Category Archives: Art rock

Fall down the rabbit hole with the Claypool Lennon Delirium

Just when you think things couldn’t get any weirder, along comes the joint venture of Sean Lennon and Les Claypool, in the form of The Claypool Lennon Delirium. Claypool, of course, was the driving force behind Primus, and Sean Lennon shares John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s DNA, so there’s that. In addition, though, they make a pretty good rock-psych band.

They’ve released a lyric video for their single “Cricket & The Genie (Movement I, The Delirium)”. Prepare to be mesmerized by the changing kaleidoscope of colors for the video, to say nothing of the album artwork:

claypoollennon

 

The Monolith of Phobos is an actual thing: It’s a big rock, like a monolith, on the surface of Mars’ moon Phobos.

Meanwhile, Claypool calls his and Lennon’s collaboration a “glorious freak stew:”

“Sean is a musical mutant after my own heart. He definitely reflects his genetics — not just the sensibilities of his dad but also the abstract perspective and unique approach of his mother.”

The Claypool Lennon Delirium will be on a U.S. tour throughout the summer, supported by JJUUJJUU, Chicano Batman and the Dean Ween Group.

Monolith of Phobos is out June 3 on ATO Records.

Tracklist via Consequence of Sound:

Monolith of Phobos:

01. The Monolith of Phobos
02. Cricket And The Genie (Movement I, The Delirium)
03. Cricket And The Genie (Movement II, Oratorio Di Cricket)
04. Mr. Wright
05. Boomerang Baby
06. Breath of a Salesman
07. Captain Lariat
08. Oxycontin Girl
09. Bubbles Burst
10. There’s No Underwear In Space
11. Ohmerica

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Filed under Art rock, Psychedelic, Psychedelic rock, Uncategorized

Cathedral organist brings David Bowie’s ‘Life on Mars’ to the sacred masses

Nicholas Freestone, an organ scholar at St. Albans Cathedral in Hertfordshire, England, decided to play David Bowie’s “Life On Mars.”

The video has since gone viral, receiving more than 1.7 million views on Facebook, and Freestone responded.

“I’m the organist playing this – it’s rather humbling to read your comments. Thanks everyone for sharing! x”

St. Albans is the oldest place of continuous worship in England, so it’s fitting that one of rock’s most revered artists has been honored on hallowed ground, with one of his most stellar songs.

See more links at the Telegraph.

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Filed under Art rock, artpunk, British rock, Glam Rock, Rock, Space rock, Uncategorized

What David Bowie means to me

I wrote these few notes on David Bowie at 2:30 a.m., after I found out the news that the longtime rock legend had died.
There’s nothing I can really say that isn’t going to be said or felt by every Bowie fan, but I just wanted to offer some thoughts about his impact on the world of music.

David Bowie color

Bowie was one of the first things I wrote about for this blog. His name or influence would pop up every now and then in stories, whenever art, music, culture and life collided or intersected. I wrote about his exhibit at London’s V & A in 2013 — where his unique fashions and music memorabilia paid a visit — and that time he invited everyone to check out his book list. When he tweeted to the astronaut Chris Hadfield after Hadfield performed “Space Oddity” in space, confirmed he knows how to stay relevant in every decade he’s lived through. David Bowie’s been everywhere, but always on his own terms.

The body of work he’s left us is immeasurable.
By not bowing to industry pressure and not compromising his sound or views, he’s created his own style of music, his own “coolness,” that no other artist has ever been able to duplicate.

I was lucky enough to see David Bowie at Lollapalooza in the early ’90s, performing with Nine Inch Nails. From what I recall, Bowie’s performance at Mansfield in Boston was a surprise — the crowd wasn’t expecting him. I admit I didn’t know a lot about Bowie at the time — I was too sheltered in my tiny worldview of music and didn’t understand his huge impact early on.

David Bowie

But that night, seeing him from a hundred rows back, solitary, standing still, the Thin White Duke in a long black coat, you knew with one look that he was in a class by himself, that you were in the presence of rock royalty. He commanded the crowd. It’s one of those concert memories that stays with you.

Whether it was the Jareth the Goblin King, Aladdin Sane or Ziggy Stardust, or whether you have strong feelings about the quality of “Modern Love,” Bowie owned whatever persona he embodied at that time. He stood by every decision he made, including his choice to have Blackstar be his farewell.

