Alejandro Jodorowsky – The Holy Mountain

As chaotic as Alejandro Jodorowsky’s psychedelic epic The Holy Mountain is from a visual standpoint, the soundtrack gives back in equal measure, dialing all over the spectrum from plaintive folk to Tuvan throat singing, epic orchestrals to noise and rock. If you’ve ever seen the cult classic, then you know that the movie is overwhelming to say the least and only really coherent to probably about 13% of the populace in the midst of an Ayahuasca comedown. Its heavy handed but also rather beautiful and since its release its legend has only grown. The movie’s score finds a way to keep pace with the barrage of non-linear imagery, bursts of color and shifts in tone so adeptly that its a testament to its originators. Jodorowsky enlisted the help of Don Cherry and Ron Frangipane (he of The Archies fame) to bring the musical companion of the film to life. Along with Jodorowsky’s own conducting, the team proves well more than formidable. Traditionally the score hasn’t been widely available and certainly not on vinyl but RealGone have rounded it up on double vinyl.




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Michael O.

It would probably be pushing it to say that Michael Olivares is better known as the lead singer of San Francisco ramshackle poppers The Mantles. To be fair, The Mantles aren’t exactly a household name either, but that’s more of a testament to most people’s poor taste than anything else. They should be a fixture in your record collection, as should Olivares’ first solo LP for Fruits & Flowers. The album follows his previous single for the start-up label and lands on some of the same twinges of homespun pop but it also expands its scope into a much larger statement of new wave hat tips to Nikki Sudden’s jangle comedowns, classic era Flying Nun cracked lens warbles and even a touch of sun-smeared folk that crinkles around the edges.

Aiding Olivares in bringing this collection to fruition is Edmund Xavier of Horrid Red. The pair don’t fill out a room but in their restraint, they find the nuance that makes Olivares’ brand of honest, fluid pop feel familiar and fresh in equal measure. Plenty of other albums will come beating down your door in 2015 but Really? is the kind that lets you come to it, and you’d be well advised to seek it out.


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Andy Human & The Reptoids

Great news rains down in the form of Andy Human’s new long player, this time augmented with a cast of other Bay Area freaks kitted out as The Reptoids. The record kicks through the same weird weeds of punk / new wave fodder that Andy Jordan has sunk his teeth into before, but this time all the senses are blown up and working overtime. Chewing on tin foil hooks that rumble through Devo infested jungles, littered with Twinkeyz ticket stubs, Roxy music posters and probably a worn copy of that Ozzie reissue; the eponymous LP is glazed with the kind of technicolor punk that only seemed to exist in b-movies. Splashes of Buckaroo Banzai / Dead End Drive-in / Repo Man chaotic hangover waft in from the irradiated guitar lines and razor sharp sax blasts, sickened keys fight for air with Jordan’s demanding yelps and it feels like ’79 again. That’s the thing about Andy Human, its never felt like a hollow imitation but more of a method study in the sick and warbled fringes of 70’s art-punk and he absolutely nails it on the head once again.


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The Holydrug Couple

The Holydrug Couple sink their teeth into dreampop and get lost in the vapor. Citing Air as a touchstone for the album, the Chilean group definitely takes up the reigns between the French band’s high school comedown “Playground Love” and their wilder (by Air’s standards) workings on Talkie Walkie. Draped in the kind of shimmer, soft lighting and billowing smoke that maxes out a fog machine budget, Holydrug make it sound like longing never resolves. They pine endlessly for a love that’s always moving further out of reach. They swoon at the very thought of closure but, alas it seems that the game is forever played and while you’re playing, they’ve got just the soundtrack to encapsulate that gossamer crush of heartache. Bigger than their last record by a mile, they build monuments of sparkling synth and sinewy bass, wriggling through the aforementioned smoke like serpents through water. Sacred Bones has built a reputation on darkness so The Holydrug Couple has always seemed like a bit of an outlier in their own stable and here they take a few steps further out of line creating a shimmering dose of pop that, while sometimes hard to pick apart in the individual pieces, builds to a larger statement of infatuation nicely.


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Popul Vuh – Letzte Tage – Letzte Nächte

The catalog of Popol Vuh is dense and rather intimidating to find entry points into. Sure, for the true heads out there the beginning of Fricke’s universe, Affenstunde, only makes sense, but there are plenty of other nicely set moments that don’t necessitate charting the history of the band. Though up until now many of these have not been available on vinyl, but thanks to some stellar work by Wah Wah/Supersonic Sounds the band’s later works have now found room on your shelf. The integration of guitar into the band’s sound really starts to take over on Das Hohelied Salomos, where Daniel Fichelscher really starts to become an integral part of the group, but its here on Letzte Tage – Letzte Nächte that he really pushes to the forefront of their sound. Still balancing light and dark, psychedelic heaviness and a pastoral Eastern vibe that’s central to the Popul Vuh sound, this record sees them stretch out and find place in the Krautrock canon that show’s some love for their UK brethren in prog – feeling very versed in Floydisms and the grandeur of Yes. The band were in a very verdant period at this time also working on some of their numerous collaborations with Werner Herzog. These also appear in the newly minted series of reissues by Wah Wah/Supersonic and remain great points of entry into the band’s psychedelic odyssey.



