October 1, 2008

Words cannot express...

...my anticipation of the events occurring this month throughout the US and elsewhere, events of such magnitude as to shake the planet loose from its orbit and launch us all into farflung galaxies, exhilarated by the prospect of the long-awaited reunion of one of the most important bands of all time:

The triumphant return of MY BLOODY VALENTINE!!!!! And of course I will be bearing witness to it - will you? In fact, I've decided to catch this epic moment in history at a venue that I have a lot of history with myself, the fabled Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. Word on the street is the Concourse Exhibition Center, the site of MBV's San Francisco stop, is a horrible venue for live music - all tinny, echoey sound and horrible sightlines. And besides, the Civic in L.A. is a place where I've attended many history-making rock shows, including the first US tour by Public Image Ltd., in their original lineup, with the flamboyant chaos-inducing fire-breathing Butthole Surfers (among others) as their support. It was the hugest mosh pit I've ever experienced, and if I remember correctly this was probably in '82. I know it was in '89 that I first swooned over My Bloody Valentine - and '91 when I caught their first and only US tour at the Hollywood Palladium. They were absolutely DEVASTATING. In all honesty it took me and my musical peers a bit of time to "get" this monumental band, as it often does with most artists with any longevity. This is the band who forever changed the way guitars could sound and how, when you get to the rudiments of it, pop songs could be written. Their music has stood the test of time; there has never been and will never be another band like them. Yes, I will be bringing ear-plugs - this band is LOUD. I'm drivin' down I-5 tomorrow - wish me luck!

And now to the playlist for October:

Opening the set are a couple motorik juggernauts from New Zealand noise trio Grey Daturas and paisley underground also-rans True West, then we revisit two of the finest of Birdman's Records' recent releases, Pittburgh garage-psych monsters Modey Lemon and Spectrum Meets Captain Memphis (busting out a Mudhoney cover!), in slot 3 and 4 just like last month. From there we launch into a segment of shoegaze and droney psychedelia with the usual suspects (SF's Lumerians, LA's Warlocks, the aforementioned MBV, fellow Paisley undergrounders Green On Red and the Rain Parade, and slipping in jangle-psych classicists the Feelies), before things get really weird. And by weird I mean some truly unclassifiable shit: Clipd Beaks, Crystal Antlers, Liars, Snowman...?! What do you call this stuf? Arty, noisy, punky... inspired. I guess the broader definition of space rock will have to do. And of course none of it would have existed without Nick Cave and Co.'s contributions back in the 80s with The Birthday Party. Also hard to classify is German electronic absurdists Mouse on Mars (with their tribute to O.G. krautrockers Amon Duul?), the mighty Polvo whose reunion last month still rings in my ears, and SF avant-folkies Dodos. Another recent reunion occurred between Brian Eno (Roxy Music et al.) and David Byrne (Talking Heads et al.), but since their new collaboration is merely okay I decided to pop in a track from their first meeting, the seminal My Life in the Bush of Ghosts (1981) in case anyone would like to know what they're really capable of. We then make an awkward (but less so than you'd think) transition into neu-metal realms with the slab-tastic Isis, Torche and Russian Circles, then drift off gently with slo-mo troubadours Brightblack Morning Light and an homage to Pink Floyd's Rick Wright and one of his many indelible contributions to space rock.

And it is here we must make tribute to the sad passing of founding member of Pink Floyd, keyboardist Rick Wright. Although further from the limelight than his cohorts David Gilmour and Roger Waters, Wright was indispensable as a composer, arranger, and foil for the much larger egos in the band. He wrote two of the strongest tracks from the undisputed spacerock epic Dark Side of the Moon, "The Great Gig In The Sky" and "Us And Them", as well as contributed to some of the group's most transcendent pieces such as "Atom Heart Mother," "Echoes" and "Shine On You Crazy Diamond." The following video is for my personal favorite Rick Wright song, the overlooked chestnut "Summer '68" (although it's only a fan video without live footage, the sentiment is still there):

The following tracks should appear in the player below:

Beyond and Into the Ultimate - Grey Daturas - Return to Disruption
I'm Not Here - True West - Hollywood Holiday (Revisited)
The Peacock's Eye - Modey Lemon - Season of Sweets
When Tomorrow Hits - Spectrum Meets Captain Memphis - Indian Giver
Corkscrew Trepanation - Lumerians - s/t
So Paranoid - The Warlocks - Heavy Deavy Skull Lover
Only Shallow - My Bloody Valentine - Loveless
Slipping (Into Something) - The Feelies - The Good Earth
The Blue Parade - Green On Red - Gravity Talks
This Can't Be Today - Rain Parade - Emergency Third Rail Power Trip
We Will Bomb You (We Will) - Clipd Beaks - Hoarse Lords
Parting Song for the Torn Sky - Crystal Antlers - s/t
Let's Not Wrestle Mt. Heart Attack - Liars - Drum's Not Dead
Our Mother (She Remembers) - Snowman - The Horse, the Rat & the Swan
The Friend Catcher - The Birthday Party - Hee-Haw
Duul - Mouse On Mars - Varcharz
Thermal Treasure - Polvo - Today's Active Lifestyles
Jodi - The Dodos - Visiter
Regiment - Brian Eno & David Byrne - My Life in the Bush of Ghosts
Not in Rivers, But in Drops - Isis - In the Absence of Truth
Fat Waves - Torche - Meanderthal
Harper Lewis - Russian Circles - Station
True Bright Blossom - Brightblack Morning Light - Ala.Cali.Tucky
Remember a Day - Pink Floyd - A Saucerful of Secrets

PS. Although I'm usually not much for videos (despite the plethora included in this month's post), I thought these were some nifty little nuggets of visual psychedelia to match the tunes (from Portland's enigmatic Au and the file-under-WTF? Ponytail, both featured in last month's playlist). Hope you do too: