Saturday, April 21, 2018

Weekend Music Roundup

Happy Record Store Day...the happiest day of the year. Before I head out to the local shops, thought I'd share with you my ramblings about some albums I've been listening to of late. There's a couple of new releases on here and some recent finds. Not sure what it is your hunting out there on this day, but while you're looking, don't forget to pick up something you don't may be surprised at what you find. Enjoy. 

Mr. Airplane Man - Jacaranda Blue: Though this band has been around for two decades, this new release is my first encounter with them. This is a unique album of garage rock clouded in a haze of sunshine psychedelic sound. These are two of my favorite kinds of sounds, so the combination was pure bliss to my ears. "(Do You Wanna) Hang Out," "I'm In Love," "Blue as I Can Be," and "No Place to Go" are personal favorites. This is an album that I'm sure will make it on my end of the year list and I encourage you all to check it out on their Bandcamp site. 

Sol Invictus - Necropolis: The newest album from the London neofolk band is their first in four years. It's a dark fairy tale album about their home city that mixes spoken word and psychedelic folk in a way that comes off as pleasantly disturbing. This isn't the kind of album that you can listen to any old time, but listening to while driving through the cold rain is practically perfect. Definitely an album that will produce a story in your mind and for that, it's worth listening to.

The Microphones - It Was Hot, We Stayed in the Water: Released in 2000, one year before their landmark The Glow Pt. 2, this album sets the stage for that one, as it features the song "The Glow". Phil Elverum is on the brink of brilliance with this album, mastering his brand of lo-fi psychedelic folk. I recently found a used copy of this on vinyl, along with The Glow Pt.2, both of which should be a crime to sell, but I'm glad it isn't. The two albums work together wonderfully, making this is a must for any fans of the later record.

The Sword - Used Future: The sixth album from the Austin band is their first new material in three years and it mixes their traditional 70's inspired stoner space rock with the softer side they displayed on the acoustic version of their last album. I like the interplay of those two styles on here and it works well to keep the album interesting throughout. "Deadly Nightshade," "Sea of Green," "Book of Thoth," and the title track are personal favorites.

The Amazing Bud Powell - Time Waits: Recorded in '58, at the height of the jazz pianist's career, this dynamite album is a brilliant piece of hard bob. It has an edge to it provided by Philly Joe Jones' drums that accompany Bud's mellow work on the keys. This is one of those perfect rainy day albums that really captures the timeless mood of such weather. I got this for a few bucks and it's a bargain at three times the price.

The Bollock Brothers - The 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Released in 1985, this is the London new wave band's fourth album. Mixing post-punk with new wave synth, this album has a proto-industrial feel. This was an album I went out on a limb with, finding it in a 4 for $10 bin and it turns out to be quite good. It has a hard enough edge to keep it from being to new wavy, yet remains rhythmic. "Faith Healer," "Woke Up this Morning Found Myself Dead," "The Seventh Seal" and the title track are my personal favorites on an album that more should hear.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Dreaming in Story

My schedule of late has left me no time to write. Between school, work, and a toddler, I haven't had the kind of time to commit to the kind of lengthy ideas that have been alive in my head for the past few months. Instead, I've found myself confined to live those stories during my sleeping hours. I credit my lack of being able to write for the truly insane dreams I've been having the past few weeks. It makes sense. There needs to some outlet for the imagination and mine has chosen the blank pages of a dream.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Weekend Music Roundup

Another weekend has come and that means more music ramblings from yours truly. This week I'm talking a look at some recently archival releases, as well as a few new ones, and some relatively recent vinyl purchases. A couple of these were real surprises for me, while others were things I'd been looking forward to hearing for a while. All rock here, a few on the psychedelic pop side of rock. Definitely some albums here that you might not have heard of and I strongly suggest checking them out. Enjoy.

Skyway Man - Seen Comin' From a Mighty Eye: This is the debut from an indie band out of Nashville, led by James Wallace. Released just over a year ago, I got to see James perform this record recently to a intimate crowd of 75-100 people. I wrote about that show in the post titled "The Sounds We See." This is a brilliant record has the honesty of modern day Paul Simon and the psychedelic sophistication of early Hawkwind and the creativity of an Aeroplane Over the Sea. If you see this record, or see the band playing anywhere, by all means, treat yourself to the experience.

Elton John - 17-11-70: Considered one of the finest live albums of all time, this was a hole in my Sir Elton catalog, a hole that I filled when I found a good copy for $2 at the local shop. This was a radio concert featuring songs from the second album, as well as a Rolling Stones and a Beatles cover. This was a great evening listen, and "Take Me to the Pilot" was fantastic, as was "Burn Down the Mission." I can't believe I ignored this artist for so long.

MGMT - Little Dark Age: Ten years after their fantastic debut, the Brooklyn psychedelic pop is back with their fourth album and first in five years. This is easily their best since the first one, in my opinion. It seems in the past few years they've rediscovered some passion and honesty in their songwriting. There was a tendency on the previous two records for them to sound as though they were bored, but here they've found a way to successfully use electropop techniques in a way that manages not to sound like revived '80s or uninspired. "One Thing Left to Try," "When You're Small," "Me and Michael," and the title track are my personal favorites on this rebound record.

Television Personalities - Beautiful Despair: This shelved album was recorded in 1990 but just got released, though many songs appeared on their '92 album "Closer to God". This definitely maintains the feel of their early '80s work, a sort of post-punk, psychedelic pop sound. Granted that was sound that was quickly fading in favor at the time this was recorded, and the appetite was certainly gone for it come '92. Thankfully, interest in this kind of music has returned and I feel this band was really influential on the sound of late '90s eclectic indie artists. This would fit right at home with Elephant 6 albums from twenty years ago.

