June 1, 2013

Feeling June-ish


So what say, after that near-hourlong blast of post-kraut electro-acoustic mayhem from Beak> (featuring Geoff Barrow of Portishead), we start off with a bit of klassic krautrock? I've dabbled with it, but it seems sadly underrepresented on the Spacerock Continuum. First up, experiMENTAL absurdist collective Faust, who manage to simultaneously confound and rock the fuck out, and they're one of the few bands who make it seem effortless (and they're still going strong today, which can't be said for most of their peers). Harmonia was a bigger-than-the-sum-of-its-parts collab between the electronic duo of Cluster (Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius) and the guitarist from Neu! and early Kraftwerk, Michael Rother. And while we're at it, how about a track from Rother's stellar solo output for good measure? Now you see how influential this stuff is on today's space rockers?

On to the new: my fellow Finns K-X-P owe a huge debt to vintage krautrock as their electro-acoustic material borrows from it heavily, with only a little updating. "Supergroup" Atoms For Peace also derive much of their sound from the motorik vibe of Cluster/Harmonia et al., as their leader Thom Yorke of Radiohead would surely admit (and check out Flea making all subtle and groovy with the understated basslines!).

Indian Jewelry were astounding at the Austin Psych Fest this year, all tribal rhythms, layers of noise and agit-prop lyrics as this manifesto would attest. Icelandic freak collective Dead Skeletons fall somewhere near, and at the Psych Fest they conjured up a storm of pagan fury on polyrhythmic workouts like this mantra. Also playing, nay virtually embodying the essence of Texan psychedelic rock, The Black Angels were heavier, both figuratively (dark!) and literally (RAWK!), than I've ever seen them.

A band I wish had played this year's Psych Fest (they've played it in the past) is Implodes, as their gauzy web of smoke and mirrors would've just increased the already hazy vibe. And here's another track from a contender for the Top Ten this year, Life Coach (aka Phil Manley of Trans Am, The Fucking Champs, et al.), this one shimmering in shoegaze splendor. And The Besnard Lakes are not only also sure to make the Top Ten, they ruled Day One of the Psych Fest (albeit in the direct sunlight of daytime!) with epic sounds like those in this little slab of ecstasy.

Boise, Idaho's Trevor Powers, as the aptly named Youth Lagoon, dabbles in murky sonic waters but aspires to the uplifting grandeur of unbouded adolescent dreams. Ensemble Pearl, a collaborative project by Stephen O'Malley of SunnO))), Atsuo of Boris, Michio Kurihara of Ghost and William Herzog of Jesse Sykes' Sweet Hereafter, with contributions from prolific avant garde violinist Eyvind Kang (talk about a supergroup! Thom Yorke and Flea who?), are the dark to Youth Lagoon's light. Lilacs & Champagne, the sample-based collage creators Emil Amos and Alex Hall (or Portland postrockers Grails), continue their psychedelic hip hop explorations on their sophomore release, taking a cue from DJ Shadow and extending it through ridiculous record collections featuring Danish porn soundtracks, obscure 70s soul and far-out Turkish psych.

Akron/Family, the urban hippie love cult with prog-folk leanings, put out another amazing record this year, as did British revivalists of the equivalent genre from across the pond, Wolf People (so good in fact I had to include two songs here, something I rarely do unless they're connected on record). Thee Oh Sees have such a wealth of amazing material I thought I'd go back a couple years for this track, despite another perfect release this year (next month, I promise!). And we wrap up with the scorching squall known as Purling Hiss, aka the Philly psych scene's Mike Polizze (Birds of Maya, et al.) who has gone from a solo bedroom recording experimentalist augmented to a full-on Crazyhorse-influenced power trio with mindblowing results. More to come from them as well. TTFN!

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

It's A Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl - Faust So Far
Walky-Talky - Harmonia Deluxe
Zyklodrom - Michael Rother Flammende Herzen
Mehu Moments - K-X-P - s/t
Dropped - Atoms For Peace Amok
Freak Pride - Indian Jewelry - Peel It
Dead Mantra - Dead Skeletons - Dead Magick
Twisted Light - The Black Angels - Indigo Meadow
Necronomics - Implodes - Recurring Dream
Limitless Possibilities - Life Coach Alphawaves
46 Satires - The Besnard Lakes - Until In Excess, Imperceptible UFO
Mute - Youth Lagoon Wondrous Bughouse
Painting On A Corpse - Ensemble Pearl - s/t
Le Grand - Lilacs & Champagne - Danish & Blue
No-Room - Akron/Family - Sub-Verses
Athol/NRR - Wolf People - Fain
Contraption/Soul Desert - Thee Oh Sees - Carrion Crawler/The Dream
Water On Mars - Purling Hiss - Water On Mars

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.

Or could it? Some people prefer Soundcloud: