Saturday, February 13, 2016

SPACIN' Total Freedom LP (RICHIE)

Man... Spacin'. Spacin', man. The lips are back, and this time they're over the mountain. Their first album Deep Thuds from 2012 is superb, and Total Freedom is the brand new (long-awaited?! has it really been four years?!) 2016 follow-up. Spacin' are a band from Philadelphia that play some sort of tranced-out supergunk Stooges/Stones caveman ballcap glampop psychedelia, with stony low-end guitar/drum grooves and sub-cranial hooks. In many ways Total Freedom just does the same thing the first album did all over again, and why not repeat a result that rules? Both records begin with a spaced-out upbeat rifforama rocker that fades into a spaced-out free-form instrumental blowout (on Deep Thuds it's "Empty Mind" into "Some Future Burger" and on Total Freedom it's "Over Uneasy" into "Kensington Real.") Both albums have a late-side-one stripped-down night-skull garage-pop hummer (On DT it's "Chest of Steel" and on TF it's the fabulous "Titchy"). Both albums have an 'African' jam (DT: "Oh, Man"; TF: "Stopping Man").  I should note that even though many of these templates are perfected on Total Freedom, especially the ultra-catchy ultra-groovy ultra-titchy "Titchy" and the blown-out-to-over-8-minutes-long "Over Uneasy," it still might not even top Deep Thuds. That's not a dis on Total Freedom, that's just a measure of how good both albums are. I'm already stoked for Spacin' III! (On pace to be released in 2020!)

"Over Uneasy" live:

P.S. This live Spacin' vid brought to you by the Orthoponix channel, which I can't recommend highly enough for live clips of much of the great current Philly underground, as well as fellow travellers who have passed through...

Saturday, February 06, 2016


I've been reading Holly George-Warren's recent Alex Chilton bio and finding it really good. It's got me all excited about Memphis music history again, and It Came From Memphis is now travelling alongside A Man Called Destruction for side references and rereads. And, of course, I'm digging the Big Star records back out... haven't put #1 Record back on yet, but Radio City is blowing my mind more than ever, and I literally cried while listening to "Blue Moon" & "Dream Lover" a couple nights ago. I'm also eager to get to his pre-punk/post-punk/post-irony 70s and 80s stuff which I'm not as familiar with, other than Flies On Sherbert; haven't heard his Ork stuff yet, or Feudalist Tarts, for example. Problem is, even though I'm long past the Box Tops section of the book, I'm still listening to their tunes over and over, much more than even Big Star. I always thought (assumed?) Chilton was dismissive of them; after reading the book, I think he was proud of the music but dismissive of being "a toy or a puppet on a string" for the pop market; either way, I had written them off as a teenybopper pop band, but George-Warren's descriptions of their music, and the American Sound Studios milieu that produced it, sent me straight to Spotify, especially after she quotes a Jim Dickinson endorsement of the second Box Tops album Cry Like A Baby (1968): "Memphis pop production at its best, on par with the great Dusty In Memphis, recorded by the same cast of characters in the same period. Those two records were as good as it gets." I've now spent a week listening to The Best of the Box Tops: Soul Deep, over and over, and as Bob Christgau is quoted in the book, the "production can only be described as exquisite." Also, Chilton is ridiculously good as the gruff 16-year-old soul man. So many hooks, such great singing and playing. I made a couple Spotify playlists, the first one of what I think are the very best songs (I put "The Letter" last because you already know it but of course it should be on there anyway because it's fantastic), and the second one of deeper cuts that were singled out in the book. 

Wednesday, February 03, 2016


"Trip metal aims to capitalize on confusion as a means of connection, rather than a threat to authenticity."

Trip metal is not a joke. Trip metal is always a joke. 

"It is not really any one idea — it is every idea at once. This concept is similar to noise. Noise is every frequency at once, and by filtering, you can in theory make any sound possible. Trip metal can be used as carrier signal that modulates and decodes life in the same [way] a ring modulator multiplies two signals and typically creates a bell tone." 

