February 1, 2011

Space Rock To Go!

Here it is folks (finally!): by overwhelming popular demand, it's The Great Spacerock Continuum Podcast Experiment! New! Improved! Transportable! The deluxe take-it-with-you version of this month's "podcast" is ready for the busy spacerockers on the go. Remember: this isn't a true podcast, just an mp3 that you can download:

1. Click on the Divshare logo instead of pushing the play button.

2. Click "download" when redirected to the Divshare site.

3. Once downloaded drag it to yer iTunes and sync it with yer pod - simple!

Unfortunately you'll still need to refer to this blog's text to know what song yer on, but hey... baby steps. Let me know what you think!

Startin' this set off with a bit of poppiness, (as "pop" as I ever get on the SRC). Not that this stuff would get played on pop radio, but let's just say it's more accessible and less challenging than your average space rock. KC Accidental is the precursor to Broken Social Scene, who are ostensibly a pop band. But most folks don't know that BSS's first album was pure instrumental post rock, and this track shows where that ethos originated (the titular K & C being BSS bandleaders Kevin Drew and Charles Spearin). In honor of the legendary Aussies The Church's current tour, where they are playing, in their entirety, three full albums: Starfish, Priest = Aura and their latest, Untitled #23, I offer you a track... from none of those albums, but instead a stellar track from the sleeper album I wish they were playing (thanks to Brian Wilcher for turning me on to it). Beach House is hardly space rock, being more somnambulant dream pop, but they veer close enough that they've always intrigued me, so I include here a track illustrating their associations with the genre. And San Francisco artist Christopher Willits is light enough to be considered on the pop side, if you could possibly include shimmering shoegazey guitar-through-laptop artists like him and Fennesz "pop".

What better place to drop White Noise Sound's most epic bliss rock anthem? This band has got all the touchpoints nailed (Spacemen 3, Primal Scream, Love & Rockets, et al.) and I can't stop listening to 'em. Speaking of epics... I don't usually plop a 20-minute track in the middle of a set, but using such a track as the closing coda risks less people hearing it, so right here, demanding your full attention, is quite possibly THE most epic track ever from legendary and prolific Japanese psych rockers (pictured above) Acid Mother's Temple's entire massive catalog. And it's not even close in intensity to some of their extended psychotic guitar-mangling face-melting freakouts, some measuring over an hour, so chill out, relax, absorb it into yer brain... and be exalted when the guitar solo comes in at around 14 minutes. You'll be glad you did.

Guess what? The mighty Mogwai has a new one, and it's their best in many years, and their most diverse and atypical collection of songs, as this track illustrates. Silly song titles aside (they tend to excel at this), this slow burner rivals their best work. Brit improv collective Mugstar is another band I can't get enough of lately; their motorik madness is unparalleled except perhaps by their stateside equivalent Oneida (whose wry psychedelic impressionism is detectable in this track). Speaking of triumphant returns, enigmatic Finnish absurdists Circle have managed to top themselves yet again, with a succulent stew of mind-melting manic/mantric prog they call, tongue firmly in cheek, the New Wave Of Finnish Heavy Metal. And speaking of metal, who knew that bands like this could rework such a tired cliche of a genre into one of the most viable musical art forms out there? Kylesa did. This multi-guitar, multi-vocalist Georgian (as in Savannah, not Russia) outfit is unlike any other nu-metalists out there. And they RAWK.

Grails continue to evolve; their more esoteric 70s influences (Popul Vuh, Ennio Morricone, et al.) continue to emerge from a slow thaw of more trad psych and post rock, and their experimentation is fearless, as this recent installation of their Black Tar Prophecies series shows. San Francisco vets The Alps (featuring Jefre Cantu-Ledesma of Tarentel) reside on similar terrain, and this sitar-laden exploration is among their best work. Jackie-O Motherfucker recently released one of their most accessible albums to date with Ballads of the Revolution, surprising even the legion of fans of their psych-Americana free-musik improv.

Next up, a little surprise in the form of Noel Redding's obscure post-Hendrix project, simply and cryptically titled Road. Rawkin' track, no? Circa 1972. One of last year's major discoveries for me was Wolf People (see January's set), a crew of young Brits paying homage to and expanding upon classic Cream, Blind Faith, Blue Cheer... even Jethro Tull (and a slew of 70s British baroque folk rock). I dare anyone to not jump out of their seats air-guitaring to this track. And again, in reference to my putting lengthy and challenging tracks as the ultimate mindfuck of each set... well here ya go: free-associative modern power trio Heavy Winged.

For you traditionalists who don't mind streaming, the following tracks should appear in the player below:

Nancy And The Girdle Boy - K.C. Accidental - Captured Anthems For An Empty Bathtub
Block - The Church - Uninvited, Like The Clouds
Mile Stereo - Beach House - Teen Dream
Sun Body - Christopher Willits - Tiger Flower Circle Sun
(In Both) Dreams and Ecstasies - White Noise Sound - s/t
Pink Lady Lemonade (May I Drink You Once Again?) - Acid Mothers Temple - Myth Of The Love Electrique
You're Lionel Richie - Mogwai - Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will
Technical Knowledge As A Weapon - Mugstar - ...Sun, Broken...
Vaellus - Circle - Rautatie
Unknown Awareness - Kylesa - Static Tensions
Self-Hypnosis - Grails - Black Tar Prophecies Vol. 4
Telepathe - The Alps - Le Voyage
Skylight - Jackie-O Motherfucker - Ballads Of The Revolution
Spaceship Earth - Road - s/t
One By One From Dorney Ranch - Wolf People - Steeple
Breathe Life - Heavy Winged - Sunspotted