August 1, 2011

Summer Round-Up

Howdy spacerockers! For the August set I've assembled some loose ends and odds 'n' sods to wrap up a lot of the material I've been listening to over the course of the summer - some bands have been featured in previous playlists but I needed to get in a second or third song by these artists cuz I dig 'em so much. Hopefully you do too.

Starting off, a lengthy journey with Stereolab from their first album in a long time that actually sounds fresh, since their last half-dozen or so releases are pretty same-y, basically the same album over and over (hey, if it ain't broke...). The appropriately titled Not Music is worth picking up, as it harkens back to their glory days of Transient Random Noise Bursts through Emperor Tomato Ketchup. Moon Duo, the Wooden Shjips spin-off, have a recent release that's easily on a par with either act's best work, as this scorcher amply illustrates. Another track from The Oscillation further shows what incredibly good taste and influences these cosmic rockers have (and sounding more like Primal Scream than Primal Scream does these days). Pocahauted mix a bit of dub and lo-fi scuzz into their brand of psych, to delicious disorienting effect. Another track from my recent faves The Black Ryder further reveals their blatant Spacemen 3 and My Bloody Valentine worship, which is a fine thing in my book.

Implodes is a strange bird, from the active-verb moniker to the gauzy waves of blissful haze they conjure, seemingly in homage to the sadly AWOL Flying Saucer Attack. Louisville KY math/spazz/post rock vets Parlour return as well, with a more expansive and less claustrophobic track, showing off their diversity and also their more trance-inducing side. A spin-off of Collections Of Colonies Of Bees (and thus Volcano Choir), All Tiny Creatures put out a satisfying collection of low-key psych, coming off a bit like Bon Iver (whose Justin Vernon contributes to one track) jamming with Animal Collective on home-brewed laudanum, or as my friend and fellow music writer Ned Raggett puts it, "breezy, uptempo song(s) that (are) part motorik zone, part kicking it on a relaxed afternoon." Continuing the gentle narcotized state, Damon & Naomi, long ago the rhythm section for Galaxie 500, really hit their stride when they started jamming With Ghost, the namesake Japanese psych collective whose instantly recognizable lead guitarist Michio Kurihara elevates their understated bliss folk to new heights with his stratospheric solos.

Kelley Stoltz, a longtime veteran of the SF psych scene, pays homage to all his heroes from Syd Barrett to Roky Erikson to Echo & The Bunnymen on his albums, yet comes off entirely his own artist, as this tracks shows off his softer space-troubadour side. Although I dearly love his more manic side, this track fits better in the theme we're exploring here, a bit of hammock-hanging summery psychedelic. Continuing into the sea of reverb (and slowly building the mania), Crystal Stilts also wear their influences proudly on their sleeves, from Ennio Morricone to Phil Spector to sinister garage rawk drone. It seems appropriate here to exhibit the spacier side of equally manic absurdist art rocker (and desert denizen), the dear-departed Captain Beefheart and his (aptly named) Magic Band, this track long pre-dating the similarly pointillist impressionism of latterday post rock.

See where we're going now? A bit of panoramic cinematic spaghetti-western twang segues into all-out desert sprawl by way of another track from The Desert Sessions. For those of you not quite familiar with Josh Homme and cohorts' past before these supergroup sessions that I've been featuring I've included a track from his main project Queens Of The Stone Age, as well as that band's previous incarnation as Big Sky sludge metal wizards Kyuss, straight outta Palm Desert CA. Keeping it grungy, True Widow bring a minimalist shoegazing ethos to the maximalist tendencies of psych-metal. And French metalgazer Alcest finishes us off with an epic-length opus re-released from his early daze.

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

The Spacerock Continuum Theme - bRambles
Silver Sands - Stereolab - Not Music
Fallout - Moon Duo - Mazes
Liquid Memoryman - The Oscillation - Out Of Phase
You Do Voo Doo - Pocahaunted - Make It Real
Let It Go - The Black Ryder - Buy The Ticket, Take The Ride
Meadowsland - Implodes - Black Earth
Sea Of Bubbly Goo - Parlour - Simulacrenfield
Glass Bubbles - All Tiny Creatures - Harbors
I Dreamed Of The Caucasus - Damon & Naomi - With Ghost
Mean Marianne - Kelley Stoltz - Antique Glow
Alien Rivers - Crystal Stilts - In Love With Oblivion
Kandy Korn - Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band - Mirror Man
Coward's Way Out - The Desert Sessions - The Desert Sessions, Vol. 1
Better Living Through Chemistry - Queens Of The Stone Age - Rated R
The Law - Kyuss - Wretch
Doomser - True Widow - As High As The Highest Heavens And From The Center To The Circumference Of The Earth
Le Secret - Alcest - Le Secret

But don't forget, you now have the option of spacerock to go:

1. Click on the Kadoo logo instead of pushing the play button in the player below.

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

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