November 1, 2012

Day of the dead: How much must we lose to man-made storms? The tide has come in.

As seen from my perch in OUTER SPACE: Above, three storms converge. In the next photo below, FRANKENSTORM, the confluence of undeniably man-made climate change. Any questions?

'Nuff said. Moving along, this is absolutely one of the greatest things I've ever seen and heard:

Thai traditional space rock?!?!? Whatever it is, it rules.

Now on to the music, a set designed to sooth your frazzled nerves, the calm your troubled soul, to make you forget the scary things in life, like Frankenstorms, Halloween and baseball.

First off, from Portland OR, the one-man enigma known as Au has always had an impressionistic streak, but on this aptly named track he uses an almost pointillist method (think Seurat or Pissarro) and translates it to sound. SF trad-proggers Crime In Choir have a way of making vintage sounds new again and a celebratory catharsis to their own epics. My Best Fiend conjure Pink Floyd's Roger Waters at his most Wall-era tortured, and splice that into a hypnotic mantra-like tapestries. And of course, the Modfather Paul Weller has always dabbled in a bit of psych with his post-Jam "heavy soul" solo releases.

Exploring the late 80s paisley underground one can unearth a continuous flow of obscure gems, here represented by Steve Wynn, who has recently made a return-to-form of his Dream Syndicate era (his Miracle 3 are the closest he's come in assembling similarly-minded musicians), with a track that might likely be an ode to those halcyon days. And we then go back to the very days themselves with his former bandmate Kendra Smith (sadly AWOL for a very long time now) who demonstrated her own formidable psychedelic talents with her partner in ex-Rain Parader David Roback when they formed Opal (which would morph into Mazzy Star when Kendra was replaced by Hope Sandoval).

Full disclosure: the talented and under-exposed husband/wife team of Gary Williams and Liana Dutton Williams, who comprise the singing, songwriting and instrumental core of Honeyslide, are dear friends of mine, and I dare anyone with a soft spot for chill-inducing harmonies and breathtaking dynamics not to be moved by this track. And I think they share the ability of the Santa Cruz psych-folksters in Sleepy Sun of melding historic sounds with "modern" production values, yet another example of making the old new again.

To that end, the following artists seem very traditional indeed, yet all are 21st century pioneers of vintage-sounding but forward-looking psyche-fucking-delic RAWK: Pond, the spinoff band of last year's accolade-accumulating aussies Tame Impala exhibit their own unique take on the genre, with equal doses of Syd Barrett and Sly & The Family Stone. And what was once Entrance (and has since become the Entrance Band) has gone from solo folkie troubadour to full-on psych-blooz guitar mangler and allstar band, surpassing in instrumental extravagance and lyrical imagery even his own freak-folk peer, the cult of personality known as Devendra Banhart.

Then, as I often am wont to do, it's time to take it down a notch with the ethereal enchantment of the seminal psych circuit regulars, and also husband/wife duo, Charalambides (in a theme with Honeyslide above, but in a more nebulous/nonlinear format, for Tom And Christina Carter have rarely come close traditional songwriting in their prolific career). Shifting back in time again, the sadly overlooked and underrated Tom Rapp, the principle in Pearls Before Swine, stirred baroque British folk and abrasive proto-garage psych in the same pot, which resulted in an obscure stew that only those in the know have sampled. And the legacy of Galaxie 500 can never be underestimated in the canon of transcendent guitar music, with their subtle slow-burn ebbs and flows laying down the template for many to follow (Dean was the guitarist/leader but when bassist Naomi - later of Damon & Naomi, Galaxie's solo-going rhythm section - sang, it was impossible to not be utterly enthralled and entranced). This track ranks among their very best.

A feint to continue the acoustic/folkish portion of this set results in the dynamic heavy 21st century worshipers of Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr. known as Broken Water. It's like you've heard it before but it's still FRESH. White Fence runs the gamut of psych-pop scenemakers, yet another solo artist (Tim Presley) bringing the very best aspects of Guided By Voices and The Jesus & Mary Chain to a postmodern sensibility. Sharing the Woodsist label and its penchant for pastoral freak-folk meltdowns, Woods (featured many a time before here, and many a time to come, this time from a split with itinerant woodsy weirdo Amps For Christ) intersperse their backwoods Neil-Young-meets-the-Flaming-Lips swampy ditties with the occasional long meandering instruMENTAL workout, one of which I've included here. Again. (I can't stop)

Where to go from here? Howzabout some lengthy trance-inducing jams from Finnish freaks Circle's spinoff band Pharaoh Overlord, Nick Cave's Bad Seed compatriots in their guise as Dirty Three,who can bring a violin/guitar/drums format  to spacerockin' heights, and the only band I know that can be minimal... dark... twangy (in an almost country-western way)... and HEAVY at the same time, the aptly named (they really do mimic the rotation of the spheres) Earth? Works for me. Enjoy.

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
Epic- Au - Both Lights
Didomonico - Crime In Choir - The Hoop
Odvip - My Best Fiend - In Ghostlike Fading
Dragonfly - Paul Weller - Sonik Kicks
Topanga Canyon Freaks - Steve Wynn - Here Come The Miracles
Supernova - Opal - Happy Nightmare Baby
Leaves And Threads - Honeyslide - Holding Out Hope
Deep War - Sleepy Sun - Spine Hits
Moth Wings - Pond - Beard, Wives, Denim
Grim Reaper Blues - Entrance - Prayer Of Death
Feather In The Air - Charalambides - Likeness
I Shall Not Care - Pearls Before Swine - One Nation Underground
Listen, The Snow Is Falling - Galaxie 500 - The Portable Galaxie 500
When You Said - Broken Water - Tempest
Upstart Girls - White Fence - Family Perfume Vol. 1 & 2
September Saturn - Woods - Amps For Christ & Woods
Skyline - Pharaoh Overlord - #2
Indian Love Song - Dirty Three - s/t
Plague Of Angels - Earth - Hibernaculum

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

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

2. Click "download" when redirected to the Divshare site (put it on your desktop for easy access).

3. Once downloaded, drag it to yer iTunes and sync it with yer pod.

And I must reiterate, this is the way to take your spacerock mix to go! You can DOWNLOAD it! It's YOURS now! It's an mp3 mix that pops right into your iTunes - it couldn't be simpler.