The Backlog

Well, this has been a long time coming.  The wake of everyday life as it is known in further adulthood often finds itself sponging up things that keeps our time occupied and busies.  So while we regularly are engaged with the opportunity to observe things, to make physical or mental note of them, often things in our life will get relegated to the “To do…” pile for when we are able to finagle some free time for ourselves at the right time of day, under the right confluence of circumstances.  So, while I play “Wait to see if the client shows up” at work, I find myself sitting down and beginning the composition of this draft to you (which has taken many moments over many days).

Starting with “Pig Boat Blues”, an LP from psychedelic outfit known as Christian Bland and the Revelators.  Whom in fact happen to be a pretty nifty side-project to The Black Angels.  Both bands carry with them a blend of psychedelia and trippyness to their sound, the former embraces the psych sound more than their father-band does.  The cover alone is worth a listen for the brain, and is just as trippy and enticing as the deisgn’s themes appear to invoke.

I can’t for the life of me recall if I’ve ever mentioned the Smoke Fairies here on the blog before.  I first encountered them on Jack White’s record label.  They were features on his “Blue series” of 7-inch vinyl release.  They have a sort of off-the-mark blues sound that’s relaxed, soft-spoken, and haunting at the same time.  Eerily beautiful, great for a late-night evening in the woods.

I bought these two albums together one fine Sunday afternoon.  Alex “Edward Sharpe” Ebert and his spirutually uplifting, goodtime-feeling posse produced a surprisingly strong sophomore album.  It continues the tradition of the crooner, the flower-child, the preacher, and the shrieker.  Humble and earth-grounded effort, I bought this because I found it spiritually powerful in a way that doesn’t showboat.  It very much feels like a natural progression to move into from what “Up From Below”, as opposed to just a bigger and louder recreation of it.

Garbage’s latest effort, the comeback that is…well, Pitchfork called it a “…hectic amalgamation of…electronica, punk, industrial rock, grunge, and the occasional trip-hop.”  It’s strong, and doesn’t feel as mis-assembled as their seven-years-ago-released “Bleed Like Me”.  It’s a more cohesive effort if you will, more focused, something which I apparently appreciate a lot more than Pitchfork does.  Shirely Manson is fierce, and feeling at the same time, and yes, their sound is especially outdated in the music landscape that’s evolved beyond that 90’s realm they were so successful in, but they’ve got strength of will to stick to their guns, and they do it extremely well.  I will not regret at all picking this up.

Why?  Because “why the hell not?!”, that’s why.  Beck and Jack White are easily two of my favorite musicians out there.  I know they’ve had a longstanding friendship for quite some time now.  Beck had a cameo on the White Stripes’ “Hardest Button to Button (here), recorded a duet for a 7-inch single for Icky Thump’s track “Conquest” called “It’s My Fault for Being Famous”, and now this.  A two-song release on White’s Third Man Records.  To borrow a simile I enjoy utilizing, it’s like your two best friends becoming best friends with each other as well.  Beck embraces the rough-around-the-edges blues & country roots that that he dove into early his career with this release.  It very much feels like flipping through an old photo album, and getting back in touch with something of old, for just a moment.

I was disappointed with Metric’s previous album, “Fantasies”.  I waited maybe a year or two before eventually caving and deciding to pick it up.  Although the album’s first single instantly soured me to their efforts then, I eventually arrived at a point where it was hard to ignore the fact that tracks from it were regularly struck in my head.  Fantasies does indeed feel a lot like a band that decided they were done screwing around at home, and should make their time at Electric Ladyland really worth something, and respectful of the sacred-to-musicians place they were in.  I was hesitant going into this album as well, remembering my experience with Fantasies, but found myself cursing under my breath, instantly recognizing how amazing the album was.  The constant presence of a bleak synth sound in each track really helped to bring things together, cohesion again, a theme I brought up when addressing Garbage’s latest album above.  There’s a contemplative dreamscape in this work that actively ponders artificial versions of real-life experiences and what that means for individual existence.  Oh yeah, Lou Reed also has a cameo on the album somehow.

Anyone that’s followed my gaming habits here with any consistency and regularity will be fully aware of my shameless love affair with Superbrothers’ “Sword & Sworcery EP”.  I remarkable game I’ve gushed about here and whose music I’ve equally gushed about at times (like here).  Just the other week, to honor the release of the game in Japan, selections of the soundtrack were remixed by prominent Japanese musicians to impressive delight, capturing the spirit of the tracks and doing them justice, while curiously applying their own eastern spin to these tunes.  Purchase it on Jim Guthrie’s Bandcamp page, or track it down in iTunes.

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