Song, by Toad


Black Market Karma – Cocoon

BL I know I write about a lot of undiscovered bands on this site, but honestly, how this lot have five albums out and yet are giving them all away for free when they are this good, and this accessible is beyond me. I mean, this is spiky psych-rock, but it’s not exactly terrifyingly rough, and the hooks are absolutely clear as day, right in front of your nose, and hummable as fuck.

The nature of their website and their label, Flower Power Records, which the band themselves seem to have set up so they could self-release in a slightly more formal manner, suggest to me that one of the reasons these guys are still basically unsigned and giving their music away for free is that instead of worrying about career path stuff, they just decided to make their music and get the fuck on with releasing it. Their statement that they started the label “to enable Black Market Karma to record and release their music as they want it to sound” certainly implies that they didn’t like the look of their options beforehand, anyway.

In any case, five records in, and after a lot of free giveaways, they are now on the verge of their first vinyl release. Annoyingly for the band, it’s not the record I am writing about here, but their latest: Semper Fi.  However Cocoon is the but this is the album I have been listening to so for now this is the one being reviewed, but you can download Semper Fi for free from here if you’d rather check that one out, with a view to purchasing the vinyl.

There is a Strokes-inflected psychedelic rock feel to most of Cocoon, although Hold Me Down has a definite flavour of Just Like Honey by The Jesus and Mary Chain.  Citing The Strokes in a review is always a tricky one, I have to confess. I think a lot of their work is monumentally boring, but First Impressions of Earth is a great album, and one with the bite and aggression that much of their other stuff sorely lacks, and that is the comparison I would make here. Admittedly a tune like Neutral lives up to its name a little too much, and there are one or two others which don’t quite catch fire as they might, but for the most part this is gleefully infectious, scuzzy guitar pop, played with a loose abandon and plenty of snap in the more raucous numbers.

Ultimately, though, this is just cracking pop music. Tunes like Sole Abuser and title track Cocoon can be hummed pretty much from the first listen, and I shall now be off for that free download of Semper Fi, very much hoping that it is as good as this album so I can get my hands on some vinyl!

7 witty ripostes to Black Market Karma – Cocoon

  1. avatar

    not bad

  2. avatar

    Indeed – growly and guitary, but not in the slightest inaccessible.

  3. avatar

    He does sound like Julian Casablancas at times, which is good.

    Have to agree to disagree about The Strokes though.

    While the third record has big guitar parts from Nick Valensi and better sounding drums due to the producer at the time, this was in an effort to cross over into the mainstream American rock market. I didnt enjoy the second half of the album.

    I guess we all have different ears, but the first record was the first to have that ‘band in a room’ sound for a long time (late 70s sound) and every song was killer, no filler. The sound for me was about the two guitars overlapping with Hammond Jr playying high rhythm parts and Valensi slightly beefier lead, and the drawl. Probably my favourite record of the time (hence the post). The second record (room on fire ) was great aswell, had bigger chops, but slightly fewer tunes.

    The third album you’ve discussed. The fourth I enjoyed slightly more than the third, as the first single is one of their best songs. The fifth I haven’t listened to out of fear of not liking it, as the free single I didnt like.

    But yeah, the third from last track on the black market karma does have a Strokesyness to it which I like.


    Strokes anorak.

  4. avatar

    I still have a white fender strat with a rosewood fretboard.

    I no longer have the hair.

  5. avatar

    I heard the single/EP The Strokes released before their first album, and the versions on that EP were looser and rougher than the versions they finally released, and consequently much more awesome.

    As it is, Is This It? wasn’t too bad, but the title was its own review. It was a rough, feral album with nothing rough or feral about it. Get that lot fucking smashed, tell them they were shit, and record the subsequent racket and I thoroughly believe those same songs could have produced a classic album.

    As it was, it was pretty tame, and lacked the immediacy or energy of the first recordings of theirs which I heard. We need more rage, and less proficiency.

  6. avatar

    I disagree, I heard the ( hipster lasagne reference here) Modern Age EP on John Peel and was hooked before the vocals started. It was great, as was the album.

    But thats just an opinion.

    The Strokes weren’t about rage, it was a celebration or something.

    There was enough rage at the time of nu metal.

    I just mentioned nu metal. Its time to let this all go.

  7. avatar

    Nothing to see here, people. Move along.

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