Deep Space Meditations(The Dresden Codex)

In space they can’t hear you scream.

Well who’s they, and why would they be close enough to hear you scream? In space, the desolation is overwhelming, especially on a 10-year run into an exploration program that is sure to deteriorate my muscles and re-write my DNA enough that by the time my feet can hit good ‘ol American soil I’ll need to be held up by soldiers that don’t know me because the muscle mass in my legs will be nearly gone. By then my loved ones will have forgotten me; wife will have moved on and my children will only have vague recollections of the man they called “dad”.

There’s no point in screaming in space. The existential loneliness is worse than anything.

I must carry on, though. If I don’t, there will be no soldiers to carry my bag of bones out of this chromed-out space truckin’ machine. I’m following orders straight from The Dresden Codex. It states an officer of the Intergalactic Alliance must make the trek from earth into the outer galactic realms in order to search for answers to the mysteries of retaining life on our planet. Bodies of water have dried up, destroying marine life planet-wide. The air has gotten toxic to where air pacs and full body suits are needed for protection in just the shortest of time frames outdoors. Mother Nature has become a Hazmat nightmare, spitting acid grins every time the fading, dried blood-colored sun rises and sets every 5 days(for only 10 hour increments.) Certain spots in the United States, mainly in the Midwest, the earth has cracked open and swallowed homes, schools, towns, and in some places counties and left in their place massive chasms that lead to the center of the planet. Rivers of looming doom; lava flows that spit magma miles into the air and occasionally take out Life Detection Drones. There are “safe zones” in Canada and Europe, but we don’t know how long they will remain safe. The New York safe zone was zapped by radioactive lightning and turned to glowing soot.

We pissed off our maker, so now he’s unmaking us.

But for mankind, I will fly into the Teleforce. The unknown light emanating from the darkness of deep space in order to look for answers to how we can fix our mistakes. How we can reverse our almost certain death by our own egotistical need for “more”. Chomping at our natural resources like a spoiled child at the dinner table wanting more, more, more. The fastest vehicles, the biggest homes, the most convenient means of saving a buck in order to splurge on ourselves. We built a throw away society made from plastics and poisoned gases that will never biodegrade. We stuck a straw into the earth and sucked till she was dry as a desert-scorched bone. We collapsed the terra firma into itself giving way to a scarred face of dirt and dead foliage, which then turned into blisters filled with hot magma. They burst, belched into the waning blue skies a cocktail of gas and melted rock that would give us 80 years of a demonic dusk. 

This is mother earth’s nuclear forever. A gift to her spoiled children. 

So I sit in this capsule, this galactic silver bullet, and search for an answer. Molecules, nutrients, intelligent life, other universes, and a new home are all part of project Timespan. Despite the mistakes made by our forefathers and their forefathers, I’m determined to find a new home. I’m determined to come through for all of us. Someone once said that the past is a grotesque animal. The past is far worse than any animal. It’s a looming, destructive storm just inching away in the rearview. I’m not sure I can move fast enough to escape it, but I’m doing my best. For mankind’s sake, the answer must lie in the Teleforce. Somewhere in the Teleforce. 


 

The following was inspired by Majeure’s Timespan Redux, a remastering of AE Paterra’s 2010 space rock masterpiece. A weekend purchase that filled my head with visions of intergalactic travel and end of the world storytelling, the album almost wrote the above narrative itself. I merely sat at the computer and typed while indulging in a lager or two. Paterra’s solo work sometimes gets overlooked as his Zombi bandmate Steve Moore has found solo success as a film soundtrack go-to guy. I’ve only recently delved into Majeure’s work and it’s a glorious world of Tangerine Dream visions and progressive rock touches. His drums are still very present, but the synth loops and soundscapes he creates are what make Majeure, in particular Timespan, such an engaging listen.

