This week’s Things You Can Buy digs into three of the sturdiest releases we’ve had chance to lay ears on in some time. First up, an Austin, TX based bluesy-psych band on a mission, then we look at poet, actor and rapper who is truly hell on wheels and an experimental prog-rock outfit that have been bending the sonic rules for over 40 years and Yes, they continue to excite the ole cochlea!
So, ease your seat back and let us begin to dig in to what we’re listening to this week and thoughts from around the web.
(Click on the album title for more infos)
(Click on the album title for more infos)
The Black Angels – ‘Clear Lake Forest’ (Blue Horizon)
The Black Angels have been the picture of ‘it’s not underground rock n’ roll in Austin, TX’ for the past decade and all by focusing on their craft and not the crap. Paying homage to band’s they happily follow in the footsteps of and traveling the artist’s palette of psych, blues, knowledge, art and jam; building a solid fan foundation along the way, gaining admiration from critics and contemporaries. But you know this, don’t you.
Clear Lake Forest comes shortly after what was their most accomplished album. 2013’s Indigo Meadow, a heavy trip of an album that couldn’t be sectioned but has to heard from entry to exit and then on repeat.
But this is now and NME’s James Bentley says’ it best of the new EP, “The Black Angels are no strangers to the kaleidoscopic heritage of their native Austin, Texas, and on ‘Clear Lake Forest’ they paint a psychedelic rainbow across a host of ’60s American icons. ‘Sunday Evening’ has all the exciting, jubilant energy of The Beach Boys, while the fuzzy drive of ‘Tired Eyes’ could beat Jefferson Airplane off their thunderous vessel. Best of all is closing track ‘Linda’s Gone’, a superb homage to The Velvet Underground where an oozing drone resembling the cacophonous viola from ‘Venus In Furs’, meets the guitar rattles of ‘Run Run Run’ and Alex Maas’ drowsy vocal completes the trip with references to The Doors’ ‘LA Woman’. The Black Angels’ psych scholarship pays dividends here. “
We’re two listens into Clear Lake Forest and may have to entire a dreamy 12 step program before the week is out.
Common – ‘Nobody’s Smiling‘ (Def Jam / ARTium)
Truth be told, Chicago artist of many angels Common’s Nobody’s Smiling is the first of his now 10 albums I’ve listened to from front to back and with having nothing to compare it to and I keep thinking, “what is my problem?! “ Better late to the party than not show at all I guess…
Forget whatever reason(s) I have delayed digging into what Common was laying out, I find that Nobody’s Smiling is the exact reason I love the grittier indie films. Unconventional story telling approaches, cast of players I don’t really know, truth, eager curiosity and a little fear in the journey. Add to the mix of the familiar sounds/samples with moments of down the rabbit’s hole production (i.e. Blak Majic / Out On Bond) and I’m all in.
The Hell On Wheels actor and album crew (Vince Staples, Big Sean, Dreezy, Snoh Aalegra, Jhené Aiko) will be delighted with the fact that they have a new fan. I wonder if producer No ID has ever considered directing movies… – Walter Price (The GTC)
Never you mind my jibber-jabber, check out this track by track interactive Q&A w/ Common AKA Cornbread and No ID AKA Ernest Wilson HERE!
YES – ‘Heaven & Earth’ (Frontiers)
21 albums deep into a 45 year career and a new lead vocalist, Jon Davison, Yes are back to their familiar tactics of crossing and blurring the borders of genres. Heaven & Earth is an ethereal prog-rock, new-ages scented buffet of whatever the veterans wanted to try and then gave it to us and we think it works, maybe not at first listen but it does act like a barnacle and attaches itself then grows on you.
Founding member Steve Howe recently had a chat with Ultimate Classic Rock’s Matt Wardlawand he talked about the possible themes for Heaven & Earth, “I don’t know whether it’s a concept record in the true sense, but basically Roger Dean and I were talking about different things and sometimes it helps to get Roger fired up about ideas that we can draw from. In a way, the parallel of saying ‘Heaven And Earth’ is the same as saying good and bad, yin and yang, up and down, left and right. They’re two extremes, but I think the way Roger and I liked it was that in fact the Earth is a physical place where you can measure stuff and you can do quantum physics.
“You can look at tiny things or you can see the world as a very big thing in an even bigger universe. It’s all about the physical. But Heaven is an unknown place of no particular destination as far as anybody knows. And yet it doesn’t matter whether you’re totally tied up in a religious belief or whether you’re spiritual in a way. That doesn’t require religious commitment — it just requires awareness to the fact that there’s obviously something out there that we don’t know about. In fact, there’s most probably 99% of everything about the universe, we don’t understand and that isn’t only in the physical. It’s also in the effects of what is spiritual or what is ethereal. What is heaven and is there life after death?”
What Are You listening to this week?