The Warlocks – The Phoenix Album

The WarlocksThe Phoenix Album (Birdman)

Almost as soon as I put in the new Warlocks album, I felt that familiar metallic taste in the back of my mouth. I took a deep breath and stretched out as “Shake the Dope Out” swirled around the room with its chugging, Velvety guitars and organs. And the background vocals going la la lahhhhhh. Ahhhhhh.

The Phoenix Album will keep you clenching your teeth and seeing visuals through every one of its sixty-four minutes. It’s sequenced to be the soundtrack for a perfect, one-hour rock and roll trip, complete with peaking and coming down and lots of good noise in between.

“Hurricane Heart” contains the coolest one-note bass line ever recorded, and “Baby Blue” could be a Banana Splits song if not for the degenerate bass line and drum parts. But you can’t go wrong singing about pretty pictures and circular cars, disco bars and cool guitars

While drugs are certainly not required to enjoy this album, it might be hard for a clear-headed listener to make it through all 9+ minutes of “Cosmic Let Down,” especially its two-minute finale of a single key held down on a solo Farfisa organ. But sticking with it will make the poppy track that follows sound even fresher in comparison: Oh, don’t you worry, I’ll be all right, I’ll be all right… Oh, the dope feels good.

Sometimes it’s hard to remember that there was only a year or two between the apex of American garage punk (1966) and the dawn of psychedelia (1967-68). And don’t forget that at the exact same time that a million teenagers across the world were trying to figure out the chords to “Get Off Of My Cloud” there were a handful of kids eating shitloads of acid and then making music to take it to… I can only imagine that the Warlocks’ “Inside and Outside” sounds like what it must have been like to be one of those precocious kids who happened to find himself drooling at the 1966 Dylan performance in Newport. It’s even got a Bob-like “Awwww” and a harmonica solo! But then it rides the groove right off the edge into classic psych territory complete with a moog freak-out and a false ending. Far out.

Phoenix is a great album in the all too rare style of music that falls somewhere between garage rock and psych, before the kids got too self-conscious and too self-aware to want to rock out and dance, and still wanted to just make some noise!

5 thoughts on “The Warlocks – The Phoenix Album”

  1. dear freinds,

    two days ago i got a chance to listen to the new warlocks disk.i had just got back from being in the studio all night so my ears were kind of thrashed but frankie put it on his shitty stereo for me to hear.i think it’s good!i was starting to feel kind of sad that i am ditching our experimental side for our new brittish album.their record sounded so over-the-top with all that junk piled on.then i noticed they thanked us in the liner notes.everything is ok after all.i wish them the best.

    thanks katznelson for putting out a fine disk.

    anton alfred newcombe

  2. I’m having a very difficult time finding the Warlocks Phoenix album. Ive tried dozens or record stores around the Chicago area (my home). If anybody out there could recommend a web site or a store where i could purchase this album, i would be very much obliged.

    -Shaun Hayden

    *I would also like to mention that i am honored to be posting alongside anton newcombe. I discovered The Brian Jonestown Massacre just last month, and alreay they have become one on my favorite bands, keep up the good work!*

  3. The Warlocks are one of the best bands to come down the road in many, many years. Shaun, I got mine by having Val ( of Val’s Halla Records in Oak Park ) order it for me. Record store owners are leery of stocking stuff that’s not mainstream, for fear that they might end having to eat it. By the way, I’m also a fan of the Brian Jonestown Massacre, but I keep missing them when they come to Chicago. It’s usually a late weeknight in the heart of winter. Hope I catch them this time around.

  4. Try They have all the albums listed there. The Warlocks and BJM and other fun things to listen to.

    I keep missing BJM every time they’ve come to town. why? damnit. But I did see the Warlocks at the Double Door in november and they blew me away. “Pheonix” is a gem. The Warlocks have this capability of making you feel like you’re on hallucinogenics when you’re not. cool.

  5. Umm…I don’t know how I feel about these guys. On the one hand there’s some catchy stuff on this album, on the other hand I saw them live in New Brunswick, NJ when they opened up for BRMC and they pretty much sucked it. Weren’t The Greatful Dead known as Warlock for a while? Anyway, not an essential record in anyone’s collection. Cute tambourine girl :)

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