Endless Boogie - "Full House Head"
(No Quarter 2010)
From Aural Innovations #41 (October 2010)
Few things in life are what we expect. You can rely on so little. A few years ago after watching the Super Bowl with some friends at my house we all started getting the hungry pains. One of the guests offered to make grilled cheese sandwiches. This was a very nice gesture and knowing the bread and cheese we had when it was prepared I bit into it and it tasted exactly like what I anticipated. The same can be said for Endless Boogie. In fact if that sounds like a good name to you don't even bother with this review, as it is perhaps the most descriptive band name ever. These veteran rockers have been going at it under this moniker and under the radar for at least ten years now. I don't like to make comparisons but it becomes hard not to: Canned Heat, Creedence Clearwater, Groundhogs, ZZ Top, Stack Waddy, Stooges, MC 5, Thin Lizzy, you get the picture.
This is the group's second release and is another slab of hard delivered bluesy rock. However, they have thrown in some new touches. Most of the songs are still composed of twin guitar jams and some barely intelligible growls from Top Dollar. First there is a rawer Rolling Stones characteristic to the music and certainly the one-two punch of opening tracks Empty Eye & Tarmac City won't sound too dissimilar from the band's previous Focus Level. However, Slow Creep has them venturing into a slow crawl blues that takes its time before the one verse is delivered about 6 and half minutes in and than we get a nice closing 2 and half minutes. Not really sure what the verse is all about. It sounds like the ramblings you'd hear at a bar where its just a little too loud to follow the story and the teller is a little in the bag as are you. This different style was nowhere to be found on the debut. Further, the production is certainly better. I don't want to use the word cleaner, its not appropriate, perhaps less unwashed. After the one slow jam on the album Mighty Fine Pie will knock the boogie right back into you and is perhaps the best track on the album with more great dueling guitar and lyrics that, well, from the title you can see where this is going. Top Dollar Speaks His Mind is way far out; again the song title gives you an idea as we get some wigged-out ranting. Two more songs round out the album before closing with the epic A Life Worth Leaving taken from a live performance.
Endless Boogie is based in New York and this is where I became acquainted with them seeing them play shows. Until this album there really was no promotion of them, no web site to get info and certainly no twitter account to follow Top Dollar on. It seems the band's record label, No Quarter, is trying to alter this. As far as I know all the recent shows have been listed there. The live setting is still truly where the band is best heard. Usually playing for over an hour delivering two to three songs. When I first began seeing them I knew exactly what they reminded me of - The Velvet Underground Robert Quine Tapes. (This is a stellar three CD set capturing VU playing gigs in California. Each disc closes with 20+ minute versions of Sister Ray) as you can practically picture Lou Reed on stage without shoes and maybe a flower in his hair and he unleashes the psychedelic laced tracks. Endless Boogie even made this song a staple of their set for some time.
So with all that said what makes an album that doesn't have too many unexpected surprises worthwhile? Actually that is exactly it - it is a surprise that this can be so consistently great. Truly, what makes this so wonderful is even with all the mention of a singular sound and direction they are advancing this shit. Any great move forward takes from the past so why not? For my money in the mid-90's music began a great shift as nearly everyone seemed to be picking up on more of the obscure music from the 60's & 70's. There was a site called ebay that could place virtually anything you wanted in your hands provided you had the $$. Also major reissue campaigns started rescuing long thought lost or completely unknown gems. Prior to about '95 words like SpaceRock or Krautrock were often met with a silly laugh or skepticism. Nowadays virtually every article on music revels in these terms. Now don't misunderstand. I'm not claiming this to be the next Krauty SpaceRock band to come down the pike, just mentioning the fact that there is more room in music circles for variety in music. And that is what Endless Boogie has delivered, like true veterans of a music scene. Could this band be the next big thing? Probably no, neither the intention, nor the motivation. Still stranger things can and have happened and while this has seemed like a hobby perhaps we will see this mighty beast take a step into the light.
For more information visit the No Quarter web site at: http://noquarter.net
For a free listen to this group check out these 2010 Live Performance in Spain:
Or a live in studio performance from 2005:
Reviewed by Adam Strider