Russia’s Polska Radio One follow up a string of great singles with yet another, Новый Космос (сингл)/New Space. Self proclaimed compass direct states, ‘Somewhere between sixties-style British rock, modern fuzz-guitar psychedelia and traditional german kraut you can find a frequency of this radio station.’ Indeed. Frequencies tried and true pushing into that ‘new space’ deliver the stated recipe baked both crisp and deliciously gooey—and groovy— in the right measure. Polska Radio One receive and transmit from a Federation that crosses borders, time-zones and time machines. Tune in.
Originally released as a Fruits de Mer 7″ in 2011, Earthling Society have offered up their own take on Fleetwood Mac’s The Green Manalishi (with the two prongue crown) backed up with a grinding reworking of the ‘Australian stoner gem’And I Hear The Fire Sing by The James Taylor Move. The perfect stocking and pipe stuffer for the holidays at a competitive price considering the earlier limited vinyl release.
Holland’s Radar Men From The Moon come back around with new transmissions on Echo Forever. Suitable for a night trip under the stars with a cactus pillow or for heading up over them, Echo Forever is a full serving of space rock that heads deep in some spots, but still knows the launchpad is rooted on Earth. At least for now. RMFTM nail that sentiment of both worlds with the fittingly titled Where Sky Meets The Earth. There’s more focus compared to Intergalactic dada & Space trombones, but nothing has been jettisoned in favor of packing light. Voyaging between that sky and Earth, Echo Forever carries, and delivers, payload from both worlds.
The biggest downside to Mechanik‘s Inner Temple / Outer Temple EP is that it passes too quick. Very classic sounding and contemporary, Madrid’s Mechanik still cover some ground on only 3 cuts. Persistent opener Did You Have to Take So Many Pills? takes a rock solid Krautrock foundation and works up a tight rocker that loosens and blossoms into a tasty space lather by the end. Inner Temple works a similar base, taking the initial simple acoustic cue and patiently layer it up into a contorted guitar finish. It’s a more ominous and mysterious cut than Did You Have to Take So Many Pills?, delivering the throb, but expanding the atmosphere more. Which is a perfect lead in to the lengthy kiss off of Bliss & Gloss. Meditative and snakey, Bliss & Gloss delivers the same kind of dynamics as before, but on a far more hazy and narcotic vista. Tempering the drive with some fog, Bliss & Gloss is a sweet glide out and, in many ways, a great summation of Mechanik’s approach and delivery. Fortunately, Mechanik also have an earlier EP, You Yourself Are The Teacher And The Guru, if their newest offering leaves you wanting some more work done. It’s got a different vibe, but there’s no mistaking who lingers under the hood going to work with the proper tools.
Did You Have to Take So Many Pills? :: Mechanik :: Inner Temple / Outer Temple EP (2012, Mechanik)
Not sure how I missed this one, but now is still a good time. Nantes’ The Blondi’s Salvation as introduced by the Lawgiver…well worth pursuing, especially their Songs of the New World Order album…
BAND OF THE WEEK: THE BLONDI’S SALVATION
We’ve long resisted searching for salvation within the confines of a church – but this was before we found The Blondi’s Salvation preaching their electric gospel from inside The French Reverb Church.
We know precious little about the doctrine of this Church, nor of the gospel from which The Blondi’s Salvation are reading. Still, based on the repeated study of the provided hymnal, we remain confident in our conclusion that this Church is more happening, wildly less cracked and corrupt, and certainly in possession of a much, much better record collection than most others offering an avenue toward salvation.
Summer’s over…but some of us have to do some clean up. If you’re doing time with the maintenance crew, a few things to make the wrap up go down a touch easier…
Dirty Blonde Asylum/Dirty Blonde Asylum EP
Debut EP from Shrewsbury’s Jack Chamberlain under the guise of Dirty Blonde Asylum was recently another fine valis Pick of the Week.A strong shoegaze pulse beats in Dirty Blonde Asylum, with thicker and meatier cuts like The Fall and Screaming Jesus, picking up some space rock chug. Other cuts mine a mellower drugged out haze that shoot for more bliss without losing any weight. A full production gives DBA plenty of space to move and ricochet around in. (Your Ignorance is) My Bliss uses that to full effect, easing out and layering up into an extended vibrating workout.
