Brandon, Be My DJ Anyway

Stylish Nihilists (Revelation Records)

By David Lilly

Gee, remember when a good old-fashioned nihilist would've believed there was no point in being stylish? As Curly would say, "It's a brave new woild!," people, so set up the music blender and plug it in. This might sound slightly weird, but pour in a pipe's worth of Hawkwind and a gallon of Blood Brothers (hold the screaming banshee) on top of that. Run on medium speed until well mixed; let's call the blend Christiansen. Christiansen rocks intensely, with sometimes intentionally off-key guitar and with psychedelia in their fabric.

In addition to all the aforementioned, there are the unusual song titles. "Kentucky Goddamn," "Cocaine Summer" and "Dead Celebrities are Amusing" caught my curiosity and reeled in my ears. One, maybe two of these songs include their titles within the "lyrics." Why the quotations? What Brandon Bondehagen sings is poetry. Dark poetry with seemingly quasi-connected lines like, "She'll let him die at the top of the world/Black-eyed eclipse makes a safe milieu above my Russian revels ... A new epic with some Shakespeare and knives" from "Tragedy My Novella," another strange title I enjoy. At the risk of sounding cliché, the poetry contains imagery not unlike that of the penned musings of a famous poet/singer buried in Paris. Bondehagen sings passionately.

Casual dancers might find some of this music a bit challenging. Daniel Browning Smith may find some of it quite well suited to his performance. What kinds of sounds will you hear when you put this disc in your CD player? Sharp, pulsing, rapid, effectively pausing and rolling-thunder drums; throbbing, zigzagging and extremely song-faithful bass; guitar work that is all of the following: arrows shot from a drawn bow, dangling from high places, tick-tocking like a clock, at times Hendrix-like and yes, there's more.

As you visit Christiansen at

and listen to samples, remember it all started right here in Kentuckiana.