Hailing from Athens, Greece, 4-piece HEAD ON have just dropped their brand new 2-track digital, on 7″ vinyl later in the year, single “Robert Christgau//Greil Marcus”, dedicated to the infamous and iconic (along with Lester Bangs) American music critics, journalists and cultural agitators.
The band combine ’80s-tinged dark post-punk atmospherics with 90s grungey noise-rock heaviness to create a poignant sound which is equal parts melancholic guitar dissonance, snarling vocals and all-out, fists-in-the-air driving rock, as aptly displayed on their 2018‘s debut album “Ubik”.
An ode to Robert Christgau, the legendary music critic from New York City, who was a senior editor at The Village Voice for over thirty-seven years and wrote for such iconic publications as Rolling Stone, Esquire, and Playboy magazines. More than a sound critic, his reviews cover a wide range of pop culture phenomenon ranging from “Marxist-adjacent cultural commentary, feminist debates over pornography, and even books about the past decade’s financial crisis.” Self-titled nickname, Dean of Rock Critics, spawned from well respected hierarchical grading system used to rate albums in a weekly column entitled “Consumer Guide” which consisted of minimal reviews with a grade of A+ to E-.
Nostalgic lyrics make candid references to Christgau‘s reviews as well as the aspirational statement, “I’d love to get an A+ someday” in honour of his famous quote, “An A+ record is an organically conceived masterpiece that repays prolonged listening with new excitement and insight. It is unlikely to be marred by more than one merely ordinary cut.”
Ominously shimmering, repetitive 6-strings melodies eerily pluck, swelling amid hypnotic resonant taps, as subdued, slightly caustic snarls call out, “Robert Christgau?” while a quivering bass note eerily drips through the building anticipation. Abrasive metallic guitar riffs, heavy pounding drums, and grinding basslines scrape toward classic rock echelon hosted by boasting, sassily swaggered male vocals in an anthemic shout out for the legendary critic. Tribalistic beats and bleeding guitar solo needlings make for an entrancing initiation into the esteemed ranks of Christgau‘s column.
Hypnotically intense, the red and black visual accompaniment is a simple computer illustrated bi-colour collision dramatically clashing to create a swirling vortex of a double helix with mysterious sunglasses atop an invisible man while shattered glass segments slice and divide the image into different perspectives. A likely abstraction of the mysterious multi-faceted man himself!
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