 

 

 

Hibernaculum Dreams

I had a really strange dream. It was one of those dreams you have between the time your alarm goes off and that extra bit of sleep you gift yourself before having to get up. I’d fallen back into a semi-sleep state when I’d dreamt I was sitting in a cafe. A rather attractive woman came to my table wearing some nondescript college sweatshirt and she asked me if  I wanted to order something. I was looking at a computer screen and on the screen was the band page for a band called Dust Witch. I asked the woman if I could order the song “Hibernaculum”. She was a bit flustered and started staring at the screen in front of me. “Umm, well, I’m not sure. We may be out of that. Let me go check and see what we have that’s available.” I nodded and gave her a smile like an old man would give to a young waitress on her first day of waiting tables.

Before she could come back and let me know what was what my back told me it was time to get up. It was a strange dream to just pop up out of nowhere. I guess it’s not that odd since the East Coast band Dust Witch has been on my mind lately. I picked up their Death Waltz Originals 7 inch sometime before Christmas after hearing their song “Mirage” and pretty much being blown away. Their music is this mixture of Goblin and Tangerine Dream, but with a far earthier feel than either. There’s like 6,7, or 20 guys in the band. It’s not a couple synthesizers and a druggy light show; it’s a bunch of dudes laying down some supernatural vibes with a bunch of instruments(and maybe some druggy lights, too.) Even the artwork for the 7 inch sleeve gives off a Gothic, 70s aura. Like Frank Herbert meets Frank Frazetta. Basically, this 7 inch wet my appetite for a full-length LP that I have no idea is coming.

I wish I could say that from the beginning I knew that the name Dust Witch came from a Ray Bradbury novel, but I’d be lying if I said that. In fact, a friend of mine who is a Bradbury scholar was the one who pointed that out after I went to him and bragged about how amazing this band called Dust Witch was. The name comes from a story I’m familiar with, but in movie form. Something Wicked This Way Comes was a Disney movie from the early 80s about two boys around the beginning of the 20th century that get caught up in a mystery involving a carnival that comes to their Midwestern town. The carnival is run by a man called Mr. Dark and he doesn’t run a run of the mill carnival. In the film Pam Grier plays the Dust Witch, which is a surprise for me now as I had no idea. Anyways, for a Disney movie it was a damn good movie. Genuinely scary, creepy, and well made.

I can see why the guys in Dust Witch went with that name. Their sound is dark, mysterious, and somewhat foreboding. Synths and keys play a big part in their sound, but like Goblin, while synths are prominent they’re a real band. Drums, bass, guitar, and synths all come together to make this otherworldly sound.

Dust Witch recently contributed a song to Holodeck Records first compilations album titled Holodeck Vision One. This thing is a sprawling 30-song collection of everything from ambient, progressive, remixes, and of course heavy synth. Dust Witch mix things up with their track “Sister Planet”. Once again I was blown away by this band. So many vibes.

I guess this is all essentially a roundabout way of telling you all about this weird dream I had, and that apparently Dust Witch is haunting my subconscious. But which Dust Witch? Pam Grier, aka Foxy Brown, the sultry siren of a Disney kids movie that was really too scary for kids? Or is it the heavy synth band from Massachusetts? My dream would say the band, but I’m actually fine with both. If you weren’t hip to Dust Witch(the band), consider yourself hipped. Check ’em out, both their 7 inch and that Holodeck compilation. Heady stuff.

Good morning.

Spirit Manimal

The 80s were filled with amazing network television programming. No, really, I ‘m being serious. I mean, it was amazing to 8 year old boys that loved to use their imagination and ask their mom to buy them the Kenner/Hasbro/Mattel toy that was affiliated with said network show every time they hit up Kmart when buying new gym shoes or He-Man Underoos(this may or may not have been me.) You had amazing action-packed shows like The A-Team, Street Hawk, Airwolf, Knight Rider, Miami Vice, Automan, and Tales of the Golden Monkey, just to name a few. Some of these weren’t toy fodder, but you could easily use your A-Team figures and van for other adventures that could double in the Miami Vice world. If you had a Tron light cycle that could double as an Automan toy.

