Archive for Ty Segall

Ty Segall Revives The Lost Art Of The Album

Posted in Music with tags on February 5, 2017 by johnbuckley100

ba75464c379f3e3f975c0a94673e6f59Just when you think Ty Segall is mortal, he astounds you all over again.  We didn’t love Emotional Mugger when it came out a year ago, though we admired its conceptual breadth. But with the eponymous Ty Segall, the West Coast wunderkind has done more than release the best album of an intense, hugely productive career.  He has revived the album format, which has been under assault since the dawn of MP3s.

Sticky FingersImperial Bedroom, even — especially? — Sandinista were all exemplars of that long lost artform, the pacing of an album as a collection of disparate songs, showcasing different idioms and genres, all adding up to a defining whole.  Last year’s Emotional Mugger was a concept album, a series of connected songs, but the music didn’t really gel.  Or at least it wasn’t a collection of songs I much wanted to listen to a lot.

On Ty Segall, the young genius has pulled together a collection of songs that are remarkably different from one another, but they don’t pull apart, they spin with centripetal force.  The most astonishing song of the lot is the 10:21 suite, “Warm Hands (Freedom Returned)”, which in five movements takes in the whole of Segall protege Wand’s prog, the Santana-influences of the Stones’ “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking,” and two or three of Mr. Segall and his pal Mikal Cronin’s modern Power Pop’n’Punk flavorings.  It’s a tour de force.  But the whole album is, really.

Since Segall’s advent at the beginning of this decade, rock’n’roll has been revived, and he’s the biggest reason.  Yes, we would still have Thee Oh Sees if Ty had not burst upon the scene.  But for at least seven years, Segall’s influence on other artists, and his own great output of self-produced, largely self-created records has added up to a movement.  He’s Shiva, creator and destroyer, making rock’n’roll relevant again.  With Manipulator a couple years back, he seemed to cast his lot with commercial success, and produced one of the catchiest collections of radio rock this side of the White Stripes or the Black Keys.  With Ty Segall, he’s gone for some thing bigger.  An *album* you mention in the same sentence as Sticky Fingers, Imperial Bedroom, even Sandinista.

Ty Segall-Produced Debut By Feels Is Our Summer Playlist

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on July 3, 2016 by johnbuckley100

It must be so much fun to be Ty Segall, to release album after album of high quality fuzz- toned garage rock and the occasional masterpiece (Twins, Manipulator.)  But even if we’re not really grokking on Gogg, his new part-time band with the Swedish backslash through the O, we can only marvel at what a great record he produced by young L.A. band Feels.  While released a few months ago, it only came to our attention as the air grew warm, but has now completely melted over our music player’s hard drive.  Nothing else can stick, because Feels has claimed it, and our ears, and our heart.

This isn’t the first time an incredible young band has been brought to the world, essentially, through the agency of Mr. Segall.  Wand was such a band two years ago, and they’ve now fought their way into the same sentence with Ty, White Fence, and Thee Oh Sees.  Feels is a four-piece fronted by Laena Geronimo, and when you hear them roar on their eponymous debut, the mind starts gathering links to bands as disparate as Hole and 8 Eyed Spy.  Feels is notable for how perfectly the drums are tuned, how hollow is the distortion on the guitar, the great harmonies, the way songs can go off on tangents and come galloping home like a filly that remembered something.

On “Close My Eyes,” we hear echoes of Ty’s own best work — it has hooks a stevedore would struggle to lift, which is one reason it has, for weeks now, hung from the tippy top of my brains.  There is no respite from the tuneful sludge when they head into “Slippin’,” which just as soon as it seems is going to get stuck in the grunge, springs free with a kick and a  “whoo hoo” as infectious as a Brazilian bug bite.  Every so often, when the riff-making seems heavy, they break into a double-time trot that would make Exene and John Doe smile.  And if you don’t believe me, go listen to “Tell Me,” the summer’s catchiest song.

So, it is good to be Ty, who appears to be having the time of his life, playing with whomever he chooses, whenever he wants.  But every once in a while, when a band like Feels gets introduced to the world through his auspices, we are reminded what a force for good he is, how generous he can be, and why this decade is, past the mid-point, shaping up musically as stronger than even the ’90s.