David-Bowie1

David Bowie arrives at the 11th annual Webby Awards at Chipriani Wall Street on June 5, 2007, in New York City.

So if you haven’t heard his music before or don’t know much about him, there’s a really good chance you’ll find a song in his catalog that you can relate to or reminisce about.

David-Bowie-vert Wartermark

That’s what made him great — his ability to reach across the aisle toward any genre he felt an attraction to. No one can really fill that void, but he’s left behind an amazing collection of music that we can turn to, to stay in touch with the weird in all of us.

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Filed under Art, Art rock, Artpop, Electro-pop, Experimental, Glam Rock, Photography, Pop, Rock, Space rock, Uncategorized

Django Django has put out a juicy-sweet video for “Pause Repeat”

Enjoying a nice blue lolly.

Enjoying a nice blue lolly.

Django Django‘s video for “Pause Repeat” is basically a neverending conga line of overly saturated strawberries, basketballs, ruby-red grapefruit, blue lemons and fake grass, and other sporting goods. It’s one of those videos with a continuous feed of images, and all of them are vibrantly colored and a joy to watch.

Check it out:

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Filed under Art rock, Synth, VIdeos

Foals blow the top off music videos for “Mountain At My Gates”

Have you ever been to the Mugar Omni Theatre in Boston–the one where Leonard Nimoy narrates as you fly over the city of Boston, passing historical buildings and waterways? Foals have done something like that with their new video for “Mountain At My Gates,” but it puts the control squarely in the viewers hands.

Foals have released an interactive, virtual-reality video for the song, the second single off “What Went Down,” out Aug. 28.

The video was directed by Nabil — who’s worked with Kanye West, Arctic Monkeys, Alt-J and Frank Ocean. The video was shot using GoPro equipment — (used in extreme-action photography) — specifically, GoPro’s spherical Virtual Reality technology.

Click on anywhere in the video and turn it at your leisure. Guitarist and vocalist Yannis Philippakis and the rest of the band is there, wherever you look. Suddenly there’s multiples of the same band members in different poses while they play. It’s unsettling in a way but makes you glad there’s technology out there to finally bring videos into the future. Make sure you watch it full-screen too.

In a press release, Nabil says simply:

“We are at the beginning of what we can really do with this technology. It has the power to transport you.”

That’s saying quite a bit, but they seem to have pulled it off. You can look almost anywhere in the video — just stare up at the sky if you want, but don’t be alarmed at the darting birds. It’s all very trippy and energetic and you really should check it out. By the way, it’s a damn good song too.

mountain-at-my-gates-foals pic

Philippakis explained how “Mountain At My Gates” evolved during a track-by-track rundown on the new album with NME recently:

“I’d recorded the beginning riff on my phone ages ago. At the beginning it had a baggy feel, but became less so with more work. The central image – ‘I see a mountain at my gates’ was from me getting more interested in seeing what would come out lyrically where there wasn’t a pre-conceived idea. Normally I write voraciously in books and journals, then harvest a lot of that for the record. This, though, came out instantaneously in the room.”

Check out a behind-the-scenes of how they shot “Mountain At My Gates”:

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Filed under Art rock, Rock, VIdeos

New Foals album on the way; first track debuts Tuesday

FoalsCover whatwentdownFoals’ new album, “What Went Down,” has been announced for release Aug. 28.

The first single, the title track, is out Tuesday, June 16, and will debut on Annie Mac’s Radio 1 show June 16 between 7 and 9 p.m. The song will be downloadable directly after it’s played on Radio 1.

The British quintet recorded “What Went Down” in a 19th-century mill in the South of France.

Visit http://www.foals.co.uk for more, and check out the teaser trailer:

Foals are:

Yannis Philippakis – 29 (vocals/guitar)

Jimmy Smith – 30 (guitar/keys)

Walter Gervers – 31 (bass)

Jack Bevan – 29 (drums)

Edwin Congreave – 31 (keys)

foals 2015 guys

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Filed under Art rock, Guitar rock, Indie Rock, Math rock

Django Django are master experimenters on “Born Under Saturn”

Django Djano’s “Born Under Saturn” revels in the beauty of tranquil harmonies as much as it envelopes itself in new territory.