These quotes are from today's feature on Trip Metal Festival in the Detroit Metro Times. The interview with the festival organizers is highly recommended, as is the festival, which will take place in Detroit during Memorial Day Weekend 2016, and will feature "Morton Subotnick, Hieroglyphic Being, Wolf Eyes, AWK, Aaron Dilloway, Nautical Almanac, Drainolith, Viki, Magas, Lexie Mountain, DJ Dog Dick, Pengo, Rubber O Cement, Panicsville, and many, many more. All the Michigan Underground Group crew will be jamming in different duos or trios as well."

MT: What is the least trip metal thing in the world, aside being interviewed about trip metal?
Trip Metal Fest: Tow trucks.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016


"Here is a group owned compilation made by bands and artists originally brought together by the eclectic underground of New Brunswick, NJ after the turn of the century. A collective spirit brings forth new tracks from each unique artist/group." Indeed, this is like a trip down memory lane for me as well, as all of these New Brunswick bands & artists have been sending stuff to Blastitude dating back at least ten years ago. There was also the Bone Tooth Horn label, and the artist formerly and currently known as 2673; yes, the New Brunswick scene has been interesting for awhile now, and would have been more than worthy of a scene report in The Wire circa 2006 (if one didn't in fact happen). I kind of did one myself back on The Day of the Mushroom, 2007, and though these players seem to have dispersed somewhat from that central hive of activity, this 7" EP is a very nice "where are they now." (I also really like the 4-band 4-song 7" comp EP format for some reason.) The Shadow Band is fronted by Mike Bruno, who I was introduced to via a release under his own name back in 2009 called The Sad Sisters. That was in a striking semi-gothic progressive-folk kinda style, but the Shadow Band sounds a little more classically pop/folk/rock, with a real nice lilting Sunday-morning melody and a sweet guitar/organ arrangement on this song "Blue Dreaming." King Darves first came on our radar back in 2004 or so, first as a weirdo solo noise artist, then suddenly emerging as a some sort of medieval/futuristic also-progressive deep-voiced folk troubadour, most notably with a 2008 full-length for DeStijl Records called The Sun Splits For The Blind Swimmer. His song here is in that style; I know some people have had a visceral reaction to King's distinctive sound & voice and simply can't hang; I've always admired his work but even so was slightly nonplussed by the off-kilter banjo-driven dare-I-say-gypsy-punk musings of this song "yoke/sightline" (actually these are two separate songs as I learned from reading this interview), especially after the elegant smoothness of the Shadow Band, but on 2nd through 5th listens the appreciation is growing and Mr. Darves always gives you a lot to chew on. So, side one is kinda the 'soft' side, and side two is where the volume gets cranked up. It leads off with a track by a band called Quit, who I don't believe I know anything about except that the insert says their label is Log Cabin Recordings; their track "bleeding" is a bit of a wound-up slow-drag somewhat-U.S. Mapley instrumental scorcher and may be my favorite thing on here. The comp ends with the long-running Human Adult Band, who have always been in the Flipper tradition of slow sludgy weird punk but with their own voice/twist that I've never quite gotten a handle on, in a good way; on here they're still leaving my head scratching after two heavy/catchy/confusing minutes called "(If You Got) Worms On The Brain." Human Adult frontman/bassist/founder/CEO Trevor Pennsylvania recently published a book called Lazy Determination that is apparently some sort of band discography/memoir that I would like to read but it seems out of print and hard to purchase, let alone google. Anyway, their song here ends abruptly, as does the comp, which makes it very easy to replay, which I've been doing again and again; long may the Spirit of New Brunswick fly on. You can purchase your own copy for $5 (postage paid in the United States!!!) at

Monday, February 01, 2016


A friend of a friend (who has a couple thousand friends on a popular social media website) recently mentioned (on said website) that he had been good friends with Jerry Garcia (in real life) and he shared this tidbit:

"First thing that I ever did hanging out with him was we got REALLY stoned & went & saw An American Werewolf In London @ The Roxy."

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