Ty Segall’s 9:30 Club Show And The Triumph Of Willful Perversity

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on February 26, 2016 by johnbuckley100

Ty 2016 TFrenzy

It’s a little perverse when a brilliant musician, whose typically raw but highly polished albums feature him playing every single instrument, turns over the playing to a band of aces.  At this point in his career, though, Ty Segall knows exactly what he’s doing: his perversity is willful.

Ty is a once-in-a-generation inspiration, a revivalist of real rock’n’roll who has an impact on the entire West Coast punk rock environment, but he’s a primitive, right, so it’s okay if we don’t delve too deeply into the meaning of his baby’n’umbilical-chord persona with which he came out flogging his new album, Emotional Mugger.  It’s okay if we don’t accord him the depth of a Bowie, or even a Stephen Colbert, when he abandons the guitar and instead plays a character on the album and stage.  Let’s take this at the level at which we have always viewed him: pure rock’n’roll power, a character like Iggy Pop is a character, not on the level of Ziggy Stardust.

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The Muggers picked our pockets and left us bowled over on the floor, with Evan Burrows of Wand creating his own little breeder reactor on the drum kit, his fellow bandmate Cory Hanson filling in on synth and guitar, and King Tuff, looking like he’d just stepped off of a Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band photo shoot, laying down the leads that heretofore Charles Moothart (whose CFM was an amazing opening act), or Ty himself would have played.  Not having to play guitar left Segall able to tiptoe to the edge of the crowd, inspiring all manner of surfers, including one girl who safely was carried back to the sound booth, returning to the stage with a game face and no doubt minor bruises.

Ty 2016 TFrenzy-3The last time Ty hit the 9:30 Club stage, he was touring behind his most commercial album ever, Manipulator, which had Black Keys hooks with a sharkskin sheen.  Emotional Mugger is at once as ambitious as Manipulator but also deliberately repellant and obscure, but live — and with this stellar band backing him, baby head and all — the tornado force of the music was nothing less than fun.

Ty 2016 TFrenzy-6We don’t really pretend to know why, midway through the set, he went back into character with the baby head and all, just that by the time he played “Candy Sam,”the crowd would have followed him to pillage all the chocolate shops on U Street.

Ty 2016-2When he’d completed the full rendition of Emotional Mugger and we heard the familiar chords of “Thank God For Sinners” from Twins, still his best album, it was great to have him shed the mask, ditch the character, and get back to Ty Segall, the tyro of his age.  “Manipulator” and “Feel” from his last real album were a reminder of what this guy can do, especially when a drummer like Evan Burrows is banging a gong.  In this miserable political year we’ve witnessed one guy with blonde hair get crowds to respond to his manipulations in an ugly manner.  Great it was last night to see another guy with blonde hair whip a crowd into a frenzy with the benignity of the cathartic arts.

New Music — The Auras, P.J. Harvey, Iggy — With Which To Survive A Blizzard

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on January 27, 2016 by johnbuckley100

Snowzilla, as it was dubbed, has kept us mostly cooped up, but are we suffering from cabin fever?  Well, sure, yeah. But it would have been so much worse if we hadn’t had new music to listen to:

