Black 100s Press

"And you thought Goya was dark.

In these days of blogging and web overkill, I'm surprised not to find a buzz around this record; the only reference I could find was it for sale on US EBay, and it is surprising because this slice of black folk is exactly the sort of thing that obsessives should get obsessed about.

One man with a guitar, a long dark night, a definite melancholy, ghosts of lost loves haunting, one man alone with himself and his memories charting a course through the night, needing a strategy to reach morning. Pick up the guitar, sing, the style confessional, intimate, velvety black conjuring up and channeling Two Dollar Guitar, Steve Westfield, the medium is the message and the medium is stripped bare just the exposed copper wire of feelings, any connection is dangerous.

There's menace in 'Cocksucker Blues' which closes the record; it seems as though the slide guitar is being played on barbed wire, an awful long days journey into night from the mellifluous opening chords of 'Long Black Train'; that chink of levity is soon crushed by the weight of the vocals, a canon ball dropped down a well. It is bottomless. If promises to sell all your guitars for a girl (on the title track) doesn't work, then nothing will. If you're all alone and even the night light is a sinister reminder of the light that used to flood into your life then pop this into the CD player; it'll keep you company until the morning when your dry and crusty eyes may finally be able to close."

-David Cowling, Americana UK

 

"This guy is like a New Jersey version of Nick Drake. 'Cocksucker Blues' and 'Dead Dead Dead' are fucking with my head. Cool cool shit."

KM

100 home

In a review that largely misunderstood the intent of the record Strike Up The Band, through artist negligence or reviewer ignorance, the wankers at Bluesbunny did offer the following kind words:

“So why do we even bother reviewing it?

Well, the songs are a good bit above average (especially ‘Long Black Train’, ‘Dead Dead Dead’ and the dark and misty ‘In The Darkest Night’) and that bodes well for his future. He can tell a story in a song and that isn’t too easy.”

They also reviewed Out With The Stars:

"Handschiegel's guitar-playing is of the standard you'd expect in a debauched bar on a near-empty highway."

 

THE BLACK100s - Out With The Stars

"Offering up ten songs worth of spare, yet tuneful and compelling lowdown gritty blues, this album has a certain raw immediacy to it that in its own sweetly simple and straightforward way proves to be quite powerful. Armed with an acoustic guitar, a thin and nasal, but still up to speed voice, and a spot-on less-is-more approach to banging out a tune, singer/songwriter Thomas Handschiegel cuts right to the point in a pleasingly terse and unpretentious manner. The songs are pretty forlorn and poignant, with no needless flashy stuff to get in the way of the eloquently laconic lyrics and Handschiegel’s wonderfully world-weary battered voice. A marvelously low-key and unadorned little treat."

-Joe Wawyrzniak, www.JerseyBeat.com

"Satan's blues band. You don't just go to see The Black100s, you go to be sucked into a gorgeous world of violence, intelligence and desperation."

-Sioux, The Aquarian Weekly

Here’s a bit from a somewhat negative review of Out With The Stars:

"Singer/songwriter, Thomas Handschiegel, is armed with an acoustic guitar and the blues. He strums somber songs from a stark landscape. His vocals don’t have much range, like the monotone purr of Leonard Cohen or the dreamy sighing of Nick Drake.

The ending of 'The Lost Song' is restless and tight like his earlier work on 'Cocksucker Blues', but Thomas stopped there."

-Kristen K, Razorcake

"The song, 'Dangerous Miracle' is very pretty."

-Antony of Antony and the Johnsons

"This is the real thing!"

-Johan Schoenmakers, www.altcountryforum.nl

Here is one of the more coherent bits of a dramatically negative review of Fins, a review fraught with condescension, contempt and grammatical errors:

"Perhaps this is just lost on me. Perhaps The Black100s are awesome and I'm just too far out if it to hear it, but that OK. I'm good."

-www.littleratbastard.com

Jersey Beat also reviewed Fins. While it was certainly not a review brimming with accolades, they did have some niceties thrown in:

"He hits home runs with topics like 'Into the TV', 'White Blackbird' and 'Talking to the Dogs'."

-Phil Rainone, www.JerseyBeat.com

Razorcake also reviewed Fins:

"This is solo acoustic type stuff that skirts the line between solo blues and folk. It's not bad."

