Wednesday, November 21, 2012

MD Picks: Psychedelic Robots & Sweet 60s Sounds

Clinic- Free Reign
Liverpool is known primarily as the city that produced the Beatles. Clinic is another good reason to say Liverpudlian again, and lord knows we could use one. This is an album that demands your attention from the second you press play. The opening song, "Misty" is trance-enducing. It sounds like something that psychedelic robots would produce. This band is known for wearing scrubs and masks on stage and pretty much most of the time they are photographed. Rock music in the 21st century sometimes seems to lack that mystique and other-planetness of the likes of David Bowie. If you want your alien-rock fix, this is it.
Try #s 1, 3, 4, 5 ("Misty", "Seamless Boogie Woogie, BBC2 10PM", "Cosmic Radiation", "Miss You")

Click through to see more from Dirty Projectors, Toy Love, Peoples Temple & Allah-Las


Dirty Projectors- About to Die

I feel similarly about Dirty Projectors and Wes Anderson movies. I love both. I will watch every Wes Anderson movie that comes out, likely multiple times, and I have yet to be disappointed or swear off seeing the next one. And I would say the same about DP. Both are admittedly sappy, but in a wonderful way that I will defend to the death. Both Wes Anderson and Dirty Projectors make art that is instantly recognizable, unique, and far superior to any imitators of their styles (and there are many). Yes, both can at time be accused of being cutesy or affected, but that is part of their charm, and it never overwhelms the brilliance of their work. The title track of this EP is recycled from their fantastic new album, Swing Lo Magellan. I would complain about that if the track wasn't so goddamned good that I'm glad to have another excuse to listen to it. The second track, "While You're Here,"was written for the recently deceased TV On the Radio bass player Gerard Smith, and contains some beautiful orchestral arrangements.  The rest of the EP is stellar, especially "Buckle Up," their most punk song since their Black Flag cover album Rise Above.
Try #s 1, 3, 5 ("About to Die", "Simple Request", "Desire to Love")

Toy Love- Live at the Gluepot 1980
Toy Love were a terrific post-punk group out of Dunedin, New Zealand. The band originated in the legendary early NZ punk group The Enemy, and wound up turning into the equally legendary band Tall Dwarfs. They played some raw, raucous, rude music, as is well evidenced on this live album. Just check the cover for an idea of the weird and great stuff you'll find here. The stage banter is also funny ("Unscrewed Up" is dedicated to virgins).
Try #s 1, 2 ("Fifteen", "Unscrewed Up")

Peoples Temple- More for the Masses
We are living in a heyday for great throwback garage music. It may be easy to dismiss groups like this for simply recreating the Nuggets comps that they seemingly have studied like yeshiva students. But, my opinion is, who cares if it's derivative? It's still good. And interesting. Though People's Temple share a kindred spirit with the likes of Ty Segall and Thee Oh Sees, groups who love old school garage music, they do their own thing. Check out the badass harmonica on "Texas Revisited" and the psychedelic tape loops on "The River (Donovan's Song)." They take their name from Jim Jones' Kool Aid-drinking cult. So you could accuse them of drinking the garage-rock Kool Aid, but that seems to me like a much cooler kind of Kool Aid than what a lot of other acts are drinking.
Try #s 4, 5, 13 ("Texas Revisited", "Looters Game", "The River (Donovan's Song)"

Allah-Las- Allah-Las
Allah-Las is another record that sounds like it was recorded about 45 years ago, likely two lifetimes ago for the band members of this young band out of Los Angeles. Their music is far prettier than that of Peoples Temple, but they probably both spent a lot of time listening to Nuggets comps and Love albums. Allah-Las also has a surf-y vibe to them, which makes sense given their proximity to the ocean (a lot closer than Peoples Temple's native Lansing, Michigan). The album as a whole sounds like a Southern California album in the best possible way-- dreamy, relaxed, with the beach and good times in close sight. Thanks goes to Innovative Leisure for sending us this beautiful record by request.
Try #s 1, 5, 7 ("Catamaran", "No Voodoo", "Ela Navega")

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