Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci – Barafundle

21 05 2010

Listened: Thursday May 20

Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci could accurately be categorized as the 90s Welsh Beach Boys. They like to experiment with lots of instruments (both traditional and modern), have very sweet and singable songs (even the ones in Welsh when you have no frickin’ clue what they’re singing about), and I’m pretty sure they did a lot of drugs. Maybe there isn’t much else to do when you grow up in Wales.

I give you Patio Song – “Well, isn’t it a lovely day. Oh, my patio’s on fire.” Yes, that’s really how it goes.

I don’t recall how I discovered them – I think near the end of high school. I was trying to find out about all the obscure British bands I could, for both music nerd ego reasons and anglophile reasons. Barafundle alone was worth all the slogging though record store bins – in those pre-Napster days it was hard to find some music even when you knew what you were looking for.

I’m still proud that my college roommate, who only really liked mainstream pop music, came to love this album enough to request that I play it!

Art Brut – Bang Bang Rock and Roll

21 05 2010

Listened: Thursday May 20

Ah, Art Brut. When I heard the first strains of this album I worried about what to say in this entry. I know of many people who find Art Brut annoying. Their singer doesn’t really sing – he talks or yells – and they can push the bounds of irony past reasonable limits.

But I find that funny. The fact that they’re British probably gives them a pass.

Maybe this will give you some idea of what I mean:

A song about not being able to get it up? (Rusted Gun of Milan – “Don’t tell your friends!”)

A song about the wonders of a new girlfriend? (Good Weekend – “I’ve seen her naked — twice!!”)

A song dripping with extreme irony about the power of music? (Formed A Band – “We’re going to write the song that makes Israel and Palestine get along.”)

A song about how riled up you can get looking at the wonders of modern art? (“Modern art makes me want to rock out.”)

A song describing a pasty white British music dork’s wet dream? (Moving to LA – “I’m drinking Henessey, With Morrissey.”)

Really the best song on the album, though, is actually somewhat serious. Emily Kane is about the singer’s first girlfriend, when they were 15 and they “didn’t understand how to do much more than just hold hands”. Even in the midst of real emotion, that extreme irony can’t be completely held back though – ” I hope this song finds you fame, I want schoolkids on buses singing your name”.

Definitely one of the most tongue-in-cheek albums I own, amongst quite a few to choose from.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Baby 81

21 05 2010

Listened: Thursday May 20

After all that love for their B.R.M.C. album, I have to admit that I haven’t listened to Baby 81 much at all. This might even have been the first time I listened to it all the way through. For some reason I’ve let it sit around unheard all this time. Happens sometimes.

From what I can tell, they mashed up the pre-Howl sound with the Howl sound (harder sound, less reverb, especially on the vocals). Which is not a bad thing. I actually like Howl a lot, despite it being wildly different in sound than their first two records. There were a lot of hard-core fans who had a Subterranean Homesick Blues-type reaction to it – what the hell is this, give us our BRMC sound we know and love. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – B.R.M.C.

21 05 2010

Listened: Thursday May 20

BRMC hold a special place in my heart – B.R.M.C. is an album that kept me sane in those years right out of college, those years where you flail around trying to make your way in the Real World.

BRMC are high up on the Loudest Shows I Have Ever Seen list. I also have memories of a short burly English guy in front of us when they opened for Spiritualized at the Warfield, rock-jigging happily through all their songs and howling for more when their set ended. The band was immediately very popular in Britain (I recall that Oasis talked them up a great deal so that helped), so I think this guy was really happy to be enjoying their show at the front of the crowd, since they were too popular for him to do so at home.

I love all the waves of reverb in their music, the propulsive tempos, and the spiritual feel of the lyrics. “Salvation” is one of my favorite songs ever.

Jimi Hendrix – Axis: Bold as Love

21 05 2010

Listened: Thursday May 20

Before you even get to the music, the cover art on Axis is just awesome. Jimi as Hindu Deity? Sweet!

This album is full of amazing sounds coming from Jimi’s guitar – Wait Until Tomorrow, Little Wing, Castles Made of Sand, Bold as Love. The band as a whole also sounds like a more cohesive unit than on their first album as well. This record is like a painting in sound, so the cover is completely appropriate.