Montgomery’s Jeff McLeod goes in a different direction after Under Dim Selfwith Forthinking, Vol. 1, an ‘experimental electronic series using a minimal setup of an iOS MIDI control application, a Moog Voyager and an Ensoniq Fizmo. All takes were recorded live in one performance pass, after initial setup & testing of the entire rig as a playable instrument.’ Far more electronic obviously than Under Dim Self, Forthinking, Vol. 1 still has McLeod’s off-kilter aura, with many of the cuts sounding like the result of a sonic spasm. There are song bones under the skin, but Forthinking, Vol. 1 works best as a loose collage of sounds, compressed and decompressed through McLeod’s inner and outer filters. Though constructed through the self-described ‘minimal setup,’ Forthinking, Vol. 1 actually moves through a wide range of sounds and vibes. Shawtninhorn is a frenetic hummer that feels like a circus march gone awry, while Circulus bounces around more spacey chambers. McLeod also has Scalps of Godsavailable, which falls more in line with Under Dim Self, incorporating vocals and a thicker, more menacing sound.
Shawtninhorn :: Jeff McLeod :: Forthinking, Vol. 1 (2012, Jeff McLeod)
Turgidity :: :: Jeff McLeod :: Scalps of Gods (2012, Jeff McLeod)
Another valis Pick of the Weekvet, Cleveland’s The Volta Sound are putting their wares out under the umbrella of The Davenport Collective. With a pretty stripped down approach, Like Entropy is packed full of psych pop, moving from the dreamy (Meditation Station, Nobody Knew) to the driving (Don’t Bring Me Down) and a few detours along the way. With a bright, open production that keeps the record feeling up, Like Entropy uses the open circulating air to keep it crisp and elevated without losing any of the hooks.
An outstanding ‘electronic post-rock’ album from Cardiff’s Dementio13. El Lissitzky may fall under electronica, but Demetio13 works in many more textures and flourishes than one might expect when going down that pigeon-hole. There’s drone spaceways on cuts like Summerisle, hopped up frantic throb-runs like the fantastic Sameness and dreamy pop influenced gems like Collision Courses. Standout cuts Fatty Pork and Phallanx effortlesslywork in a bit more rock structure, adding another side to Dementio13 and rounding out their self-described tag of electronic post-rock in stellar form. Like its namesake, El Lissitzky seems to be at its best when threading and weaving in and out of more than one discipline. Wonderfully constructed, El Lissitzky provesDementio13 knows a few sides to discipline. An eclectic record at the very least, it never goes into the ditch of schizophrenic overreaching. Dementio13 keeps a certain level of moderation throughout that never stifles and by the end that emerges more as tastefulness than any kind of restriction.
Fatty Pork :: Demention 13 :: El Lissitzky(2012, Dementio13)
Kingdom of the Holy Sun/Jesus in India; Pharmacokinetics
The sun never sets apparently; two follow-ups to their self-titled in the coffers from Seattle’s Kingdom of the Holy Sun. Jesus in India and Pharmacokinetics take the druggy haze and seesaw bliss of their s/t’s foundation and build on it without forgetting what made it a great first step to begin with. KOTHS still have that teetering edge to their walk, but there’s something in how these play out that expands their mission while exerting more control at the same time. There’s still the shoegaze patina and the Brian Jonestown-esque narcotics of cuts like Dazed and Phased, while others dip into an interstellar Doors vibe taking more direct cues from 60s psychedelia.
Hailing from Dublin, Hugh Doolan is a songwriter, singer, guitarist and composer whose styles vary as much as his job skills. Moving easily from soundtracks (Bernadette: Notes on a Political Journey, Gloves & Glory) to more ambient work to a range of collaborations and folk-tinged pieces, Doolan’s mark is made clear through his compositions and his atmospheric and understated guitar. Lilting, flowing and smooth in about everything, Doolan also traffics just as easily in straightforward acoustic heavy pop songs on his ’10 release Slopey, fleshing out an already wide resumé. His newest single, Maiden Speech is a short, ethereal outing dedicated to Burmese opposition politician Aung San Suu Kyi. Both appealingly mournful and oozing a wispy lushness, Maiden Speech passes quickly by leaving an evocative vapor trail of promise and possibility. It leaves you waiting for another cloud to pass and fade in, but it has a completeness that marks it as a statement, rather than a quick excerpt.
Maiden Speech :: Hugh Doolan :: Maiden Speech (2012, Hugh Doolan)
“Things went wrong. Things went right…Things went totally bad.”