  • The Auras released their Saturn Day e.p. two weeks ago, and it merely confirms Tulip Frenzy was correct in giving them 2015 Psych Band of The Year honors. The six songs here continue the young Toronto band’s winning streak of Spaceman 3-inflected, Nuggets-inspired garageband excellence.
  • P.J. Harvey has given us a teaser from The Hope Six Demolition Project, which is to be released in April. “The Wheel” sounds like it could have been on 2011’s Let England Shake, if that album had been recorded with a horn section and been a narrative about Southeast DC, not Albion in WW I.  We have a calendar up on the wall with all the days marked between now and when Polly’s new one hits the world.  One fewer day after this one…
  • Iggy Pop has, as the world now knows, teamed up with Josh Homme and members of the Queens Of The Stone Age and the Arctic Monkeys to record a new album, Post Pop Depression.  We’d be excited enough by “Break Into Your Heart” — a far more welcome discovery after having been dropped onto our iPad in the middle of the night Sunday than was the two feet of snow dropped onto our streets Friday-Saturday.  But “Gardenia,” which is available both as a download and, should you be so inclined to seek it out, performed live on Colbert last week, is a revelation — Iggy’s best song since Naughty Little Doggy.  If like me, David Bowie’s death already sent you back to those great Iggy albums, well, let’s just say March can’t get here soon enough.
  • Eleanor Friedberger‘s New View is excellent , the best thing she’s done since her days with brother Matthew in the Fiery Furnaces.
  • Ty Segall‘s Emotional Mugger has not grown on us yet.  We keep trying to like it — and Lord knows we’re inclined to.  So far, it seems a muddle.
  • John Cale likewise has not stayed on the Victrola for long, even as we’ve tried grokking both M:FANS and the reissue of Music For A New Society on which it was based.  We stand second to none in our admiration of the great Welshman, but we’re getting a little concerned that we haven’t liked much that Cale has put out since blackAcetate in 2005.
  • Heaters became known to us via Uncut‘s review of their 2015 Holy Water Pool, which if you like the Cramps and can imagine how a psych band could make optimal use of  Poison Ivy’s infectious riffs, you will love.

Finally, we have to offer a preview of coming Tulip Frenzy mania: through diving into Heaters, pulling on threads until we discovered bands they play with in their midwest stomping grounds, we discovered Heaven’s Gateway Drugs.  Wow.  Go download their 2015 single “Copper Hill,” which sounds like the Warlocks cast a potion on The Auras in Olympic Studios circa 1967.  More on these guys, we promise — especially since a new album (their third) is in the cards for 2016.

And how can we honestly talk about the music we’ve listened to this past week without just declaring All Bowie, All The Time?

 

Years Later, Will Thousands Claim They Were At Wand’s Show At The Black Cat?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on November 16, 2015 by johnbuckley100

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About three times as many people claim they were at Nirvana’s winter ’91 show at the old 930 Club as could possibly have fit in that skanky room.  Last night, not too many of us were privileged to have been in the backroom of the Black Cat to see Wand, a band that thunders every bit as much as their precursors, while sharing their genius for melody and that genre-busting tightrope walk between metal and pop.  The 70-minute show was at times transcendent.

A year is a long time in pop music, but was it really just last fall that we saw Wand open for Ty Segall, leading us to discover their remarkably accomplished debut, Ganglion Reef?  Since then — all in calendar year 2015 — the band has released two new albums, each better than the last one, a progression of talent that shows great things to come.

The band is now a foursome, so that Cory Hanson has extra help on keyboards and guitar.  As the singer and principal guitarist, the clean-cut Hanson cuts a fascinating figure.  It’s fully to be expected to find him on a stage, but he looks less like someone who can ply the line between noise-rock and Power Pop than someone you’d see on a tech conference panel being grilled by Kara Swisher on why his start-up’s billion-dollar valuation is justified. Wand plays pretty melodies that stick in your head and then, on a dime, they pivot to chest-jarring fuzz-metal.  As the bandleader, Hanson seems as if at any moment he could turn and walk through a different door, and you’d find yourself listening to music in a completely different tempo, volume, and level of intensity.

Wand 2

But no take on Wand is complete without mentioning that Evan Burrows is a one-man nuclear power plant piston-pounding the drums. If drummers had world rankings like tennis players do, Burrows would be that phenom that went from number 128 to the Top 5 in a single season.  This is evident on the records, manifest live.

We have already stated our dilemma in determining which of Wand’s 2015 records will make Tulip Frenzy’s 2015 Top 10 List.  And honestly, we wish we could call 1000 Days and Golem a double album and be done with it.  But something else came to mind last night when watching this intimate show in which Wand just detonated on stage.  Hanson reportedly was Mikal Cronin’s roommate in LA, and Ty Segall has taken the younger tyro under his ample wing.  In the summer of 2014, Tulip Frenzy declared that we live in a Golden Age of Rock’n’Roll due to the output and sensibilities of Ty, Thee Oh Sees’ John Dwyer, and White Fence’s Tim Presley, and last’s night show by Wand simply confirmed the thesis.  But what also was clear that any listing of West Coast bands and figures leading us to this Periclean age has to include Wand and Cory Hanson.  Those of us who were privileged to be at the Black Cat last night know this.  And we fully expect that a decade from now, hundreds of DC hipsters will claim they were there too, and have known this all the while.

