We’ve had everything explained to us and there are no mysteries left. Myths have been debunked, and the internet had analysed every cultural detail into meaningless dust.
DJ Shadow finds an unmarked record when cratedigging and throws it in a mix as “unknown song, unknown artist”. Anton Newcombe from Brian Jonestown Massacre picks it out a number of years later, puts it up on youtube, claims it’s from a sixties band called Smile, or Smiles, says it’s a brilliant tune. Says it’s called “I Am Just A Star On A Democratic Flag”.
Maybe it’s Newcombe himself behind the record, sounds like it could be.
DJ Shadow allegedly says “The name of the group is “Smiles”. I think it’s a group from Los Angeles, and the song’s dating back from 1968-69. Unfortunately, the writtings on the record are not in good shape. I’ve never seen another record. I remember Dante came to my house, he saw the record, listened to it. He will never stop digging to find that particular record.”
Someone listens carefully to the surface noise, to see if it’s genuine, or an affectation.
Newcombe denies it’s him. Youtube commenters fail to find any online record of the song. Some claim that Newcombe is not Newcombe. DJ Shadow denies his real name is Clive. Clive Shadow.
I post the song on an intelligent, popular music blog with very well listened contributers, and hope for some news.
The mystery continues, the plot thickens.
All I know is something like a bird within him sang
All I know he sang a little while and then flew on
That’s how Phil Lesh sings Bird Song these days, changing the song’s subject from Janis Joplin, as originally written by Robert Hunter, to Jerry Garcia, who died 20 years ago today, having just turned 53 years old.
Hunter wrote the lyrics soon after Joplin’s much more premature, heroin-related death and they are little more than an amazed reflection on a mercurial talent – a more articulate version of ‘Wow, man, she sure could sing!’ Their application to Garcia’s playing (and, to a lesser extent, singing) is entirely appropriate.
Look and listen:
New household member and French princess Seraphine says she only listens to old school jungle and sometime glitch-step. I don’t quite believe her silky continental sophistications as I’ve seen her secret stash of Serge Gainsbourg, rare groove and booty bass LPs.
2. “Annabel Dream Reader” – The Wytches
I’m a 90s kid through and through. Cut me and I bleed jangly indie, shoegaze and pre-major-label grunge (when it was called alt. rock). I’m pop but Sub Pop. I’m sub Sub pop Pop. Pop.
Some folk might think that the terms wretched, noisy & abrasive are negative words to describe music with. I think things went bad when the only audible influence bands took from Nirvana ended up being Nickleback, Puddle Of Mudd, Creed, et al. There are so many bands influenced by Kurt, Thurston, J Mascis whose music sounds nothing like them, but it was Bleach or Nevermind that made them pick up a guitar.
Rarely a band dares to occupy a space made sacred by Saint Cobain over twenty years ago. Rarer still is a band with the ideas or the chops or the tunes to pull off anything worthwhile.
Filtered through a sixties freakbeat awareness, pre-nevermind rhythm section and a throat shredding south coast accent, The Wytches scream their fucking heads off in memorable pop tunes as distortion reigns supreme. From the fuzz comes transcendence. Touch me; I’m quick.
1. “Soft Friday” – Coves
Noise ridden wall of sound pop melodies fuzzy skygaze shoegaze hazy days; the (beautifully sub-40 minutes 10 tracker) Coves record has myriad sparkling & eclectic psyche pop delights that I haven’t stopped listening to since April.
I just love it so much.
Mewsli finds it hard to choose too. Here’s the next three best LPs of 2014.
7. “Ganglion Reef” – Wand
I like my 60s inflected psychedelic pop music COVERED IN RIFFS AND NOISE AND MENTALISM. Thanks Wand!
8. “Sun Structures / Sun Restructured” – Temples
I like my 60s inflected psychedelic pop music incredibly authentic sounding. Thanks Temples!
This record was so 60s beat pastiche that I initially dismissed it but I’m very glad I went back to it as it’s chock full of fab songs. The remix album that is now bundled with it is the whole record taken apart by acid drenched wizards (actual wizards! Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve to be precise) in a fevered high and put back together all wonky and could well be better than the original. Excellent value for money for sure.
6. “Days Of Abandon” – The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
The growing Pains continue. The first LP noise-twee made way for LP2’s angry teen stompbox (my fave LP of 2011) and now their third sees them getting Jen from Fear Of Men to sing half the songs in a polished 80s Smithsian fashion. Jangle and sparkle and huge pop songs – not indie pop – just POP. Fit to burst exuberance and sky grazing ballads.
It’s not them, it’s me. If DsD is falling for sappy ballads in his dotage, i seem to be going for feelgood pop in mine. I really wanted to be hooked on droney stuff, like the Swans and Temple and Parquet Courts. Or grab my pipe and slippers and hang out with Beck, or stare out the window at the dismal weather with the War On Drugs, or brood with Bonnie Prince Billy. But seems that most of what i found this year that hit the spot is a spectrum of pop.
I knew about Comus back in the early 1970s. They tended to get lumped in with people like the Third Ear Band, because of their general weirdness, and also with the Incredible String Band.
Anyway, I knew about them and my cousin liked them a lot, but he was weird. He liked the Holy Modal Rounders as well.
I was reminded of them yesterday because I was looking up Opeth on Wikipedia and that led me on to look at the article about Storm Corrosion, the Steven Wilson/Mikael Åkerfeldt collaboration from a couple of years ago. That article mentioned Comus as an inspiration for the Storm Corrosion album. I made a mental note to check on YouTube to see if their first album was there and, lo and behold, here it is.
I think that some people here might like it, certainly I think it will strike a chord with Beth and maybe Chris too.
Drones, drums created by planets smashing together, noises that were futuristic fifty years ago, vagueness, heaviosity. These are all things I look for in a potential mate. We’re living in post-Impala times now. Wand are very hard to google and if you look in the dictionary under Noise-Throb, they’re there, looking back at you.
I can’t for the life of me embed the Wand player, but if you click here, it’ll open in a new window.
Also, a nice young man named Galkin wrote in and asked us to listen to his psych/slacker-rock EP. Of course I always listen to anything described as “psych/slack” and quite frankly it fits the description perfectly. It makes me want to lay on the edge of the submerged quarry and watch the last rays of summer fade over the horizon. Galkin played all of the instruments on the tracks, and you could compare it to Unknown Mortal Orchestra perhaps.