“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.
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…
Christopher Reimer, guitarist and drone-backbone of band Women, died in his sleep a few days ago. Shit like this fucks you up, such a loss. There’s not much to say that other blogs/sites haven’t already. To give a nod to the man, I’m putting up 8 and half minutes of relatively hard to get Women tracks from their golden “Public Strain” era. It can barely be called an era, as it was so short lived, but it can hopefully be looked back on as some of the best music the noughties had to offer.
Described as “sunny Beach Boys pop […] dragged into a dark alley and gleefully mutilated” this is three tracks from a Faux Discx comp EP and the Service Animal 7″, released with the first few vinyl releases of Public Strain. It’s my own little ode to the band, and the man. It maybe easy to tag them with the “too good to last” trope, but I genuinely do think it was true of them.
The band’s members have, or have had, their part in many other projects; backing Chad Vangaalen, Friendo, Fels-Naptha, Azeda Booth, the folk band the Dodos (a favourite of their other involvements) and Porcelain Shaft. The latter are being critically acclaimed and are a real interesting listen.
Any problems with this post and it’ll be taken down immediately. If there was ever a time to respect an artist’s work, it is now.
I’m not one to flaunt the adoration of a greatest hits, nor am I one to claim to have infinite knowledge of Funk music, but it would take a thoughtless buffoon, yes a fucking clown, to deny Sly, and his Family, some serious fucking kudos for this magnum opus. It’s a mix of everything the band, a collective of 21 artists, and the first “integrated, multi-gender lineup”, created; a funky, dancy psychedelia powerhouse of hip-shaking goodness. There are a few cracking tracks that didn’t make the cut, but Sly knew what he was doing, and nothing quite sums up their prolific 60’s period where the re-energised black music like this does. There’s a quote that can sum all of this up quite simply; “there are two types of black music: black music before Sly Stone, and black music after Sly Stone”. Word.