Black Monk Time is the only studio album by German-based American rock band The Monks. It was released in March 1966 through Polydor Records and was the only album released during the band's original incarnation. The album's subversive style and lyrical content was radical for its time and today is considered an important landmark in the development of punk rock. In 2017, Black Monk Time was ranked the 127th greatest album of the 1960s by Pitchfork.Wikipedia
These guys were either music trolls who didn't give a fuck, visionaries who were waiting for the rest of the rock world to catch up to them, or (mostly likely) both. At times it's post-punk before punk was even a thing and this Aussie likes it and gives it five bowls of Weet-Bix out of five.
The story of the Monks is one of those rock & roll tales that seems too good to be true -- five Americans soldiers stationed in Germany form a rock band to blow off steam, and after starting out playing solid but ordinary R&B-influenced beat music, their songs evolve into something that bear practically no relation to anything happening in pop in 1966. If anything, the Monks were far wilder than their story would suggest; they may have looked bizarre in their matching black outfits, rope ties, and tonsures, but it was their music that was truly radical, with the sharp fuzz and feedback of Gary Burger's guitar faced off against the bludgeoning clang of Dave Day's amplified banjo (taking the place of rhythm guitar), as Roger Johnston pounded out minimalist patterns on the drums, Eddie Shaw's electric bass gave forth with a monstrous throb, and Larry Clark's keyboard bounced off the surfaces of the aural melee. This would have been heady stuff even without Burger's wild-eyed vocals, in which he howls "I hate you with a passion, baby," "Why do you kill all those kids over there in Vietnam?" and "Believing you're wise, being so dumb" over the band's dissonant fury. The closest thing the Monks had to a musical counterpart in 1966 were the Velvet Underground, but existing on separate continents they never heard one another at the time, and while Lou Reed and John Cale were schooled in free jazz and contemporary classical that influenced their work, the Monks were creating a new species of rock & roll pretty much out of their heads. Given all this, it's all the more remarkable that they landed a record deal with a major German label, and while Black Monk Time, their first and only studio album, doesn't boast a fancy production, the simple, clean recording of the group's crazed sounds captures their mad genius to striking effect, and the mingled rage and lunatic joy that rises from these songs is still striking decades after they were recorded. Within a year of the release of Black Monk Time, the band would break up (reportedly over disagreements about a possible tour of Vietnam), and the two singles that followed the LP were more pop-oriented efforts that suggested the Monks couldn't keep up this level of intensity forever. But in late 1965, the Monks were rock & roll's most savage visionaries, and Black Monk Time preserves their cleansing rage in simple but grand style.
Fuck yes. Stooges, eat your heart out. Awesome proto-punk that I literally never knew about prior. Demented, fun, and way ahead of it's time. Favorite tracks: "I Hate You", "Higgle-Dy Piggle-Dy", "Monk Time"
It was fucking awesome. Take the who, royally piss them off, and throw in some doors.
This record is fucking bananas and I kind of love it. Also, I can’t believe it came out in 1966 - in Germany. Holy shit.
Fantastic! This is a good example of 1001 albums revealing a hidden gem. I took a guess this was made in the 90s and was shocked to see it was 1965! This beats freakout by zappa, which is the closest album I can compare it to. As for a review, these guys were way ahead of their time. Super talented band. Completely uninhibited and a feat for the ears. Favorite song - Shut up / complication. Least favorite: cuckoo. I did not include the bonus songs in my review. Lower to 4 stars with the bonus songs.
my favorite phase in a lot of rock bands is that phase where their ambition exceeds their abilities and usually that's the part that gets swept away and hidden when the band makes it big. but that phase was it for the monks- weird skronky ideas that sound like rough drafts, stabs at early proto-prog, and a lot of quirks that would show up later in punk. except the compositions are almost childlike in nature, delivered unenthusiastically and clumsily. shitpost by band that knew what they were doing or amateurs with ideas exceeding their talents? this thing's kinda great.
When I read pitchfork rated this 'the 127th greatest album of the 60's' I knew I was in for some bullshit.
