Think of it as San Francisco’s answer to Lou Reed’s “New York.” Hyper-literate garage rock that comes from the head, hits you in the gut, and wears its heart on its sleeve.
“Black Rain,” the debut release from San Francisco’s Nob Hill Mariners, is sonically as raw as can be—straight up rock n’ roll. Drums, bass, guitar, vocals. It’s not just garage rock by genre—it was recorded in a garage. One glance at the song titles, however, and it’s immediately clear there’s something different happening here. “Jesus in Bed Between Us.” “Afternoon by the Carousel.” “Cyanide Lake in an Old Mining Town.” These are just a few examples of the rock n’ roll poetry on offer.
The Nob Hill Mariners is in fact a collaboration between singer/songwriter/musician Christopher “Preacher Boy” Watkins and the poet Robert Lavett Smith. The titles, words, and themes are largely Smith’s, refactored to become songs in Watkins’ hands. The result is something raw, beautiful, and unique.
“Black Rain” is for every listener who digs everyone from the MC5, Neil Young with Crazy Horse, and The Sonics, to early Kinks, the Count Five, and Patti Smith. Imagine Motorhead performing Simic, The Ramones doing Dickinson, or Joan Jett delivering Rilke, and you get a sense of The Nob Hill Mariners’ sound. 8 songs, and not one over 3 minutes.
When Dylan Thomas exhorted us to rage against the dying of the light, surely this was the soundtrack he envisioned. Get your copy of “Black Rain” today. And turn it up.