What Recent Live Albums By Phosphorescent, Ty Segall Band And Capsula Say About Those Bands, And Live Recordings

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , on February 18, 2015 by johnbuckley100

Phosphorescent2

Phospherscent at the 930 Club, January 2014

Time was, live albums meant something, whether it was the commemoration of a killer tour (Get Yer Ya-Yas Out), or just that a record company either was owed an album (Band Of Gypsys) or needed to fill time ’til that epic studio album was done (Live At Leeds.)  Weirdly, live albums have accounted for some acts’ big breakthrough (Peter Frampton, Cheap Trick.) Yet as recording technology and digital distribution made it easy to do, some important bands who play great live — Pearl Jam, Wilco — began putting out damn near every live show.  Which devalued the category, and in a weird way, their live shows.  (Right, if all is available, it loses meaning, and if it doesn’t matter whether it’s live or Memorex, going to the concert is more about getting out of the house than hearing the music.)

We had to wait 16 years after the Clash broke up to get the first collection o’ songs recorded in concert, and both From Here To Eternity and Live At Shea Stadium pretty much suck.  The comparative handful of live tracks that have gotten out from Dylan’s Never Ending Tour tease us, as we know there must be a future Bootleg Series release in which the motherload will become available.  The point here is that official live albums now are a bit like filler, they no longer really excite, they usually just feature different versions of songs that likely sounded better in a studio minus the adrenaline and improvisation that comes from that band you love capturing on tape the magic of that show you missed, or better yet, saw.

So why are we so thrilled to hear the new Phosphorescent album, Live At The Music Hall?  The simple answer is because Matt Houck has produced some very good albums in the past five years, but none of them has entirely hung together… there has always been a bit too much self-indulgent filler.   We were lucky enough to see Phosphorescent live last January, and not only does this record capture the brilliance of songs like “The Quotidian Beasts” and “Song For Zula,” it is perhaps Houck’s first record that hangs together the whole way through.  So in this case, the live album adds a coherence to his work that his studio stuff doesn’t.  Hail Phosphorescent Live At The Music Hall, in which an important, underrated artist and his amazing live band play his songs the way they were meant to be heard.  It’s a little bit like White Fence’s Live In San Francisco: the live album that justifies your patience through the studio albums that never quite got you there…

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Ty Segall at the 930 Club, 2014

Ty Segall doesn’t need a live album to tell you anything about him you don’t know from his records, but *his* Live In San Francisco, released a few weeks ago, does offer those poor souls not in a touring city a sense of what utter freaking mayhem ensues when the Ty Segall Band hits town.  We don’t know the meaning of this album coming out under that name, as the show we saw them play in October was under the aegis of Ty Segall, not the Ty Segall Band.  And come to think of it, this live set contains more of Slaughterhouse than any of Ty’s solo (truly solo) recs. But as a snapshot in time, something we will harken to no mater where Ty’s career takes him (the Pantheon, no doubt), we will come back to this, fer the sheer fun of it all.

In the case of Phosphorescent, if we were Christgau and this was a consumer’s guide, we’d say this is the place to invest your hard-earned shekels.  With Ty, you just need to go get an extra job and buy everything he has put out since about 2011 — live album included.  But this should not, by any means, be the first, essential purchase. (That would be Twins.)

Capsula 2

Capsula at The Black Cat, 2013

With Capsula, though, a band that we have previously called The Greatest Rock’n’Roll Band in the WorldDead Or Alive is definitely a great place to begin, as it quickly proves we’re right, is an infectious party platter, and truly should be valued for the way it points you to their best studio albums (2006’s Songs & Circuits, with 2011’s In The Land Of Silver Souls being a close runner up.)  It gives longtime fans the joy of listening to these amazing musicians without having to travel to Bilbao, where the Argentines now live.

