“Only philosophers embark on this perilous expedition to the outermost reaches of language and existence. Some of them fall off, but others cling on desperately and yell at the people nestling deep in the snug softness, stuffing themselves with delicious food and drink. ‘Ladies and Gentlemen,’ they yell, ‘we are floating in space!’ But none of the people down there care.”
As you can see, this one is a bit special. The album comes in a giant medicinal blister pack with it’s own dosage advice and eerily resembles a box of prescription drugs. That’s just how Jason Pierce wanted it. Focused on addiction, the record circles around the hedonists life view of just not giving a fuck about anything. The album opens with “Jesus Christ died for nothing, I suppose” for god’s sake. Spiritualized are assembled from the the remaining members of Spacemen 3, a band we adore on this blog, and it doesn’t take much to see the influence those musicians had. Regularly tagged as neo-psychedelia, I prefer to think of it as dream pop on acid. It’s a must have for anyone who appreciates Spacemen 3, psychedelia or even music from the 90’s in general.
tl;dr: 90’s psychedelic, dream-pop super record that beat Ok Computer to No.1 in 1997 – boom.
Today’s producers, with their neat-arrangements, crisp sounds and perfectly mastered levels, have an obsessive perfectionism that seems to go hand in hand with laptop music production. It wasn’t until the reissue of MBV’s golden era records that I realised electronic music has gotten all… metro-sexual. Kevin Shields didn’t give a fuck if it was too messy, a bit rough round the edges, it was the overall impression that was important and Christian Fennesz embraced this concept. He embraced it all too well. Discovering Endless Summer was a great moment; it’s messy manipulation of guitar feedback, the pop-like compositions, quite obviously inherited from the Beach Boys, built on his emphasis of melody over clarity, all seemed to add up to a record I’ve been missing for a long time. Some bloody good IDM – sort of.
tl;dr: Poppy, experimental, ambient multi-layered homage to dem Beach Boys.
A lo-fi, folky Scottish collaboration of Kenny Anderson of King Creosote, Frances Donnelly of Animal Magic Tricks, and Neil Pennycook and Peter Harvey of Meursault. I’ve been sitting on this vinyl for some time and it’s probably the best thing to come out of Scotland in quite a while. It’s recorded in the living room of Edinburgh’s Toad Records and that highlights it’s a “Sunday morning with a cup of tea” kind of album. Well, to me anyway. Cello, guitar, ukulele and god knows what else, this folk super-group does the usual Scottish BAWWWWW; cover everything in an air of melancholy and nostalgia. The jewel of the album is the last track “Please Don’t Send Me Home” which, in my humble opinion, makes the record fucking amazing. Just when you think you’re starting to get it, or feel comfortable, Neil rips apart your ears with a super distorted organ/vocal combo. It was the one song that drew me to the record in the first place.
tl;dr: Scottish folk bawfest with meow on the first track. Shit’s good.
Epic post-rock/drone album combo. Earth are well into their second decade of making music, and rather than stagnating as most bands do, they just keep getting better. A bluesy, subtle, slowed down take on post-rock with sprinklings of their pre-AoD/DoL doom-drone period, the addition of a cello being the most notable development. Dylan Carlson, the main man in the group, is a master of tone and atmosphere. He creates tracks ranging from 3 minutes to 20 minutes all with the same effect; lulling the listener into a state of placidity. There’s many arguments against the changes the band has taken in terms of their sound, mostly the hardcore fans. I dare say that they have become a lot more accessible, and through that more popular. It’s not a bad thing, not at all. A reaction born out of their followers ravenousness for more of the same drone-doom. Whatever.
Highly recommend this to be listened to as a combo. It’s an unreal 2 hour experience.
Sup? So Pond are a three-piece from Australia who share two members from a little band called Tame Impala (anyone? Innerspeaker?). Pond continue the blueprint of Tame Impala, crafting psychedelic nuggets that sound both in thrall with the greats of the past, but also achingly fresh. So why bother with Pond if we already have Tame Impala I hear you ask? Well, although the music remains somewhat similar, the aesthetic of the music makes a clear separation between the two. This album is like if Tame Impala kicked back, opened some beers and just jammed the shit out of life for an hour not really caring where the song goes or if the tape runs over, which is exactly what Pond have done. The story goes that they pitched up in a barn in Australia in 2010 and recorded this, just them, a bunch of mics, and a desk, and it shows. Tapes begin while the band get ready to launch into a track, you hear the counts in and you hear the immediate reaction after, its all “authentic” and not in that new sense of the word “authentic” that is actually counter-productive to the word itself.
The sound still revolves around sounding eerily like John Lennon singing for some psych outfit, Dig Brother being right on the money for that. The organic nature of the album is what makes it sound so refreshing, you know these guys are just chilling with each other then picking up some instruments and jamming, and that is endearing. The tracks showcase the pop sensibilities that Tame Impala possess but veer off into Krautrock-esque freakouts (Fantastic Explosions Of Time),long lost Bowie songs (You Broke My Cool) that in the opening two lines rhyme “man” with “man”…told you it was Bowie, and stone called shredding (Eye Pattern Blindness). In an era where a whole album can be created without even having an instrument in the same room, this album sounds refreshing for just going back to the old-school, and that is something that should be celebrated. I haven’t stopped listening and smiling since I got it. It’s…fun.
Fabled guitar-funk album. The sleeve portrays what this album will do to your mind; melt your brain from the inside out with a mash of funk, soul and rock, until it’s a steaming cranium in the dirt. Probably most famous for the opening track “Maggot Brain” which is a ten-minute long, life changing solo. Created when Parliament/Funkadelic figure heads George Clinton and Eddie Hazel took acid just before they entered the studio. Clinton then asked Hazel to imagine that he had been told his mother had died, then revealed it was lie. The reaction is fucking insane. Hazel is nuts on guitar. It gives us a small insight into how these guys work, and a notion of their sagacity.
Regardless, one of the best albums I’ve ever heard. Up there with the most epic of 40-minute long expressions you’ll hear. I don’t care what musical preference you have, you need this. It’s mythical status grows year by year…
OK, so last Tuesday Christopher Reimer from the band Women and a whole host of other bands (see post below) died in his sleep. Usually when musicians die, the reaction ranges from over-exaggerated eulogising to tasteless humour, and I have been a part of both those camps myself. However, when someone you truly admired and respected dies you get that feeling of genuine remorse and sadness for a dude you never even met, you just listened to his music and yet the feeling is still there, thats how much of an affect Women’s music and Chris’ other work had on me. Usually we hit you up with all manner of free downloads and underground links, this time I’m posting up only opportunities for paid purchase of material. Paradoxically, the only time a guy catches a break from his intellectual property rights being raped and pillaged is when he is no longer around to benefit from it. If you can, seriously buy Public Strain, it was one of the best albums of the last two years and remains one of the best records I have ever heard.