Thursday, February 03, 2005

10 Great Fuzz Pop Records for Gregory...

In an effort to expose this guy to some rock music that adheres to pop sensibilities and heeds the restrictions of the sacred verse/chorus/verse archetype simultaneously, I give you ten new and recent examples of melodic fuzz pop:

Jennifer Gentle "Valende" (Sub Pop) - Weird Italian psych pop that falls somewhere between early Pink Floyd (the good shit) moddishness and Joe Meek productions (think looney tunes acid visions) that's delivered as actual songs, free noise freakouts, manic madlibs, bad trips, happy/sad sing-alongs. Weird but rewarding stuff that sounds disturbingly vibrant.

Spacemen 3 "Playing With Fire" (Fire) - If God were drugs and rock n roll were the savior, this would be the bible with which we hear The Holy Word. One of the coolest records in history, cut down the middle between effects laden minimal pop dreamscapes and blistering white noise rockathons. Masterful Divination for the sobriety impaired.

The Telescopes "The Telescopes" (Tristar) - A mellower tour-de-force from these UK space rockers; shimmering dream pop with a heavy dose of Love/Byrds jangle devotion and stellar harmonies. Excellent production from Guy Fixsen of the perpetually listenable Laika, making this a classic of sorts and essential listening for fuzz enthusiasts everywhere.

The Wedding Present "Take Fountain" (Manifesto) - Best album Dave Gedge and his raging hormonal ensemble has released since "Seamonsters" (well ok, since "Watusi"), and this even after a 5 year lay off! Cinerama was nice, but this is just super duper. Joy Division meets Love? Why not...

Monroe Mustang "Plain Sweeping Themes for the Unprepared" (Trance Syndicate) - One of the great hidden treasures in the Texan underground, these Oklahoma to Austin transplants keep it dusted and blown, somewhere between Bowie and Crazy Horse, or Pavement and Bedhead, or The Pink Mountaintops and Black Mountain, only with their own magnificently stoned oblivion/lo-fi aura that pretty much demands glazed attention. Sadly they're no more, which is a real a shame given they're much more interesting than that other "band of the moment" whose initials are MM (and I don't mean Eminem).

Yura Yura Teikoku "3x3x3" (Midi) - I know little about this Japanese group, aside from they are without a doubt the most energetic, melodic, poppy and truly intense psych group I've heard in years. A bit like Sweden's Dungen, bit like the 13th Floor Elevators, Kinks, Velvets, White Heaven, but tighter, heavier, faster, more raw, Japanese lyrics, blistering acid guitar eruptions. This dates from around 98, their first album. Don't know anything else (though Michio Kurihara appears on their album from 2004 and the bass player may have been a member of White Heaven). Click here for more info on their recent (and costly) import only albums.

Low "The Great Destroyer" (Sub Pop) - The Kings (And Queen) of Slowcore return with an album produced by the King of Noise Pop--David Fridmann of Mercury Rev--and it is at least half of a good album. I consider this Low's power pop rekkid as the tempos are faster, the songs more dynamic, and the whole thing sounds less ominous and foreboding, but it's pretty noisy and lumbering in spots. There's even a chorus or two you can sing along with and a whole heck of a lot of fuzz!

A. C. Newman "The Slow Wonder" (Matador) - New Pornographers lead singer guy goes solo and sounds just like the Pornos: raucous, off-beat power pop/new wave, kinda like Big Star meets Roxy Music (what with all the power chord meets acoustic guitars and bang bang pianos and cheesy keyboards). Arguably better than a Brian Ferry solo album.

Magnetic Fields "Charm of the Highway Strip" (Merge) - Classique minimalist synth pop/country road songs. Sort of like Hank Williams as reinterpreted by early Human League, maybe. A beautiful, bittersweet song cycle about breaking up and falling in love out on the modern day range we call the lonesome highway. The 'Fields at their best.

Quickspace "Precious Falling" (Hidden Agenda/Kitty Kitty) - Great British indie guitar drones, poppy songs, expansive experimental pieces, uprourious anthems and bellycrawling minimal ditties. Not that easy to get into, but worth the struggle for those who dig the prospect of a giddier garage take on early Stereolab with a great raw guitar sound and deep variety. These guys/gal are so good they're mostly ignored by the indie listening public at large. Go figure.

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