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Lunch tonight was: Carnitas, carnne asada and pollo tacos from the place by the Harley Davidson store. Washed down with a half litre Mexican coke!

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Alex V. Cook is an author, journalist and music critic living Baton Rouge, LA. His work has appeared in The Believer, The Oxford American, DownBeat, Paste Magazine, Hails and Horns and The Wire, and his first collection of essays Darkness, Racket and Twang: Essential Listening from the Fringes of Popular and Unpopular Culture was published by Side Cartel in 2006.

He is the music editor for, editor for Sweet Tooth, and a frequent contributor to 225 Magazine, OffBeat and Country Roads.

He is a founding contributor to the Badasses of Contemporary Composition blog.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Scraping up Krautrock's Resin: Guru Guru

Stoned is the new Wired. Many a band are jumping on the slowmoving badwagon of Queens of the Stone Age and the new "stoner rock" thing, but for my weed money, the finest crop came out of Germany in the late 60's in the fabled first albums of what became known as Krautrock: Ash Ra Tempel, Amon Duul (I and II), Can, even Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream -bands that later grew into much, much less groovy things got nervous when Der Kommisar pulled them over while doing 20 on the Autobahn. The crowning gem for many Krautrock enthusiasts (Julian Cope wrote an excellent book on the subject) is Guru Guru's 1970 debut UFO, and I tend to agree. This is what it sounds like in the head of a man when he plugs that nice Les paul in the effects pedal display at Guitar Center, the sun goes supernova with each power cord, throbbing in heavy heavy menace. What it sounds like to the other people just trying to buy some goddamn strings is irrelevant, they are not piloting the Death Star.

Guru Guru never went on to greater success like some of the associated groups did, and truthfully, their anonimity is somewhat deserved by their lackluster later work cracked out in the 9 years remaining as a band. But no matter. Most bands don't even have one good album in them, much less a great one like UFO

Guru Guru - "Stoned in"

and for grins, here is Tangerine Dream's semi-venomous first single "Ultima Thule" which catches the band before setting sail on the seas of cheese of which they later became master navigators, which recently came to my attention via WFMU's Beware of the Blog


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