Alive Naturalsound Records

Independent record label based in LA. Home to The Black Keys, Two Gallants, Buffalo Killers, Radio Moscow, Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires, Hacienda, John The Conqueror, Brian Olive, Black Diamond Heavies, Left Lane Cruiser, T-Model Ford, Thomas Function, Waves Of Fury, etc. More at

Saturday, May 24, 2008


Black_diamond1 The Black Diamond Heavies played at a venue called The Junction last night in the Ancient Cathedral City of York. They are an American two-piece, comprised of a drummer, and a lead vocalist who plays over-amped, heavily distorted Fender Rhodes electric piano. They basically make a sound which is like all the best bits from any good Detroit garage / RnB / southern soul band with an organ, with all the shit non-organ bits taken out and replaced by nothing but organ & drum breaks for an hour, and the organ is cranked up 100 times louder and uglier than any sound you've ever heard, and the drums are thunderously loud and funky, and you wonder after about 5 minutes of watching them why anybody would ever bother having any other instruments in a band, especially an electrified guitar, which the screaming Fender Rhodes does a fair impression of at times anyway, only better. The lead vocalist / keys player sings in the Louie Armstrong / Howlin Wolf / Beefheart gravelpit style, and plays simple bass lines on the lower end of his piano like The Doors used to do, thus erasing the need for bass players. When they hammer away at max. tempo, they sound like The Stooges, with the Ashton brothers replaced by a really really loud Fender Rhodes piano. When they slow it down and groove, they sound like a broken down Booker T & The MGs / the theme from 'Taxi' being run-over by a taxi. They are, in parts, genuinely funky, and as jazz as a rock concert gets these days. They swing. I preferred them when they were on this low-slung groovin' tip, but whether they were careering wildly through a crazed punk-blues or lazily loping through a Al Greenish soul number, they were pretty much better than anything else I've heard this year. If Black Diamond Heavies play anywhere near you, go see 'em, unless you've got something else on, in which case they'll understand and the gig will probably go ahead anyway. I mean, you can't get to everything right, people lead busy lives and there's the credit crunch to contend with, shit, I almost couldn't be bothered to go to this gig myself just 'cos it had got to 9.15 in the PM or whatever and I was watching 'Men In Black' on video (Tommy Lee Jones' character 'K' is a White Album fan, and there's a good Elvis gag too, what, like I'm menna be watching 'The Trip' or 'Apocolypse Now' or 'The Last Waltz' or some shit just 'cos I'm a Hip Rock Journalist?) but 'cos I'd promised the local support band (98 Pages: early 70s Sabbath / Hawkwind proto-metal, v, good) I'd go see 'em I dragged my sorry ass out the house for a couple of hours. All in all, Black Diamond Heavies are the best band in the entire history of last night in York, they've got a myspace or you can probably Google them or whatever. - Electric Roulette

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