Siddhartha – Where The Wild Things Grow (Self-Released)

A few years back Siddhartha recorded an album of ripping Detroit garage-rock that was never officially released despite strong material that could have vaulted the band towards the top of the city’s then-thriving rock scene. Perhaps frustrated by the squandered opportunity, lead singer Marlon Hauser headed for San Francisco, leaving the rest of the band behind, but keeping the name Siddhartha. Soon after arriving he began work on Where The Wild Things Grow, an EP he wrote and recorded by himself in a bathroom over the course of four months. During this time Hauser ditched the old Stooges/MC5/Dirtbombs sounds and experimented with different recording styles and instruments (including kid’s toys and found objects). Unfortunately, the experiments don’t work at all, and whatever Love-meets-BJM ideas Hauser may have hoped to commit to tape are lost among a thick morass of lazy songwriting and bad playing. In fact, I’m pretty sure the title song and “Your Everlasting Intuition” never change key or tempo – and the less said about the quasi-psychedelic cover of Madonna’s “Holiday” the better. Without knowing exactly why the band broke up, my recommendation would be for Hauser to get on the next flight back to Detroit and see if he can’t get the old band back together, because this EP doesn’t cut it.


Siddhartha – Siddhartha (Self-Released)

It’s been a few years since a new Detroit garage band made a big splash (unless you count The Raconteurs), but Siddhartha are a young group on a mission change all that. To help them on their mission they’ve hired garage-rock “producer extraordinaire” Jim Diamond to make sure their music packs the appropriate level of wallop. This move pays off with hard-hitting tunes that, at their best, make proud additions to the long history of Detroit garage-rock. Opener “I Need A Girl” is the best number, a Troggs-like Neanderthal stomper featuring intense vocals from Marlon Hauser (who often reminds me of Gories/Dirtbombs main-man Mick Collins) fed through an echoplex for a disorienting psychedelic effect that recalls The MC5’s wildly careening vocals on Kick Out The Jams. None of the other ten tracks are quite as exciting but they’re still pretty damn good, like the breakneck fuzz of “Detroit Francisco” or the Love-esque psychedelic garage of “Dumcake”. Lovers of fun, ass-kicking, garage tunes and good songwriting should give Siddhartha a listen.