Capsula’s live album fills the role of a great many previous live albums: having put out seven excellent records, in English and Spanish, including a note-perfect (that was the problem) version of Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust, a live album was an inevitability, a notch in the belt, an artifact needed for the formal record.  Capsula is a great live band, and this proves it.  And if you’ve never heard them before, start here.  Unlike Get Yer Ya-Yas Out, this is not the Capsula album we’ll be playing in 45 years.  But as a glimpse of what a powerful sonic machine they are when they get going, yeah, it’s a good ‘un.

White Fence Takes Top Honors On The 2014 Tulip Frenzy Top Ten List (c)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 6, 2014 by johnbuckley100

Robert Christgau famously wrote that Dylan’s The Basement Tapes was the best album of 1975, and would have been the best album of 1967, too, if it had been released the year it was recorded.  It goes without saying that if The Basement Tapes Complete were not a 47-year old document, it would have topped the 2014 Tulip Frenzy Top Ten List (c).

But it would be unfair to trump the excellent albums released this year with one of rock’s classics, released as it was from the vapors of the past.  And this year there were many excellent records vying for top honors.  Thee Oh Sees missed our list because it was a transition year for John Dwyer, and as much as we enjoyed Drop, recording without the band that made Floating Coffin such a delight was a disappointment.  Asteroid #4 eponymous release was in contention, but just missed.  There were some other close calls, competition was tight, but in the end, we think this is a pretty good list for you to scratch out and leave for Santa to find.

#10: Maui Tears by Sleepy Sun

Back in February, we wrote this:

Maui Tears is constructed along the blueprint specs that Stephen McBean used in Black Mountain’s Wilderness Heart: there’s tuneful, exciting, straight-ahead rock’n’roll (“The Lane”) followed by acoustic balladry you might have found on early Led Zep, and then immersion into the headphone imperatives of metal-psyche. “Outside” is, for our money, a better version of MBV than anything found on m b v. “11:32″ is a mere 4:10 worthy of punk-metal goodness, and on “Thielbar” you can catch a whiff of Black Rebel Motorcycle exhaust and it smells like… victory.”

Eight months later it still holds.

#9: Ganglion Reef by Wand

In late September, we wrote this:

Ganglion Reef, the 35-minute long debut album by L.A.’s Wand is sonic DMT, a short, intense trip you can take on your lunch break and return to work with a slightly loopy smile on your face. The best psychedelica, like the best punk, always had a gooey core of pop music at its center, catchy melodies being just as important — maybe more important, given the heavy winds the music otherwise generates — than anything aimed right at radio programmers. And so it is with Wand, a band that can appeal to anyone who made a mixtape including both Tame Impala and Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Even after powering through sludgy riffs that seem like a bulldozer plowing a highway in the Mariana Trench, they shift to some sweet-sounding harmonies bristling with hooks.”

#8: Brill Bruisers by The New Pornographers

We never actually wrote about Brill Bruisers, which comes about as close as we ever do to the mainstream.  For even though they qualify as Alt something or other, The New Pornographers are a big band, big following, no lack of critical attention.  When we saw them in November, it confirmed that Brill Brusiers was as good as Challengers, which we loved, though not as good as Twin Cinemas, of course.  How they do it — how they create completely polyester pop when what we love is all natural fibers is a miracle to behold.  And that’s what The New Pornos are, circa 2014.

#7 With Light And With Love by Woods

Having given Bend Beyond a #1 ranking in 2012, it was hard to see how Woods could top what was, we said then, a perfect album.  But here’s how we viewed this glorious record when it came in the spring:

“What’s different here is evident from the start, wherein album opener “Shepherd” has a pedal steel and Nicky Hopkins piano sound, a postcard from whatever country locale Woods has arrived in, far out of town and in touch with their Flying Burrito Brothers. We suppose that Woods — a Brooklyn band that records Upstate — has a shorter distance to travel than Darker My Love did when they veered into chiming ’60s country rock with Alive As You Are ( another Perfect Album that took Tulip Frenzy Album of the Year honors. And in fact, Tim Presley plays on this ‘un.) The country vibe sure is lovely, but better yet comes the Dylanesque “Leaves Like Glass,” whose instrumentation sounds like the tape was left rolling during the Blonde On Blonde sessions. We would dare anyone to listen to “Twin Steps” and not immediately plan on proceeding, with the missionary zeal of a programmed zombie, to catch this band live. And while the 9:07 title track sums up this band’s virtuosity and complexity in spades, it’s “Moving To The Left” that harkens, ironically, to the right of the radio dial, where in a perfect world it would remain, being played over and over throughout the summer months.”

