Sunday, March 15, 2015

Weekend Music Roundup

It was an extremely slow week for new releases, which gave me some time to catch up on some albums from recent years that I'd been meaning to check out. Strangely enough there are three live albums on here, or maybe it's not so strange since I usually don't get too jazzed up about live albums and therefore it would make sense that they'd sit around until a week like this one came along. As it turns out, all three of them were pretty great, which makes me think I should revisit my "live album" policy. Anyway, lots of psychedelic weirdness on here to coincide with the psychedelic weirdness that I'm attempting to capture in my fiction. So strap in, get weird, and find something to dive into. Enjoy.

Legendary Pink Dots - Easter in the Deep South: As part of their continuing archival effort, the London neo-psychedelic band just released this live recording from 1985. Consisting of only one 48 minute track, this performance is especially chaotic and showcases the neurotic energy they bring to their music. Everything they record sounds as if it's a free form composition that has been improvised on the spot and will never be repeated again, giving each album a feeling of uniqueness. The quality on this album is exceptional, making it a nice addition to the collection.

Karen O - Live from Crush Palace: Recorded in September as part of the promotion for her solo album, the Yeah Yeah Yeah's singer was joined by a one-off band which included Holly Miranda, one of my favorite performers, and fellow YYY's member Nick Zimmer. The atmosphere is perfect for capturing these soft acoustic lullabies, which really come to life when played live. I loved the album, but hearing the songs here, they sound even better as Karen continues to redefine herself as an artist. Simply a beautiful record. "Beast," "Rapt," "NYC Baby," "Hideaway," and "The Moon Song" are highlights.

Red Sled Choir - Kettles: Matt Gordon's 2011 home tape is a beautiful acoustic album of kitchen recordings and yet another wonderful addition to the Ithica, NY folk artist's catalog released under the Red Sled Choir moniker. In the spirit of Neutral Milk Hotel, these bare tracks impart something pure and raw. There's a touch of O'Death's primitive gothic vibe, especially on "Cradling the Moon, Swinging" that keeps these five songs extremely interesting and worthwhile. Fans of Bon Iver should enjoy this this album, as I think it captures a similar sentiment but in a more honest way. Available for free download on their bandcamp site.

Spacemen 3 - Live at New Morning, Geneva Switzerland '89: The 80's psychedelic band from Rugby are a classic case of crash and burn, though their crash took longer than most. Clashing personalities, an abundance of drugs, and music that was ahead of its time all led to the band's breakup in 1990, but before that happened, they managed to release 3 groundbreaking albums that brought late '60s and early '70s underground psych rock into the present. Recorded at the peak of their creativity, and their limited commercial success, which also corresponds with their the peak of inner turmoil, this performance in a way encompasses the mystery of Spacemen 3 in all of its glory. Glorious versions of classics like their cover of 13th Floor Elevators'  "Rollercoaster," "Take me to the Other Side," and "Revolution," make this vinyl only release a must for fans.

Cancer Bats - Hail Destroyer: The Toronto punk band's second, and most popular album was released in 2008 and I recently picked it up after having it on my wishlist for quite some time. Two years ago, I was thoroughly impressed with their Bastards of Reality album, covering Black Sabbath, and though I found their other album that I'd heard to be rather mediocre, I decided to go back and check this one out before listening to their new album which just came out. This album is pretty straight forward metal punk. I can see why this one is popular, it has a Antichrist Superstar vibe and delivers a high quality blitz of heaviness. "PMA...," "Let It Pour" "Lucifer's Rocking Chair," and the title track are my personal favorites.

Starlight Mints - Drowaton: Released in 2006, this is the indie pop band's third album and one I've owned on CD since its release. As part of my revisiting project of the year, I recently pulled this out to give it a listen for the first time in about five years. They do a great job of including a psychedelic pop element to their music, reminding me a little of The Dolly Rocker Movement who also have a Brit Pop influence to their songs. Definitely one of those under the radar albums that is worth checking out if you're into the genre. "The Killer," "Inside of Me," and "Rosemarie" are among my favorites. Other albums of theirs are more uneven, so this would be the one to check out.

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