LOOP “Mother Sky" (Chapter 22, 1988)
Brilliant CAN cover taken from the Black Sun EP
Onasis has my heart.
sweet baby jesus this is beautiful
California is currently in a crazy drought, but our first rainfall of the season is expected tonight. Tonight the dry ground, will feel like my ears do now.
THE HUMAN EXPRESSION “Calm Me Down" (Accent, 1967)
Brilliant garage psych song by one of the greatest californian underground band of that time.
Such a great song!! Thank you!!
My Favorite Albums of 2013
I know, I know 50 albums is a shit ton of albums to list, but each one is honestly on the list for a reason. There were two themes that seemed to pop up in the music that I really gravitated towards:
- Change - A lot of the albums I liked symbolized a change within the band/artists own trajectory/sound/production.
- Influence - It’s refreshing to see a lot of artists/bands start to really control their influences so that they sound like themselves and not someone else. I love this because in the end, nothing new is really new.
- The Flaming Lips - The Terror
In the 30th year of any band, you don’t expect them to re-write their approach to music or even remain contextually relevant outside of nostalgic terms, but the Flaming Lips defy expectations. The largely atonal riff-driven post-apocalyptic The Terror finds the band is a weird space that has elements of the orchestral tones used in Soft Bulletin and the lo-fi maximalism of Embryonic. It is simultaneously rewarding and difficult.
- Younghusband - Dromes
Pablo Picasso said “Good artists borrow, but great artists steal.” The theft in question is the influence of the artist and for me the difference comes in the ownership of influence. If you steal something you want to make it yours, if you borrow it you know inside that you have to give it back. Younghusband finds themselves in debt to classics like the Byrds and the Zombies & contemporaries like Deerhunter and the Horrors, but they seem to steal the aspects that they can pull off and own. This album is roughly 5 years in the making with various EPs and singles popping up with earlier versions of the songs on this album, I just hope a follow up album doesn’t take as long.
- Toro y Moi - Anything In Return
Chaz Bundick knows when to jump ship before he sinks. As a poster-child of the chillwave scene he could have succumbed to the hype backlash, but he pivoted. It’s interesting to hear the albums, EPs and countless demos on shuffle because often it is just his voice that draws the connection, but somehow it never sounds forced. This album was maybe two songs longer than it needed to be, but the ambitious full band sound has helped in his constant evolution.
- Snowden - No One In Control
NSA security leak!!! This is not that Snowden. Sadly associations seem to derail Snowden with each album. With their 2006 debut on Jade Tree they were compared to the hyped (still really good) Interpol and so the momentum that should have carried Snowden into the same sphere didn’t just fizzle out, it didn’t even start. Years go by and silence ensues, when out of nowhere a demo EP comes out last year providing a peak into the next phase. As the promotion for No One In Control was ramping up for the release, in walks Edward Snowden. Fucking dumb luck. Snowden picked up where their debut left off and Jordan’s voice is still as distinct and affecting as ever.
- White Fence - Cyclops Reap
I love White Fence so much, but maybe its for a weird reason. Whenever I hear a White Fence song I always think that it is a song off of the Nuggets compilation that I forgot about. Authenticity is a tricky subject when it comes to music: What is authentic? Who is it authentic for? Why is it authentic? White Fence feels authentic. Tim Presley is now six albums in and none of the albums waiver from the lo-fi garage, guitar on guitar sound.
Tangent: Tim Presley’s music career is like Benjamin Button kinda. He started in a 80’s punk band (The Nerve Agents), then was in Darker My Love which had some heavy 70’s Sabbath/early metal vibes and now White Fence which is like the summer of 68 that never was. I hope the next band is a doo-wop band.
- Caveman - Caveman
Caveman as a band name doesn’t lead one to imagine lush orchestration or reverb laden vocal harmonies, but band names can be deceiving sometimes. There are moments that sound like what Band of Horses might have grown into if they didn’t suck so hard. This will sound really lame, but when I first heard this album in depths of Summer it made me yearn for the crisp Autumn weather that doesn’t hit LA until Winter.
- Jagwar Ma - Howlin
When Jagwar Ma is written about the reference that everyone seems to bring up is the baggy / Madchester scene, yes I definitely hear the Stone Roses / Primal Scream influences, but the influence that really stuck out after repeated listens was that of the Beach Boys. Some of the harmonies are pretty damn Wilson-esque. The fine line of cheesiness is skated on songs like “Let Her Go" & "That Loneliness" but the marriage of catchy vocals and hazy electronic beats is undeniable.
