If you’ve visited a record store lately, you may have noticed a curious item of local origin. It’s a grotesque assembly of neon green and black, and if you can fight the repulsion of that color scheme for 20 seconds, you’ll see that it’s Mind Losers, the debut album from L.U.N.A.R. Revolt. The cover art sees some sort of otherworldly battle scene involving the moon, a dragon and a tangle of snakes that seem to form a potent beast. The whole scene, I’m told, was made from clay. Inside, you’ll find a depiction of a skull wearing a space helmet. Songtitles on the album include “Intergalactic Terrorists For Hire” and “Beyond the Oort Cloud, Non-Brother.”
“No man, we’re not some space rock band. Only a few songs are about space,” says Rod Binyone, bass/keys/vox in L.U.N.A.R. Revolt, before taking a pull from a bottle of beer and slumping further into a rotting bench. We’re on the patio at a bar in North Philly, and he’s talking about the band he plays in with a pair of longtime pals now going by the monikers Settington and Bouvier. Binyone maintains they’re not just some goof project for friendless spacey geeks.
He’s coy about any possible meaning to the acronym. “Does it stand for Living Under a Noble Alien Race?” I ask.
He laughs. “What? That’s pretty good. But, no man, that’s not it.” He bends down the brim of his ballcap a little further. It almost meets his nose. “All the sci-fi stuff ... that’s just what we’ve been into. John Carpenter movies, soundtracks, stuff like that. And Mexican and South American psych rock.”
Hidden under some space-rock trappings like phased guitars and synths, Mind Losers (recorded in equal parts by Jeff Zeigler at Uniform Recording and at the band’s own Stewd Studios) is eight tracks of meat and potatoes, stiff-lipped, dirtbag hard-rock. The band owes about as much to Hawkwind’s airy explorations and Chrome’s robotic punk as they do to Phil Rudd’s stubborn 4/4 march and K.K. Dowing’s single-noted chugging. Take “Excuse Me For Living,” a stomping tune with a menacing blues metal riff that breathes like some of Iommi’s best work. It’s got some vacuum cleaner sounds on the guitar, but it pounds ahead hard enough that you barely notice. Any space nods are flourishes, not a blanket to hide under.
These are guys that should have no trouble conjuring up hard basement rock. They’ve been playing together in different combinations for the better part of two decades, notably in maximalist partiers Excelsior and Mountain High. Nimble-fingered guitarist Chris Staley was at the eye of those two storms, and L.U.N.A.R. Revolt’s stripped-down, three man lineup gives him the room to really work-over the fretboard.
Binyone tucks a marijuana cigarette behind his ear and eyes a discreet corner. He dodges any intergalactic interpretation of the lyrics. “The songs are mostly about ‘staying positive in a negative manner.’ We have no theatrics, no stage presence,” he says and wanders off past some rusted bikes and a trash can. “We’re just three guys attempting to rock.”
L.U.N.A.R. Revolt perform Tues., June 5, 8pm. $5. With Doomed to Obscurity + Autolyze. Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 N. Front St. kungfunecktie.com