The esteemed valis has corralled the end of the year round up and I’m honored to throw out, and possibly up, my 2¢. In no particular order or ranking…it’s hard enough as it is to have to draw the line, and considering the wealth of goods that flew through the doors, hard enough to keep that line stationary. Rampantly subjective and vigorously incomplete to say the least…
valis’ Brain Buzzinn’ Best of 2011
The Lumerians :: Transmilinnia
An outstanding psych rock record from start to finish from Oakland’s Lumerians. From pulsing to droning to throbbing to rocking and, at times, psych funky…a psych-rock record that moves across all kinds of territory without ever devolving into a trite genre-excercise. From the album art to the outfits to the wholesome and nutritious psych goodness inside the grooves, Transmilinnia is going to top a lot lists at the end of 2011′s run. Bet on it. They handle everything so sublimely that by the time the phantasmagoria comes to a close you’ll forget just how much you took in; Atlanta Brook‘s quiet interlude, the epic Longwave, the bouncing Black Tusk, etc, etc … this one really does have it all.
A man far wiser than me described it as such: ‘Take a big helping of early Floyd, a dash of Tadpoles, a half-pound of primo bud and shake vigorously ….’
The Red Plastic Buddha :: All Out Revolution
All Out Revolution is a whip-smart slab of psych rock and pop that would roll off your speakers’ tongue if they had one. Maybe they do; anything is possible. But if you’re not ready for a little tongue just yet, then at least get a big, warm kiss from the Buddha…a wonderful gem of a record that has been likened to the Zombies, Love, our beloved Syd Barrett, and the heyday of garage and psych pop. Moving through harder edged rockers (Soldier Boy) and melodic psych washed power pop (Daisy Love), All Out Revolution is packed start to finish with a crisp production that plays to all their strengths, consistency and songwriting savvy.
The Luck of Eden Hall :: The Butterfly Revolutions, Vol. 1 & 2
I got to lump these two together…This is what ‘pop’ music should be: honeyed, thick, creamy and packing stones. Everyone who should know, knows pop disintegrated into empty calorie pabulum a long, long time ago and I for one need nourishment from my food. Butterfly Revolutions Vol. 1 and 2 prove that you can not only have your cake (with lots of frosting) and eat it too, but that you can get more than a cheap sugar rush out of it to keep going. I’m a firm believer that cream doesn’t rise to the top; shit floats. I’m happy to say that LOEH prove me wrong. Twice. Vol. 2 is as top shelf as Vol. , with a tinge more melancholy. Concept record? I’ll ask them, but it doesn’t matter. A whopping helping of dual-layer psych pop/rock cake with just the right amount of sonic frosting.
Hills :: Master Sleeps
Hills follow-up their debut Hills with the outstanding Master Sleeps picking up right where they left off and going exactly where you wanted them to. It’s a stellar follow-up that in no way diminishes the excitement of their first. Hills simply deliver again on the manifesto of foundation, showing what that foundation is made of and not getting showy or bloated. If anything, Hills knows how to use moderation like an instrument. Like a hill, or mountain, at their core, they simply are. And that’s more than enough…The earthy and intergalactic Master Sleeps is the sophomore platter minus all the slump. A slump is downward bound and this one is anything but. It heads out into multiple spaces with long ropy roots that obviously show no signs of snapping. Master Sleeps is a hefty being that knows that its presence alone is a big enough calling card.
Cranium Pie :: Mechanisms (part 1)
A veritable all-you-can-eat cornucopia of psychedelia saturated in a long tradition of pioneer freaks like Hawkwind, Floyd, Arthur Brown,…but sits with modern fractured like-minded outfits like equally, though differently, deranged Human Eye. There’s some mutated crustacean post-apocalyptic mechanized concept running through it, but the less said the better. Figure it out on your own. Or don’t. Maybe we can’t know it that intimately. Might not want to. All valid ways to enjoy their modern nostalgia tinged insanity. And there are many more ways and trips to take on this wigged out masterpiece as we wait for part 2 to materialize, probably out of a writhing mass of who knows what. It’s a constant stream churning over and over; oscillating, trippy instrumentation, baked distorted vocals and spoken breaks, levitating keys, and just about everything else you could want for your freak out…They really do make them like they used to.
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