Savory Summer Sounds (with Will and Carmela)
A little taste of what some of our staff is spinning this summer…
Rick Bain and the Genius Position: Crooked Autumn Sun
On his Facebook page, Portland native Rick Bain describes his music as being “stoner pop minor chord wind organ leaf riff”. While that statement makes little to no sense, it’s also not a bad description of his music. Crooked Autumn Sun, his first album (circa the year 2000 AD) is hard to pin down, though it’s easy to associate with a similar Portland band, The Dandy Warhols. Despite the similarities between the two bands, I find Crooked Autumn Sun to be in a league of it’s own. The catchiness and accessibility of this album has kept it pretty active on my computer’s library this summer.
The Limiñanas: Crystal Anis
The French have certainly been able to put a unique spin on the familiar of 60’s psychedelic music, and there’s no better example of this than Crystal Anis by The Limiñanas. Throwing in a hefty dose of the French Yé-yé style (see Serge Gainsbourg, France Gall, and Francoise Hardy), they’ve given us a thoroughly modern interpretation of some of the best music of the last century. The poppy, fuzzy nature of this album goes perfectly with beautiful summer weather (as well as a killer sound system and deck chairs).
Kid Koala: 12 Bit Blues
I’m a sucker for skillfully used Blues samples. I appreciate it when an artist can take an old track and give it a new twist, while still retaining the sample’s original emotion. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done, and most samples are used in a way that would embarrass their original creators. The album 12 Bit Blues by turntablist Kid Koala is a perfect example of a job done right, and it has easily earned its place as one of my favorite albums. Ever. Along with the sounds you might expect from a Kid Koala album, the samples on 12 Bit Blues span multiple eras (I’ve been able to identify some of the guitar riffs as those of John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, and many of the vocals must predate Mayall’s work in the 60’s. If anyone knows the other songs he uses, let me know). The album cleverly and exceptionally teases something new out of the choppy raw Blues that it samples, all the while keeping its original soul intact.
La Femme: Psycho Tropical Berlin
As you can probably tell, I find myself listening to a lot of French music at the moment. Summer is probably the best time to associate with the country (the winter weather of France sucks). La Femme has easily become one of my favorite French bands. After several years of anticipation from anyone lucky enough to have come across their scattered EPs, they finally released their debut album Psycho Tropical Berlin in April. While’s it’s hard to say exactly what their sound is (you should find out for yourself, anyway) I would definitely use words like surf, new wave, chic, synth, psychadelic, and chic (tres).
Devendra Banhart: Mala
Talk about a charming lo-fi dream in an album. This is the perfect summer chill-out album, starting off a bit slow the first couple of tracks just get you in the swing of things. Don’t you just wish he’d sing those sweet ballads to you over and over again (“Mi Negrita”) in Spanish? In classic Devendra fashion, that’s not all you should expect, soon enough you’ll be dancing around your room in your undies Almost Famous style to some retro inspired electronic riffs in “Won’t You Come Over.” But as soon as your tush is tired Mala will cradle you back into lalaland with some deep lo-fi vocals in “Hatchet Wound.” The beautiful sublime guitar and melancholic rhythm of “Won’t You Come Home” is everything you’d ever hope to fall in love to.
Queens of the Stoneage: Like Clockwork
It’s Saturday night and you and your stoner buddies are getting ready for a rockin’ sesh. Throw. This. Bad. Boy. ON! ALL THE WAY TO 11! The commanding bass will definitely hypnotize you into the dark epic journey that is …Like Clockwork. The sweet, seafaring guitar hook of “I Sat By The Ocean” will rock you back and forth on the tempestuous sea that is hard rock music. Once the tides give way you’ll be floating on the nostalgic waters of time with hits like “The Vampyre of Time and Memory” and “My God is the Sun.” But if you never thought that the Queens of the Stone Age could make your heart ache, then throw on “Kalopsia” or “I Appear Missing” and you’ll be down that lonely, angsty road Green Day was talking about. If you can’t listen to this album on loud then don’t bother, the album’s exceptional use of guitar fuzz and creative use of synthesizers will definitely take you on a brooding, hypnotic, thrashy stoner odyssey.
Team Spirit: Team Spirit EP
I may have lied when I said Mala was the perfect summer album because Team Spirit may have you lustin’ over hot car rides to the beach with your girl and Fido in the back. You might have to clear some room when listening to the catchy beats and “Thin Lizzy-esque” riffing guitars (front man’s words not mine!) served over a powerful bassline in “MRDR It’s OK,” because you’ll be air guitaring all over the place. Their (ironic?) beachy harmonizing in “Fuck The Beach” will have you singing right along with them. This album is the epitome of rocking fun with Wavves like vocals/rhythms and catchy guitar riffs that’ll inspire you to set-up a sandy volleyball court in the middle of Norlin Quad. Don’t forget Fido in the car!