My Favorite Martian — Martian Chronicles, Los Angeles 1990's
(Green Monkey GM1052, 1997/2019, CD / DL)
by Jon Davis, Published 2019-04-20
In the annals of American garage rock, My Favorite Martian is an interesting footnote, and this archival release serves to illuminate a little-known corner that deserves to be remembered. Al Bloch is a Seattle native whose brother Kurt is known for his band Fastbacks, as well as being part of The Young Fresh Fellows at various times. Al shares with his brother a penchant for energetic rock music with good melodies that are memorable and seem designed to inspire sing-alongs. Big Star is certainly in their DNA. In 1985, Al and his Seattle band The Bombardiers went to LA in hopes of gaining wider attention. That didn’t work out, and Al ended up doing time in Concrete Blonde and Wool, then founded My Favorite Martian. The tracks on this collection were recorded with a variety of co-conspirators mostly on breaks from touring and recording with Wool, and some feature brother Kurt. These are clever and catchy songs that fit in the same general area as The Replacements. Production is unfussy, obviously and gloriously the result of real people playing together without a lot of technological interference. The majority of the tunes are Bloch originals, though he does a rocking version of Jonathan Richman’s “Pablo Picasso” and tears up “Does It Hurt” from The Wipers, a Portland, Oregon band that was popular regionally in the late 70s and into the 80s. Rock music should be fun, and Al Bloch’s band proves that it doesn’t have to be dumb to be fun. Excellent stuff!
Related artist(s): Al Bloch (My Favorite Martian)
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