I’ve been in San Francisco all week and if the weather cooperates I’ll be on my way home in a few hours. My pick for the week is “Smoke and Mirrors” by Widowspeak. This tune is a bit atypical of the bands more earnest slower tempo folk flavor. I had Widowspeak on heavy rotation as I walked through the Haight. This song came on when walking down from Buena Vista park. Such a nice park….
I’ve been going on a bit of a Pavement tear lately but broke out of it long enough to visit some other lesser known artists in my messy Spotify playlists. (Spotify really needs to fix this.) Anyway, one artist I dabbled with was Dan Deacon. Deacon is an electronic composer/musician currently based in Baltimore. The track I’m selecting this week is “Prettyboy” from the album “America”. I love this track. It’s a combination of rich circular sythns, injected with what sounds like analog percussion, sprinkled with bubbling oboes. It’s one of those soundtrack pieces you imagine being used in the movie of your life.
I didn’t go to a ton of shows in 2013 but it’s no question that the highlight was the Halloween Blood Bath in San Francisco with the Flaming Lips, Tame Impala, and White Denim. Since it was Halloween, I donned my “Oldest Geezer at the Rock Show” costume and boogied with all the youngsters on the floor. What an amazing show. The bands did not disappoint.
The Flaming Lips are not shy about breaking out a great cover now and again. When I saw them earlier in 2013 they produced a superb straight version of “Heroes”. I gave me goose bumps. Halloween they managed to deliver a surprise cover of Devo’s “Gates of Steel”. Wayne Coyne dedicated it to Alan Meyers (who passed away that summer) and all the other freaks in the audience. It was a great tribute. The original is my pick for this week.
Interesting video of a Council of Europe meeting on NSA mass surveillance. Big take-aways here:
0) While the situation we find ourselves is bleak it is not hopeless.
1) The mass surveillance perpetrated by the NSA and their international counterparts is unlawful and a violation of international civil rights.
2) We have to take an active role in protecting our own privacy by changing our own habits by using systems like Tor or GnuPG. Free Software can help but it’s not sufficient.
3) Technology isn’t enough. Laws must change.
Mogwai have just dropped a new sythn soaked album “Rave Tapes”. Quite a departure for the Scottish post-rock band. I like it a lot. “Simon Ferocious” is one of my favorite tracks. It pushes the syths right up front but supports them with some great electric guitar work more typical of the bands signature sound.
On April Fool’s Day 1985, XTC released “25 O’Clock” an album under the name The Dukes of Stratosphear. It consisted of songs that sound like they were recorded in 1967 and was produced by John Leckie, who recorded and produced albums by George Harrison, Pink Floyd, and Syd Barrett. Leckies combined XTC’s sound with instrumentation and analog recording techniques of the golden age of psychedelic music. The result is simply magical or it was in 1985 when I first heard it.
Many consider this album just an April Fool’s Day joke, but I think their love of this kind of music. It certainly echoes strongly in their next release “Skylarking”. “25 O’Clock” was 6 tracks of pure joy and later in the year they release a CD with 16 tracks. My picks for this week are “What in the World” and “Vanishing Girl”. Just listen to Colin Moulding’s bass work on that first track. It just sounds like he’s channeling McCartney. If you really dig this kind of music play the entire album. It’s a blast.