Lord Sterling

Today's Song for Tomorrow

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Call them a Nuggets band for the 21st century, or perhaps an East Coast reflection of the Brian Jonestown Massacre (minus the self-destructive, delusional lunacy), but you're better off not even trying to compare Lord Sterling to anyone else. The fact is, these New Jersey mainstays possess so many different influences within their unique sonic aesthetic as to transcend most easy categories -- certainly the stoner rock scene, into which they've often been unfairly lumped over the years. With their third album, 2004's Today's Song for Tomorrow, Lord Sterling drive this notion home with what is possibly their most relaxed, eclectic, but cohesive collection of songs yet. To wit: the hypnotic swirl of "Pivotal Planes" opens the album with harmonious swathes of spacey Moog and guitar noise, while ensuing numbers like "This Time It's for Real," "Poison Lips," and the electric sitar-driven "Hidden Flame" recall Jersey neighbors Gallery of Mites (a musical collective featuring Lord Sterling bassist Jim Baglino, incidentally) with their swinging, retro-garage Nuggets' feel. Intermittently, the band takes it down a notch with lysergic examples of pure, modern psychedelia (yes, that's redundant, but you get the picture) with the head-swaying title track, the dreamy "Thread Will Be Torn," "Evaporate," and the steadily mounting, wonderfully cryptic "Password." The straight-up punk rage of "Tough Times for the Troubadours" is possibly the album's biggest anomaly; and wrapping up Today's Song for Tomorrow's pleasantly surprising diversity is a sleepy, snail-paced, 11-minute rendition of Pink Floyd's "Set Your Controls for the Heart of the Sun" -- just like the original, come to think of it!

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