Thursday, August 2, 2012

Concrete Blonde - God is a Bullet

Concrete Blonde came out of the post-punk LA scene and became an influential alternative rock band, one of several who drove indy rock's explosion in the early 1990s.  In this regard, they loosely fit in with The Pixies.  However, Concrete Blonde also had a distinct sound with thoughtful lyrics that made that somewhat unusual.  And as you'd expect, this led to more popularity among music critics and college students than the general public.

The band was led by singer/bassist Johnette Napolitano and guitarist James Mankey, who had worked together as Dream 6 in the early 1980s.  By 1986 they had generated enough buzz to be signed by I.R.S. records, where label-mate Michael Stipe (of R.E.M.) suggested their name.  The term Concrete Blond was a derogatory term referring to the bleached blonds of the LA hair metal scene, but in interviews the band claimed that they just liked the term, as it had both hard and soft connotations which seemed to suit their style.

In typical ERV fashion, we are going to skip over the band's big hit, "Joey" (which is from 1990, anyhow) and present "God is a Bullet" from 1989's Free LP.  The song did not chart on the main charts (it did hit the Modern Rock Tracks) and I don't recall seeing the video at the time. However, it is a really solid, driving rock song -- perfect for the blog.

Concrete Blonde would have major success with their 1990 album, Bloodletting (which contained "Joey") and released a few additional albums in the early 1990s before breaking up.  They re-formed in the early 2000s before breaking up again in 2006.