Oneida

Anthem of the Moon (Jagjaguwar 2001)

http://www6.zippyshare.com/v/38140882/file.html

I once read that Anthem of the Moon was based on a dream one band member had where they discovered an alternate version of the Grateful Dead’s Anthem of the Sun. They even went so far as to remember each song on this imaginary album and appropriate them for their fourth and possibly best album. Although it would have been endlessly cool if did, not a single moment on Anthem of the Moon resembles a single lick of Anthem of the Sun. However, they are kind of kindred spirits in that they both try to establish their own peculiar wrinkle or twist on psychedelic rock and roll. Where the Grateful Dead tried o approximate the sounds of endlessly shifting rorschach blots, Oneida approximate the throbbing and pulsating thrills of some day-glo light show. One aimed to be amorphous, the other is precisely repetitive and structured. You’d never confuse them as kissing cosigns, but the connection makes sense if you listen to both albums as much as I do.

Anthem of the Moon is yet another album that kind of got relegated to the backburner because there were a lot of crappy flavors of rock and roll in favor and this was just the long-haired weirdo marring a landscape where electroclash was somehow in vogue. At the time, they were unstoppable live and I wish I could transport you to their shows during this timeframe because it really frazzled my mind because it was so expansive and aggressive that I truly lost myself in whatever they played. The recorded version is no slouch either and alternates between tightly wound groovers and weirdo tunes that kind of rely on organs, reverb, echo and ethereal choruses.

This album is all over the damn place. You get songs like “To Seed and Flower” which kind of starts off like some unforseen mid-ground between Bastro and Tortoise that suddenly shift into some bizarro world version of a pop-punk song. “All-Arounder” is another tale of three songs going on at once as the instrumentation layers some synth melody from a Silver Apples song over some incessantly dissonant riffing while Kid Milions sings “I can see the feeling/creeping ‘cross the ceiling all around her/All Around Her/I can See the Dayglo/Wrapping in a Halo/all Around Her.”  The end result is a rare example of when you try everything at once and it somehow works. “Almagest” occupies some vague space where Wicker Man vibes can co-exist with some mid-70s Cluster record playing as the soundtrack. Anthem of the Moon borrows from the best and spits out something entirely their own. It isn’t a perfect album by any means, but it does conjure its own little world populated by song.

Magicistragic mix for May

http://www38.zippyshare.com/v/10611380/file.html

Sometimes life grows hectic and puttering around on the internet loses its luster for a bit. This is one of those times. I fully expect to find more time to aimlessly ramble about albums in the near future. In the meantime, here is another mix that captures the vibe of my evening. On an unrelated note, this humble blog is slowly approaching its fifth anniversary this summer. Would anyone out there like to design a graphic to commemorate our humble beginnings when the day finally rears its meager head? If not, I guess I’ll just create a portrait of a bawling wizard myself.

Steely Dan-Babylon Sisters

Connections-Finally

Tortoise-Magnet Pulls Through

Pere Ubu-Non Alignment Pact

Tamaryn-The Waves

The Clean-Getting Older

Glenn Jones-Across the Tappan Zee

Jimi Tenor and Kabukabu-Africa Kingdom

Swirlies-Bell

Marcos Valle-Ele E Ela

Bob Seger-Evil Edna

Django Django-Hail Bop

Lilacs and Champagne-Sour/Sweet

His Majesty’s Coachmen-I Don’t Want to See You

Thee In-Set-They Say

Damien Jurado-Birdcage

Girls Names-Drawing Lines

The Chills-After They Told Me She Was Gone

Gene Clark-Jimmy Christ

Thee Oh Sees-Putrifiers II

Television Personalities-Anxiety Block

Captain Beefheart-Twist Ah Luck

Savath and Savalas

Folk Songs for Trains, Trees and Honey (Hefty 2000)

http://www.mediafire.com/?ohmo4zj9cqt

I wonder what history will decide when people reappraise the years when the inane terms, post-rock and electronica, were deemed to be relevant. Now, I am no saint since I used these regretful words in my own freelance career, but years have passed and this time seems like a big, fucking blank with few winners. I guess I still listen to Tortoise’s Millions Now Living and the Pan American album along with the Labradords, Prams among others, but neither term says much to me now I’ve heard most sections of the time line that preceded the late 90s.

There was a lot of lumpy prog, flaccid beats and ambient incontinence among the lesser lights. However, there is one album that has sparked a pang of regret about my hardened and revised opinion. Savath and Savalas debut, Folk Songs for Trains, Trees and Honey borrowed and mortgaged the house against these sad sack claims and the end result is something that I can still wholeheartedly endorse today.

The main character behind Savath and Savalas is Scott Herren, who later recorded as Prefuse 73 for the Warp label. He was a bit of a musical sponge and it ill-served him later in his career as he careened between hip-hop, tropicalia, dub, folk and electronic music like a pinball and the results never quite matched the inspiration that was obvious in each attempt.

Folk Songs is different to me because it is remains minimal and only attempts to evoke the slightly funk, sort of ambient and kind of adventurous vibe prevalent during this time. However, there is no “kinda” about it because it is kind of an effortlessly cool album that fits whatever mood matches yours. It is sensual, lazy, funky, psychedelic and intricate and serves as the Rorshach test to your current state of mind. Nothing jumps out and nothing needs to do so. It somehow shifts to meet what I am feeling at the moment and I always liked that about Folk Songs. Sometimes, you need a utilitarian album that never disappoints and this remains firmly rooted in my nightime pile.