Like I said, the kid with an imagination could do pretty much anything.

Another show that stuck with me as a kid was Manimal. You remember that one? Let Wikipedia fill you in:

The show centers on the character Dr. Jonathan Chase (Simon MacCorkindale), a shape-shifting man who possessed the ability to turn himself into any animal he chose. He used this ability to help the police solve crimes.

So Jonathan Chase was this suave, James Bond-type that could turn into animals and help solve crimes, all the in course of one one-hour episode. He seemed to like turning into large birds and panthers the most, though. The show is one I can’t really remember a whole lot about, but I loved seeing him morph into an animal. Granted, it wasn’t nearly as cool as the werewolf transformation in An American Werewolf In London or The Howling, but for prime time CBS TV it was decent.

So what is up with all the 80s and Manimal talk you wonder? Well two things, actually. First off is the Netflix series The Toys That Made Us. If you haven’t seen it and you grew up playing with action figures in the 80s then you need to sit down and take that one in. It’s 4 episodes, with each episode concentrating on a single toy line. First is Star Wars, then Barbie, then He-Man, then GI Joe. Three out of the four I played with obsessively(just never really got into He-Man.) Watching that series really got me thinking about growing up with toys of that caliber and using my brains to world build. I may have been bored once in a while, but for the most part I had a closet full of Kenner and Hasbro that allowed me to write my own little side adventures that maybe George Lucas or those GI  Joe cartoons didn’t provide.

This all leads to rock and roll, of course.

Kokomo Toys & Collectibles, Kokomo, IN

 

Last weekend I took a trip with one of my best friends down south. On the way back we stopped in a town called Kokomo. There we visited Kokomo Toys & Collectibles and American Dream Hi Fi. The toy shop is a toy collector’s dream. It was like walking into a time machine with all the old school Kenner and Hasbro toys. They also had tons of new collectibles as well. Beautiful store. Then right next door was the dingy American Dream Hi Fi. A small record shop that served lunch, beer, and apparently also has live music. For a small place in the middle of nowhere they had an exceptional stock of great vinyl. I wasn’t planning on buying anything but then Zombi’s Spirit Animal stared me right in the face and I knew I had to buy it.

The last week has been filled with vintage toys and vintage music vibes…and vintage cheesy 80s TV show vibes.

Let’s get to the album…

I’ve made no bones about my love for the Steve Moore and AE Paterra progressive synth extravaganza known as Zombi. I started with Escape Velocity 5 years ago and haven’t looked back. I’ve listened to most of Zombi’s albums over the course of the last 5 years. I know I’d listened to Spirit Animal at least once but it didn’t really click. I think I just wasn’t really listening as this is easily one of my favorite Zombi albums now.

It opens with the epic 14 minute space opera “Spirit Animal”. When you’re used to Zombi’s synth/bass/drums power riffage and they open an album with something as vibe-y as “Spirit Animal” it could easily thrown someone off. Gone are the progressive calisthenics of previous and future albums. Instead you’re treated to this moody, melancholy piece of music. Somewhere between Fabio Frizzi and King Crimson. With the addition of guitar here it really does feel like Robert Fripp’s world. Once you settle in it’s quite a stunning world to be in. Maybe it’s always been there, but on this album especially I’m getting some serious Crimson vibes. This opening track is the most restrained and melancholy I’ve ever heard Zombi. Truly stunning.

“Spirit Warrior” hits you square in the gut like a Tron light cycle. AE Paterra gets some galactic grooves going as those synth strings come blaring out of the speakers like android sirens from the 23rd century. As much as these guys are known as a synth band, they are one of the most complex and progressive rhythm sections working today. The drum and bass duo of Moore and Paterra is a goddamn force to be reckoned with. All KNEEL to the power of Zombi! “Spirit Warrior” has our space warriors in full power, but there’s still space for some cosmos pondering as well, those analog synths make sure of that. Moore’s bass playing assures you’ll have the feeling Geddy Lee or Chris Squire stopped by the recording session.

