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Old 04-02-2014, 08:37 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I'm close to doing my review of Cyclops Reap. Really!

In the meantime, another article on the trend. Listened to the Dead Meadow album mentioned in this article, might do a review of it later.

Psychedelic resurgence does Dead Meadow a world of good
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YOU DON’T NEED the assistance of mind-expanding pharmaceuticals to perceive that there is something of a psychedelic renaissance happening in music, albeit one that is mostly confined to the fringes—for now, at least. Its most visible proponent is probably Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker, whose 2012 release Lonerism was hailed as that year’s best album by the likes of Rolling Stone, NME, and Filter. Consider also the success of Austin Psych Fest, which celebrates its seventh year in May with performances by the Black Angels, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Toy, and Temples, among many others. (Temples also plays Vancouver this week.)

Among the more established acts slated for that celebration of acid-washed genius is Dead Meadow. The group’s frontman, Jason Simon, says it’s heartening to see a resurgence of interest in the type of music that he and his bandmates have been exploring since Dead Meadow’s formation in Washington, D.C., in 1998.

“There’s a scene that would have been great to have had around when we started, but there was just nothing like that,” Simon says when the Straight calls him in Los Angeles, where he and his band are now based. “So it is really cool that after all these years, finally a scene came up that Dead Meadow fits into, at least more than any other scene—more than we ever did in the postpunk scene or the stoner-rock scene, which is what was there when we started. So it’s cool. And it is cool that young kids are into it. For us, it seems like there’s a whole new generation of kids that are just getting into Dead Meadow now, which is really great.”
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Old 04-20-2014, 11:15 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I'm reeeally getting behind on my reviewing here ... have written notes for about 3/4 of Cyclops Reap but am dragging my feet on this ...

EDIT: Not going to do Jaguar Ma after all, it's a bit too far from the genre I'm trying to get here.
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Old 05-01-2014, 09:24 AM   #13 (permalink)
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tame impala is really the only modern psych band worth a **** IMO. Lonerism was a masterpiece
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Old 05-02-2014, 09:12 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Finally I finished Cyclops Reap!



This is even more low-fi than the Temples album. Singer sounds like some combination of George Harrison, Bob Dylan, some more George Harrison and a bit of Tom Petty, depending on the song, and sometimes a vague combination of all four in the same song. Oh, and a lot of the songs sound like Harrison songs, too, maybe with a dab of Dylan thrown in for good measure. Like the Temples album I reviewed above, this would be considered a copy of early psychedelia, circa 1965-66, and with a bit of a folksy edge, rather than 67-68 with all kinds of wild electric sounds. That is, low on the psychedelia scale, but there nonetheless.

Link to songs on Grooveshark are here. Unfortunately, Grooveshark doesn’t have all the songs for some reason, so the ones it doesn’t have, I’ve placed links to Youtube videos for the song in the title of the song (those are the underlines ones).

Chairs in the Dark – Fuzz guitars, simple instrumentation, a little Byrd-esque sounding. Fairly catchy tune, but not a standout, somewhat rapid tempo but nonetheless moody melody. Fuzz guitar punctuates the singing. I’ll give it a 6.5.

Beat – Mellow folk-y tune. Acoustic guitar with some distant electric riffs in the background. Sounds like something Tom Petty might do on an “unplugged” album. Nice but not original. I’ll give it a 7.

Pink Gorilla – More punctuating fuzz guitars, but this has other retro-sounding guitars too. A sign of progress? Not really, similar to the first song. Really, really low-fi stuff here. 6.5.

Trouble Is Trouble Never Seen – Medium-paced song, not loud, not soft, and another dose of low-fi, retro-sounding guitars. At least this had minimal fuzz to it. Not unpleasant, but not anything to write home about. 5.5.

Live on Genevieve – This is George Harrison reincarnated. Voice sounds like Harrison, guitars sound like Harrison, melody sounds like Harrison. But I don’t think Harrison would have made a deliberately lo-fi sound. Three out of four ain’t bad, I suppose. Another 6.5.

To the Boy I Jumped in the Hemlock Alley – Another George Harrison copy, slower-paced however. More acoustic, too. I’m tempted to give it something other than a 6.5 for variety’s sake, but when the song really is about a 6.5, that’s hard to do.

New Edinburgh – Very Byrds-esque. Almost tempted to sing “Turn, turn, turn” somewhere in there. Or maybe “Eight miles high.” At least he’s good at imitating, I’ll give him credit for that. I guess the originality here is make the song a little more chaotic and ragged than the Byrds would ever have done. Song ends messier than it starts. It’s OK, I’ll give it … ta da! … another 6.5!