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Mortitz Von Oswald Trio

There’s been no lack of love for Von Oswald’s trio here at RSTB but with this new chapter of the band he knocks an already exemplary band into a new level. Replacing original drummer with current touring drummer and legend in his own right, Tony Allen, the new album from the trio takes off from the group’s usual stomping grounds of electronically bent jazz and dub then infects it with flecks of Afrobeat propulsion and synth darkness in a way that feels like the missing ingredients all along. Sounding Lines plays with space and rhythm. MVO Trio has always pushed forward the boundaries of their respective genres but here they delve headlong into a shadowy cave of echoes that tumble beats in all directions, synths that seek only to haunt and a kind of crushing heaviness that’s as threatening as a coronary. Perhaps not one for the coming summer sun but when that swelter starts to bubble up from the soil itself, Sounding Lines will feel like just the answer.



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Thee Tsunamis

Oof, Thee Tsunamis make good on that EP from last year with a ripper of an album. Saturday Night Sweetheart blasts through candy coated garage like a bad habit. Not necessarily rewriting any books or hooks but to be fair this one seizes you more like a coloring book anyhow so what’s to be rewritten? Scribbled deliriously outside the lines and shredded to confetti before you could ever catch a glimpse, the album is frothy and fun, all swooning love songs, b-movie brawls and late night laments rolled in leather. The ranks of garage are legion these days and the best bits float along the top because you can practically feel the band having fun through the speakers, coaxing you out of your sad little funk and forcing those feet to move. For a dose of toughed up, take no shit Brill Building wrecking ball pop; you’d be remiss to look any further than Thee Tsunamis.


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Pan – Pan

70’s prog had its enclaves for sure. Germany always gets its due. The US and UK are well, maybe even over represented, but Denmark never really hits the map. Pan were on of the most hard hitting and inventive Danish prog acts of the 70’s and over the years this eponymous record has achieved some cult collector status. The majority of the album revolves around muscular riffs but the band balances the sweat factor with some pastoral organ and acoustic touches that give it a more storied appeal. The band was founded by French ex-pat Robert Leilevre who was wandering Europe to evade military service. When he landed in Denmark the pieces fell in line for what would become Pan. Though Leilevre was rumored to be difficult to work with and the band would split after this sole LP with members filtering on to other bands including Denmark’s other famous export Culpeper’s Orchard, Blast Furnace and Delta Blues Band. Shadoks has done this one up nicely, with far more attention given than even recent CD reissues. Poster, printed inner and a bonus 7″ on a 500 press. This is definitely one that will go fast.



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Swiftumz – “Taste The Gray”

I’ve already professed some love for Swiftumz’ sophomore LP, Everybody Loves Chris, but there’s always room for a little more. In the casino set, blurred blackout of a clip Chris McVicker wanders through the underbelly of Reno set to the grunge blasted fuzz pop of album standout “Taste The Gray.” If you haven’t had a chance to check out the album yet, its highly recommended that you dive into the weird pop universe of McVicker’s Swiftumz.


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Thee Oh Sees

Am I perpetually in a state of reviewing Oh Sees albums? Sometimes it feels like it. Even with that “hiatus” the band has an intimidating output, that at this time is getting tough to crack for new listeners. As with most of the band’s albums Mutilator Defeated At Last is rife with John Dwyer’s signature reverb howl, blasting through the fog of guitars like a pink neon blast from a toy ray gun. And though, like this, many hallmarks of Thee Oh Sees sound hang heavy on the album, it expands on the formula nicely. There’s a heavy freakout quality to the album making it feel more substantial than its thirty-three odd minutes. Dwyer’s been at this long enough that he’s trimmed some of the fat and left room only for a suite that punches furiously out of the gate with a sweet dip of cool water in the form of “Sticky Hulks” on the back half bringing the comedown. It feels like a study in how to make psych succeed. While The Drop was a surprise return last year, it doesn’t list among my essential Oh Sees, but Mutilator has climbed higher on the list than I’d thought so far into their catalog. Its here and gone before you realize and in true fashion, leaves you wanting to knock that needle back to the start.

Listen:


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