Hey Bologna-Boppin’ Beyonders,
I’m happy to announce that this week Beyond Beyond is Beyond will welcome So-Cal bent rockers, the Growlers to the show. I’ve been diggin’ these guys ever since Everloving sent me their new Are You In or Out? record. I lifted the ‘bent sound’ description from the Everloving website because it really fits the Growlers’ sound nicely:
…this “bent sound” has been perfected in their live act that some onlookers call “groovy” and or “sick”. The groovy unexcelled value in Lo fidelity sound is their stock and trade.
So get yourself further acquainted below with the “Something Someone Jr” video and then bring your ears to the far out reaches of Beyond Beyond is Beyond on East Village Radio on Thursday, 2/18, from noon to 2 EST. Here’s how to get there…
If you’re in NYC, catch their show at Piano’s…
Feb 18 2010 11:00P
Pianos w/ Treasure and Magic Magic New York City, New York
Feb 20 2010 8:00P
RONY’S BAR chicago, Illinois
Feb 21 2010 11:30P
Replay Lounge Lawrence, Kansas
Feb 22 2010 8:00P
Hi Dive – The Growlers w/ Astrophagus Denver, Colorado
Feb 23 2010 9:30P
Belly Up Aspen w/ Backyard Fire Tire Aspen, Colorado
Feb 26 2010 8:00P
Noise Pop at Café Dunord San Francisco, California
Mar 27 2010 9:30P
East of Eden w/ Mikey Selbicky Monterey, California
If you blog, I guess you just gotta do it…so here’s mine. And no, you’re not gonna get a ‘best albums o’ the decade’ list outta me! It was quite hard enough to think back to early ’09, thank you very much. And yes, albums are still pertinent and will become more and more important as the industry starts its slow digression back to the vinyl days. I’m not Nostradamus and shit, I just know it’s headed that way. It’s what’s the people want…records are just plain sexy! The vinyl is how you’ll listen at home (or inside places) and the mp3s (download card included inside vinyl jacket) will make it portable and shuffle-able.
Another thing to keep in mind, I don’t typically sit around ranking records as I listen to them, so this is a bit of a stretch for me. What I’m presenting here is a list of things I liked in 2009. This includes brand-new shit and also old albums that were re-released during 2009…because I listen to a lot of old music, in case you didn’t know from looking at me. So let’s go through the motions here and get to listing…in no particular order (and I’m not sure how many are going to be listed either until I put them all down, so bear with me). Here we go:
The Entrance Band – s/t : Here’s a great psych album from a new(er) band that’s not afraid of slinky guitar licks. As the mainstream indie-rock world keeps proving to us what their music is NOT, bands like The Entrance Band will do what they do, not concerned with what they are not, but proving that the most interesting thing is what it IS. And what it is is groove, swing, blues, passion, psych, sex and plenty of reverb. On Ecstatic Peace Records.
Well played, Thurston.
The Aliens – Luna : Amazing follow-up to the debut Astronomy for Dogs from 2007 by this Beta Band offshoot. Here are the deets from Wiki: The Aliens are a Scottish band consisting of former Beta Band members Gordon Anderson (aka Lone Pigeon, lead vocals, guitar), John Maclean keyboards, backing vocals) and Robin Jones (drums, backing vocals). They formed in 2005 ( following the split of The Beta Band the previous year, and frontman Gordon Anderson falling ill to “acute psychosis”. Anderson is now out of hospital and has been off medication for some time.
This is what the Beta Band promised to be from their 3 Eps debut, which will always be a classic, but what their other albums never delivered on. They lost sight of their mission or something. Well, The Aliens pick back up where the ‘good’ Beta Band left off. Cheers!
Imelda May – Love Tattoo : Soul rockabilly blues R&B…like in the days when such genres were integrated and made a beautiful noise together. I was lucky enough to be able to interview Imelda May when she was in NYC and got to see her (and her tremendous band) perform live to a packed Piano’s house on a weeknight…Uh-maze-ing! This girl can belt ‘em out. And you need to hear her band play live too. Perfectness…really. Here’s a link to the interview from Beyond Beyond is Beyond 9/24/09.