Simply Saucer - Cyborgs Revisited: Though recorded in '74-'75, this proto-punk album wouldn't be released until 1989. It has recently been re-released with expanded tracks, which allowed me to discover it. Though hailing from the outskirts of Toronto, this band's sound comes from near and far. They are strange and exciting mixture of The Stooges and Rolling Stones that sounds as fresh and original as Television's "Marquee Moon". I also love the Roky Erickson horror movie vibe about cybogs that plays through songs like "Dance the Mutation," "Illegal Bodies," and "Here Come the Cyborgs." A wonderful re-release.

Friday, April 13, 2018

The 13th

It's Friday the 13th...things are going to get weird.

Now as some of you may know, I'm a rather superstitious soul. So I understand the irrational fear of numbers that fall on certain days. Interestingly enough, it's not one of my superstitions. My parents got married on a Friday the 13th. My little sister was born on a Friday the 13th. It's never been a bad day for least not yet. But that's the thing with superstition, just because it hasn't gotten you yet, doesn't mean it won't. Given that, I take back everything I just said, because I also believe in jinxes. So now...well...things might get a little weird.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Weekend Music Roundup

The weekend has arrived, and brings with it more winter weather in April. It's gonna be cold up here in the Hudson Valley, so curl up with your favorite fuzzy warble player and listen to some tunes. I have a couple of new releases on here, as well as some older albums that I picked up on the cheap over the past several weeks. Rock, jazz, stoner's all covered. Hopefully you'll find something to explore. Enjoy. 

Jack White - Boarding House Reach: For his third solo album, the White Stripes, Raconteurs, Dead Weather frontman has released his most experimental album to date. Having taken those three bands to the top of the charts, it's applause worthy that he made an album that doesn't feature any easily identifiable radio singles. It reminds me of Kurt Cobain's "Montage of Heck" recordings, though certainly more structured. This is garage soul, something that is refreshing and different, things that might turn off fans. To be sure this isn't his best or most defining work, but it's good and interesting. A bold release from an artist that really has nothing left to prove.

Ryley Walker - Deafman Glance: Over the past half decade, this Chicago singer songwriter has become one of my favorites, having released three amazing albums of psychedelic chamber folk. In May, his fourth album will be released and it's another gem. He has a sense of darkness that is beautiful to listen to, and a vibe that reminds me of Astral Weeks. "Opposite Middle," "22 Days," and the amazing "Telluride Speed" are standouts on what is bound to be a favorite of the year for me. 

Jaki Byard - Freedom Together!: Released in '66, this the jazz keyboardist's fourth album. An artist who came of age in the post-bop, hard-bop era, this is the kind of firehouse jazz that I really dig. It can be incredibly mellow and then slowly twists into a wild fits of dreamlike chaos. I've been into keyboardists of late, and Jaki is amazing. His playing is accompanied wonderfully by Richard Davis's work on bass and his own sax work. My copy is complete with atmospheric crackles and pops that only seem to add to the beauty of the record.

Roadkill Ghost Choir - False Youth Etcetera: The second album from the Florida indie band is part Bright Eyes, part Verve. The mix could seem strange, but it works. It's not as deep and obscure as Connor's work, and not as soulful as the Verve, but there are elements on this album that remind me of both. Perhaps the only criticism I have is that it felt too familiar. I just felt as though I'd heard this band before, though I hadn't. However, I don't blame them for that, and so I quite liked this record. "Dream Shiver," "Severed Hand of God," and "Sad Magic" were standouts for me. 

Bee Gees - Idea: It was the summer of 1968 when the Australian band of brothers released their second album of the year, and fourth overall. It was one year after Sgt. Pepper and much of the music world was caught up in the notion of psychedelic pop concept albums. The Stones had Their Satanic Majesties Request, the Monkees had Head, and down under, this emerging group had this album. I recently picked this up while crate digging after hearing how these early Bee Gees albums were an influence on Noel Gallagher, which gave me an excuse to check out some stuff pre-"2 Years On". It took a few listens for me to really 'get' this album, but once I did, I really enjoyed it. It's a little uneven, and far from perfect, but worth investing some time in. Side B is pretty strong from beginning to end.

Sundrifter - Visitations: The second album from Boston based stoner rock band lives up to the great cover art. It doesn't stray far from the stoner rock sound of other recent bands like The Sword and Kadavar. As with those bands, there's a lot of '70s space rock influence, and heavy psych blues influences. Decent album that fans of the genre will groove out to. "Death March," "Fire in the Sky," and "I Want to Leave" were my personal favorites.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Gone, but not Forgotten

Twenty four years ago, I found myself in Munich, Germany...drinking heavily at the famed Munich Putsch beer hall as any reasonable 18 year old would. Upon returning to the hotel that night, I got off the elevator on my floor and was greeted by a friend who told me that Kurt Cobain had been found dead. My reaction at that time was not one of shock or utter grief. Though I was saddened, it didn't strike me as unexpected. After all, the prior months had been a cycle of attempted suicide, rehab, and illustrated a general downward spiral that seemed destined for the same end result. 

Over the next year, Kurt's music would make a profound impact on my life. It already had prior to his death, but it grew afterwards. Nirvana had been a favorite band of mine, but it was the following year in college when I suffered my first real intense period of depression, and during that time, Kurt's music was a comfort. It was from him that I truly learned to turn many of my darkest thoughts into artistic expression as a form of coping. 

To this day, his music still sounds fresh to me, despite having listened to everything he ever recorded so many times that I know every note, it remains impactful. That is the thing about art, it survives even after the artist doesn't. It's how we achieve immortality. Though for those close, it does little to ease the pain of loss, something I've learned in these 24 years since.

Sunday, April 1, 2018


April Fool's Day?
No, it's Sakura's Birthday!
Happy Birthday to the best Anime Character ever!