Gallery of Mites

Bugs on the Bluefish

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Not a band in the traditional sense, but a true musical collective with a "darker side of the '60s" sort of vibe, the Gallery of Mites (they boast an amazing ten official members) read like a who's who of New Jersey's stoner rock royalty. Spearheaded by Monster Magnet drummer Jon Kleinman alongside that band's sixth member, original vocalist and minister of visual propaganda (i.e., lights and psychedelic slide show) Tim Cronin, the group's Bugs on the Bluefish debut is a textbook example of studio downtime made useful. Although nowhere near as metallic (not at all, actually) as many of the participants' main bands, Gallery of Mites arguably packs just as much punch, thanks to superb retro-rock nuggets like the driving, organ-enhanced "Exploded View," the soul-thumping "Headless Body, Topless Bar," and the handclap-embellished "X's for Eyes." Each of these and many other fine cuts on hand here offer serious guitar enthusiasts (and if you don't like guitar, don't even bother with this record) the added thrill of enjoying dazzling fret-board pyrotechnics from some of the underground's most talented six-string heroes, including Solace's Tommy Southard and Atomic Bitchwax/Monster Magnet's unassuming genius, Ed Mundell. Providing further proof of the album's quality and cohesion, "100 Days (Heron)," the only track featuring guest vocals from Kyuss legend John Garcia, not only sticks out like a sore thumb stylistically, it honestly doesn't do the surrounding material justice. And in case you were wondering, the delightfully named space rock jam "A Man Called Shit" reportedly features contributions by every single member of the group (barring Garcia). Realizing how difficult this must have been to pull off only adds respect to the excellent collection of loose, groovy rock & roll featured on Bugs on the Bluefish.

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