Posts Tagged ‘ Psychedelic ’

Younger Brother – The Last Days of Gravity

Younger Brother – The Last Days of Gravity

9 songs, 1.123 hours long

The Last Days of Gravity is the most recent release from another one of Simon Posford’s (Shpongle, Hallucinogen) projects, Younger Brother. This album is probably my favorite of all of Posford’s work, and since I’m moving apartments this week and I haven’t had much of a chance to do any exploring, I’m going to take this opportunity to write about something I consider a modern classic. As usual, Posford’s work is genre-defining, and it’s placed somewhere between psybient and goa trance. The tempo is slow but the songs vary from being heavy to light and beautiful, and the album is somewhat of a journey, as Posford is known for. Personally, I find Younger Brother and Shpongle the best of the Posford projects by a wide margin, and Younger Brother is definitely the lesser-known of the two, and it’s not because of quality. For fans of Shpongle especially, this album is a must-listen. For those who want to know what the best of performed music combined with electronic composition can create, Younger Brother is at the top of the genre. My collection could not be complete without Younger Brother’s The Last Days of Gravity, as well as a few other Posford works that I’ll probably cover some other time.

Buy The Last Days of Gravity on Amazon.

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West Indian Girl – West Indian Girl

West Indian Girl – West Indian Girl

11 songs, 45.6 minutes long

Faithful readers may have noticed that I’ve been on something of a psychedelic rock stint, and I have. West Indian Girl is the latest in that trend, but very different from The Besnard Lakes or Tame Impala. The first album from a band of the same name, released in 2004, the biggest difference is that both The Besnard Lakes and Tame Impala employ a large amount of distortion in their sound; West Indian Girl has a very clean sound. That being said, all three deserve the term ‘psychedelic rock,’ especially when referring to the structure of songs and layering of instruments. West Indian Girl has a more American sound than many psychedelic rock bands, complete with guitar solos and the album opening with a harmonica. This is especially true since the “greats” of psychedelic rock (namely The Beatles and Pink Floyd) are Brits, and it’s interesting to hear an album which is almost reminiscent of the American West fall well into the psychedelic genre. In short: West Indian Girl isn’t at all what I was expecting when I put it on, but it was quite a pleasant surprise. I’m excited to listen to their sophomore release, 4th and Wall, released in 2007, which I haven’t gotten a chance to listen to  just yet.

West Indian Girl at Amazon.

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The Besnard Lakes – The Besnard Lakes are the Roaring Night

The Besnard Lakes – The Besnard Lakes are the Roaring Night

10 songs, 46.6 minutes long

The Besnard Lakes are the Roaring Night is the The Besnard Lakes’ sophomore LP, and it’s an interesting one. A blend of mid-seventies psychedelic progressive rock and mid-nineties shoegaze, the album puts forth a sound like no other. Filling a similar modern niche as Tame Impala, The Besnard Lakes continue the legacy of the old guard of psychedelic progressive rock bands that were so prevalent 30 years ago without treading old ground. While being something completely new, they are derivative enough that they aren’t something I’d be afraid to play in front of my electronic-phobic father. The female vocals that show up on a couple tracks add a nice touch, and the album is just the right length. I suspect that The Besnard Lakes are the Roaring Night is going to be in heavy rotation on my system for quite some time.

The Besnard Lakes are the Roaring Night is available IN VINYL on Amazon.

It’s also on CD if you don’t like vinyl.

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Flotation Toy Warning – Bluffer’s Guide to the Flight Deck

Flotation Toy Warning – Bluffer’s Guide to the Flight Deck

10 songs, 72 minutes long

Bluffer’s Guide to the Flight Deck is one of my most recent discoveries, even though it was released back in 2005. The band, Flotation Toy Warning, made this single release and then vanished from the face of the earth, although their last.fm page hints at the possibility of a new album coming out this year. All I can say about that possibility is that I hope it’s true. Bluffer’s Guide to the Flight Deck sounds like something Sigur Rós might have written if they had Beirut as their singer, wrote lyrics in English, and played the theremin. The album sounds familiar, even though it’s not, and it is haunting and beautiful, full of strings and operatic vocals. Frankly, I would have loved this album without it, but when I first heard the theremin kick in halfway through the album, I was completely sold. Bluffer’s Guide to the Flight Deck is a hidden gem. This is an album of unsung genius, and a must-listen.

Bluffer’s Guide to the Flight Deck is available on Amazon.

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Group Bombino – Guitars from Agadez, Vol. 2

Group Bombino – Guitars from Agadez, Vol. 2

9 songs, 40 minutes long

Group Bombino is a really interesting African group. They are part of the nomadic Tuareg tribe which had political unrest with the Niger government and have since become rebels and refugees. Made in 2009, Guitars from Agadez, Vol. 2 (Vol. 1 was made by a similar group called Group Inerane) is a guitar driven political protest album (the Tuareg people protesting the Niger government) and it contains some of the most interesting modern blues music I have ever listened to. It has very strong elements of African folk music, containing typical African percussion and vocals,  but what sets this album apart is the smooth, beautiful blues guitar that is being played by Omara Mochtar. The album feels very genuine and ethnic, yet is easy to listen to and understand with western ears.

The group was backed by a small label in  Seattle called Sublime Frequencies which focus on genuine world music. The album is hard to find in America, since only 1,500 copies of the vinyl were ever made, though if one is interested it is available for download from the Sublime Frequencies website as FLAC or mp3.

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Black Moth Super Rainbow – Eating Us

Black Moth Super Rainbow – Eating Us

12 songs, 35.8 minutes long

Black Moth Super Rainbow’s most recent effort, Eating Us is, in my opinion, their strongest yet. As soon as the soft vocoded voice begins to sing on the first track, Born on a Day the Sun Didn’t Rise, you’re hooked, and you know you’re in for a weird ride. Despite the vocals being distorted, phrases are audible from time to time, and they’re catchy enough to get stuck in your head but complicated and psychedelic enough to be interesting to listen to over and over, and not just to get the song out of your head. The synthesizers all sound fat and analog; there’s no glitch sound to be found here. Eating Us is a soft album comprised of one good sound after another, with the vocoded vocals adding to the weird elusiveness of the frontman, an artist known only as “Tobacco.” BMSR is one of those groups that isn’t doing anything entirely experimental; the album is not noisy and is structured in a traditional way. Even my parents commented that although weird, they didn’t mind it when I put Eating Us on in the car. That being said, BMSR does what they do very well, and the album is excellent from start to finish.

Eating Us can be found on Amazon.

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Tame Impala – Innerspeaker

Tame Impala - InnerspeakerTame Impala – Innerspeaker

11 songs, 53.3 minutes long

Tame Impala’s 2010 release Innerspeaker provides the listener with some of the best guitar-driven psychedelic rock sounds since Pink Floyd wrote The Dark Side of the Moon. 70s style guitar sounds, using large amounts of compression and overdrive, combined with newer techniques, like delay, guide the listener through an altogether new landscape with a battery of sounds which are familiar to any fan of The Beatles or Pink Floyd.

Unfortunately for people in the States, this one is an import, but nevertheless, you can buy Innerspeaker at Amazon.

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