Found the music quite irritating, actually
The album that apparently invented punk rock AND krautrock. This sounds a bit like Booker T and the MCs trying to play the Sex Pistols. Undoubtedly musically and lyrically innovative and influential; it's incredible that this was released in 1966. However, to my modern ear it's pretty much unlistenable. Rating: 1.5/5 Playlist track: We Do We Do Date listened: 25/08/22
A hidden gem. I had never heard of this band but after listening to this album, I can hear tinges of punk within an experimental framework. It's interesting to think about what was coming out in 1966, the Beatles' Revolver, the Beach Boy's Pet Sounds etc., and Black Monk Time sounds completely different. Truly incredible
A few weeks ago I got some forgettable album from some forgettable band that played forgettable music around the same year this came out. I said something like: "there was so much going on that was revolutionary or excellent around this time that this being included in this list is just asinine" Black Monk Time is one of those albums. This is just phenomenal when you consider what was going on in music at the time. This is on par with the likes of The Velvet Underground and The Stooges. Just amazing music made the way they wanted to make it. I will admit that my total enjoyment of the music itself is probably a 3, but it gets extra points for how and when it was made. This was at the beginning of my favorite movement in music. I'm glad this project got me to listen to this. I needed this.
This is some wild shit that I’ve never heard of. Wow
Funky, psychedelic. Hammond organ, perfect
This band was way ahead of their time, like, this was a 60s record? It's so irreverent and punkish in tones and just seems like a bunch of young kids breaking shit and having a good time and I dig it. Honestly reminded me a bit of The Electric Prunes, but stronger and more "I don't give a fuck" I really liked "We Do Wie Du"
What a weird and wonderful album. Can definitely feel the roots of punk rock and psychedelic in this album. Some songs sound like they could directly be the queens of the stone age
Points for being unique and ahead of its time, and a fair bit of music I genuinely enjoyed, but as is often the case with the avant garde I found a fair bit of it pretty trying as well.
Anticipates Devo and other herky-jerk rockers by a decade or so. Their descedants were an improvement.
holy crap. the only thing i can say is that it really is amazing that there is essentially something different to hate about every single song on this album. they are way too much up their own butt with psychedelic clown music.
Mayor of Turtle River!!
I loved it. Fun sound, funny band photos.
Just great stuff
Wild ride! Crazy to think this album came out in '66. Very early punk elements, quite avant-garde for it's time. Loved it.
First time I've heard this album. Good!
Up until now only knew a couple of Monks songs (from Nuggets, Fall covers, soundtracks etc) but had never listened to the album. This album is much, much better than your average 60s garage rock album. Together with "Elephant Mountain" the two best albums that I found out about through the 1001 Album Generator. (Unfortunately I listened to the version with bonus tracks - skip these tracks!)
Over a decade ago I listened to this because it was on a Pitchfork list, and unlike a lot of the stuff on there, it blew me away. It sounds like pre punk punk, except with bizarre instrumentation (Hammond and banjo feature as a standard part, but played as part of a punky set up). It is slightly angry and slightly silly (Higgle-dy, piggle dy?) And all bloody brilliant.
Superb. Love The Monks.
Amazing find. Loved every second of this. The shrill voice, the punk aspects.
Higgle-dy - Piggle-dy, mfers
Off-the-beaten-path and hokey and spastic in places, but these guys took a risk. Though they fizzled, easy to find the influences in other music that I enjoy.
Well this is...........ahead of it's time. To give some background to my 5 star rating I'd just spent the morning listening to artsy twaddle from the 50's in another chart so when I put this on it blew the cobwebs away. 5 stars for impact alone. These guys just don't give a damn and it's great.
another very fun listen, very proto-punk great 60s vibe, i hate you and higgle dy piggle dy are bangers
Now this is why I'm here. Finding albums like this is what makes all this worthwhile. This guy's singing voice is so original and I Frickin' loved this listening experience.
How many times have I told you guys it's black monk time? Now, finally, here we are. It was the most fun I've ever had.
Interesting early garage album I hadn’t heard before, you can see how it had influenced many other acts up til now
I really like the sound, old school and still very contemporary sound.
Seminal album way before it’s time however gets marked down due to repetitiveness and annoying quirkiness
A bit more substance than a lot of modern rock...and started out strong with a throwback to the times during Vietnam war...but it became repetitive. Still I’ll give it 4 stars but won’t listen again.
Definetly new to me very proto punk like the kinks liked it
This one was out there. I liked it.