#6 Dean Wareham by Dean Wareham

A solo album released by one of our heroes produced the pleasure we anticipated, and live with Britta, playing songs from Galaxie 500 and Luna, not to mention Dean and Britta and New Order, made this year a great moment to take stock of one of pop culture’s treasures.  Add to this the many interviews Warham sat for and the writing he published, and he added to the sum  of life’s pleasures.

Here’s what we wrote in March:

Dean Wareham is produced by My Morning Jacket’s Jim James and it is an old-fashioned, two-sided LP. Yes, of course, it’s a digital download and a CD, but it is structured pretty much as two distinct sides. Something that has always been hard to reconcile is Wareham’s admiration both for the songwriting of his friend Lou Reed and his taste for Glen Campbell. Yes, you read that right. But on his solo album, the softer first side and the harder-hitting second half for the first time make these seemingly irreconcilable aspects of his musical personality make sense. We have spent years culling our favorite songs from Luna albums onto play lists, which assumes also that there are songs we leave behind. But this is an album you can play all the way through, enjoying everything.

It really takes off in the album’s final 25 minutes, beginning with the breathtaking “Holding Pattern,” but we can’t imagine dropping the first side’s songs out of any playlist. “Babes In The Woods” finishes with a structure those who loved “Friendly Advice” from Luna’s live shows will surely recognize, and both versions of “Happy & Free” will bring a smile to the faces of anyone who’s spent the evening driving with Galaxie 500 or Luna on the tape deck.”

#5 Held In Splendor by Quilt

We played this record so often when it came out, we literally couldn’t listen to it again until recently.  Listening to it confirms what we believed when it was released in the spring: Quilt is a patchwork of sonic delight.

Here’s what we wrote in March:

“Shane Butler and Anna Fox Rochinski were art-school students when they formed Quilt at the dawn of the Obama years, and we bet their teachers shook their heads in dismay when they veered into music. For the rest of us, art school’s loss is our earbuds’ gain as angels dance around guitar and keyboard weirdness that can call to mind both Magic Trick and the Magic Castles in the span of a single song. Where Widowspeak lacks fiber, Quilt has just enough bulk to maintain a consistent weight. Held In Splendor is wonderfully produced, weird in the way Prince Rupert’s Drops are weird, thrilling in the way Woods are thrilling. Yeah, this is a good ‘un, and we’ll just state the obvious: if these guys really were from the late ’60s Bay Area, Altamont would never have happened, and by 2014 the land would be harmonious and we’d all be happy vegans. ‘Course, they’re in the here and now, and so you have the chance to hear ‘em now.”

#4 Manipulator by Ty Segall

We were a little disappointed when Manipulator came out, and then we realized we were behaving like an asshole.  Having chided Segall three years ago for not getting serious about putting down an album that could capture the music that would make him the hugest star, when the guy recorded a commercial masterpiece, we wrote, essentially, why isn’t he continuing to make songs just for us?  Yeah, we were wrong.

But we were right in this:

“On the title track, on songs like “It’s Over” and “Feel,” the magic is there. Oh brother, is it there. We exult in it, and hope those listening for the first time — and we suspect millions will — are moved by this ‘un to press the music wide-eyed on all their friends and family, and then go explore the earlier, rawer albums, and the associated recs by Thee Oh Sees and White Fence that have been made better by the knowledge that Ty was out back, recording his new one in a cheap and scuzzy garage.”

#3 V Is For Vaselines by The Vaselines

The Vaselines make us happy.  What more needs to be said.

