Adventures in Stereo

Blue Album (Creeping Bent 1997)

http://www.mediafire.com/?ywtmzvcw3ey

Primal Scream was always Bobby Gillespie’s outlet for whatever genre’s corpse he felt like fucking at that particular moment. I’m not going to act like I didn’t believe Screamadelica and XTRMNTR were bold statements at the time of their release, but hindsight is a cruel mistress. Almost their entire catalogue sounds so dated and opportunistic these days, but I guess that is the nature of their game. However, I still love their debut album, Sonic Flower Groove, since it is more fey than a Little Lord Fauntleroy costume. Their early singles for Creation are even better statements of their twee purpose as the band succeeds in crafting perfect pop tunes with the heft of an empty garbage bag, This is no insult because I still hum along to “Velocity Girl” each time I hear it because it is one of the most concise and perfect sides of pop perfection.

Jim Beattie was a founding member of Primal Scream, but left before that pasty-faced Scot believed he was a hallucinogenic prophet, then Mick Jagger’s uglier kin, then a cyberpunk, trip-hopping danger to no one. He left to focus his efforts on Spirea X, a band that recorded an amazing single for 4AD before following it with an underwhelming album. The single got me all worked up over his continuation of the Creation era of Primal Scream, but his songwriting grew thin over the course of a full-length. I wrote the fellow off until I encountered the two cds released under the moniker of Adventures in Stereo. One was Blue, the other yellow, but both seemed to be semi-official releases due to the uncleared samples that formed the foundation for Beattie’s second stab at twee.

Beattie and vocalist Judith Boyle pay homage to Phil Spector’s work with 60s girl groups, but keep things somewhat fresh by incorporating tape loops and samples as the bedrock for their upate of 60s AM radio. To be honest, most of this wouldn’t sound out of place on K, Creation, Sarah or Slumberland, but the songwriting places it a step above most of their contemporaries. The Blue Album is just a stellar collection of moody, introspective indie-pop that reminds me of Tracey Thorn’s solo album or her work with the Marine Girls. It’s a dated formula, but it works wonders here.

It’s a shame that the Yellow and Blue albums were released in such limited quantities because the band shit the bed on its subsequent releases. What was once a charming patchwork quilt of AM Gold and twee was abandoned in favor of more beats and a slicker sheen. What was once rough is now sanded smooth and their music suffered because of it. Therefore, they now populate budget bins and no one cares to investigate the origins of what made them special.

Moose-Sonny and Sam

August 27, 2008

Moose

Sonny and Sam(Virgin 1992)

http://www.mediafire.com/?nizl3ybht94

During my teenage years, I became obsessed with shoegaze and faithfully trekked to Philadelphia’s 3rd St. jazz and Rock to pick up any ep or cd remotely associated with this poorly named genre. I’m not trying to come off as some precocious wisenheimer since I also purchased albums by 24-7 Spyz, Hoodoo Gurus and 3rd Bass. However, I heard a track from My Bloody Valentine’s Isn’t Anything on WKDU and spent by bicycle messenger salary on every NME, Sounds and Melody Maker to search out similar sounds. Through these delightful and sometimes ridiculous rags, I fell in love with Slowdive, Swervedriver, Lush and other bands that adopted MBV as an influence and spun it in their own kaleidoscope of feedback and buried melodies. These three acts among others achieved relative success and are still fondly remembered by fans today. However, there were many worthwhile bands that fell through the cracks or lost their bearings after a brilliant single or ep. England’s Moose definitely fell into the latter category even though they released a few albums afterwards.

Sonny and Sam collected tracks from their first two eps and added a couple odds and ends in the hopes of attracting an American audience. It’s a pretty concise summation of what made them stick out from their peers. Moose’s music adhered to the shoegaze blueprint, but there was something tender and habitually heartbroken about their music that set them apart as the sad sacks of the scene. That’s why I loved them since their romantic odes to butterfly collectors and a lover’s morning gaze appealed to the maudlin side of me. Plus, they knew when to turn off the spigots of feedback and toss in a minimal ballad that wouldn’t sound out of place on Sarah or Creation records. They had some diversity and their music wasn’t constantly drugged and distant. Moose wanted to be loved and wallow in noise as well as their alienation and woe. Now, their later albums focused more on the alienation and woe instead of noise and that made them less interesting. Sonny and Sam captures a moment when they didn’t know whether they wanted to be a brit-pop band or something more ragged and intriguing.