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Black Black Ocean – Operacion

Back when the Strokes and the White Stripes came into the mainstream via commercial radio, Rolling Stone, and MTV, you kept hearing this tirade, “Rock is Back.” Well, maybe for those nimwits who only look up from their couch to get a scope of the music scene, this may be true. But for the rest of us, it never left. We live to discover new music, to come upon something that grabs us by our g-strings and studded belts and swings us around in perfect glory, or to burn a track for the 2003 version of a mix tape so we can say to our friends, “You gotta hear this.”


I first heard Black Black Ocean during a gig, which was one of those instances where you wonder, “What was the booker thinking?” I was really into their set of art rock with a jangle edge that spanned to garage thrash with a harmonious tone. But the rest of the crowd was there to hear metal. I just wanted to hug them and tell them it was going to be okay.

Now they’re running their own show with their new release, Operacion, a local CD that will still be on the Kaffeine Buzz pick list for one of the top Colorado releases of this year.

BBO has culminated some of the best rock moments of the past three decades, bringing together the raw vocals and eclectic guitar rhythms of ’70s CBGBs, quirky stop starts with an almost new wave effect from the ’80s, and the alternative energy from the depths of Seattle’s dank, underground clubs in the ’90s and today. The guys definitely have enough musical ammunition to go head to head and riff to riff with the mega groups sporting the big labels and big tour buses – but the beauty is for us, that they’re right here in Denver.

The tweaked electrical sample, driving rhythm, and almost spooky atmosphere of “Tripping is Back!” let’s you know you’re in for a voyage into new musical lands. The anguish and pure passion pours from “Ancient Futures, Future Towns” as their instruments drip drops of Stephen Till’s sinewy guitars and Jared Black’s drum thumps.

Starting with an almost AC/DC signature line, then Ryan Eason’s vocals and the overall theme of “Skinny Skinned Knees, Mile High Cities” relates in a cousin fashion with Gordon Gano from the Violent Femmes, before “Blister In The Sun” was a staple at frat crowd parties and wedding song lists.

BBO’s lyrical grit grabs the spotlight on “This Machine Will Help” when Ryan excludes, “And there’s too much happening/shipping bullets to the shores/just to crush them out like/smelly cigarettes no more… The magic gears/the humming music to our ears/just to watch it fall/the greatest gift of them all.”

The bass of Quintin Schermerhorn’s bass adds that tinge of a country-esque laziness on “Bitter, Bitter” that would fit perfectly in a dusty road trip across the flatlands, but awake at the wheel with Black Black Ocean’s own brand of rock and roll fuel.

You can check out tracks from Operaction, including “Tripping is Back!” and “Bitter, Bitter,” in addition to getting your hands on the whole thing by going to their web site,


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