LBB Black Out
The Little Black Books have just raised the bar for local albums. Their new one, Black Out, is better than everything here and what MTV or any other media source is peddling. They are the new kings of the Duluth Sound.
LBB consist of Mark Lindquist on guitar, songwriting, and singing. You might remember him locally for the bands Giljunko, Mr. Lindquist, The Lindquists, etc. Or you might know him as the CEO and co-founder Shaky Ray Records, which also released the new cd. With The Books he is joined by the great young drummer Chunk, who also splits time in the same role with The Black Labels. Kevin Grapski, bass, also may be remembered by the band IPA. Lastly we have Bob Olson, from the band Father Hennepin. They were also assisted on the album by local music sages Mindy Johnson (Keepaways) and Eric Pollard (No Wait Wait or the now divorced Dukes Of Hubbard). Black Out has no one genre, but moves between sounds effortlessly. Of the nine songs, almost every one is a serious hit.
The album begins with the song, “Don’t Blame Keith Richards," and ignites the blast of music that follows. The tune is inspired by the Stones both musically and in subject matter. The best comparison would be to Jet, and keeping the torch of rock lit is always music to the ears. But it’s harder than the Stones or Jet; the guitar in the song slithers until it hits the open road and is napalmed in the changes.
“The String" comes next and highlights Chunks rhythm on drums, solidly complimenting the melodies in the song. “Promise" though is another hit on the CD. There is this Tom Petty beat in the intro, with Mark singing like a cross between Lou Reed and Bob Dylan. He has a classic rock sound and is true to the roots of rock. At the chorus though it is all Black Books and very modern. Mark sings about the “Secrets I know" and frames the words musically. There is an ache in his voice on this slower number and it gives character to the song.
Another faster tune, “Toughen Up", is about the darker side of nightlife. What makes the song is the fuzz tone solo on guitar. Mark sings, “I like the harder stuff" and about standing in the back of the room. Even harder is the tune, “Sentenced." This one has a quickened pace and roundabout guitar riffs. Kind of alt/punkish, the song moshes in the lyrics, “The devil lives."
They’re Never Wrong" deserves to put the town on the national map. It is an acoustic number set in Duluth. Mark sings about a man wanting to start a band and says, “Wants to start a band that sounds like Dinosaur, I won’t tell him he’s wrong, I’ll just help him along." This song is lyrically deep and has many meanings that could be derived. One that stood out to me was not telling people they are wrong for naïve things they do, but just to “help them along." In life we all do stupid stuff that no one corrects us on. We learn when we get older how naïve we were, but at the time it makes all the sense in the world.
The CD closes with a live recording of “Short Drive" that shows off Chunk’s skills, and “Black Out." It also ends with the listener wanting more.
The Little Black Books are playing at Pizza Luce on Friday, March 10 with The Keepaways and The New Vintage.