Make Them Dinner at Our Shoes – This is a bit different, I guess. More like a quieter Byrds song. Nice classical guitar line. And no fuzz guitars! Singing sounds like a combination of Dylan and Petty. Later in the song a passage *really* sounds Dylan-esque. I’m wondering why he didn’t name the song “Clear Open Skies,” but maybe that would be too obvious. I’ll be adventurous and give this a 7.

White Cat – Mellower, but more of the same. It just occurred to me this guy is big on (reasonably nice) instrumental arrangements, but the melodies are rather lacking. I wonder if he doesn’t have a big vocal range. I’ll give it a 6.

Only Man Alive – Here we have a mostly acoustic, folksy ballad. Almost could pass for a Leonard Cohen song, kinda sorta, but more uptempo. I actually kinda like this song, so I’ll give it a 7.5.

Run by the Same – More George Harrison guitars, more or less. With some Tom Petty-esque singing. Decent tune, but like all the others, I feel like I’m listening to someone other than White Fence. Back to the 6.5. Outre has a somewhat different feel, like an ending thought, with a harmonica thrown in for the heck of it. I’ve give it a 6.5 again.

-----------------------

Final thoughts: Retro is nice and all that, but when you’re not really adding much in the way of originality, it gets kinda “meh.” It almost seems like he’s trying so hard to sound as retro as he possibly can, that he’s neglected the actual art of writing a catchy tune. Most of the songs are listen to-able, which keeps their scores above the “5” mid-mark, but they’re just not memorable at all. And while there’s a bit of variety, there’s still too much sameness among the songs. I’ll give the album overall a 6 rating.
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Old 05-02-2014, 09:13 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hermajesty View Post
tame impala is really the only modern psych band worth a **** IMO. Lonerism was a masterpiece
They're definitely the best, but a few of these other bands are OK.
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Old 05-26-2014, 10:50 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DriveYourCarDownToTheSea View Post
second one is more modern but I already know I dislike it but will review it anyway ()
:)
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Laser beams, psychedelic hats, and for some reason kittens. Surrel reminds me of kittens.
^if you wanna know perfection that's it, you dumb shits
Spoiler for guess what:
|i am a heron i ahev a long neck and i pick fish out of the water w/ my beak if you dont repost this comment on 10 other pages i will fly into your kitchen tonight and make a mess of your pots and pans
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Old 05-30-2014, 01:44 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I’m not going to bother with much of a preamble for this one. This is only a borderline psychedelic band/album. In fact, the psychedelia on this album is purely an afterthought. All I can say about this one is, I’m glad I got the review over and done with! The link to the album on Grooveshark is here.



Alien Days – Is this the theme song for a cartoon? Or maybe a sitcom? I’m not sure it’s quite the same quality as the Cheers theme song, but it sounds to be roughly in the ballpark. Maybe. However I think the Mary Tyler Moore theme song is better. Psychedelic effects in the last 1/3 of the song are about as forced and out-of-place as you could imagine. Imagine the Cheers theme song with psychedelic sound effects. It just doesn’t work. 0

Cool Song #2 – No, this is NOT a cool song. Not even close. This sounds like a caricature of something. No, I take that back: It sounds like a caricature of a caricature of something. I’m not even going to bother describing what the song sounds like: Let’s just say it sounds like a 6-year-old’s rendition of what a “tribal” song might sound like. 0

Mystery Disease – Once they started singing I just couldn’t help but to start laughing. I mean, it’s really that bad! I can’t believe anybody takes this band seriously! Anyway, the song sounds like … I dunno, maybe a vague James Bond-esque tune, kinda sorta. With some special effects. When it ended I went, “Wheh!” 0

Introspection – More of the same. This might be of similar quality to stuff the Partridge Family put out. Or maybe Bobby Sherman. Or worse. It’s got this military beat type of thing over a standard (but poor quality) pop tune. All very corny and predictable. With a few psychedelic effects thrown in, purely as afterthoughts. 0

Your Life is a Lie – Still more of the same. I’m not even going to bother doing a description. The more I hear, the harder a time I have imagining anyone takes this band seriously. I dunno, there’s something about the song titles and lyrics which are telling me that, maybe they’re not supposed to be taken seriously, and they're just being ironic, but that’s hard to tell. But if that’s the case, why do so many people actually take this band seriously? 0

A Good Sadness – This one started out with a slow/soft instrumental. But once they starting singing, it immediately went downhill. But I think this one's a wee bit better than the others. I think I could imagine this being turned into something halfway decent, with some serious re-working. This was the first song I actually managed to tolerate. 2