“Earthly Powers” sounds like a beefy King Crimson. Those Crimson vibes come thru loud and clear here thanks to the obtuse riffage and Tom Wetton-like slabs of bass. This is completely in Red territory. I’ve been used to the kinetic pace of past and future Zombi albums, so hearing something so meticulous and restrained at times from this Philly duo can be shocking. But here’s the thing: this suits them perfectly. Both Moore and Paterra have proven they can work in quieter, vibe-y territory(Moore in his film work and Paterra in Majeure.)

“Cosmic Powers” almost sounds like “Synchronicity Part 1” when it starts out but the crushing groove that comes in puts an immediate stop to the Police comparisons. Angular riffage and progressive feel make this song the perfect segue into last track “Through Time”.

I can’t recall any other songs where these two have sounded as dirge-y and fuzzed out as they do here. The song picks up steam and for the next 17 minutes it burrows into your brain like some 10-ton power drill right into the heart of Mt. Olympus. It’s part space groove/black hole funeral. It’s absolute sonic decadence.

So is Spirit Animal my favorite Zombi album now? It has been this week. I think it’s their most diverse(with 2015s Shape Shift a close 2nd.) There’s lots of things going on with this record that weren’t quite as prevalent before. The addition of Steve Moore’s guitar work really opens up the King Crimson vibes that I’d never noticed before. There’s also a cinematic feel to this record that I’m really digging.

Much like Dr. Jonathan Chase, Zombi seems to be able to morph into anything they want. From ambient vibes to progressive rock muscle; from angular 70s rock to Giallo-esque mood pieces. They’re not solving crimes, but solving musical boredom by engaging our brains with their heady music.

Zombi are my spirit manimal.

Exit…Stage Froese

I don’t think there’s any other band that was as prolific as Tangerine Dream. In the 70s and 80s they were dropping albums once or twice a year. Once they started doing film scores that rate of creativity and productivity increased even more. Edgar Froese and whomever was in the band with him at the time were constantly moving forward, adapting with the times(at least through the 80s.) I have these vague memories of being a kid and having this fascination with the name “Tangerine Dream”. The name evoked so many things in my childhood noggin. Something like this colorful, sweet flavor mixed with semi-consciousness. It was both mysterious and inviting.

I think the first time I actually saw the name Tangerine Dream was when I watched Firestarter for the first time. Drew Barrymore was intriguing, Keith David was a solid dad with telekinetic abilities, and George C. Scott was scary as hell. The music was this hazy calm in a sea of frightening powers and disturbing scenes. In retrospect the movie was pretty terrible, but the music was and still is amazing. It wasn’t until many years later that I bought my first Tangerine Dream LP. It was Tangram and I found it for the low, low price of $1.00. If it hadn’t been that cheap I probably wouldn’t have bought it(sorry Edgar.) Glad I did, though. I ended up loving it and it began my love of all things Tangerine Dream.

I hit up most of the mid to late 70s stuff, and the soundtrack stuff as well. I need to hit up Alpha Centauri and Zeit soon, but on a recent trip to Half Price Books I found an excellent copy of 1981s Exit. Tangerine Dream have once again grabbed my attention and adoration.

Like I said, Exit came out in 1981. They had done the score to Michael Mann’s Thief the same year so they were riding high from that exquisite piece of synth heaven. Exit is decidedly more low key than Thief. There’s a darkness on this record not heard since their work on the Sorcerer S/T. It seems to be a warning kind of album. A plea for the world to get its head out of its ass. This record is just as relevant now than it was then, me thinks.

First track “Kiew Mission” is a slow burner that has one of the few vocal tracks featured on a Tangerine Dream record. An uncredited Berlin actress chants in Russian the names of the continents of the world. It’s a protest song of sorts, as we were in the throes of a pissing match with Russia and the possibility of nuclear war was frighteningly just around the corner. For an album in Tangerine Dream’s 80s collection it’s a very sobering opener.

