Friday, July 31, 2009

Snake River Conspiracy: Sonic J!had (4.5/5)

Year: 2000
Genre: Industrial Goth Rock
Label: Morpheus
TRT: 45:55

I went through a huge industrial goth phase in my teenage years, especially when it came to female fronted ones.

This band is/was comprised of two people, Tobey Torres (that's a chick) on vocals, and Jason Slater (former bassist of Third Eye Blind) on everything else. I think they added a guitarist later.

Unlike their musical contemporaries (Collide, Kidneythieves, et cetera), most of thier lyrics are self-satirizing and tongue in cheek. Very entertaining. This, their lone album, also contains two of the best covers I've ever heard, Love Song (The Cure) and How Soon is Now (The Smiths).

I keep hoping that one day a sophmore release will appear out of no where and blow me away, but for now, I'll just have to be content with what is available.

01 Breed
02 Casualty
03 You and Your Friend
04 Lovesong
05 Act Your Age
06 More Than Love
07 Strangled
08 Oh Well
09 Somebody Loves You
10 Vulcan
11 How Soon is Now?

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Nektar: Recycled (5/5)

Year: 1975
Genre: Progressive Psychedelic Space Rock
Label: Bacillus
TRT: 36:51

On this album the band chooses their tried and true method of performing a movement of songs into one piece....which for the days of vinyl (dealing with two sides) is an excellent choice. This album continues in the same vein as the few previous releases...except the music has now been formed into a more synth prog. The samples the band uses are very futuristic sounding and even for music created in the 70's; I think it still holds true today. From being an intense Nektar fan I can tell they are really pulling all the positive things from their past albums and combining it together for this release. This is another really solid effort from Nektar and the artwork again is wild and trippy....there are always small little details in the artwork that when you see it from the big picture...blow your mind. Enjoy...

01. Recycle
02. Cybernetic Consumption
03. Recycle Countdown
04. Automation Horrorscope
05. Recycling
06. Flight to Reality
07. Unendless Imaginations
08. Sao Paulo Sunrise
09. Costa Del Sol
10. Marvellous Moses
11. It's All Over

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Nektar: Remember the Future (5/5)

Year: 1973
Genre: Progressive Psychedelic Space Rock
Label: Bacillus
TRT: 35:39

This is another of those all too rare perfect albums. It all just fits together seamlessly and despite its age, is a rather intoxicating and enjoyable listen. I've owned this on album (LP) for about a year and I can't stop listening to is my favorite Nektar album in their extensive catalog. Nektar may just be the most solid band of the 70's besides the greats (Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin & Yes).

If you know anything about Nektar then you know they were all about combining the experience they provide...from their light show which was said to put all other bands to their always amazing cover their well thought-out/intelligent and ultimately "real" lyrics....they really cover the spectrum that is involved with what music has to offer.

The lyrics on this album have gone beyond just the normal concept that was ever-so-popular in the prog scene at the time; they actually make it a complete conversation between a blind boy & a spiritual bird. I would recommend finding the lyrics to this album and reading them as you listen through the entire album in one sitting. It honestly may change the way you look at life. This is virtually a flawless example of early 70's prog-rock at its it cleverly avoids all the cliches of the genre. "Classic".

01. Remember the Future: Part I
02. Remember the Future: Part II

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Nektar: A Tab in the Ocean (5/5)

Year: 1972
Genre: Progressive Psychedelic Space Rock
Label: Bacillus
TRT: 35:50

I've seen pretty mixed reviews on this album but ratings and polls aside, I think this album has something very special about it...especially the B side. Really the most amazing information about this album is that it is their 2nd album of 1972. It's like they went as far out as you can go on hallucinogenics for "Journey to the Centre of the Eye" and as they came down they were able to relate their huge ideas they got from different perspectives into a more arranged and cohesive conversation.

I really think this has the "Obscured by Clouds" & "Dark Side of the Moon" feel and it's got the very professional orchestrated arrangement that a lot of psychedelic rock bands didn't even worry about because they were okay with the chaotic drug-induced arrangements that pushed other boundaries. But there is something really amazing about listening to a very carefully arranged recording and still getting all the psychedelic nuances of a Pink Floyd album. The lightly distorted organ is omnipresent and I love it because organ is one of my favorite instruments to hear done well. The epic 16 minutes "A Tab in the Ocean" is made of aggressive symphonic keyboards and electric guitar full of distortion, near metal sometimes! They can really go anywhere they want in the realm of uncapped infinite sounds and pull down the exact sounds to convey what they are feeling. Nektar is therefore very underrated.

