"I was born in 1917/ When the guns of October sowed my seed," announces Ian Svenonius in "Born on the Floor," one of the 23 songs (all previously available on 7-inch singles) collected on the Make-Up's "I Want Some." Does this prolific D.C. quartet really embody the spirit of the Russian Revolution? Not exactly. While the band's sound is a punky update of '60s soul shouters like James Brown and Wilson Pickett, its vague ideology recalls the revolution-for-the-hell-of-it insurrection of '60s youth culture bands like the MC5 and Jefferson Airplane. Not surprisingly, the CD's cover and booklet feature images from that decade, their authenticity vouchsafed by their graininess.
If the Make-Up's music is frequently stirring, its message is usually vaporous. The closest thing to a specific manifesto on this disc is "Free Arthur Lee," a broadside for an incarcerated singer-songwriter -- he led the proto-psychedelic band Love in, of course, the '60s -- who is not exactly a political prisoner. Most of these tracks were produced by either Guy Picciotto or Brendan Canty, both of Fugazi, and such jumpy vamps as "Pow! to the People" and "Hey! Orpheus" share that band's drive, intensity and canny use of dynamics. It really would help, though, if what the Make-Up wanted was something more contemporary than a scrap of somebody else's revolution.
Although Golden's "Super Golden Original Movement" opens with a heavy-metal fanfare, this is not one of those post-hardcore outfits that re-outfitted its members with full metal jackets. The Arlington quartet plays jazzy, vocal-free rock that includes non-Western influences (and occasionally instruments); for all its occasional bluster, the band's music can be spare and delicate.
The musicians are credited with only the traditional rock battery of guitars, bass and drums, yet bassist Ian Eagleson sometimes plays a nyatiti, a traditional African stringed instrument, and "Party" opens with what sounds like a field recording of an African dance. Such elements suit the band's style, which seems a sort of quest: Such tracks as "I Just Wanted You to Know That" and "Hinsdale" undertake journeys, whether from spacey to concrete or aggressive to gentle. The album isn't exactly world beat, but its vistas stretch far beyond the Potomac.
Both appearing Saturday at the Black Cat. To hear a free Sound Bite from the Make-Up, call Post-Haste at 202/334-9000 and press 8126. For a Sound Bite from Golden, press 8127. (Prince William residents, call 690-4110.)