Astro-Mancy – This is kinda-sorta like the above song. It sounds like they’re trying to make a Tangerine Dream song sound a bit psychedelic, with a sort-of trace-like quality, or a rapid electronic drone. There’s not much to the song, it’s almost background music. Really badly done, completely forced and artificial sound effects. Better than the first 5 songs (which isn't saying much), but it’s still pretty much a waste of notes. 1

I Love You Too, Death – What IS it about this group where, as soon as they start singing, everything goes downhill? This song is really bad. In fact it might be one of the worst songs I’ve ever heard. It’s so bad I’m going to not just give it a zero, but a negative rating. I couldn’t even finish it. -18

Plenty of Girls in the Sea – This sounds like a really bad version of the Monkees “All of Your Toys.” But at least the Monkees song was unabashedly a light/joking, schmaltzy, non-serious song. Like most of the tunes from this band, they take what sounds like is supposed to be a non-serious song, and try to make it a serious work of art. Or maybe I’m not giving them enough credit and they know they’re being deliberately bad, but are trying to pull one off on everyone by making it sound like it’s supposed to be serious music? 0

An Orphan of Fortune – Another plodding, supposedly “dreamy” sounding psychedelic-esque song, somewhat like "I Love You Too, Death" (not quite as bad, however). It sounds like a really, really badly done imitation of Pink Floyd, maybe from Dark Side of the Moon. Apologies for writing Pink Floyd in the same line as an MGMT song. The outre to this song was this really arbitrary thing. Now, I know of many songs that have similar endings, where the outre is completely different from the rest of the song, but this was just amateur. Unless of course, once again they’re being deliberately bad while duping people into thinking they’re being serious. It’s hard to tell. 1

-----------------------------------------------

Final thoughts: Anyway, after I wrote all that I listened to the album once through again. It did no good, it was just as bad as the first pass (which was about my 3rd or 4th listen of the album). I don’t know if this happens to be this band’s worst album and I picked a particularly poor example of their work, or if this is a “typical” album of theirs, but after listening to this it’s going to be difficult for me to pay attention to this band ever again. Unless they disband, which would be wonderful news!

I’ve listened to musical works where the composer/songwriter is trying to make a mockery of something while simultaneously trying to make it sound like a serious piece of work. The classic example is Shostakovich’s 5th Symphony, wherein the composer wrote something which, on the surface, sounded like it was something sufficiently traditional and non-bourgeoisie to satisfy the Soviet censors, but which, upon closer examination, was actually a mockery. And of course Shostakovich was mocking the censors, not any particular form of music (it’s not like he would mock Beethoven, which is what that symphony was surficially imitating). But in the case of MGMT, I’m not sure what they would be mocking, if indeed they are. Perhaps they’re mocking the listening public, as in, “Gee, let’s see how many suckers we can get to buy our music.” If so, then a whole lot of people are being duped, and maybe this band is more clever than I’m giving them credit for. Maybe they’re mocking the experimental/avant-garde musical scene, but if they are, they’re not doing a good job of it. They could be mocking pop music in general, but I could think of a lot better ways to do that than what they’ve put out on this album.

But maybe they’re not mocking anything at all, and they’re just so bad it sounds like they are. Because unless this album is supposed to be some sort of hidden parody, it’s impossible to take it seriously. And even if they are supposed to be parody, or maybe a kind-of tongue-in-cheek protest band, they don’t do a good job of it. Overall I’ll give it a 0. In other words, DON’T BUY IT!
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Old 08-03-2014, 07:56 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Here's a new band out of LA whose first album will be coming out later this month. Based on these two songs they sound Temples-esque, much "cleaner" sound though, not so low-fi.

Wand - "Flying Golem"
Wand - "Broken Candle"
Track listing of the new album, which will be called Ganglion Reef:
Quote:
01. Send/Receive (Mind)
02. Clearer
03. Broken Candle
04. Fire on the Mountain (I-II-III)
05. On Ganglion Reef
06. Flying Golem
07. Strange Inertia (Ctrl Alt Death)
08. 6661
09. Growing Up Boys
10. Generator Larping
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Old 10-20-2014, 06:17 PM   #19 (permalink)
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New Pond album coming out in January.

Speaking of Pond, I'm going to do my review of Hobo Rocket soon. Really! Honestly! Have bought the album and listened to it a few times. Just haven't gotten around to doing the review.

Tame Impala Offshoot Pond Announce Man It Feels Like Space Again, Share "Elvis' Flaming Star" Video

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Old 10-20-2014, 08:31 PM   #20 (permalink)
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^
My mom just surprised me with tickets for Pond's show in Toronto tomorrow. Crazy coincidence!
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