New Soundbites: March 15-22


The 47th great band to come out of Brooklyn since last Wednesday drops their acid-fried debut – and what a debut – while Cass McCombs, The BJM and Girl Talk fly under our radar.

MGMT: Oracular SpectacularAlbum Of The Week
Reflecting on the misnomer that is post-rock, got me thinking what about frickin psychedelic rock?
Anyone who flicks a fuzz pedal and dresses in mock-hippy gear is considered psychedelic these days, a faraway cry from the likes of 13th Floor Elevators, The Beatles and the US invasion in the early 60s. Nowadays the term is misappropriated so often it’s hard to think of band that’s not been labeled psyche. Perhaps Sunn O)))…
Well, here’s another for the list: Brooklyn duo MGMT, are the very essence of psychedelic from their painted chops, rallying calls for universal togetherness and a music which displays an innate ambition imbued with thick busts of colour.
Dig the way in which one minute and eight seconds into track three, The Youth, guitars subside allowing a carousel of cascading chimes and glocks to skip and dance bathed in a wash of lysergic acid diethylamide. Or the opening squall of 4th Dimensional Transition which descends into African bongos, moog and the kind of malevolent guitar licks paraded on Interstellar Overdrive.
If there’s a contemporary touchstone that bears close comparison, it’s the Flaming Lips. With its explosive coda and biblical proclamations, Weekend Wars could have dropped straight off Soft Bulletin, while lyrical references to the sun, electricity, light and children of tomorrow are all persistent ponderings painted straight from the membrane palette of chief Lip Wayne Coyne.
Similarly to the Lips, is MGMT’s scope, for a debut Oracular Spectacular – great name incidentally – is bursting with ideas and grandness. Centre-piece Kids could well be the festival anthem of the summer; all giddy electronics, phaser-keys, crashing synthetic drum-pads and a chorus purpose-designed for Glasto’s Pyramid Stage.
But while Dave Fridmann‘s production stamp is all over Oracular, there’s an eccentric eclecticism which extends to the likes of David Bowie, Syd Barrett and even Prince as the marvellously daft and funky groove of Electric Feel attests to.
If there’s a criticism the latter quarter of the record tails off into somewhat of a blizzard of ideas without the striking vision or clarity of it’s whole, but for now there’s much to celebrate, MGMT have landed and there’s a bright future ahead for these pipers at the gates of dawn.
For fans of: Around The World In A Day, feather headdresses, Mark Bolan.

Cass McCombs: Dropping The Writ
For over a month now, Cass McCombs has been serviced by industry handjobs yet his profile has remained ultimately non-existent, and while it would be unfair to suggest Dropping The Writ is responsible for his lack of breakthrough, it hardly underlines why there was such a slavering of hyperbole.
There’s a wealth of enticing touches on show, but there’s absolutely jack that distinguishes him from the likes of Elliot Smith, and the usual suspects from Singer-Songwriter City.
Windfall is the type of track that could soundtrack a leaf falling from on high and nestling on to a girl’s forehead while Hugh Grant leans in for the kiss in a film written very probably by Richard Curtis. That’s That has a twinkling pop dimension that screams The Proclaimers while only really opener Lionkiller possesses some form of mood change with its rumbling groove and punchy delivery.
All lovely and fine but if you want a real lost gem reach for Adem‘s Homesongs.
For fans of: Designer poetry, The Cure, bus rides.

Adem: Ringing In My Ear

Brian Jonestown Massacre: My Bloody Underground
A Records/Cargo
A good friend and I recently chewed the fat online about the pros and cons of the BJM and at the end of it all, it simply came down to this: Do you like Anton Newcombe?
Which when you think about it is everything Anton Newcombe doesn’t want the BJM to be; a backdrop for his antics. But if Anton – the village idiot, the walking vodka trough, the egomaniacal magician, the high priest of San of Fran psyche, the voodoo-hipshaking monster of rock – really wants us to derive anything from the BJM maybe he should shut the fuck up.
Because, for those of us that really hold him and his music close to our hearts, that’s what matters most of all. Not the hysterical bullshit.
After all, 13th studio LP proper, My Bloody Underground, contains some of his best music – a phrase longtime fans could apply to almost every record.
All the characteristic traits are in place: Tribal, sitar grooves (Who Fucking Pissed In My Well?), epic droning fuzzballs (Who Cares Why) and delicate tear-soaked swoonery (Ljosmyndir) but once again they’re weighed down by an inconsistency, murky production and a recklessness that knows no bounds.
This is the sound of Anton chasing his tale, and yapping louder than ever.
For fans of: Caves, cavemen and caving in.

Girl Talk: Night Ripper
Illegal Art
Girl Talk is studio boff, Greg Gillis, and Night Ripper is his 2006 third studio LP which finally landed this side of the Atlantic late last month, presumably as some kind of wake up call to the forthcoming Feed The Animals LP.
Unfortunately, that’s exactly what it sounds like too – outdated. For all it’s BAZILLION samples – the entire record is one long continuous mix of cuts spread over 16 tracks taken from a galaxy of stars from Oasis, Britney, Sonic Youth, Boredoms, P Diddy, you name it there on it – this formula has been peddled to death.
First listen it’s impressive and fun too, third listen and you’ve gadged your favourite bits, fifth and you’ve reached for MGMT. Great for playing name that tune.
For fans of: Children’s parties, Soulwax, spacehoppers.




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