September 1, 2008

The School of Spacerock... now in session! I realize nobody's ready to let go of summer, the lazy hazy daze of hammocks and soothing bodies of water... it just seems too dang soon to go back to school! Well, never fear, because the education provided herein will stimulate the senses and allow you to free your mind and relive your halcyon days under the sun (or in my case, surfin' the slipstream under the stars).

We begin in homage to tomorrow's double-header at Bimbo's 365 Club in San Francisco: the much-anticipated reunion tour by those 90's math rock absurdists from Chapel Hill, NC, the one and only POLVO! And since they'll be supported by everyone's fave techno-RAWKers Trans Am, I've opened the set with one of their most heady epics.

We follow with a duet from the illustrious Birdman Records (Hi Matthew!), with Pittsburgh's garage-psych specialists Modey Lemon, and the collaboration between Spectrum (aka Sonic Boom from Spacemen 3) and legendary producer/provocateur Captain Memphis, which finds them mining Sonic's back catalog as well as the hypnodrone of proto-synthpunks Suicide. Then to scramble the senses while cleansing the palate I've popped in avant-freekjazzist Marc Ribot's (Tom Waits, Lounge Lizards, et al.) desecration of an alltime classic by the Doors.

From there it's an excursion into instruMENTAL post rock with Berlin's Heaven And, Montreal's Do Make Say Think and Glasgow's mighty Mogwai. Then we shift gears into a five-song set of unclassifiable modern music from diverse artists (Au, Sigur Ros, Animal Collective, Abe Vigoda and Ponytail) that are tied together by an innocence, a primal joy, a child-like obsession with mantra and manic frenzy, and a penchant for undiscernable vocals meant more for their sound than any precise meaning. It's the equivalent of spiritual ecstasy through the healing powers of "rock" music (using that term in only the loosest sense).

Electro-organic powerhouse the Octopus Project provide a transitional track, then tracks from the most recent, and stunning Portishead release and from late 80's psych duo Opal (Kendra Smith from the Dream Syndicate and Dave Roback from the Rain Parade, pre-Mazzy Star) show a striking resemblance. Continuing in that vein, from the blink-and-you'll-miss-it musical movement of psychedelic classicism centered in 80's Los Angeles known as the paisley underground comes tracks from True West, the Rain Parade, Green On Red and the Dream Syndicate. Taking us for one last leap into the depths of space is a chilling opus from the recent comeback album by L.A. dark-psyche outfit the Warlocks.

Whew! That was exhausting. But pay attention class! Don't be caught napping. There's still a lot more to learn about space rock! After studying this month's installment it might be a good time to review all of our previous lessons in preparation for a surprise pop quiz! Just kidding - school is for fools. All you'll ever need to know is right here in the Spacerock Continuum!

The following tracks should appear in the player below:

The Dark Gift - Trans Am - Red Line
Rock Post Rock - Polvo - Shapes
The Bear Comes Back Down the Mountain - Modey Lemon - Season of Sweets
The Lonesome Death of Johnny Ace - Spectrum Meets Captain Memphis - Indian Giver
Break on Through - Marc Ribot's Ceramic Dog - Party Intellectuals
Parade - Heaven And - Sweeter As the Years Roll By
Fredericia - Do Make Say Think - Winter Hymn, Country Hymn, Secret Hymn
2 Rights Make 1 Wrong - Mogwai - Rock Action
Sum - Au - Au
Gobbledigook - Sigur Ros - With A Buzz in Our Ears We Play Endlessly
Leaf House - Animal Collective - Sung Tongs
Dead City / Waste Wilderness - Abe Vigoda - Skeleton
Beg Waves - Ponytail - Ice Cream Spiritual
An Evening with Rthrtha - The Octopus Project - Hello Avalanche
Small - Portishead - Third
Rocket Machine - Opal - Happy Nightmare Baby
Steps to the Door - True West - Hollywood Holiday
No Easy Way Down - The Rain Parade - Explosions in the Glass Palace
Five Easy Pieces - Green On Red - Gravity Talks
The Days of Wine and Roses - The Dream Syndicate - The Days of Wine and Roses
Moving Mountains - The Warlocks - Heavy Deavy Skull Lover