Sunday, May 6, 2018

Palm - Ostrich Vacation (2015)

Hello Spacerock mountaineers,

Inspired by Antarktikos' recent post, I've decided to "get the lead out" and also thrust my fingers at the keyboard in a violent manner, hoping it'll make sense in the end.

Palm is a 4 piece, modern rock band who formed out of the Hudson Valley of upstate New York. They've since relocated to Philadelphia, lucky for me as I've moved from the young adult playground that is Portland, Oregon to the senior citizen waiting room that is Allentown, Pennsylvania. Palm seems to tour a lot so I hope to get a babysitter for whatever day that may be in the near future (check their bandcamp page for upcoming dates - European dates as well).

Ostrich Vacation is Palm's earliest release available on Bandcamp, and it's their only "pay what you want" offering... which I love because I'm both cheap and poor. It was originally released on cassette, still available here, as a part of a 6 part, 6 band series collectively called "Organechs".

This release finds the band in their primordial stage, where they were honing their skills more as instrumentalists than vocalists. The crux of Palm's early era is dissonant guitars wired into a series of dizzying yet tappable drum rhythms. If we're talking about genres and how this sound fits into some sort of lineage, you can hear elements of post-punk and post-rock, but Palm as taken those leftovers and elevated them into a unique dish, and as their later releases would display they truly walks a line
between accessible and inaccessible like, perhaps, no other band I've ever heard.

Fascinating and always offering something new with repeated listens, Ostrich Vacation is like an impressionist painting of a band on their way to becoming skilled pointillists.

Palm - Ostrich Vacation

Friday, March 9, 2018

Tentative Revival and General Recommendations

The key is to stop shaving and trimming.
It's been a bit shy of two years since I've sat down to listen to an album with the intention of writing about it here. Save for Larry's laudable efforts the page has blog has gone largely dark. Not sure how I feel about that yet, but this was such a large party of my daily routine for many years and I got to hear some many wonderful songs I still play frequently by doing this. Then again a lot changed since then. Grew my longest beard yet. Moved to the Hudson Valley in New York, being around hills is a nice alteration. selling wine and spirits at a little shop. Quite frankly a pretty dope gig. Married a woman, she is also pretty dope. We got a cat. Jury is still out on him.

Cat also acknowledges that smiling is frivolous.
Needless to say, I got a bit distracted and pre-occupied with other endeavors. To rephrase that, I stopped spending an unreasonable amount of time listening to obscure album and EPs and writing about it for no money. Rather I began getting paid to learn about the multifaceted and enlightening world of wine. As you can imagine I have an ever-growing pile of books on the subject and hundreds of bookmarked articles about all manner of grapes and producers and historical developments. However, I miss the background music of my life being an eclectic collection of artists from all over the world shepherding me through the day.

This is not to say I haven't been listening to music. In fact as a rule I have to for 5 to 9 hours straight a my job these days. And there are a few albums I wanna recommend that I've known about for a long time but feel I never got around to mentioning before. You'll have to do the minimal legwork to hunt these down in some cases, I am assuming you've got the wherewithal to find these in better quality and accessibility if desired.

Released in 1975, this is stunning example of the Anatolian rock genre. The richness of existing Turkish music and the advent of modern rock fused wonderfully, especially surf and psych/prog influences. The  resonating vocals are mesmerizing and instrumentation is uncannily cinematic, like the songs ought have been in dozens of films you've already seen. At very least listen to the track "Yalnızlar Rıhtımı" because it's relentlessly endearing.

Jonathan Richman & the Modern Lovers - Rock 'N' Roll with the Modern Lovers

I mean, I don't think I need to really explain why this album is great. Sadly I hadn't recognized it's full brilliance until we started playing it daily at the wine shop. Perhaps one of the most charming set of songs ever cobbled together. Sweetly childish and simple, but nearly nobody else could do with as much memorable elegance. Admittedly Richman has many other great song out there, but this has "Ice Cream Man" and "Roller Coaster by the Sea" on it. Unequivocally dope as fuck.

The Barbaras - 2006-2008

A no-brainer right? The band before Jay Reatard, Magic Kids and Wavves. I knew the three track long EP that had been widely circulating online for years but really those songs were blown out of the water by the revelations of the likes of "Topsy Turvy Magic" and "Annual Botanical." What nonsense this took so long to surface, but I'm ever so glad it did. Some of the very best garage-pop songs any could ever hope for. It both sounds and makes me feel fuzzy.