Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I Have Sleepy Sun Fever!

"Their first release on ATP records Embrace illuminated the golden path to Sleepy land—hard-riffing, delicate, dreamy and cultivated. The latest ATP release, Fever, is arrival at the palace the path promised."

Any regular reader(s) of this blog should be well familiar with this wonderful Californian group by now. They would also know just how much I personally love the band. I've told the story a few times already, but here it is again. I stumbled upon the band's debut 'Embrace' completely by chance, after learning of the bands working relationship with one of my other current favourites, Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound. In a desperate move to hold off and momentarily distract myself from my heightened anticipation & waiting of 2009's 'When Sweet Sleep Returned', I decided to pick up SS' 'Embrace'. Immediately, and i mean fucking INSTANTLY (as the wild drumming of 'New Age' kicked in) i was hooked. I must of played that record an even 50 times or more in the space of 2 or 3 months. It was an insane obsession that didn't let up, obviously.

I've been tracking the group for any news on the follow-up album over the last few months, and finally It's all starting to surface. Check out some of the descriptions and reviews I've found, hopefully they excite you as much as they do me. And finally, below are a few videos of the new tracks performed live by the band over the last year or so. I've listened to the youtube clips of 'Wild Machines' so many times the song hardly feels new to me. 'Marina' ain't bad either, that video of them playing it @ Primavera was incredible. The tribal breakdown at the end, and then when the jam kicks back in.. as well as Rachel's dancing haha, everything I love about the band right there. If pressed, I'd say those two are my favourite tunes from the band to date. I can't wait to hear how they sound from the studio-side, just another reason to be excited for record No. 2, 'Fever' - due out out 17th May (UK) & 6th June (US).

It's actually my birthday on the 4th of June, so i could very well have a nicely timed & tasty gift coming my way. This is going to be special folks!

The Band:
Band Site

Other Links of Interest:
Stereogum - Track-list, Details + Mini Review & Tour Dates
ATP Recordings - Updated Sleepy Sun Bio - Very promising review!

David Axelrod - Song of Innocence [1968]

What started out as a jazz/rock experiment throw-away, decades later reveals itself as a lost classic. Along with Miles' work at the time, this was a very early example of the sound that would later become Jazz Fusion. Producer, arranger, and engineer David Axelrod made his mark with Cannonball Adderley, Lou Rawls, and the Electric Prunes. Song of Innocence made critics turn their heads in its day, regarding it as a visionary curiosity piece; today it's simply a great, timeless work of pop art that continues to inspire over four decades after its initial release.

After forming a band with a couple of yer typical garage-rockers of the time, Axelrod signed with Capitol and this masterpiece was his very first release. An instrumental concerto based on the works of William Blake, 'Song of Innocence' is entirely unique: neither Rock, Jazz, Classical, nor Easy Listening, the album blends elements of all four into a richly layered whole. While this may sound like a potentially pretentious train-wreck waiting to happen, nothing could be further from the truth. This is simply one of the most unique musical efforts of the last several decades. Distorted guitars, funky bass lines and drums that were shockingly loud for 1968, blend with churchy organ and symphony-size orchestras on songs like 'Holy Thursday' and the epic closer 'The Mental Traveler.'

"Imagine if Brian Wilson had suddenly decided to turn SMILE into a prototype for Isaac Hayes's soundtrack to SHAFT, and you're halfway there."

New Dead Meadow

Check out one of the smokin' new songs from the band's latest effort, 'Three Kings' - dropping March 23. Epic Billy Ward-like drum fills, I fucking love it!

As great as the early Dead Meadow records are.. Personally I much prefer the tighter and more concise sound they introduced on the most recent 'Old Growth', and to a lesser extent, some of the sounds they were experimenting with on 2005's 'Feathers. If this new track is any indication, we're in for an even groovier Dead Meadow than ever before!

About the interesting 'Three Kings' Project:

"Feature-length Live movie with short vignettes (ala Led Zeppelin's Song Remains the Same) combined with the soundtrack of the movie in dual pack (both CD/DVD and LP/DVD). The performance captures the band at the height of the indie non-stop touring machine and gives fans the first official live album, almost a greatest hits worth of catalog. Also included is an ep's worth of new never-before heard material that gives a glimpse of a music career to come."