Jeden z tych nietypowych pickow, do ktorych trzeba przysiasc wiecej niz raz, zeby przesluchac plyte w calosci, podczas pierwszego odsluchu sie odbilem, ale jednak nie zrazilem, jak mogl powstac twor tak niespojny, a jednak sluchalny i unikalny w swoim brzmieniu, trzeba zaczac od tego, ze jest to pierwszy i ostatni album jaki wypuscily monki to material nagrany przez 4 hamerykanskich wojakow w zachodnich niemcach z dodatkowym cywilnym drumerem, niemcy lat 60, to oczywiscie musi sie pojawic krautrock, ktorego mozna sie tu takze doszukac, ale w odroznieniu od wczesniejszych krautowych pickow, tym razem kompozycje trakow sa bardziej rokowe dwu minutowe songi, wiec nie ma tu 15 minutowych kawalkow jak u kraftwerka, choc zdarzaja sie traki z minimalna iloscia wokalu, jak na blast off, co do samego wokalu, to jego kontent jest iscie punkowy, a raczej proto punkowy, bo to jednak lata 60, wiec scena punkowa jest dopiero w powijakach, jak przystalo na wojakow liryka jest mocno zwiazana z bezsensem wojny, miejscem czleka w wyobcowanym swiecie bez domu czy swego miejsca, obok tego duzo trakow nawiazujacych do romantyzmu zaserwowanego po punkowemu, ale co najlepsze w tych trakach jest to, ze jako muzyka grana dla niemca, daje to wolne rece jesli chodzi o kontent i jego przekaz, wiec o ile zdecydowanie nie sa to dobre wokale pod wzgledem muzycznym, to czuje sie z nich walaszkowata energie, zwlaszcza taki takie jak drunek maria, niby pierdzielenie trzy po trzy, ale jednak cos w tym jest, najbardziej niemieckim akcentem plyty sa wlasnie wokale na oh, how to do now, ktore jak dla mnie staraja sie nasladowac jodlowanie, jesli chodzi o instrumentale, to banda 5 osobowa, wiec calkiem standardowy rokowy sklad, zamiast klasycznych klawiszy zostaly wykorzystany elektroniczne organy philcorda, z cudow technicznych lat 60 dochodzi jeszcze elektryczne banjo, jesli dodac do tego mocne wykorzystanie overdriva dostajemy szorstki i surowy dzwiek, ktory wcale nie komplementuje samego wokalu, a raczej idzie z nim razem w parze, te dwie strony laczy chorkowanie ktore w jednych momentach brzmi jak beach boysowe harmonie, a w innych jak ich parodia, jestem w stanie zrozumiec dlaczego monki sie nie sprzedaly, a jednoczesnie staly sie kult klasikiem muzycznych nerdow, bo mnie rowniez kupil ten material, choc to tylko 30 minut na 12 trakach w wersji z 66, spotifajowa wersja zawiera 6 dodatkowych trakow, co daje laczny czas krazka 47 minut, z plejlistowych pickow musi sie znalezc otwierajacy monk time, potem kawalek wydany jako promo singiel czyli complication, oraz boys are the boys and girls are the choice, a caly album leci do biblioteczki spotifajowej, w ciagu dwoch dni prawie setka skrobli wpadla, co nie zdarzylo sie mi chyba jeszcze przy sluchaniu tej listy
Reading how the band was formed helps with making sense of the introductory “Monk Time”. Nowadays this album doesn’t have a shocking/revolutionary effect, so that’s hard to judge. I appreciate the Hammond organ. With some more repetition I’ll probably value this album just as much as the Beatles b-sides from this time. The bonus tracks (not included in the rating) are alright, they are intentionally more tame.
It's very interesting to discover these "hidden" things from music history. This is not the best punk that I listened to, but thinking about the age of this album it sounds so much fresh that it definitely worths it
Very cool album...I will listen to it again and probably again and again. I can't believe this has not been discovered by me to date, Right up my alley 4 stars
A bit samey but really good
Garage rock greatness
Love this - had it for years, ever since the Fall covered a few of their songs.
This album was really cool and so before it’s time. One of the gems this site has given me. This record is just very fun in general
👍 Enjoyed this a lot, beat, rhythm that probably ended up with the B52's
Proto-punk, very good
Pretty cool stuff for 1966. Not every song was great, but really dug their sound, esp. the distortion. Progressive stuff
Scrappy, rough, and energetic
This would be a TRIP live. It's like I'm listening to a band who's just dropped a tonne of acid. I enjoyed it a fair bit though it did make me a bit nervous listening to it, but it did go off the rails with the bonus tracks (especially Cuckoo. That's actually... Well.... Cuckoo.) I can imagine this being one of 18 yo Soipe's favourite albums and therefor I must give it a generous 4 stars. I feel The Monsters/Reverend Beatman listened to this when they were growing up
I glanced at the band, saw they'd released one album, and was confused how it was a must listen to before you die... Then I read the history of the band, okay... Beginning to make more sense... This stuff was ahead of it's time, feels more like a modern post punk album made in the 60s. 4/5.
Bad. Ass. Dudes. While the Beatles were singing "la-la yeah-yeah", the Monks (self-proclaimed "anti-Beatles") scared crowds of well-behaved kids with this album. (7/10) FT: I Hate You
It's weird but I like it.
