Well it had to happen... As many of you may know I compose my monthly playlists well in advance. Basically I build them as I listen to new music and/or rediscover old music. They're carefully plotted in that way, as I choose favorite tracks with abandon then whittle them down to 2-hour sets, with only one track per artist each set, trying to include the new, the old, the classic and the current. With all the music I listen to it's impossible to remember what's in each set. So I had May, June, and a partial July set compiled when... disaster struck! I had to uninstall and reinstall my iTunes (due to an iPhone issue), and all my playlists were deleted. D'oh! Coupled with my terrestrial woes (real estate doesn't exist in space... or does it?), still not resolved at press time, this was yet another blow I was not ready to endure. But nothing lasts forever, eh? Carry on spacerockers!
So then I figured I can be fatalistic about it and just go with the flow, and so, here's an all-new set for the month of May, cobbled together almost on-the-spot, and about as zen a set as can be. No pre-meditation or conceptualization beyond trying to include more tracks from artists that we've been exploring recently. We may have lost out on the perfectly sequenced and finely edited sets that I had compiled previously, but instead we have off-the-cuff spontaneity, as well as a bit of free-associative kismet (Richard Hawley into Richard Bitch, Golden Void into Golden Awesome, etc.). There's something to be said for that. I think it came together quite nicely, actually - I hope it works for you.
Starting with a burst of anthemic power chords and searing leads, British folkie-cum-psych rocker Richard Hawley knows how to make it epic. The next Richard is a different animal entirely: Richard Bitch is a band, not a person, and this acid-damaged (but not necessarily tongue-in-cheek) take on a Van Halen riff takes us on a journey deep into the space within our minds then drops us straight back into the mosh pit to fight the maelstrom for our very survival. In keeping with that frenetic pace old-school scuzzpunk hooligans Metz bring the fury as well as a motorik drive that rivals some of their spacepunk peers The Men's energy and conviction. Also known for their manic stage antics - all costumes, chants and ritualistic dancing - enigmatic Swedish freaks Goat bring some psychedelic shenanigans to their fuzz-bass funk.
Goat were absolutely phenomenal at the Austin Psych Fest which I just attended; so were the next two acts: Icelandic shoegazers Dead Skeletons also have a tribal, pagan element to their sound, as evidenced by this hypnotic mantra, and The Holydrug Couple may have been the sleeper of the entire three-day fest - from Chile, this understated three-piece channels early Pink Floyd via the familial lineage of Tame Impala, Pond, et al. More from the Psych Fest next month!
Next up, Kinski's back! Man, I wish they had played the Psych Fest. Always fun, these Seattle psychsters started off as an explorative instrumental outfit with tendencies toward languid yet dynamic Pink Floyd and Spacemen 3 territories, but have since brought in vocals and turned up the RAWK. The appropriately named Implodes look inward through the gauzy membranes of consciousness. And what better way to introduce another track from the new, long awaited/highly anticipated blah blah blah... thoroughly entertaining yet at times disappointingly mediocre (it's good, but it took 22 years?!?!?) My Bloody Valentine record? And obviously taking their cue, yet making it their own, nu-gazers The Golden Awesome have one of the best band names around, as well as best variations on a classic sound.
Staying Golden but another trip entirely, Golden Void is a supergroup of sorts, comprised of the cream of modern day San Francisco's psych scene, including Isaiah Mitchell of Earthless and Howlin' Rain and Camilla Saufley of Assemble Head In Sunburst Sound, and have more in common with Black Sabbath and Hawkwind, finding their gold in face-melting heavy-psych guitar rave ups. Speakinf face melting, Danish instrumental improvisationalists Causa Sui channel everything from prog, blues, psych, jazz and stoner rock to create an awe-inspiring mix of the trance-inducingly repetitive and the catharsis-inducingly dynamic. Also working from a place of repetition and dynamics, German three-piece Colour Haze sound way larger than the sum of their parts, with some tasty nuggets of previous power trios like Hendrix's Experience and Clapton's Cream thrown into their psychedelic whirlwind. In all honesty, these last two acts are my favorite recent discoveries light years beyond anything going on currently. Totally addicting - seek them out!
Arbouretum deals in a neo-classic epic storytelling brand of folk/blues/americana, with a penchant for mind-ending Crazyhorse-esque guitar raveups. Hush Arbors have a similar vibe ("acid country/drifter folk" as the Allmusic Guide aptly puts it), but, as seen here, also dabble in a more modern impressionistic guitar sweep. Six organs Of Admittance had one of the top ten albums last year, as usually solo acoustic guitarist Ben Chasny brought in a full electric band (his old cohorts in Comets On Fire) to prop up his sudden swerve into lead guitar pyrotechnics. Swans, too, turned in one of their best efforts last year and this sprawling masterwork of tension and release attests to that. And the ever-prolific Flaming Lips put together a collection of collaborations in conjunction with International Record Store Day - this track with some ethereal fembot from the mainstream music world (I kid) was one of the most successful, not to mention how it seems to come from a dark and scary place (shades of what's to come with their upcoming album The Terror?), and should leaving you reeling long after it ends. Goodnight!
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
She Brings The Sunlight - Richard Hawley - Standing At The Sky's Edge
Psionic Railways 2 Mars - Richard Bitch - The Really Really Jeff Hair People
Wet Blanket - Metz - s/t
Golden Dawn - Goat - World Music
Om Mani Peme Hung - Dead Skeletons - Dead Magick
Ancient Land - The Holydrug Couple - Ancient Land
A Little Ticker Tape Never Hurt Anybody - Kinski - Cosy Moments
Scattered In The Wind - Implodes - Recurring Dream
In Another Way - My Bloody Valentine - MBV
Autumn - The Golden Awesome - Autumn
The Curve - Golden Void - s/t
Pewt'r Wozniacki - Causa Sui - Pewt'r Sessions
Roses - Colour Haze - Los Sounds De Krauts
Pale Rider Blue - Arboretum - Rites Of Uncovering
Devil Made You High - Hush Arbors - Yankee Reality
Close To The Sky/They Called You Near - Six Organs Of Admittance - Ascent
Lunacy - Swans - The Seer
The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face - The Flaming Lips and Eriykah Badu - The Flaming Lips And Heady Fwends
But don't forget, you also have the option of spacerock to go:
1. Click on the arrow on the top right instead of pushing the play button in the player above.
2. Click "download" and 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.