The British art-rock quartet’s sound lands squarely in the realm of synth-dance music, but the difference lays in their cool harmonies – think of the Beach Boys under a psychedelic black light.

Vincent Neff’s smooth, layered vocal workings remind us that while life is homogenized and often oblivious to negativity, human emotions are messy, and that’s to be celebrated.

The band wraps in ‘80s progressive-tech influences, adding Jamaican and African rhythms, forming a hybridization of sonic layers that Django Django handles with ease.

Django video 2The vintage progressive-synth notes of “Shot Down” are further cultivated on the electric-dance notes of “First Light.” The sultry sax on “Reflections” brings in a jazzy art-rock feel that warms up its chilled space-rock synthesizer.

Vegas kitsch kick-starts the percussion sound in “Found You,” while “4000 Years” is straight biker-chic comic-book rock. Traditional slow piano and swooning drums color the hometown sound of “Beginning to Fade.”

The astral “High Moon” gives space to that place between darkness and dawn, creating a digital landscape of satellites, blazing sun and shades of night.

On “Break the Glass,” xylophone surprisingly follows an upbeat guitar strum, creating one of the album’s strongest electro-dance numbers.

The scorching, slow build of “Born Under Saturn” establishes Django Django as funk-synth grand experimenters, and is as an example of how to blaze new territory while in a landscape of indecisive subgenres.

The album is out now on Ribbon Music.

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Filed under Art rock, Dance-Synth, New Music, Review, Synth pop

Django Django’s new single “Reflections” is techno-synth brilliance

A: Start your morning off right with Django Django

Django Django has released a new song, “Reflections,” off their upcoming album “Born Under Saturn.”

The group has long ago mastered those vintage harmonious vocals, like some good-time psychedelic barbershop quartet, but it’s still uniquely Django Django. (To get close to that sound, listen to the shiny/happy/creepy song “Cherish” by soft-rock group The Association.)

Then a sax solo is thrown in to “Reflection” and it completely changes the mood, to usher in a jazzy art-rock feel. That solo is by Roller Trio’s James Mainwaring. But even better is the space-rock keyboard solo at the end.

“Born Under Saturn” is the Scottish quartet’s second album. It’s out May 5 on Ribbon, and May 4 overseas on Because Music. A limited edition of “Born Under Saturn” with orange and black-smoke vinyl can be preordered on iTunes.

Listen to “Reflections” on Soundcloud, and watch it on Youtube.

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Filed under Art rock, Dance-Synth, Synth pop

Hear the new song by Django Django, “First Light”

Django Django by Pavla Kopecna

Django Django by Pavla Kopecna

Django Django have released a new song, “First Light,” which blends a fresh mix of 60s-era, pristine harmonies and electronic dance beats. Its soaring melody starts and ends with a militaristic marching beat.

Their self-titled debut in 2012 received mainstream praise. The exposure allowed the Scottish quartet (producer and drummer Dave Mclean, bassist Jimmy Dixon, synth man Tommy Grace and singer/guitarist Vincent Neff) to hit up major fests like Glastonbury and Bonnaroo as well as tour the U.S.

More info on the band’s upcoming CD will be forthcoming.

Listen to “First Light” at Soundcloud.

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Filed under Art rock, Dance, EDM, New Music, Synth pop

Still good: Slim Twig’s psychedelic puppet video for “All This Wanting”

Slim Twig’s video for “All This Wanting” has the best of both worlds: The song has an instantly likable Beatles-esque piano melody, and the video features Goodwill hand puppets that look like they’re having the time of their lives.

They’re all singing in unison, drinking and vomiting and just appearing in general like they’re on an LSD trip. Sesame Street would not approve.

Very happy puppets for Slim Twig's video "All This Wanting"

Very happy puppets for Slim Twig’s video “All This Wanting”

Slim Twig is one guy-  a Toronto native. HIs latest album, “A Hound At the Hem,” was out on DFA Records Oct. 28. The art-rock album was actually quietly released in 2012 on the Calico Corp label. But before that, it was self-produced in 2010.

It’s now finally getting more widespread attention.

Also listen to the “Clerical Collar” stream, and check out the “Maintain the Charade” video.

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Filed under Art rock, Psychedelic rock