“Pilots of Purple Twilight” is a little more upfront but still carries with it an air of trepidation. It’s most definitely an “80s feel” kind of track, with Edgar Froese, Christopher Franke, and Johannes Schmoelling digging deep into the sound of the neon decade. It’s reminiscent of Tangram, and really foreshadows the sounds rock bands like Rush and Van Halen would pepper their future records with.

Speaking of sounds, I must share the equipment used on this album. The synths here are like the color palate of a painter. They make up what the record ultimately becomes. On Exit, the following equipment was used:

Moog Modular Synthesizer, Project Electronic Modular Synthesizer and Sequencer, Sequential Circuits Prophet-5Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer, ARP OdysseyOberheimOB-X, ARP Pro/DGX, Minimoog, Elka string synth, SynclavierPPG Wave 2, PPG 360 Wave Computer, PPG 340 Wave Computer/380 Event Generator.

Just reading that list makes my palms sweat.

“Chronozon” reminds me of the opening music to some early 80s post-apocalyptic movie. You can see the protagonist driving down dusty open roads in a ’72 Nova with sheet metal attached to it and a flames coming out of the exhaust. Dilapidated vehicles and burnt out buildings pepper the side of the road as a glowing, orange sun drops into the horizon in front of him. As the song plays you can just tell this guy is going to have some great, dystopian adventures with scantily clad she-warriors and kick some serious mutant ass. At least, that’s what I see when I hear this song. Apparently it was used as the opening music for a Hungarian political show called Panorma. Who knew?

Title track “Exit” is glorious in its mournful, analog buzz. It feels like a title track. Le Matos captured this kind of magic with their Turbo Kid S/T. For my money this is where Tangerine Dream are best, wrapped inside a dense, heady melodic piece of music like this. Froese is the master of mood and this track proves that. A little side note about the song, it was used in episode 6 of Stranger Things. It’s okay, I’ll wait while you go cue it up and check it out…..Yes, episode 6……Cool, huh?

“Network 23” sports some four on the floor rhythms and wavering, hypnotic synths that lay in the air just out of reach. Strangely enough, this track sounds like Kraftwerk doing the theme for Law and Order(having just typed that I really want to hear Popol Vuh do the theme music for Barney Miller.) Anyways, this one a great, driving Berlin School slow burner.

“Remote Viewing” is classic Tangerine Dream, regardless of the decade. It’s ghostly and dark, with an almost space western vibe. Sinoia Caves has pulled these vibes for inspiration for sure, as this sound is all over the Beyond The Black Rainbow S/T. Endless black space permeates the song throughout it’s 8 minute time span. Froese, Franke, and Schmoelling let their Komische flags fly high on this excellent album closer.

It took me years to find my way to Tangerine Dream. Like, REALLY find my way to them. They were in my peripherals even as a kid(Firestarter, Legend, Near Dark, Three O’Clock High), but it’s only been the last 8 years or so that I’ve found that real connection with them. It’s like a Vulcan mind meld going on between me and the old TD. I adore the classics like Phaedra, Rubycon, Ricochet, Stratosfear, and Cyclone, but I also like these little records. Albums like Tangram, Le Parc, White Eagle, and of course Exit. They’re like these bite size versions of epic. They show that Tangerine Dream can write a concise, on-point piece of music without using up a whole album side(nothing wrong with that, though.) Exit is turning into one of my favorites.

It’s the Komische mind meld.

