Lee Hooker album, incidentally - can be stretched out as far as the event horizon, and can flourish when there's not much of a song structure to contain them. Focus Level lasts for all of 79 minutes, but it could happily go on forever."
"Day 14 of the Boogie. No end in sight. Starting to fade, need ribs and a beer. No band has made such a promise in their title in years, and here we are, NYC's Endless Boogie handily trouncing those private-press LPs you never found anyway and leaning into a jumbo set (busting at the seams with a 79 minute CD, and a vinyl edition with a bonus cut) of XL, bulk untrimmed jammin'. So singular in purpose that it almost seems like a joke, but rock of this nature -- hot-knife blues psych choogle with no monotony whatsoever, and a genuine, wide-eyed search in the guitar leads of Jesper Eklow and Paul Major, both with face-ripping tone and the knowledge of when to deploy it. So many hard rock bands have failed because they've tried to sound like a specific influence. That doesn't work.
The winners play to all of rock, not just some of it. Between Endless Boogie and the new Harvey Milk album, we're looking at an exemplary year for rock music from bands that make it sound alive again."
-- Other Music weekly update
"[Endless Boogie] gloriously reimagine the Velvet Underground as a biker band."
-- Time Out New York
"Grizzled, appropriately named meta-riff theorists chug and churn and wah-wah like a narcotized Molly Hatchet, with frontman Paul Major emitting inexplicable gurgles. Choice."
-- Spin Magazine
"It's some of the heaviest psych business we have heard in years and...will probably wind up being our favorite album of the year."
"...an extended pull from a mason jar of southern-fried, backwoods guitar firewater with a rhythm that almost reaches the zen-like Kraut-zone of repetition."
-- Dusted Magazine
"Endless Boogie, with their maximum, powerful and ridiculous extended improvisation on Trance... is the best kept secret in this fucked and boring city. God bless them, and protect them against all odds."
-- Vice Magazine
"Focus Level can largely be described with the language one might use for a barbecue chicken recipe--hooks are slow simmered and gooey, leads are greasy, and the skin is slightly charred."
"The way these guys ride out a groove will either delight you or defy you to play the album straight through. If you're an aficionado of stoned guitar squall or just pine for the days of the "gas, grass or ass" lifestyle, do not
sleep on this hypnotic hour-plus."
"If you can hear the universe in the sound of an electric guitar and suspect the secret to life is hidden somewhere inside a shuffle, then you might consider making Endless Boogie your new masters."
-- Village Voice
"...like some kind of stoned Kurt Schwitters... it's pretty clear that they are one of the best and weirdest groups playing in New York right now."
-- Weekly Dig.com
"This album is for everyone who's ever thought George Thorogood didn't finish the job. It gets further out as it goes on, like a long trance/raga record..."
-- Arthur Magazine
"Best album of 2000 - 2010."
-- Stephen Malkmus as featured in Crossbeat Magazine, Japan
"The fire that fuels this monster is made all the more intense by the obvious joy that exudes from each note, each shuffling inch of boogie that rains down from the speakers. These are the sounds like a band playing for themselves, forgoing the fickle taste of music's current trappings and flaunting rock in the midst of a town that's long forgotten how to be moved by rock."
-- Raven Sings The Blues.com
"I've been blown away this week by the first album from a New York band called Endless Boogie. Focus Level begins with "Smoking Figs In The Yard", and a Herculean chug that reminds me of AC/DC, with the solid machineriffing style of --Malcolm rather than Angus Young in the ascendant. As befits the work of men who clearly have that encyclopaedic, meticulous knowledge of rock history, it's easy to sit here and spot antecedents in their awesome, brooding jams. There's plenty of early ZZ Top, as you might imagine, some Coloured Balls, maybe a tiny bit of Status Quo and Canned Heat. And there's also a real sense that Endless Boogie have exploited the affinities between fiercely disciplined, linear southern jams and motorik. Focus Level; it's 79 minutes long, and right now I never want it to end."
"No band has ever seemed so joyful; no band has ever seemed less jaded. Of course, what's fantastic about Endless Boogie is that no band has ever needed to play rock & roll so little and so much simultaneously."
-- Fader Magazine