- Thee Oh Sees - Floating Coffin
When you juxtapose two opposites you tend to appreciate the qualities of each a little more. When songs like No Spell have quiet passages that get interrupted by blasts of overdriven guitar chords, it makes those accents louder just by comparison. Thee Oh Sees have been mastering this this technique over their past four albums. Sadly, John Dwyer and crew have announced an indefinite hiatus. I doubt it will last that long though and I highly doubt this will be the last Oh Sees album.
- Mount Kimbie - Cold Spring Fault Less Youth
Cold Spring Fault Less Youth is an odd album. Each song tends to take on a different feeling but the thread that strings them all together is the production. There is a unique mix of crisp and “professional” sounding elements and almost demo home recording passages - these parts don’t sit separate they overlap and add atmosphere to what could be a sterile sounding album otherwise. The King Krule tracks are brilliant! I only wish that they would pair up for an entire album.
- Hooded Fang - Gravez
Too many people slept on the release of Gravez. Possibly it’s due to the bubblegum production of Hooded Fang’s first two albums. The new sound is a welcomed change. The songs are still really solid and catchy as hell, but what this album has that the others were lacking is a sense of urgency. Change is good.
- Charles Bradley - Victim of Love
To see Charles Bradley is to understand appreciation. Charles Bradley had a rough life and at 65 he puts all that he has into each and every performance. It is the most religious, non-religious experience I have ever had.
- Ty Segall - Sleeper
Ty Segall is a busy dude. Two huge records for different bands this year - Sleeperand the Fuzz debut. Each record that Segall releases tends to have a different focus. On Sleeper it is his most personal release to date and is entirely acoustic, unlike any other album in his catalog.
- Darkside - Psychic
A meticulous combination of yacht rock guitar noodling and atmospheric electronics.
- Deerhunter - Monomania
The garage-punk production of Monomania serves as an antithesis to the polished Halcyon Digest.
- No Joy - Wait To Pleasure + Pastel and Pass Out EP
MBV was a huge letdown (and the worst album cover of the year) the space that these two companion albums fill eases the pain quite a bit.
- Washed Out - Paracosm
Yet another chillwave success story (see Toro y Moi). Where Toro y Moi pivoted to a funk/R&B influenced area, Washed Out pivoted to a hazy relaxed real instrument sound. Paracosm has a sound that begs for a beachy summer vacation.
- Crocodiles - Crimes of Passion
This is what the Beach Boys would have sounded like if they wore leather jackets and played power chords.
- Arcade Fire - Reflektor
Coming in just behind Daft Punk for the most hyped album of the year (barf). The album feels a bit too long and would benefit from some editing, but damn the good songs on here are great!
- Blouse - Imperium
Shedding the cold synth sound and embracing guitars, Blouse almost sounds like a new band.
- Unknown Mortal Orchestra - II
Initially I was a little under whelmed with this album. The production makes the vocals sound even more fragile than the first album, but this is another example of stealing a sound and owning it.
- Hookworms - Pearl Mystic
- Joey Bada$$ - Summer Knights Mixtape
- Gauntlet Hair - Stills
- King Krule - 6 Feet Beneath The Moon
- Cate Le Bon - Mug Museum
- Disappears - Era
- Disclosure - Settle
- Suuns - Images du Futur
- Parquet Courts - Light Up Gold
- Cut Copy - Free Your Mind
- Wild Belle - Isles
- DJ Rashad - Double Cup
- Local Natives - Hummingbird
- Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of The City
- Earl Sweatshirt - Doris
- Beaches - She Beats
- Blu - York (Official Release)
- Arctic Monkeys - AM
- Foxygen - We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace
- FaltyDL - Hardcourage
- Beach Fossils - Clash The Truth
- Kanye West - Yeezus
- Dr. Dog - B-Room
- Kurt Vile - Walkin on a Pretty Daze
- Cults - Static
- Dark Horses - Black Music
- Oddisee - Tangible Dream & The Beauty In All
- The Proper Ornaments - Waiting for the Summer
- Jacco Gardner - Cabinet of Curiosities
- Junip - Junip
2013 was a pretty great year for music.