Goil. Kannte ich gar nicht.
Weird but interesting
The animals, scrappy rock n roll sprinkled with the doors.
Weird, but in a good way! Really odd to hear songs in English, but intended for a German/non-anglophone audience. Lots of influence on lots of bands I like, even though I had never heard of them before
Songs from albums released in 1966 that the App has sent us include Scarborough Fair, God Only Knows and California Dreamin' and we add to the 1966 class list I Hate You from The Monks. As they used to sing on Sesame Street: "One of these things just doesn't belong." I can't believe The Monks made music like this in 1966.The only thing harder to believe is that Polydor signed them. How could anyone think that shit kicking music like this was going to sell back then? I Hate You was on The Big Lebowski soundtrack. If The Dude likes this it is no surprise he hates the fuckin Eagles.
A standout garage rock piece from the time. The closest 60s album to resemble punk. Vocals are harsh and direct, using offensive language and touching on sensitive or nonsensical subject matter. It shocked me seeing tracks called "Shut Up" and "I Hate You" on a 60s album. Melody is fast and minimalistic, with short tunes that fly by (much like The Ramones or Wire) and slight variations to a repetitive rhythm that go out of control. Instruments are raw and often abrasive, but I really like the use of the organ. Very typical of the time in garage rock, just look at "96 Tears" by ? And the Mysterions or The Electric Prunes. Every track starts off with a hook that draws my attention, which is great considering many of the tracks have little to no vocals. No bad tracks, although the momentum dies by the last few. The bonus tracks are kinda boring, even their long titles are a bore to stare at. I really enjoyed listening to this album. Probably the most consistent garage rock (outside VU and Stooges) effort out there.
This is a punk album before punk even knew what it was. Higgle-Dy-Piggle-Dy is a perfect example. Complication is a sound straight out of the 80s almost 15 years before its time. Drunken Maria is another one.
fascinating stuff, really interesting.
I thought this was some brit-pop type Oasis shit but it turned out to be some sick 60's Psych music. Better than I expected but a lot of the songs sounded like one another
I've recently gotten into Viagra Boys, and finding this Monks album is like stumbling across the base formula for VB. It's raw, tounge-in-cheek, and fuckin' nasty. Can't believe this came out in the 60's!
This grooves and has an edge, seemingly upbeat, but quite nihilist. Made in Germany it doesn't have the psychedelic noodling of Jefferson Airplane, Doors, Iron Butterfly etc. Just mid 60s tight rhythmic beat groove and lots of fun.
Good album. Liked the sounds
Some definite misses, but there were some good songs on here.
This started off very standard psychedelic punk rock… but got a lot more interesting as the album. Defo one to revisit!
This is a very interesting album. I remember hearing about it a long time ago as one of the earliest examples of proto-punk music. I can certainly see how it's that, as well as how it fits in with a lot of the garage band music of the time. Overall it's a good album, far more pleasant and well-produced than I would have expected. There are even some songs that I think could have been released as singles. 4/5
Something about the guitar on this album....
Definitely early punk rock. Super cool slice of history.
I’m a sucker for Garage Rock, and the fact this album was created in the ‘60’s, and the band members dressed up at shows, those are also pluses for me. My spidey-senses did tingle with possible misogynistic lyrics, but again, it was the ‘60’s and most lyrics were all about “boys & girls”.
What's this? I'm immediately reminded of Dead Kennedys or something like that except isn't this from 1966? Then we get an organ, which is about the only thing 60's about this weird, energetic ride. A ton of fun. Higgle-dy-Piggle-dy, Monk Time, Complication were particular stand outs.
Interesante sonido black sesentero
Un disco bastante interesante pero que me hubiera gustado poder haberlo escuchado con más atención, seguramente le dare mas escuchadas en un futuro pero fue bueno conocerlo gracias a esta página.
Garage rockproto-pun. Del 66.
Garage rock. Me ha gustado. Un 4.
Not too bad, not the biggest fan
Coolt och aldrig hört om detta band...
Knowing the backstory to this album affects my view of it. Trying to put that aside however, it’s a delightfully odd album that’s both entertaining and intriguing. It’s place on this list is well deserved.
