Thursday, June 30, 2011

Summertime Blooze

Just in time for the 4th of July, a cure for the Summertime Blooze. Waterloo Sunset presents nearly an hour of summer jams and found sounds, both old and new alike to keep your fires hot and your pools cool. Don't forget yer sunscreen.

Side A
Chubby Checker // Let's Surf Again
Richard Swift // Knee-High Boogie Blues
The Temptations // Paradise
The Sandals // Lonely Road
Sonny & the Sunsets // Stranded
Don Julian // It's A Sad Song
Floating Action // So Vapor
Bibio // Lover's Carvings
White Denim // River To Consider

Side B
Tame Impala // Why Won't You Make Up Your Mind
Ty Segall // You Make The Sun Fry
Unknown Mortal Orchestra // Jello & Juggernauts
Cotton Jones // Cotton & Velvet
Pure X // Back Where I Began
Wanda Sá // Inútil Paisagem
Bo Diddley // Old Man River
Link Wray // Slow Drag

Download (click down arrow on player):
Summertime Blooze by artblevy

Monday, June 20, 2011

Woods // Sun & Shade

By now, Woods’ music shouldn’t be so effective. Since their 2009 breakthrough Songs of Shame, the prolific Brooklyn group has essentially recreated the same album of ramshackle psych-folk once a year, often with similar song titles or lyrical themes. But they’ve morphed into one of the most dependably great acts around through superior songwriting, rising above the lo-fi graveyard to craft perhaps their best offering yet with Sun & Shade.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that Woods might hit a stylistic dead-end at some point. Their sound isn’t especially new, drawing from that halcyon wellspring of inspiration, the late-60s to early-70s. But where the band differs is the overall feel, a wholly original atmosphere that enshrouds everything they do. Jeremy Earl’s high, earnest croon acts as the glue that holds together the bare-bones instrumentation. The tempos vary from verse to verse, the guitars are often out of tune, busted notes stick out like sore thumbs, and consequently everything feels like an exciting, warts-and-all first take.

Closer listening proves the songs are hardly tossed-off. Earl is one of the most impressive melody writers around, and each gnarly guitar solo is carefully constructed to work within these frameworks. He’s obviously pushing himself as a songwriter, trying to best himself at every turn. Take the last three album openers: Songs of Shame’s “To Clean” blasted out of the gate with Crazy Horse-like mania, but the dynamic “Blood Dries Darker” of At Echo Lake showed the band was capable of simmering their psych until the very end. And now “Pushing Onlys” puts the notch even higher, with buoyant, golden harmonies aiming for an emotional high unlike any in Woods’ career.

Sun & Shade is a perfect summation of the group’s overall aesthetic. The band works with both light and dark shades, switching off between carefree bliss and deep sadness and fear. “I won’t believe that it can’t get worse,” Earl eerily sings on “Any Other Day,” an early-album standout that shows off the group’s impeccable pop mastery. This is also the most varied record in Woods’ lengthy discography. Tribal rhythms, Grateful Dead-like folk-rock, wistful soul, and jangly bubblegum pop all make appearances. But Woods don’t beat you over the head with their influences; they take those sounds and make them their own.

Over a third of the record is given over to two songs: “Out of the Eye” and “Sol y Sombra.” These are nods back to the band’s more experimental roots, with added Krautrock rhythms that propel the various tape effects and guitar meanderings into a coherent direction. Even when surrounded by a treasure trove of pop perfection, these experiments are worth diving into. Woods can’t seem to relinquish their darker past, and that’s what makes them so effective.

There’s the tiniest bit of sheen to Sun & Shade that’s worth noting for such a defiantly lo-fi band. Maybe they can afford better equipment, but it’s more likely a result of the group realizing what a musical gold mine they’re sitting on. That fraction of fidelity elevates Woods to a new level that didn’t seem possible (or even desirable) a few albums ago. Here they’ve proved that their success isn’t all charm or happenstance. Woods have gotten to this point by following every creative impulse, and they seemingly have a million more possibilities stretching out ahead.

[via prefix]

Woods // Pushing Onlys
Woods // Who Do I Think I Am?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Episode 34: Righteous Wrath

[via but does it float]

On Episode 34 of the WS Podcast, we're saluting the righteous wrath of an honorable man, Gil Scott-Heron. This one's a dark offering, featuring the likes of Gil, Mulatu Astatke's Ethiopian jazz, and Colin Stetson, who creates avant-garde compositions through the use of a saxophone, circular breathing, and a thorough knowledge of acoustics (all in one take, no less). Best served after midnight.

Gil Scott-Heron // Paint It Black
R.L. Burnside // Goin' Down South
Timber Timbre // Bad Ritual
Mulatu Astatke // Mulatu
Gil Scott-Heron // The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
Dirty Beaches // Lone Runner (Live at Daytrotter)
Neu! // Weissensee
Lightnin' Hopkins // Last Night
Colin Stetson // The Righteous Wrath Of An Honorable Man
Gil Scott-Heron // New York Is Killing Me

Total running time: 36:56

Episode 34: Righteous Wrath

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Happy Birthday, Les Paul!

The inventor of the solid-body electric guitar, pioneer in overdubbing recording techniques, experimenter in tape delay and multitrack recording, and he invented a new musical vocabulary with his jazz and country compositions that he recorded with his beloved wife Mary Ford in the 1950s. In short: the architect of rock and roll.

Les Paul & Mary Ford // The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise