March 16, 2005

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Witch, Witch
Tee Pee Records, 2006

A high-wire attraction for the CMJ set wherein Dinosaur Jr. frontman J Mascis, one of his buddies and two members of Vermont nu-folkies Feathers use Black Sabbath guitars from 1972 as a delivery method for lethal doses of brand-name-recognition Tee Pee uber-hipness.

The idea was to present songs about souls of fire and black saints without being ridiculed as stoner-metal zoids or having any holes blown in Mascis’ triple-A alt-rock-relevance rating. For his part, Mascis has gone over to drums, a move that brings the band inadvertent street cred thanks to one or three moments of worrisome timekeeping, but this slack is picked up by Kyle Thomas’ control-freak Zep screams and Asa Irons’ lead work, which rivals High on Fire and even, yes, Iommi himself. Any potential St. Vitus comparisons are dodged not only by the presence of these capabilities but by the tunes themselves, profound in their headbangability, slam-blooz heaviness, Brian Jonestown Massacre peep-showing and old-style riffing for riffing’s sake. B-

— Eric W. Saeger


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