 

 

 

 

Castles Made of Pixels

I don’t even remember Castlevania III : Dracula’s Curse. I don’t remember one single thing about the game, not even the music. Yet, I felt compelled to buy Mondo’s double LP release of the soundtrack a couple months ago. Compelled may not be the right word. Possessed to buy it, maybe? It’s like a sickness, folks. An addiction. Maybe it’s because I figured I bought the first two Castlevania releases, so I needed to complete the trilogy? That could be. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Castlevania as a teen. That was one of the few games in my sad game-playing career that I obsessed over, but only three versions of the game. The original Castlevania on NES, Super Castlevania on the Super Nintendo system, and then Castlevania : Symphony of the Night on the original Playstation. Those three versions I loved and played like an idiot into the wee hours of the night. I’d load up on caffeine and frozen pizzas and battle all the ghouls and ghosts hidden away in Dracula’s various castles.

But not Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse.

But I gotta say, the music in that game was on point. For being 8-bit(or was it 16-bit by then?), the music really grabs you and pulls you into that world of darkness and doomed baroque romanticism. What’s most interesting is that the music reminds me of the neo-classical guitar of Ritchie Blackmore and that Swedish guy Yngwie Malmsteen. When I heard the second release in this Castlevania series I dubbed it “8-bit Yngwie”. It was sort of an inside joke between me and, well, nobody. Just me. Listen to the guitar/organ solos in Deep Purple’s “Highway Star” for the neo-classical reference. Imagine that done on 8-bit instruments and that’ll give you a good idea as to what I’m talking about.

The Konami Kukeiha Club is responsible for the music to Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse. I’m not sure if they’re an actual club, like with member cards and funny hats. I think they’re just an in-house music department at Konami that were responsible for creating music for Konami’s games. The list of club members is exhaustive, so I won’t list them. I’ll just say that there was a lot of work that went into creating the musical world in not only Castlevania, but so many other classic games that Konami gave us in the 80s and early 90s. What games? Contra. And a bunch more…probably.

I suppose I’ll just continue to keep buying these soundtracks up until I’m broke and selling them on Ebay in order to pay for college tuition or a ham sandwich for lunch. That’s what people with vinyl problems do. We justify these purchases with words and phrases like “nostalgia” and “childhood memories” and “collecting” and “I earned it, dammit!” I’ll have excuses till the cows come home as to why I need to buy these lovely pieces of plastic that are adorned with eye-popping artwork. Why?

Because I earned it, dammit!

Sprechen Sie Deutsch?

I wish I could sit here in my lederhosen, wood clogs, and stein full of warm beer and say I’ve been hip to Krautrock since I was a stellar Midwest teen. I wish I could say I started a movement in my John Hughes years of forward-thinking teenagers filling their heads with komische music like Kraftwerk, NEU!, Cluster, and Popol Vuh. I wish I could say that. Truth is I didn’t even know what Krautrock was till I was well into adulthood. I’d heard the name now and then, though I thought it was something to do with sauerkraut that sat in the fridge too long. “Don’t use that sauerkraut! It’s got the krautrock!” Okay, maybe I didn’t think that(or didn’t I?)

Point is I had my “come to Komsiche” moment and I’ve never looked back. It started with Kraftwerk’s Trans Europe Express ten years ago and since then Krautrock has become one of my favorite musical genres(right behind ukulele doom metal and Mediterranean throat singing.) I think the album that really did it for me was NEU!s first album NEU!. When I first heard the motorik beat of “Hallogallo” I knew I’d found my people. With Klaus Dinger’s drums and experimentation and Michael Rother’s enigmatic guitar playing I felt like this was true blending of rock and art. Of course those two got along infamously. Dinger was the experimental chap that wanted to make everything they did a political statement. Michael Rother was more interested in making good music and the creative process. In between NEU! records Rother formed another musical alliance with two other Krautrock OGs, Cluster’s Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius. That band was called Harmonia.

The first time I’d heard of Harmonia was over at my pal 1537’s place. After reading his great piece on the record I knew I needed to get it in my head. Of course I’d only listened to snippets here and there. I did check out a live album of there’s that was excellent, but I never found a copy of that debut for myself. Until now.

