Wooden Shjips – “Motorbike”
We started with Wooden Shjips‘ Dos (Holy Mountain; 2009). I found the hits (Tracks 1 & 2 “Motorbike” and “For So Long”) made up for the occasional misses in a true return to kraut/psych fuzz rock fun. Mike disagreed. He felt it was time in his life to stop pretending that he enjoys “this rock and roll thing”, and doesn’t know if that makes him less of a man. The jury is still out, but we decided that if this is what you want, a hypnotic lustbaby of rusty garage rock, SF’s Wooden Shjips is your meal ticket. But Mike had the last words. “To me, it didn’t sound good when I was drinking a Brandy Alexander and playing computer golf”. I had previously thought everything sounded good when you’re drinking a Brandy Alexander and playing computer golf.
Black Moth Super Rainbow – “Iron Lemonade”
Next up: Black Moth Super Rainbow’s latest offering, Eating Us (Graveface; 2009). Synthesizer meltdowns, vocoded vocals, and idiosyncraticÂ consonance continue to fuel this band’s surreal spaceship. Mike said it was great cocktail music. Put it on at a party and bask in the elegance. I agreed to the extent that I felt it was better suited in the background. Shedding their lo-fi and instinctual history in favor of a hot-shot producer (Dave Fridmann of Flaming Lips fame), I felt they lost a certain something along the way. I settled on the conclusion that they’re not exploiting their dexterity as much as I believe them capable of. Mike: “Wow”. That said, standout track “Iron Lemonade” will take you to the moon.
Darwinsbitch – “Iron Lake”
Lastly, we discussed Ore (Digitalis; 2009) by Darwinsbitch. Marielle v Jakobsons of Oakland uses this moniker to create a soft and beautiful nightmare in which violins pick the pockets of unsuspecting oscillators and subversive melodies slowly give way to new hiding places. In the past, drone had failed to captivate me in the enduring ways I had heard others describe. But Mike had faith, and I was completely taken. Rich in murky dissonance running along rivers of noise that could serve as the soundtrack for Brian Bolland’s version of Batman, the sonic landscape blurs dark space from which this red album stems. This music sneaks to a place where nothing is safe or certain, a cold drizzle continues, and there is little hope the shadows aren’t capable of eating you.
We decided these were satisfying records in their own right. However, at a time when it was needed most, with the notable exception of Ore, they lacked a consistent inspiration necessary to perpetuate a comfortable sensibility we could enjoy and hold onto. Together, these three varied albums share one important trait: they could all be considered ambient, atmospheric music. None of these shout LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! while walking with their pants down through the airport and are more aligned in the recesses of real time. Maybe it had something to do with the place and space in which we listened, but we are hungry for more. These are records to enjoy when you’re thinking about not thinking, allowing them to take you behind the scenes, removed from the molecular tour.
On the way out, Mike threw me a bag of macadamia nuts and told me to treat myself right.
About Sade Sundays: A profundity has never slipped past the lips of a man who lives a life of quiet desperation. He has time for no such subtleties. So basically, Joshua and Michael have time on their hands. They spend it together one Sunday a month, dispensing boozy wisdom and violent, undefended revelries. You may listen, but you may also render their words as a call of the wild, a spear from St. George into the side of the dragon beast, or a meaningless squabble. Contact us: Sade.Sundays@thebaybridged.com