The Muslims at King Cobra, Seattle | 7 September 2008
I new that The Muslims rocked, but when I saw that their drummer plays standing up, beating on a huge standing bass drum I figured that they must rock even more than I thought. There is something about a drummer that stands up to play, it immediately gives the impression that he’s not messing around and not taking a back seat, so to speak. The Muslims weren’t messing around last night, blasting through most of their 12″ that’s out on 128 records. There’s not a whole lot of cerebral-ness going on with The Muslims, their sound is primal and immediate in the same way that so many other three chord punk bands have been in the past. But it isn’t really the tried and true formula, but the delivery. The Muslims came off snotty, but earnest playing first on the bill last night, people were just straggling in when they hit the stage. With singer Mat Lamkin half heartedly announcing, “We’re the Muslims” and guitars plugged in the band set about blowing the roof off the King Cobra with their early Sunday evening set opening for another San Diego band the Night Marchers. The guitars were loud to a point where it nearly hurt, but in a good way. Even when lead guitarist Matty McLoughlin broke a string mid set, the band continued to pound it out, refusing offers of another guitar. I guess that’s one of the advantages to playing three chords, no complications arise when a string busts. Who needs that sixth string anyway?
The band sometimes get derided for being the Strokes 2.0, but the Muslims incorporate a more diverse set of influences than the Strokes initially did. There is the obvious reference point of the Velvet Underground but the band also takes cues from the countless Southern California garage surf bands as well as punk precursors like the Monks. The also have recently chosen to cover another seminal band with their soon to be released next single containing a cover of Spacemen 3‘s Walking With Jesus. Last night they ended the set with the A-Side to the new single, Parasites. It’s easily the best thing yet from this very young band. It’s still based on a simple riff, backed up with a cool bass line and drums, not much different from their previous stuff, but you can hear the band getting more comfortable and more confident. Parasites is a stormer and that was the case last night. Maybe next time they’re here, they’ll do that Spacemen 3 cover. Can’t wait until then!
Here are a couple versions of the original by Spacemen 3. The song was originally released as a single that came out after their first album Sound of Confusion. As Spacemen 3 were wont to do, they re-recorded the song and put it on their next album The Perfect Prescription. The Perfect Prescription version is slowed down more gospel sounding song, a sound that Jason Peirce would go on to more thoroughly explore in Spritualized. The Muslims version, of course, takes the rocking version’s blueprint, but it does carry a lot of the intensity of the slower version as well. There are actually more versions of this song that Spacemen 3 recorded, a demo of it can be found on Taking Drugs To Make Music To Take Drugs To, I’d post that one too, but that would be overkill, wouldn’t it?
mp3: Spacemen 3 – Walking With Jesus (Single Version)
mp3: Spacemen 3 – Walking With Jesus (from Perfect Prescription)