Saturday, November 15, 2008

Gong - Pre-Modernist Wireless: Peel Sessions 1971-74

First off, thanks to postcooksey for shame-kicking my lazy ass into restarting this once-stagnant blog. I have a slew of to-be-posted albums on my desktop, and it is time for me to get to work on them. Here's goes.

This album, which is actually not an album at all, compiles the appearances of trans-continental prog champions Gong on the legendary John Peel show on BBC Radio. Gong, a band of tripped-out fuckheads that is almost as famous for its bizarre mythology as for the idiosyncratic music it produced, show themselves here as a capable live act, with the songs losing none of their charm whatsoever without the playground of a studio (a common trait of late-60's sike, where production techniques often masked boring, by-the-book pop numbers as bold and experimental). In fact, what this set accomplishes is to demonstrate that for all the conceptual wonder-pinnings of their long-form concept albums, Gong wrote fucking great self-contained songs that hold up even without spoken-word interludes about 'pot-head pixies' and the like (not that there's anything wrong with that!). From acid-folk ('Magick Brother') to irreverent ska ('Clarence in Wonderland') and of course the cosmic anthem "You Can't Kill Me," Gong provides one of those rare listening experiences that feel like one has been temporarily transported into the mind of a lunatic, only to discover that it's actually a lot more fun than the so-called 'real world' (a dull waste of time, this author can assure you).

For those of you unfamiliar with Gong's studio output, you can find their essential first five albums over at Black Acid; as a hint, the band generally followed the era's transition from psychedelic to progressive rock, with their early works resembling an especially spaced-out take on late-60s psych, exploding into full-blown prog with the infamous "Radio Gnome Trilogy."

It seems to be out of print but you can find "Pre-Modernist Wireless" as a $45 import on Amazon, or opt for sheer musical piracy here.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Warning (UK) - Watching from a Distance

Here's a fairly recent release from Warning, a depressive UK-based doom band I should have heard of sooner. I have no idea if Swill (creator of this blog and friend of mine) is going to like this, but this is my idea of astoundingly good doom. I've recommended some doom and stoner rock gems to Swill in the past, for example Valkyrie from Virginia (go listen to them), and he's shot them down. He also thinks Asunder sucks and I would call that a stretch. (not true. just said that their albums are boring, which I stand by - swill)

I hope he will enjoy this band if he hasn't heard it cause this is without question the best doom record I've listened to this year. Yes, it came out in 06. Chronic weed smoke means I'm slow on the uptake, why are you judging me? Please forgive me for being slightly behind schedule in faithfully delivering you free music you ungrateful jerk.

The riff proficiency here is clearly top shelf and no internerd out there will convince me otherwise. But what's truly brilliant about this album is the vocals, and I think that's what might hang people up with this band. I won't ruin it for you by describing them too much, but they're unique. If you don't like the vocal performance then I just don't understand you. Personally I am blown away. Few doom bands are this successful at creating an atmosphere so bleak and depressing. Someone on the collective zine board described it as being like "listening to Loss and Red House Painters at the same time."

I'm cursing myself for sleeping on this because every copy seems to be sold out now, including the reissue on Metal Supremacy earlier this year. Fuck... I'm stuck with these mp3s:

Gris - Il était une forêt (2007)

Here's some black metal from Canada. You can tell by the excess of color and presence of a toy boat on the cover that you're getting into delicate post-rock influenced territory. Usually when I hear bands like this I'm like dude, wheres the metal, but this is actually amazing. Most "depressive/suicidal" black metal bands should feel embarrassed by the level of musicianship and songwriting on this album. The atmospheric passages are all excellent and don't sound like some nerd with a keyboard lifted the melody from a Nintendo game. How many black metal bands can you think of who can play competent chamber music?

At first I felt kinda bad for letting you internet cheapos download this fine slab of blackened art for free, since its pretty recent, but then I was like fuck it. You can decide whether or not to buy this from Sepulchral Productions; their website makes it seem like you'd be supporting Québécois nationalism and possible Nazi connections. Buy it (and potentially support separatist bombings) or download it from the link below. Or don't, see if I fucking care. Does my opinion mean nothing to you?