No disrespect to the UK’s Glowpeople, but I’m calling bullshit on that. Things…goes totally right. And stays that way.
They call their wares ‘psychedelic jazz mish-mash on toast,’ and that’s about as concise as I’d ever get; a rich, luxurious combination of styles spread over much, much more than simple white bread. Glowpeople are groovy, jazzy, psychedelic, progressive and downright danceable if your dancing shoes are gravity boots on a looser and lighter planet than ours. A self-described collective of cats with varying backgrounds, attitudes and influences all working together to pump out their ‘free jazz zoo of sounds,’ Glowpeople make true head music that’s not afraid of embracing its own smarts. Things…is primarily instrumental, with some spoken word snippets tossed in for good measure and trippy embellishment. Tirelessly active, furtive and relaxing all at the same time, Things…is frothy from start to finish, engaging a wide range of input masterfully. Drums, guitar, keys, bass, trumpet…all dance around and embrace each other at the same time with no conflict, but plenty of overlap. Each cut packs enough in that many outfits could, and would, weakly stretch it over the whole album. To these ears, the payoff is certainly greatest when taken as whole, but Things…is made up of individual songs, and they deliver one at a time taken that way. There are as many moods, tones and sojourns as there are ingredients in the head stew. Everywhere has a slow drift that’s not unlike coming untethered from the Mothership and floating off into…everywhere. Metaphorical sports bassist Robot’s spastic pulse that builds a spiraling nucleus for the rest of the protons and electrons to buzz around, while Resounds in H Flat focuses that energy into a tasteful sprint that is fully aware there is no finish line. As if one was relevant to begin with. Crepuscular bathes you in a dubby, wine-soaked exhaust before the waves of With You Without roll in to lick your feet and the tide gently pulls you out into noirish, wobbling jazzy waters. Closer The Saddest Flower In The Vase hops in the saddle to gallop through the cosmic zoo, pulling up, down and around the stars. All these, and more, may indeed make a ‘free jazz zoo’ of sonic animals, but nothing here is caged, nothing is pacing back and forth behind the bars feeling stifled or locked in. For as far-reaching and inclusive as Things…is, Glowpeople are a firm, yet rubbery, tamer. Certainly free, but not running blindly wild with no pilot. That may make inserting Glowpeople into slot A or B, or C and D for that matter, nigh on impossible, but that’s also what makes Things…transcendbeing just intelligent and trippy music for the few constantly looking upwards and gives it a certain something that should appeal to fans of all kinds of music. Good music.
A fitting title for the freshest box of hard candy from one of Chicago’s finest: something a little tough, something sweet to chew on…something that pushes back just right when you take a bite. Nuggets or nougats? As expected from The Luck of Eden Hall, a bit o’ both. Their last, Butterfly Revolutions, had a larger scope obviously aided, and abetted, by packing a one-two volume punch, but LOEH still kept it short, sweet and direct. Alligators Eat Gumdropsdoes the same, though this time the pieces are individually wrapped for your chewing pleasure, many sporting their own unique flavor rather than a creamy frosting spread over the whole cake. There’s a bevy of spices and sprinkles from the sitar dandied crunch-meets-pop of Bangalore, guests Mars Williams’ sax and Jim Licka’s Mellotron, Summertime Girl’s playful cathedral-of-the-60s keys, to the slight folky acoustic accent on Wasting the Days of Youth that makes it seem like Tull might have gingerly, and surreptitiously, stuck their dirty fluted finger in the box. LOEH know how to lead you in by the hand for the first bite, and opener High Heeled Flippers doesn’t let you down, luring you in with a Beatlesque whiff that not only lets the new know where LOEH butter one side of their bread, but also undercuts some of their winsome, mild melancholy with their playfulness. There’s something about the production that seems a little tougher, a little more direct in the chomp, from Lofgren and Mendoza’s always great bottom-end through the guitar grind, to Curvey fraying his pipes over the blowing on Ten Meters Over the Ground. Ornate without being frilly, poppy without being wimpy, it’s LOEH’s trademark coloring of hardy pop with 60s psych. Pop and psych meet headfirst all the time; worked the first time, works now in the hands of outfits like LOEH. Contrary to what’s in the poisonous air, both sides can still meet in the mixing bowl and get it done. Doing that in these rancid partisan times with no bitter aftertaste, without one side losing to the other, without a sour dose of sarcasm, is what Alligators Eat Gumdrops, and LOEH, are about. Summertime Girl certainly knows this…There’s a common goal in mind and they work together to get there. Never a compromise, but a buttery consensus where the machinations are as well-intentioned as they are well-oiled.
