Endless Boogie – Full House Head

January 01, 1970

(No Quarter)




Seldom has a band been named so
well as Endless Boogie, whose blues-clogged, diesel-fumed, body-moving grooves
run on into infinity. Named for a John Lee Hooker song and inspired by blues
rooted oddities from Beefheart and Canned Heat on down through ZZ Top, Endless
Boogie allows its ideas to develop slowly and through repetition. Full House Head, the band’s second
full-length, satisfies some primal thirst for guitar-bending, hard-chugging,
wah-wah wailing rock ‘n roll that, if you’ve been listening to the current crop
of chillwave, C86 clones or chamber pop, you may have forgotten you had.


Endless Boogie is fundamentally both expert and amateur. Its aesthetic is
grounded in fanatical, obsessive knowledge of rock music’s forgotten past. Singer/guitar
player Paul Major is better known for his vast record collection than for his
growled out Beefheartisms, while bassist Mark Ohe has a day job at Matador. Yet
though informed by deep knowledge, the band is also passionately amateur. There’s
a MySpace that hasn’t been updated for years, but no blog, no twitter, no
Facebook. Endless Boogie has never had a booker. If you want them to play, you
have to ask them, as outfits including Sonic Youth, Oneida, the Major Stars,
Stephen Malkmus and many others have done. They also ended up doing both of
their records, Focus Level and Full House Head, mostly because No
Quarter’s Mike Quinn asked them to. Left to themselves, they might have jammed
forever without ever appearing live or releasing albums (though there were some
rehearsal tapes, pre-Quinn, which circulated on radio stations including the
great WFMU).


Full House Head is much like Focus Level, a string of
incendiary, extended grooves, primitive in form, but pursued doggedly until the
weirdness starts to seep out.  “Empty
Eye”, the first cut, explores a four-note riff for nearly ten minutes, yet
rather than locking in, the piece seems to expand through repetition. The
steady chink of closed cymbals, the relentless thump of bass, the pendular
swing of guitar, all lay a foundation for Major’s hoarse exclamations, his
brief forays into smouldery blues guitar. You know, basically, what to expect
of each measure, but then, you know what to expect when you close your eyes,
too, and that doesn’t stop the colors from forming if you stare long enough at
the backs of your lids.


 “Tarmac City”
and “Mighty Fine Pie” are shorter, showier and more classic rock than blues
than the opener, a sludgy eruption of arena rock riffery. “Slow Creep,” near
the midpoint, is exactly what the title implies, ominous, radiant and glacially
paced, an acoustic blues interval between monumental edifices of chug.


Seven of these tracks were recorded conventionally, at the Rare Book Room
studio, with Nicolas Vernhas and Matt Sweeney. The final cut, “A Life Worth
Leaving,” was, true to Endless Boogie’s inwardly motivated, audience-oblivious
mode of operation, culled from practice tapes and never really intended for
public release. At just under 23 minutes, it’s a fabulous beast, heavy of
footfall and shaggily unkempt, circling endlessly round a single, central riff,
mostly calm but snarling sometimes with stinging wah-wah. It confirms what you
might already know, that the boogie goes on, whether you are listening or not,
and that its very finest moments just might be happening in a basement
somewhere right now with a tape machine running and just these four guys
communing with rock history, their instruments and themselves.


DOWNLOAD: “A Life Worth Leaving”, “Empty Eye”, “Mighty Fine Pie” JENNIFER KELLY



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