Monk time rad
This album (1966) feels so ahead of its time. I cant describe it but it feels so modern but timeless at the same time. I was surprised to read the release date. almost a punky vibe at points - I could see the clash doing some of it? very much enjoyed
One of my last few albums to be drawn was “The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators”. I thought they were the most “overrated underrated” band I’ve heard in a while, getting a lot of acclaim from hipsters who called them “proto-psychedelia” even when their songs weren’t particularly great. In the same year, The Monks were out making much more intriguing music with their only album, “Black Monk Time”. It might not become an all-time favourite any time soon, but I have to appreciate how radically different this must have been from the prevailing tastes of the day. It starts with a bang. A searing, stuttering one-note organ refrain, like a frantic morse code. Thrashing, crashing snares and percussion from a garage junkyard. The rhythm is beaten out on an electric banjo, cutting through the mix like barbed wire. And then a jagged, fuzzy guitar bares its teeth, as if to send Keith Richards and Dave Davies skittering into a corner. “Shut Up”, “Boys are Boys and Girls are Choice” and then the remainder of the album progresses in much the same way: repetitive one-two rhythms, barked out vocals and a chaotic lead guitar and organ vying for position. Every now and then a glimmer of a pop chorus breaks through, with some harmonies or a more easy going melody, but it’s quickly subverted by discordant organ, an abrupt cut or change, or a exorcism-style shriek from the vocalists. Take “Higgle-Dy Piggle-Dy”- absolutely out of this world. Drums are kept to rumbling toms, the organ goes wherever it wants to, the vocals scratch and yelp above the mix. It’s new-wave thirteen years early. Elsewhere, we have bold compositional decisions to thrill any listener. “Oh How to Do Now” sticks stubbornly to one chord for the first minute and 24 seconds. “Complication” has an interlude summoning the Beach Boys from a demented alternate dimension. The vocals in “Love Came Tumblin’ Down” don’t start until halfway through. “We Do Wie Du” is perhaps the most conventional, and there’s still something slightly sinister about its repeated playground chant with insistent, staccato backing. Psychedelia? Punk? Garage rock? New- wave? Basement indie? The Monks casually flick through genre after nascent genre like time travellers from the future. They might not all be stellar songs, but it’s an absolutely fascinating listen.
I signed up to this for such albums. Never heard of this before - fascinating back story, and I enjoyed the tight but primitive sound. I own a couple of the Nuggets garage rock compilations on vinyl, and the Monks would definitely fit on those. And you can definitely hear them as precursors to lots of great bands like VU, Stooges, Pixies etc
I was initially worried this would be a bit too groovy, but then I heard the killer line: "I hate you baby with a passion, you know I do." And all was OK with the world. Nice to have a streak of cynicism and surging electric guitars among the bop.
A bit bat shit crazy but it’s short and fun 4/5.
Some of the earliest precursors to punk music can be linked to garage rock bands of the 60's. While The Sonics had an explosive debut in 1965 with their distorted guitars and wailing vocals, The Monks would follow closely a year later with Black Monk Time, their only album. Unlike The Sonics, The Monks had an organ and banjo backing up the songs, giving them a unique dimension to their music. Additionally, the lyrics are notably more aggressive and angry with an anti-war message. This sort of radical approach to music would certainly give punk rockers the blueprint for the sound nearly a decade later. Given that this is still rock from the mid-60's, quite a bit of the songwriting is still dated. The standard chord progressions, primitive drum patterns, and goofy organ embellishments. But for every dated moment, the Monks do something completely revolutionary for the time. It's a ripper and a half, and it's exciting stuff from the 60's. Praise be to the Monks and their forward-thinking fuzz.
Never heard of them, let alone heard them. Let's find out. I can see why this could be influential - rather psychodelic and heavy for its year. Pleasant enough to listen to but without anything that particularly jumped out as interesting.
Anakirstista ja aikaansa edellä olevaa menoa! 4/5 helposti
Olipas vaikuttava "punk"-levy. Iski kovempaa kuin suuri osa tunnetuimmista punk-klassikoista. Bändin taustatarinalla ja levyn julkaisuajankohdalla on tietenkin tähän jonkinlainen vaikutus.
This was a nice little gem. Really unique but also reminiscent of a bunch of things it probably influenced. I heard Zappa in here, I heard Faith No More in here, I heard a lot of grunge precursors in here...
Cool album, reading about its history and the story of the band makes it all the more interesting! Saved songs: Shut Up, I Hate You, Oh How To Do Now, Pretty Suzanne
I was filled with dread when I saw that it was influential to punk but I came to really really admire this album. I would say I enjoyed reading up on its wiki and on the background of the monks more than the album itself but it still had good tracks like monk time complication and we do. This is the first experimental avant- grade album I’ve gotten that I’ve fully respected because it really was just 5 guys that didn’t like rock and decided to just fuck around while deployed in Germany with no moderation trying to make a new sound. No bullshit with clanging together found objects and recording industrial sounds. Even the cover is just black with default text on it.
I don't think these guys are real monks