01. A Tab in the Ocean
02. Desolation Valley, Waves
03. Crying in the Dark
04. King Of Twilight

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Nektar: Journey to the Centre of the Eye (5/5)

Year: 1972
Genre: Progressive Psychedelic Space Rock
Label: Bacillus
TRT: 41:55

First I must say this is one of my absolute all-time favorite bands. Nektar has to also be one of the most underrated bands. This album is full of pounding hammond organ, trippy effects, weaving guitar lines mixing together with other instruments, the majestic mellotron, and of course a larger-than-life concept. These are the common tags one can apply to this release by the nearly unknown British psychedelic/prog-rock band working in Germany.

The songs flow well together, creating a tight conceptual suite with the actual songs never becoming too boring as it brings certain musical themes throughout the whole album. I'm quite certain this band has a sound of their own, but for sure they're certainly more hypnotic and heavy than your average prog-rock band.

01. Prelude
02. Astronauts Nightmare
03. Countenance
04. The Nine Lifeless Daughters of the Sun
05. Warp Oversight
06. The Dream Nebula: Part I
07. The Dream Nebula: Part II
08. It's All in My Mind
09. Burn Out of My Eyes
10. Void of Vision
11. Pupil of the Eye
12. Look Inside Yourself
13. Death of the Mind

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Monday, July 27, 2009

McDonald and Giles: McDonald and Giles (5/5)

Year: 1970
Genre: Psychedelic Progressive Rock/Pop
Label: Island
TRT: 46:02

Not to long ago a record store opened in town and I was buying a lot of vintage vinyl including: King Crimson, Led Zeppelin, Beatles, Yes, Nektar, etc....

I guess after seeing me buy a few stacks from him over time, the owner of the store showed me an album that he said was pretty rare that had members of King Crimson's first album. He obviously couldn't sell me his copy but he told me if I ever saw it, I should pick it up. I went onto eBay the next day and luckily ran into the Argentinean release from '77...the price wasn't even bad.

After the first listen I knew this was such a great album...I loved everything about it. Now after listening to it many times and some from different perspectives; it is probably my favorite album of all time. I know that's almost blasphemy when we talk about the best bands in the world, but for releases individually alone it is my favorite. If I could rate it a little higher than my other 5 star ratings.....I would.

01. Suite in 'C'
02. Flight of the Ibis
03. Is She Waiting?
04. Tomorrow's People - The Children of Today
05. Birdman

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Saltillo: Ganglion (4/5)

Year: 2006
Genre: Trip-Hop IDM
Label: Suspicious
TRT: 52:17

Glitchy IDM Electronic music is sweet.

Glitchy Electronic music with an orchestra is even better....

01 A Necessary End
02 Giving In
03 Remember Me?
04 A Simple Test
05 A Hair on the Head of John the Baptist
06 Blood and Milk
07 The Opening
08 Backyard Pond
09 Grafting
10 Praise
11 I'm on the Wrong Side
12 002 F#m

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If These Trees Could Talk (4/5)

Year: 2006
Genre: Post-Rock
Label: Self Released
TRT: 32:01

If These Trees Could Talk are part of the elite group of post-rock bands that don't need 10+ minutes to build a climax, and are as engaging during their quiet sections as they are during their riotous finales.

01 Malabar Front
02 Smoke Stacks
03 The Friscalating Dusklight
04 Signal Tree
05 The Death of a Paradigm
06 41°4'23n, -81°31'4w

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Goldfrapp: Supernature (4/5)

Year: 2005
Genre: Electro Dance Pop
Label: Mute
TRT: 48:05

While 2008's Seventh Tree was a warm and dreamy, carefree slice of summer, Supernature is darker, colder, and a more engaging listen. Ms. Goldfrapp throws herself into these tracks with reckless abandon, and you can't help but get caught up in the energy and vigor exuded.

01 Ooh La La
02 Lovely 2 C U
03 Ride a White Horse
04 You Never Know
05 Let It Take You
06 Fly Me Away
07 Slide In
08 Koko
09 Satin Chic
10 Time Out From the World
11 Number 1
12 Beautiful

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