29 May 2010

Thee Oh Sees & Wounded Lion

So the new Thee Oh Sees album is a good one huh? I'm still digesting their last LP, Dog Poison, which was basically a solo stoner project for singer John Dwyer under Thee Oh Sees name: it worked = I bought it.

Warm Slime (In The Red) is as different from Dog Poison as Dog Poison was from Help. What I mean is Thee Oh Sees have a style of sound their own and still manage to switch it up/down each record they make. Treat Warm Slime like an EP but not exactly an 'in-between album' deal because this band are super prolific and release consistently strong material without care for a typical discography. Great bands releasing albums whenever they damn-well please suits me.

I love how the title track is stretched to over 13 minutes (the entirety of side A) with six short, loud and catchy tunes on the flip. Warm Slime (the song) could have been cut down to four minutes, but why should it? I Was Denied and Everything Went Black are favorites and might be familiar if you saw any of the bands Melbourne shows last December. A solid bunch of songs here: they sound like one-take, live performances with very little post production. I love everything about this band.

Another band whose debut LP (again via In The Red records) I've been excited to hear is Wounded Lion, a five-piece from LA. Yes, this is the band I compared, sort of, to Vampire Weekend in an old post. I still stand by that claim, but yeah, the Clean, Cramps, Modern Lovers is probably a better indication. But fuck, I hate comparisons, what band at the moment with a jangle guitar and a keyboard isn't being compared to the Clean / J. Richman?

First heard these guys through a 45, Carol Cloud b/w Pony People way back in 2008. Both tunes are on the album, both re-recorded, which you can kinda understand, though I cringe when bands re-record early singles for a debut and lose the original feel of what made the song great. Both had a crunchier guitar and chunkier bass and drum sound; that manic ending to Pony People is nowhere to be found on the album. That said, both songs are actually decent versions that work with the record's overall feel.

Wounded Lion are a weird looking band - very un-photogenic. Pop hooks, arcane lyrics, and a  sense of fun spill out of this weirdness in a big way. Any band that makes its own film-clip using Power Point that turns out like this has my vote. For an mp3 of album highlight Creatures In The Cave click here.

28 May 2010

Scott Walker and all that

A friend of mine is going through this goo-goo Scott Walker phase; he of 60’s hit parade group the Walker Brothers and - far more interestingly - as the author of work under a banner of solo albums titled Scott 1, 2, 3 and 4. 


 I haven’t caught up to Mr. Walker yet; musically he seems to be about 20 years ahead of everyone. A 2006 documentary, 30th Century Man, fills in all the gaps of his fascinating musical trajectory, from feted 60’s heart-throb to self-imposed obscurity. Three things I got out of this documentary: Walker is a visionary with an incredible ear for sound; he’s a super complex dude with major punk attitude; and I need to delve into his work ASAP.

The reason I mention Scott Walker was cos I was thinking about the re-issue label 4 Men With Beards today. These guys are responsible for re -issuing Scott’s solo albums (Scott 1-4). I like to think the label is actually run by four burly bearded bears draped in flannel. There are a handful of labels dedicated to re-issuing deleted gems in a caring and dedicated way (Soundway, Aztec, etc) and 4MWB do a great job of putting out important  albums in LP format. Check out their catalogue on the Forced Exposure site and get your credit card out. 

26 May 2010

Russell & Ron = Sparks

Do you know Russell and Ron, the Mael brothers? Do you know Sparks? I feel as if I’m the only person who can appreciate the brilliance of Sparks. Hell, I’m the only person I’ve met who even knows who they are.

I get the feeling most music lovers - people who appreciate sound as an art form, who sit down, put on headphones and actually concentrate on music - won’t get Sparks. I can hear them now: ‘They sound gay. They are a pantomime/fairytale/joke.’

It’s so strange to me how Sparks are never mentioned as influences by bands. If I had an ounce of musical talent, Sparks would be my primary influence. That said, the only musician I’ve ever read or even heard mention Sparks is Morrissey. Okay, so most of you will stop reading here. Fair enough.

Awhile back there was this excellent CD series called Under the Influence. It was basically a compilation of particular artist's influences, chosen by them, annotated by them, etc. I play Ian Brown’s one every other week (reggae, northern soul, hip-hop). I didn’t bother with Geldof’s (good, but what you’d expect). Moz’z one is this jumble of eclectic stuff, from the 50’s through to the Dolls. He throws in Arts & Crafts Spectacular and writes of Sparks as kindred spirits: of wanting to be "with creatures of my own species" and essentially suck their cocks. So blame Sparks for the Smiths.

Not long after I got the Kimono My House album and fell for the Mael brothers myself. I mean, even if the music sucked, I’d still have a large amount of respect for their iconoclastic artwork (album covers) and image (dazzlingly absurdist).

So, yeah, that was me walking round the city this afternoon totally absorbed in 1974’s Propaganda album. Sparks rule.

16 May 2010

This Must Be The Place

If you want to talk about a song that matters and is right for every occasion (birth, suicide, shopping, speeding, fucking) then that song is This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody) by the Talking Heads. I don't know any of the words. I think it's about falling in love in a big city at night with lions and tigers all around. I like how it's about the other three as much as David: the reggae guitar thing with the upbeat keys. Kids love this sort of music, it always grounds (not grinds) you into feeling good. Go put it on


Stevie Nicks' pageboy

Dead animals, alive animals, idiotic things written on walls by anonymous losers, naked things, acid, cheese burgers and music. --------