Friday, 22 October 2010

Weird War - If You Can't Beat 'Em, Bite 'Em

From sublime space-scapes to the futuristic plastic sleaze-freakery of Weird War. This is a concoction that didn't grab me on the first couple of listens, but then its brilliance shone through like a revelation. Much like the grotesque cover - which initially looks dreadful, but then becomes perversely wonderful.
Weird War mainly consist of Ian Svenonius and Michelle Mae, and Royal Trux's Neil Hagerty, and this album is from 2004. It's a pretty unique sound, with elements of The Stooges, swamp rock and acid funk put through a sleaze-blender, topped off with wired-sounding, quasi-deranged vocals from Svenonius (I think) and terrific lyrics. It's driven along usually by tight grooves, and peppered with superb wah riffs and other mutant guitar lines, with some magnificent vocal interplay. On the terrific 'AK47' the fade out grooveathon is perfectly completed with a beautifully vulgar and spangly keyboard riff. Everything makes perfect sense on this album, it's such an inspired combination of sounds that seem casually thrown together but work so perfectly. There are times listening to this album when Weird War seem like a lost political cult/cultural subversive outfit from the 70s, and this is their manifesto.


Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Emeralds - Solar Bridge

There's a fair amount of hype about these space/psych dronesters at the moment. Is it deserved? If you like rich, syrupy waves of gorgeous synth; rasping and rippling space reverberations; the sound of consciousness cast adrift in the singing cosmos, then yes, it is. Utterly lovely, spaced-out and mesmerizing: this is a two track, 27 minute release from 2008.
Do yourself a favour and buy a copy of this, or more of their releases from Hanson Records - the self titled album and 'What Happened' are both highly recommended, and are pretty cheap, especially if you're in the States.


Sunday, 10 October 2010

Mercury Rev - The Hum Is Coming From Her

Another of my treasured bits of vinyl, this came out in 1993, when Mercury Rev were still dedicated to being weirdos. Or maybe they just couldn't help it. The title track is brilliant: it's just David Baker over a piano vamp, with some distant flutes, and I wonder if it's possible for anyone to sound more like they've had too much acid than he does here. It's rambling, incomprehensible, and totally monged. B-side 'So There' consists of poet Robert Creeley reading one of his poems over a jaunty rag/trad-jazz influenced number, and his strangely phrased delivery and weird words fit utterly perfectly into the whole Mercury Rev scheme of things. What a great single.


Kiyoshi Izumi - Effect Rainbow

I've been a bit slack recently, so I'm going to post a couple of EPs tonight, and not write much about them. First up is a brilliant EP from this obscure Japanese gent. This 3 tracker was released on Rephlex in 1997. I don't remember if it caused much of a stir, but I bought it on vinyl and was blown away by it. It's full of oddball melodies, wonky drums, and crazy arrangements. There is some great drum programming, and some strange little samples and vocals thrown into the mix for extra trippy effect. There is a real eastern feel to this, from the chiming, ringing sounds that evoke old Japan, and also from the 8-bit game noises bleeping about. Fabulous stuff, that really peaks on the last track 'Bedroom Glow', which is a bit of a rocker.