Can't Hold On - Black Lips

from the album Satan's Graffiti Or God's Art? (2017)

Perhaps the most important decision a band encounters when planning a record is the choice of producer.  This decision often determines the sound and success of the project.  Many top-tier acts repeatedly team with the same producer - The Beatles & George Martin, David Bowie & Tony Visconti, Elvis Costello & Nick Lowe - to achieve sustained excellence.  Others, like Bob Dylan, will work with a producer for three - or four - records and then move on.  This approach allows the artist to nurture and craft high-quality product over several records before moving on to new, ever-evolving iterations.

Atlanta-based garage darlings Black Lips tend to change producers with each record.  In their approach, the producer is a one-off collaborator, carefully chosen for their potential to morph the band's trademark sound in a desired direction.  For this reason, they included Patrick Carney - drummer for The Black Keys - on the production team for the band's 2014 album Underneath The Rainbow.

On their latest album - Satan's Graffiti Or God's Art - they have chosen Sean Lennon (John & Yoko's son).  I really dig the choice.  Sean Lennon is an incredibly gifted musician and producer, who has amazingly kept a low profile while honing his craft, avoiding hype and expectations while producing outstanding art.  If you are not already a fan, check out The Ghost Of A Saber Toothed Tiger (GOASTT), Sean Lennon's musical collaboration with Charlotte Kemp Muhl.  It is great stuff.

On the song Can't Hold On, you can hear Lennon's classic 60's psychedelic influence combine with the Black Lips fuzzed-out swagger to produce a stirring result.  There is danger in the vibe.  On this record, the Black Lips have also added saxophonist Zumi Rosow, whose performance adds an element of mayhem to this already menacing line-up.

By varying their Artist-Producer collaborations, Black Lips assure that they will preserve their music's edge while offering unlimited future possibilities.  It is an approach that I admire and find to be very much in-line with modern times.

Click Here to listen to the opening portion of Can't Hold On on SoundCloud.