April 1, 2015

Snap, crackle...POP!

Most of the time here on The Spacerock Continuum we indulge in lengthy psychedelic excursions like this EPIC one:

But we're not at all averse to the occasional pop aesthetic along with the snap, crackle and fuzz, and this month's installment indulges in a little pop (meaning light-hearted and accessible, but not implying "pop"-ular among the great unwashed masses), albeit still spacey psych-y garage-y and always mild altering. Because, you know, spacerock... and cereal (surreal?) elves:

The lead-off track isn't exactly pop (none of these are really, but about as close as you're going to get to pop on the Spacerock Continuum), if anything it seems a little new-agey, which is what's intriguing about guitarist/multi-intrumentalist Mark McGuire's work: he's generally considered to be avant garde, especially in his collaborations with drone freaks Emeralds and the like. But on this and other albums he crafts epic guitar instrumentals that journey into the stratosphere accompanied by keyboards, loops and drum programming all performed by the man himself. The Heads aren't pop, but they are the most accessible and rockingest of the post Spacemen 3 psych/shoegaze breed. Ty Segall's always got at least one foot in the garage, but the other reaches for psychedelic pop as well as monster guitar jams. Meatbodies and of course Thee Oh Sees follow a similar course, easily navigating between power pop and juggernaut RAWK.

The Shivas bring a distinctly surf rock flavor to their power pop, while King Tuff summons the skewed whimsey of Syd Barrett for inspiration. Parquet Courts and Blank Realm have their poppy moments and both draw on a distinctly early 90s indie pop aesthetic, the former imagining the Archers of Loaf going on extended jams with the Dream Syndicate, the latter conjuring the damaged art pop of the Downtown NYC no wave scene.

And that's about it for the pop; now that I've got my hooks (or Hookworms) into you it's time to blast off into some de rigueur space rock from some familiar names and some new ones I'm introducing for the first time. The aforementioned Brits Hookworms are manic motorik psychedelicists. Goat, featured many a time here, are an enigmatic Swedish cult of shamanic tribal jams. Bo Ningen are Japanese spazz-psych. And Chicagoans Cave take trance-inducing repetition to an extreme, here offering a kinder, gentler version of their track "Bobby's Hash" which was featured in the January 'Best of 2014' installment below.

Now for some less familiar names: Shit and Shine are, as the name implies, absurdists and improvisers, most of whose catalog is too extreme to feature even here in the outer realms of space rock, but their most recent collection is positively tame by comparison. Tobacco is the leader of schlock rockers Black Moth Super Rainbow and his solo material is relatively similar, in a "the thing that crawled from the swamp" pulp fiction theme songs kinda way. Trans Am have always been kinda schtick-y as well, and their more recent material finds them delving into vintage synths and away from epic guitar jams. The same can be said of Mogwai, who have all but abandoned the quiet-loud-LOUDER-EVEN LOUDER-IMPOSSIBLY LOUD triple guitar dynamics of old in favor of imaginary 70s sci-fi film scores.

Some more relative unknowns of an international flavor follow: the Argentinian kraut-psych of FoneZ, the Chilean cosmic trance of Follakzoid, the Greek mesmerists Acid Baby Jesus, Portland OR's acid rock explorers Eternal Tapestry, the Floridian brother-duo of Tonstartssbandht (strangely American, despite the foreign-sounding name), and culminating in Australia with the blazing psychedelia of the mighty King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard (see video above). Whew! What a journey!

So, Divshare seems to have taken a dump - haven't been able to upload to them by "press time", so you won't see the individual track player below. The file storing site which has been the host of choice of the SRC since Day One has been having problems for a while now and may be gasping its dying breath. Luckily, both Soundcloud and Mixcloud are hosting the continuous mix. The playlist is as follows:

The Spacerock Continuum Theme - bRambles
Earth Grid (Activation) - Mark McGuire Noctilucence
Fuego - The Heads Everyone Knows We Got Nowhere
Feel - Ty Segall Manipulator
Two - Meatbodies - s/t
Savage Victory - Thee Oh Sees Drop
Stalking Legs - The Shivas - You Know What To Do
Eyes Of The Muse - King Tuff - Black Moon Spell
Every Day It Starts - Parquet Courts - Content Nausea
Falling Down The Stairs - Blank Realm Grassed In
The Impasse - Hookworms - The Hum
Bondye - Goat Commune
Inu - Bo Ningen III
Butthash (Harsh Mellow Mix) - Cave  Release
PG-13 - Shit And Shine - Powderhorn
Eruption (Gonna Get My Hair Cut At The End Of The Summer) - Tobacco - Ultima II Massage
Nightshift - Trans Am - Volume X
Remurdered - Mogwai Rave Tapes
Nola - FoneZ - Adhesivo De Contacto Espacial
Sky Input I - Follakzoid - s/t
Troublemaker - Acid Baby Jesus Selected Recording
Wholedome - Eternal Tapestry Dawn In Two Dimensions
Alright Medley - TonstartssbandhtOverseas
I'm In Your Mind/I'm Not In Your Mind/Cellophane/I'm In Your Mind Fuzz - King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard I'm In Your Mind Fuzz