And here’s a bonus for ya’s. This is an acoustic “Love Tattoo” that Imelda and her husband/guitarist Darrel Higham did exclusively for my BBiB show on East Village Radio…
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The Growlers – Are You In or Out? : I love this album. I guess you’d call it fuzzed-out, reverb-drenched, hazy surf-guitar garage rock. Easy breezy shit that I’m looking forward to seeing played live when these Costa Mesa, California bros make it out East – which I just found out will happen at Brooklyn’s Union Pool on Valentine’s Day ’10. Hopefully my lover will want to go with…
Speaking of lovers, this album is on the great Everloving label.
Made in Sweden – Made in England : This re-release from the top-notch Esoteric Recordings label in England, came in just under the ’09 gun, released on December 22nd, 2009. I have been in love with Esoteric Recordings output ever since I was turned on to them by some MAN reissues that started coming out a couple years ago. Since then, I’ve closely followed Esoteric’s output and even started a segment on my radio show that features Esoteric’s offerings. Well, this is one originally from 1970 that I just very recently received and am now addicted to. And it once again begs the question ‘why are the Swedish so advanced in progressive rock music?’ Why ask why, bros…just dig it. This is superb blues-jazz-prog rock. Long live Esoteric!
White Denim – Fits : Fukkin’ fantastic album! To be lazy, here are a couple quotes that I really like about the album…
“Fits locks in and finds a groove strong enough to hang a hook on” -Pitchfork
“Like Ike and Tina Turner….. White Denim never do anything nice and easy. The bands chopped up punk delirium is effortless sorcery, evoking Talking Heads’ dancing-bones rock, the dervish thrash of the Minutemen and the Strokes’ pneumatic-guitar pop…White Denim is not simple work, but everything you get is nice and rough.”- David Fricke, Rolling Stone
“It kinda makes me wanna screw.” – My wife
Mother Hips – Pacific Dust : The Mother Hips are consistently great and are consistently not recognized enough. Lots of great dual guitar interplay, amazing sunny California harmonies, and tons of hooks all over the place.
Tim Bluhm was in town for a couple Mother Hips NYC gigs and stopped by Beyond Beyond is Beyond this past Spring, long before the new album’s release and played some tunes for us. Here’s one…
Life on Earth! – A Space Water Loop : Like The Amazing who are making their mark right now with a fantastic debut, Life On Earth! is a Dungen offshoot to keep the Dungen players busy and creative while Dungen leader, Gustav takes his time with his muse and his turntablism. Yeah, go figs. Life on Earth! is helmed by Dungen bassist, Mattias Gustavsson and is an excellent collection of Swedish psych-folk music…sung in English.
Again, my theory stands that Swedes have and extra music gene.
Check out this tune Mattias did for us on Beyond Beyond is Beyond at the East Village Radio studio:
Hopewell – Good Good Desperation : These next two albums represent bands that made really good albums which only tell part of the story of how amazing they are as live bands. Tee Pee Records made a great choice stepping out on a limb for Hopewell, which isn’t their traditional fare…but Tee Pee is really starting to release a lot of killer stuff (Weird Owl, The Weight, Spindrift, Night Horse, Imaad Wasif) and is one of the great small creative label forces out there now.
Pick up this album and then get yer ass out to see them live and let them show you their complete power. Good Good Desperation definitely will make you more than curious for the live show…and it’s the kind of album that gives you the feeling that Hopewell is on the verge of creating their masterpiece.
Sleepy Sun – Embrace : So, this is the other band who made a fantastic album, this one on ATP Recordings, that only hints at how great a live band they are. I was lucky enough to see both Sleepy Sun and Hopewell this summer at the super-exclusive, only-for-cool-cats-like-me All Tomorrow’s Parties festival in upstate New York…and quite frankly, both bands blew my fukkin’ head off. In a good way!