Alligators Eats Gumdrops is available in a limited edition of 200, with hand embossed art by Curvey and a bonus track download, Queen of the Stars.
Hailing from Bryansk, Russia, Jet Plane play an interesting take on post rock, taking the usual structures and frameworks and rebuilding up some self-described low-key drama. It’s a (here it comes) tasteful approach, stripping away some bombast they don’t need to get their point across without diminishing impact or emotion. Jet Plane incorporate some cello work from guest Alexey Kovtun that heightens the theatrical and melancholy haze while remaining understated. Coupled with a languid flow they work into All The Static Stars, Jet Plane lift themselves a touch off the ground, gliding over any overly methodical trappings.
Air Threads :: Jet Plane :: All The Static Stars (2012, Jet Plane)
U.K. trio Stubb bring home a mash of bone-crunching and nut-busting stoner and acid blues rock with a heavy-duty fuzz-laden 70s vibe. Dead set and driven to ‘continue the journey of the power trio through the 21st Century,’ Stubb has a big enough set of stones to fill your bell-bottoms to the brim. On the surface, it may not seem very… English…butStubb don’t lower themselves to aping anything ‘American’ and they certainly aren’t above kicking some of it square in the teeth. The mix from T. Dallas Reed is thick, heavy and despite all the hair growing on it, crystal clear in getting the point across. Guitarist Jack Dickinson not only delivers the licks, but has a great set of pipes perfectly married to the crunch laid down by him and cohorts Pete Holland and Chris West. Stubb is also available in some CD/LP bundles if you’re so inclined. Get some…and paint some flames on it.
Certainly seems that’s more than enough. 2016 pt II & III wallows in a druggy lo-fi pool of smoke that’s not necessarily a case of less is more, but rather doing more with less. Coming from various locales over time in Texas, Cavedweller may seem like a small operation, but Michener and his rotating assists put everything about right where it needs to be to inflate his reverbery space in size to the point where you’re looking at his home-state from the other end of the microscope. Cavedweller isn’t about how big they can be. It’s about creating a feeling of echoing ambling space no matter what the size of the room, or garage, you’re working in.
Smoking 3-song EP from Santa Ana-based Plant Tribe. This one, this one is American. No mistaking it. That’s not to say Plant Tribe don’t mix in some grooves beyond our shore, and skies. Plant Tribe take a classic 60s/70s groove and bend the frame psychically and psychedelically. Why wouldn’t they? They’ve got their feet firmly entrenched in some road tested, and no matter what they tell you, still abundantly fertile soil. With eyes and cortex pointing high, the tendrils lift up giving Saturation the flexibility to take in the wind and bend with it, from then to now and back again. A bit back Plant Tribe was a Revolt of the Apes Band of the Weekfor damn good reason, and since my simian brother speaks the language like no other, I’m going to lift two of his laser-beamed terms and butt them up together; off-kilter boogie-woogie. Dig in and take root.
4-cut outing that’s perfect for finding some dubby respite from the Summer furnace, courtesy of Adelaide’s Major Crimes (Ben McLaren, Callan Visser). I’ve never been in a monsoon, so I’m not sure how much they can break the heat or induce some chill, but this one does. A fairly simple concoction, each ingredient is added just right for your cocktail; dashes of electronica flavors, wah guitar, funky percussion, keyboards…all in the right measure. Far from being slight in any way, MONSOON is an interesting concoction; refreshing and slightly menacing in a slippery way. Lesser hands would have gone for pure atmosphere over any substance, or gotten betrayed by its allure. Major Crimes don’t and part of the appeal of MONSOON, and it’s strength, is that you can enjoy as a blast of cool air, or the subtle gusts of something stronger.
"This show is 110% … one of the most consistently awesome programs we have come across."
The Sunrise Ocean Bender sets sail every Monday morning, 1 – 3 a.m. on WRIR lp 97.3 FM, to find something for your ears, and something for your head … From psych to prog to pop and whatever tributary we can find on the way … and right back around again. There might be a map, but the destination is up for grabs. If it all goes right, we may just get lost. Meet me at the muster station … it might be a long week.