On a college trip to Bloomington a couple weeks ago I happened across a copy of Harmonia’s Musik von Harmonia at Landlocked Records for a quite nice price and proceeded to happily give my money to the young lady at the counter. When she looked at me funny I realized I didn’t hand her the record. Record bought, we left looking for sustenance.

Musik von Harmonia is quite the aural feast. It loops, blips, and bleeps all over the place like a drunk android giddy on high octane motor oil. The album opens with the bouncy “Watussi”. It seems to unfold over the course of its nearly 6 minutes like an endless red carpet that elevates to spatial levels. They’re not songs more than they’re moments of exquisite discovery. “Sehr Komische” floats and expands over the course of nearly 11 minutes. It pushes the boundaries of ambient music to new heights, really. Out of the ether you can make out a motorik beat attempting to come to the service, the gauzy tones raising as the beat does. “Sonnenschein” has somewhat of a tribal beat to it. Synths glide in and out as the rhythm gains momentum.

I can almost picture Rother, Roedelius, and Moebius inside the old house pictured on the inside gatefold sleeve, maybe under the influence of mind-altering substances, just throwing these ideas out and seeing where they’d land. Moving from instrument to instrument and seeing what would happen. By the sound of it they came across some pretty amazing ideas. “Dino”, for example, is classic krautrock goodness complete with the classic motorik beat. It has that NEU! airiness to it without sounding just like NEU! or Cluster. These three seem to have really loved the creative process. Then you get to something like “Ohrwurm” and all bets are off. Buzzing tones and wobbly guitar seem to illustrate musically a mental breakdown. “Veterano” sounds like sounds the Mothersbaugh brothers would attempt to create with Devo. “Hausmusik” starts out as a melody line but quickly descends into electronic noise, like low tide washing away drawings in the sand. Soon enough our melody reappears to help finish the song out.

With a lot of komische music there seems to be a regimented code that is followed. Everything feels free-flowing and spontaneous, but it’s very much a controlled chaos. Harmonia seem to leave regimented improvisation at the studio door and let artistic expression flow freely. There’s a lightness to the tracks on Musik von Harmonia that is infectious. I have yet to hear their other records, so I can’t comment on future Harmonia endeavors. Rother, Roedelius, and Moebius would all head back to their previous projects and continue to make boundary-pushing art in their respective “name” bands, but none would ever capture the airy magic that Harmonia created. At least to my ears.

 

 

 

“We’ll Go Down The Line”

It’s been a rough couple of days, so not much to report here. Lots of rain and some disturbing news about a friend. I’ve found solace in the last two days in the band Beach Fossils of all things. I’ve really liked this band since their debut, and especially their last album Clash The Truth. They’ve got a nice jangle to them to where they remind me of both old school R.E.M. and Power, Corruption & Lies-era New Order. Basically early 80s alternative without any doom or gloom. Bass guitar is up front and the guitar lays down some nice melody. Vocals are sweet but not overpowering. I’d been revisiting Clash The Truth for the past couple weeks on and off, thinking about writing about it when I heard their new single “Down The Line”. It’s hard to describe how much this track has hit me. It’s eloquent in its simplicity. Beach Fossils seem to be taking a page out of the Real Estate book and taking a beautifully stoned approach to their sound. A slinky bass line pushes the song forward while echoed guitar adds an air of melancholy. The lyrics seem to hit a melancholy plea with lines like “I’m thinking of you fondly/When I’m on the train/I really hate your poetry/You hate mine the same” and “These days I feel like I do nothing right/So come with me and we’ll go down the line“. There’s a feeling of regret and longing here that I can relate to. If this new album, which is called Somersault and is coming out in June, is filled with tracks like “Down The Line” then this will easily be one of my favorite albums of the year.

So go tell those you love you love them, and if things are getting heavy for you let someone know that you need help. You’re not alone. Hell, let me know. I’ll be here for you. I’ll just be here listening to Beach Fossils for the umpteenth time.

 

Oh yeah, this song is pretty amazing too.

 

And this, too. Jesus.