July 8, 2010

Better late than never...

Sorry for being AWOL, spacerock fans. The satellite link-up was being upgraded and now I have an even faster upload capability (up, up and UP, into the stratosphere!!!), the better to bombard you with cosmic rays of sound! And this month's playlist is one of my freekingest bestest, if I do say so m'self. So let's dive right in, shall we?

We start with one of the most anticipated projects of this year: not only is it The Flaming Lips, one of the greatest bands of all time, and not only is it also Lips frontman Wayne's Coyne's nephew's band Stardeath & White Dwarfs (appearing previously here on the SRC), not only does it feature unlikely guest stars Henry Rollins (?!) and Peaches (?!?!?), but... it's a song-by-song cover of the entire album The Dark Side Of The Moon, Pink Floyd's seminal zenith and easily one of the greatest albums - spacerock or not - of all time!!!!! And as with any worthwhile cover versions it's a loose interpretation, taking liberties with arrangements but keeping the lyrics and vibe intact. Turn this shit up loud, loud, LOUD!!!!

Hard to top that, surely, but my original lead-off track is next, from the sophomore effort by SF's Sleepy Sun. Mind-blowing is an understatement - still got this turned up LOUD?!?!? I hope so cuz next up is a track from the band and the album that has me absolutely obsessed! Australia's Tame Impala have a timeless sound - shades of mid-period Floyd, early krautrock, heavy blooz (from Hendrix to Blue Cheer), 70s-era production values and lo-fi psych tendencies worthy of the Elephant 6 collective. You'll be hearing a LOT more of these guys. Dare I say they may usurp the best album of the year spot? Next, why not add a semi-sincere/semi-kitsch contribution to the very sensibilities we've just explored, circa 1988? Tongue-in-cheek or pure homage? YOU decide. LA allstars Masters of Reality put out a debut album that was a pastiche of all things 70s prog, psych and stomp, with an obvious love as well as instrumental prowess. And subsequently why not follow them with the original masters of reality, Black Sabbath, with an oft-overlooked track from the album that inspired it all?

Then a bit of a departure as we get eclectic with a once-per-album balls-out instrumental jam from normally fey folksters Woods, an apocalyptic lament from Grails' Emil Amos aka Holy Sons, a slow-burn freakout from Long Beach's Magic Lantern, a fist-pumping anthem from Japandroids' recent odds & sods album, a smoldering dark-psych love song from Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and a song from the new Alcest release that pinpoints the exact juncture where swirling shoegaze meets mind-splitting metal.

Want time to regroup? Forget it: next up is Tobacco, a refugee from the enigmatic rural southern collective Black Moth Super Rainbow (think Blair Witch meets Deliverance on the brown acid), who not only continues his personal exploration of freakazoid retro-futurism, all analog synth, wrecked beats and broken vocoder, but manages to blow his first effort off the planet with this release! Okay, now a brief reprieve with a soaring cinematic journey through the desert both real and of the mind with the peyote-fueled visions of Scenic, featuring members of Savage Republic and Shiva Burlesque (for those who remember - LA peeps?!?!?). Taking it up a notch with some trance-inducing heavy repetition is Holy Fuck who also manged to top their debut this year. Manitoba, the former moniker of the Canuck electronic artist now (more widely) known as Caribou who had to change his name to appease the similarly-named has-been Jersey boy Handsome Dick Manitoba who once fronted 80s faux-punx the Dictators, continues a forward-long momentum often known as motorik (his first two albums as Manitoba have subsequently been released under his Caribou incarnation). And in a similar vein (solo electronicist going organic and a bit motorik), David Holmes, who flirted with the mainstream by soundtracking the Ocean's Eleven franchise, goes mostly organic for an album in tribute to his deceased parents, with stellar results. And still within the realm of solo electro-organic workouts, Prins Thomas brings a distinctly Scandinavian vibe to a solo effort vibing on the vestiges of post rock.

We then summon a little drift und drang improv from SF's defunct Mirza, an early effort by the SF free-psych wunderkind Steven R. Smith, also featured here previously as Hala Strana and Ulaan Khol. Speaking of Ulaan Khol, let's let them add a ballistic blast at the end of Mirza's heady jam, shall we? And then what more perfect way to end this than with an epic raga by Rangda, an improv-heavy made-in-heaven collaboration between Six Organs Of Admittance's Ben Chasney and The Sun City Girls' Sir Richard Bishop?!?!? Absolutely EPIC, I tell you! Don't believe me? Just L-I-S-T-E-N.............!

The following tracks should appear in the player below:

Spacerock Continuum Intro - bRambles - BeeDub's Spacerock Continuum
Speak To Me / Breathe The Flaming Lips - The Dark Side Of The Moon
Marina - Sleepy Sun - Fever
The Bold Arrow Of Time - Tame Impala - Innerspeaker
The Blue Garden - Masters Of Reality - Masters of Reality
After Forever - Black Sabbath - Master Of Reality
From The Horn - Woods - At Echo Lake
Evil Falls - Holy Sons - Decline of the West
Friendship - Magic Lantern - Platoon
Darkness on the Edge of Gastown - Japandroids - No Singles
Aya - Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Beat The Devil's Tattoo
Écailles De Lune - Part 2 - Alcest - Écailles De Lune
Constellation Dirtbike Head - Tobacco - Maniac Meat
Lightspeed - Scenic - The Acid Gospel Experience
Stilettos - Holy Fuck - Latin
Hendrix With Ko - Manitoba - Up In Flames
Holy Pictures - David Holmes - he Holy Pictures
Ørkenvandring - Prins Thomas - s/t
The Path Is White Clouds - Mirza - Iron Compass Flux
Untitled 5 Ulaan Khol - III
Plain Of Jars - Rangda - False Flag