Friday, March 12, 2010

Gösta Berlings Saga - Detta Har Hänt [2009]

This one comes as per the request of Anonymous Dave. (how's that for a sweet title?)
Yet another well-hidden gem from the country top-filled with Progressive Rock goodness, of course I'm speaking of Sweden. Three Years after GBS' first heralded release ('Tid Är Ljud') comes this, their sophomore effort. For those who don't know GBS, their sound "ranges from full-blown epic soundscapes via dissonant darkness to minimalistic powerful grooves without compromising when it comes to the strong melodies the band is known for". Strong quote eh? Accurate too.

A slight line-up change in the space between the times, as original guitarist Mathias Danielsson left the band, replaced by Einar Baldursson. Boy can this new guy really play! He has a real Fripp-inspired (Frippsired?) style of playing, often in a rather subtle manner but also in frantic yet sophisticated displays with layers of disharmonic, dissonant escapades. On a whole, this is just classic instrumental prog, awesomely produced and with a quirky RIO/Zeuhl flavour. While their influences are traceable, their sound is still very original and inspired.

To throw a few names out there, think Magma, Gentle Giant, Crimson, as well as modern day groups like Anekdoten & Anglagard. But really this is for most anyone with an interest in challenging, instrumental progressive rock. Recommended.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Gun - The Gun [1968] (1989 Reissue)

Back to it now! Here is one of my favourite ancients (or is it ancient favourites?). This is the debut album from the annoyingly-difficult-to-research band 'The Gun', a relatively obscure group from the U.K. (not to be confused with the other currently active 'Gun' from Scotland.) This one is special to me for a few reasons. Like many others I tracked it down for it's amazing cover art - another of Roger Dean's works, this being his first ever record project if i recall. I'm sure you wouldn't be alone in mistaking it for some mid-80s thrash metal album. It sure is a little darker than his popular later works, none the less, it's one of my favourites of his cover designs.

Little did i know just how incredible the album would actually be. It's a crushingly heavy rock/proto-metal sound (ala Sabbath/Leaf Hound/Iron Butterfly) mixed with a big-time brass backing and the occasionally typical flower-power-like melody (ala moments of 'Love - Forever Changes'). Recorded at just the right time blending both of these incredible sounds, like you could only do in '68. The band's one and only hit 'Race with the Devil' opens the record like a punch in the nose and immediately you know what you're in for. Is this "the" original metal album?

A lost gem for fans of the power trio format, check it out.

Try It - Buy It..Tell Me Where?!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Top #25 of 2009

Hey folks! I'm back again after sitting out for quite a while. No real reason to my absence in particular, just mainly capped internet from time to time. I did manage to watch all 5 seasons of "The Wire" 3 or 4 times through in the last six months though.. quite an accomplishment eh? So let's put the blame of my absence on that excellent TV show. I have so many new amazing albums I'd like to put in your ear, so hopefully I'll start uploading again regularly soon.

In the mean time I thought I'd share my favourites of the year that's gone. I've already jerked around with my initial list (as seen on my page), I think I'll finally leave it as is for now. Please, feel free to comment on my list, or list some of your own favourites.

Serpent Throne
"The Battle of Old Crow"


Gösta Berlings Saga
"Detta Har Hänt"

Quest for Fire
"Quest for Fire"

Black Bonzo
"Guillotine Drama"

Greater California
"All The Colors"

"Good Good Desperation"

Black Math Horseman

Mouse on the Keys
"An Anxious Object"

Kings of Convenience
"Declaration of Dependence"


A.A. Bondy
"When the Devil's Loose"

Stardeath and White Dwarfs
"The Birth"

Foreign Born
"Person To Person"

"All Is Wild, All Is Silent"

Imaad Wasif
"The Voidist"

Alice in Chains
"Black Gives Way To Blue"

Grizzly Bear

The Flaming Lips

Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros
"Up From Below"

The Decemberists
"The Hazards of Love"

"Of Sound Mind"

Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound
"When Sweet Sleep Returned"

Sleepy Sun


A few 2010 albums I'm enjoying at the moment:

Shearwater - The Golden Archipelago
Race Horses - Goodbye Falkenberg
Priestess - Prior To the Fire
Portugal. The Man - American Ghetto
Motorpsycho - Heavy Metal Fruit
Midlake - The Courage of Others
Kaki King - Junior
Jaga Jazzist - One-Armed Bandit
Fictionist - Lasting Echo
Citay - Dream Get Together
Beach House - Teen Dream
Balmorhea - Constellations
Asteroid - II

It's already shaping up to be another fantastic year!