Again, another great album that will tease you into coming out to see ‘em live. Don’t miss the chance!
Exmagma – Exmagma 3 : I started doing a segment on my East Village Radio show that features the excellent re-release output of Anthology Recordings this year, because they digitally re-release some of the coolest and rarest psych, vintage rock, folk, freak, prog and other great rock forms. This is one of the coolest that I came across this year. Having already been acquainted with Exmagma’s first two ‘official’ albums, that were certainly more Miles 70s-era improvy sounding with very few vocals. Well, this more jagged-rocky, trippy-vocaled one was made as a double album by the band to follow their first two. Their label said ‘we don’t wanna release a double album’…and so the band shelved it and soon broke up. It was finally released way down the road and now Anthology’s got it on their site, ready for you to download…along with the first two Exmagma albums and singer/guitarist, Andy Goldner’s killer solo album, Infinity. Get Exmagma 3 now if you dig adventurous rock!
Rubblebucket – s/t : This one came out of the blue and landed on my CD player…or iTunes or whatever. I had not been seeking out this kind of music, but it found me, and it strapped me in for a rubble-bumpy ride! Is African music super-cool right now? Is Fela really a Broadway musical right now? Do people really hate hippies? Well, whatever the case…this is an album to be reckoned with. But instead of reckoning with it, listen to it! Yeah, that’s better.
Serious groove, a knock-you-out magic horn section, quirky guitar, odd drum rhythms, trippy dub effects, and an amazing spell-casting female vocal, of course with plenty of ‘verb!
I can’t wait to see ‘em live! This one of was may be the nicest surprise of the year.
Zoos of Berlin – Taxis : This one was actually another great surprise that Sinister Foxy turned me on to. It’s modern, it’s sleek, it’s complex, it’s Steely Dan, it’s Talking Heads, it’s uplifting, it’s fun, it’s serious, and it’s a bunch of other stuff…like REALLY GOOD! Everyone that I played this album for fell in love with it and could compare it to nothing else than any other modern indie bands are doing right now. Truly unique and quirky music made by some serious players who remember what it is to groove.
Detroit guys, btw. They’re still making plenty of good music there. Cars…not so much.
The Beatles – Remastered Catalog : This has to be in there, doesn’t it? Such a perfect job was done on these albums…and the world would’ve collectively cringed if it had been otherwise. This music demands perfection, and the remastering/mixing job that they did is incredible. Who knew that the best music ever made could sound even better?!
I have all the stereo versions, now I may need to geek out and score all the remastered mono albums! Most of the stuff up until Rubber Soul/Revolver are meant to be heard mono anyway.
Btw, is the White Album the best rock album ever made?
Bryan Scary & the Shredding Tears – Mad Valentines : I swear to god, I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but I almost forgot to add these guys to the list AGAIN this year! And I did the same with their Flight of the Knife album last year! Maybe it’s because they’re so much drastically better than most of the modern bands you hear these days, and maybe it’s because their sound doesn’t seem to quite fit in whatever ‘era’ we’re in right now. But BSST are pure theatrical bubblegum, prog-pop escapist bliss…and you’re missing out on all of that if you don’t know ‘em. So get to know ‘em and come join the party. And don’t miss them live!
Here’s a quick stirpped-down tune that they guys did in our completely un-soundproofed booth at East Village Radio. It’s a delight…
Very honorable mentions : Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion (as if you needed to see that one on another list), Real Estate – s/t, Man- s/t (reissue on Esoteric Recordings), Ben Kweller – Changing Horses, BLK JKS – After Robots, The Blakes – Souvenir, La Fleur Fatale – Silent Revolution, Monsters of Folk – s/t, Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound – When Sweet Sleep Returned…
What else am I missing? What are your faves o’ the year? Lemme know below…