Telegraph offers proof positive that Richard Davies reaches new creative heights when sparked by the collaborative spirit. While by no means a dismissal of his other work, this second official solo album is far and away his most impressive record outside of the one-off Cardinal project, clear evidence that his fortunes rise and fall in relation to the company he's keeping. Davies' partner in crime here is former Flaming Lips guitarist Ronald Jones, who serves as co-producer, multi-instrumentalist and occasional co-songwriter; bringing to the table the same acid-pop grandeur which typified his Lips tenure, Jones colors Telegraph with a dreamy, vaguely psychedelic patina ideally suited to Davies' poetic lyrics and clever melodies. Tracks like the opening "Cantina," "Confederate Cheerio Call" and "Main Street Electrical Parade" are simply sublime, each a portrait of contemporary pop at its most perfect. ~ Jason Ankeny
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Seam began as a three-piece in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Although Seam’s “pedigree” included Bitch Magnet and Superchunk, Seam’s reticent melodicism and subtly moving guitar washes occupy a realm quite different than the illustrious pasts of Seam’s members might suggest.
The band's third album continues Seam's tradition of sleepy, droning (but beautiful and affecting) music. The band's new lineup seems to work well with Park's musical sensibilities; Are You Driving Me Crazy? is as creative and moving as anything else the band has accomplished.
Friday, April 18, 2008
The album “Jola Rota” is about Joakim Skogsberg's love for the grandiose Swedish landscapes, which has put its imprint upon his songs. On “Jola Rota” Joakim single-handedly created a minimal psychedelic and acid folk masterpiece infused with incredible soundscapes of derailed fuzzed out violins, soaring guitars, rattling hand percussion, droning vocals and pulsating bass rhythms, complimented by Joakim's “jolor”, a special singing style with roots in an ancient Swedish tradition of folk music. The album was for the most part recorded out in the woods, with a portable Nagra-reel-to-reel-tape recorder and a simple Philips-cassette recorder. Upon completion it was suggested for the album to appear on Gump Records, a subsidiary of Metronome. The reason was that the music was just too underground and weird to be in Metronome's register. Apart from Joakim's original recordings, some overdubs and effects were done in the studio during the autumn of 1971. Some of the droning sounds on the record were recorded in a tiny closet in Kärrtorp; a suburb to Stockholm where Joakim was living at the time. The album was pressed into approximately 1000 copies and only about 300 to 400 copies were actually sold. The rest of them were melted down and used in the pressing of other Gump records, making “Jola Rota” a much rumoured and sought after Swedish droned-out and mesmerizing psychedelic artefact.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Eleanoora Rosenholm comes from Pori and is a project began by Noora Tommila, Pasi Salmi and Mika Rättö. They crafted a genius pop album with murderous lyrics inside the dark stonewalls that surround SS-Palace studio. Time came to get the show on the road and the band evolved into a full 7 piece. Mika Rättö is not a part of the band but is working as a background godfather and often watching the band as a part of the audience. With Noora’s amazing vocal work and the genius backing band they create a disco any housewife serial killer would be proud to dance to.
Monday, April 07, 2008
Principles Of Geometry are the French duo of Guillaume Grosso and Jeremy Duval, two bearded cosmic hippie-nerd twins who are obsessed with vintage analog synths, moustaches, NASA videos and the woods. This should already give you an idea of what you're about to listen to. Their second record Lazare is an ambitious album that synthesizes decades of electronic music: incorporating John Carpenter's dramatic minimalism, Terry Riley's smoky loops, Wendy Carlos' synthetic melodies, hip-hop urbanism and Aphex Twin-esque avant-garde electronic tweaking. Nevertheless, there's no nostalgia here - instead, you are propelled into a future where Sebastien Tellier sings Italo luv music (a new kind of slow-motion Italo disco), MCs like Cannibal Ox and Hangar18 ride wild beats towards Wagner's Walkyrie, and Jackson meets Boards of Canada on a boat. Here, songs are like pictures -- detailed encephalograms of Principles Of Geometry's moods -- complex and beautiful geometric patterns, a poetry of the infinite. But for them, the most essential aspect of music is emotion, it is the core of everything. Be it layers of melodies or beat avalanches, the goal is always to trigger an emotion, to talk to the mind more than the body. And they do so with such talent that you can always find something new within their songs, some hidden subliminal details. The artwork was supervised by POG with a beautiful cover photograph by American artist Justine Kurland.
You can play pick the influences if you like, but you can do that with any group. Cloudland Canyon certainly owe a debt to the German underground of the 70’s, but they have also added flourishes of baroque pop and even a tinge of the 80’s New Zealand scene into their sound. That they have ingested these influences and then delivered something as dynamic as this album without sounding like rote imitation is what impresses.
Lie In Light is anything but one-dimensional, as they traverse a wide swath of territory. From the lock down groove of the opening track “Krautwerk”, to the dense buzz of “White Woman”, through the pastoral pscyh of “Heme” and on to the gentle wash of the closer “Mothlight”, Cloudland Canyon have created an eclectic and rewarding listen.
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
The Millennium's Begin can truly be described as a bona fide lost classic. The brainchild of producers Curt Boettcher and Gary Usher, the group was formed out of the remnants of their previous studio project, Sagittarius, which was preceded by yet another aggregation, the Ballroom. On Begin, hard rock, breezy ballads, and psychedelia all merge into an absolutely air-tight concept album, easily on the level of other, more widely popular albums from the era such as The Notorious Byrd Brothers, which share not only Usher's production skills, but similarities in concept and construction. The songwriting, mostly by Joey Stec and Curt Boettcher, is sterling and innovative, never straying into the type of psychedelic overindulgence which marred so many records from this era. For example, "It's You," by Stec, is as powerful and fully realized as the era ever produced, easily on par with songs by the Beach Boys and the Byrds -- and, yes, even the Beatles. At the time the most expensive album Columbia ever produced (and it sounds like it), Begin is an absolute necessity for any fan of late-'60s psychedelia and a wonderful rediscovery that sounds as vital today as it did the day it was released.