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.
This is a fantastic little EP I thought I’d throw up for some lülz. It’s as though, by some stroke of genius, someone has crammed a couple of songs from Guerro into a gameboy and hoped for the best. Funky, juicy, dancey 8-bit magic made very poppy through Beck’s vocals. It’s such a short listen that you can’t even cook a bacon roll to it. There’s not much else to say about this one other than if you find the 7″ get in contact , because I’d gladly club a troop of baby seals for the darn thing. The cover is fucking sick.
Now this is something interesting. Bullion is a producer based in London who has had a couple releases, his 20 minute ‘You Drive Me To Plastic’ is a pretty, pretty good listen. Here he has brought together one of the seminal pop albums of all time The Beach Boys ‘Pet Sounds’ with one of the best beat makers of all time ‘J Dilla’, and it’s worked ridiculously well. I put this down to firstly to the standard of the constituent parts and secondly Bullion’s ability to find the point where these two compliment each other best. This could quite easily have been a misstep and a horrible pairing of two great artists, see one of those awful mash-ups that MTV used to play like Busta Rhymes and The Cure. But Bullion knows the province of these artists, and instead of merely laying the two next to one another, playing the beat under the original track, loops and cuts have been used to create something that although is identifiable as The Beach Boys and J Dilla but also as a creation of itself, ‘Caroline, No’ is one of those tracks that really shows this. It is testament to Bullion’s skills as a producer and arranger that this has been pulled off.
My personal favourite idiosyncrasy of the album is Bullion’s use of the studio out-takes from the recording, of which there is a huge amount, of ‘Pet Sounds’ as audio cues and a narrative through the album, Brian Wilson’s cue of the drums in ‘Lets Go Away For A While’ never fails to make me smile. Look, if you like The Beach Boys and J Dilla, or one or the other, this is just a great listen and deserves to be in your music collection.
Two cuts from the album because I just could not choose:
This was one of those albums that passed me when it first came out in the summer of 2011, then came back round. This is not a novel occurrence, what is though is the power with which it has come back around. Like a sling-shot round the moon hit between the eyes kinda power. Black Lips are a bunch of guys from Atlanta in the USA who have released a bunch of albums, under the genre of ‘Flower Punk’. I’m not wholly sure what ‘Flower Punk’is, but Arabia Mountain definitely has the phlegm of the Ramones all over it, see track Raw Meat as testament to that. A bit of garage rock influence and some playful surf combine to make this something of a retrogressive delight. The fact that Mark Ronson got his grubby hands on it should not be a cause for concern, any horns on the album are used sparingly and remarkably to good effect, ‘Family Tree’ being a good example of that.
Maybe it’s just my favourable listening to garage and all things dirty and sludgy right now, but there’s something about this album that sticks out for me. For one, it’s got a sense of humour, ridiculous conversational segues that end with ‘Dude trip out on this…’, songs about scavenging in dumpsters and comic book references abound. Also the sound treads the line between catchy rock n’ roll, country and punk better than anyone I’ve heard in a long time. Don’t take my word for it just stick the middle finger to SOPA and find out for yourself.
It can be sometimes upsetting if a band takes a change in musical direction. Especially after their first album. It’s normally coupled with a sense of rage and loss. Fuck Buttons manage to overthrow such commodity. They’ve darted away from their previous noise/drone combo, maturing their sound. Tarot Sport is like an electronic take on an epic post-rock album. The structure, the sweeping drones. It’s a thing to behold. Even a quick glance at the song list can give you a hint on how colossal the album is. Titles such as “Space Mountain” and “Flight of the Feathered Serpent” just scream galactic overtures and 14 minute tracks.
The band themselves are from Bristol, and consist of Andrew Hung and Benjamin John Power. Orchestrating the producing was the trusty Andrew Weatherall, worked with Primal Scream in their heyday, who honed their sound so much it could carve through time itself. These guys done remixes and covers of My Bloody Valentine and Mogwai stand out as well.
SO YEAH. I’ll get back on it. Starting with this blatant Swede. Axel Willner aka. The Field has just stumbled into my proximity of listening and, yeah, it’s on pitchfork, but it’s verging on the best album i’ve heard in a while. “Looping State of Mind” is exactly what it sounds like, a repetition of simple loops that give you an insight into his oldest record collection; you’ve got his minimal-techno side shining through in the structure of his music alongside a shoe-gaze/punk feel from the samples. It’s brilliant – seriously.
There’s a few stand out tracks that are worth a mention, especially the opener “Is this Power” which has these delicious synths glazing an endless post-punk bass line. Trinkets and mastery the lot of it.