THE BLACK100s - Fins

"The Black100s - Mr. Handschiegel if you want another name for him - keeps up his impressive output rate with 'Fins', another album awash with folksy simplicity and nice ideas. Not an album of knock out brilliance, but a quietly impressive release from an ever-improving artist.

Not being one to change his ideals, Handschiegel's formula for this release is exactly as before: one man, one guitar, one voice. On this evidence, that's quite alright. Songs such as 'Magdalene' portray an almost hymnal side to his music while 'The Evening Sun' makes good use of clever lyrics and a storyteller's intuition.

An ode to a once-troubled Seattle actress passes before 'White Black Bird' - possibly the best song on the album. Clocking in at under two minutes, you'll need to play this one twice. 'Talking to the Dogs' is the ideal park bench blues song. Simple and enjoyable - just like talking to the dogs, right? In keeping with the blues, 'Take The Cadillac Car' sounds positively seventies troubadour.

This album should serve as somewhat of a benchmark for The Black100s. In 'Fins', Handschiegel has made an album that highlights his strengths instead of his weaknesses. While not having the most wholesome voice, Handschiegel doesn't try and convince you otherwise here. It's an album worth having, and you can quote me on that."

-Peter McGee, www.bluesbunny.com

 

 

 

 

THE BLACK100s - Fins

"It's a beautiful album for an ugly ugly day. It's a good album people!"

-Lazlo, www.blowupradio.com

"Folk and Blues styles such as shown on 'Little Lemon Tree' and Take The Cadillac Car' feature heavy on the radar, and Handschiegel opts for a laconic 'Freewheelin' era Dylanesque sway to songs like 'Into the TV' and particularly 'Frances Farmer's Blues', while 'Talking To The Dogs' suggests some Nick Cave style humour, darkness and dismay amongst the swaggering Blues, but he doesn't quite have the vocal prowess to pull it off to its full potential."

-Ian Fildes, Americana UK

The folks at www.Rootstime.be had an interesting if rather negative review of Fins, if Google language tools are to be trusted. After discussing the "rather obvious" Nick Drake influence, they recommend the songs 'Little Lemon Tree', 'Magdalene' and 'Talking to the Dogs' as a pure blues song. They go on to say something like you can, with some good will, find a young Dylan in it. The following may not be a direct quote:

"Somehow this album has something that makes you need to listen (really listen). It is certainly not unnoticed background music."

THE BLACK100s - Fins

"In whichever direction he leads, the common thread throughout the 10 tracks on the album is Handschiegel's affective, searching voice. There is something about its tone and subtleties that hint of deep feeling in a melancholy sort of way. In keeping with this sentiment is the soulful guitar playing all the way through, and especially on 'Magdalene'. Consider The Black100s enigmatically appealing."

-Lily Emeralde and Emma Dyllan, Phosphorescence Magazine

THE BLACK100s - Release The Cats!

"It's a fine fine album. I dig it."

-Lazlo, www.blowupradio.com

THE BLACK100s - Release The Cats!

"Release The Cats mysteriously showed up on my desk. No note. No direction as to what type of musical journey I was about to embark on. That's the way I like things. Keep it secret. I'm glad I trusted my instinct and listened to it.

From the cover art, I wasn't sure if this would be a comedy CD or a thrash-core metal album. Luckily, it's neither. From what I now know about The Black100s, the band is comprised of Thomas Handschiegel - with some tracks worked on with the help of his sister, Sioux. Release The Cats is an acoustic album with the type of songs that you just need to sit and listen to. The lyrics are mesmerizing and keep your attention until the end.

Some tracks that immediately stick out in my mind are 'She Left Me for the Drunk Man with the PBR Tattoo', 'Stay With Me', 'Busted Town', 'My One Evil Place' and 'Send for the Exorcist'.

If you have a chance to see Thomas and his band, I'd suggest going. It would probably be an enjoyable gig. Oh, and if you do, tell him that you read this review. He'll get a kick out of knowing 'The Biggest Letdown' took interest."

-Andy, www.biggestletdown.com

One MP Johnson of Razorcake reviewed Release The Cats! in a fawning frolicking style suggestive of one who spends evenings shouting out the genius of The Black100s.

"Why, dearest Black100s, have you released an album of hacky Bob Dylan-gone-dark acoustic tunes with a cover that features cobbled-together pictures of cats atop a mound of badly drawn skulls?"