Oh yeah, here’s how we first responded to this amazing album:

“And now comes V For Vaselines, the tightest, likely the most tuneful album of punk rock since Rocket To Russia, an album that if listened to on the Delta Shuttle (true story) provokes such aisle seat joy that cross aisle neighbors stare before you realize you are snapping your fingers and possibly singing along. Eugene and Frances have never sung better, the propulsive drumming is more infectious than Ebola, and the whole album swings. We wake in the middle of the night with “Crazy Lady” being powered through the Marshall amps inside our mind, and when we say that this song — actually, the whole album — reminds us of I (Heart) The Mekons, we of course are offering the highest praise. “Earth Is Speeding” is a reminder of what could have happened if Roxy Music, in 1977, had hopped on the punk rock bandwagon. Lovers once upon a time, adult collaborators these days, Kelly and McKee have literally never sounded better than they do on “Number One Crush,” with its great lyrical premise of tongue-tied love (“Being with you/Kills my IQ).”

#2 Revelation by The Brian Jonestown Massacre

Anton Newcombe’s career revival continued in 2014, and continues to this minute, as the just-released +-E.P. is even better than the two albums BJM have released in the past two years.  A successful European tour and his Twitter feed are just further indications that one of rock’s true geniuses is, at this point in his life, taking on a Dylan-esque late phase creative flowering, a metaphor we used when we wrote about Revelation last summer:

Revelation, which officially comes out tomorrow but happily was available to download last night, is so good, we wonder if it might be the Love and Theft to Aufheben‘s Time Out Of Mind, a portent not just of a return to greatness after a less-than-great creative patch, but an indicator that Newcombe’s best work, like Dylan’s, might someday be understood to have been made when his youth was behind him — to be not what he produced when he was a young and brash punk, but what came after a hard-earned perspective. I mean, there were days when few people might have expected Anton would be around to make an album in 2014 — but to discover that he’s produced one of the best albums of his career? Yeah, it’s got the right name: Revelation.

The album begins wonderfully, with the Swedish rocker “Vad Hande Med Dem” giving way to the Kurt Vile-ish “What You Isn’t.” By the time we get to “Memory Camp,” it doesn’t matter which members of the large tribe that have variously performed as BJM are playing behind Anton, it doesn’t matter that we’re in Berlin, not California, no other band or set of musicians — not even ones like the Morning After Girls who worshipped the sticky ground on which Anton walked — could produce a Brian Jonestown Massacre album half as good as this. By the time we got to “Food For Clouds,” we were grinning ear to ear. At “Memorymix,” we were ready to take the day off and just hole up, having committed to memory the phone number to the Dominos delivery folks. By “Xibalba” we were dancing around the house.”

#1 For The Recently Found Innocent by White Fence

We loved this record from the moment we heard it, and have played it on an almost daily basis since August.  We are so pleased to welcome Tim Presley back — yes, back — to the cherished #1 rank on Tulip Frenzy’s Top 10 List.  We can’t describe it better today than we did then:

“We knew what Presley could do, not just because his band Darker My Love released Tulip Frenzy’s #1 album in 2010, Alive As You Are. And in 2012, Presley and Segall collaborated on Hair, which qualified as no less than that year’s 2nd best album. And then, after we complained for what seems like ever that we wished Presley would get out of the bedroom and take his talents to a proper studio and record with a proper band, not to mention straighten up and comb his hair etc., he closed out the year with a live masterpiece — White Fence’s Live In San Francisco, which made our Top Ten List(c). What a hootenanny that one is! Maybe the best punk rock record of the last five years! You could hear John Dwyer of Thee Oh Sees chortling at the knobs, as he recorded Presley in all his barrre-chord glory. And now we can hear the impact of his friend Ty Segall, who plays drums and produces what is already apparent as the best batch of White Fence cookies to come out of the oven. Ever.

Whether he’s an introvert, or just likes the freedom of recording at home, the intervention by friends Dwyer and Segall to get Tim Presley to share with the world a better sounding version of the magic that takes place the moment he picks up a guitar is surely welcomed. We are done comparing Presley to Kurtz, gone up the river. On For The Recently Found Innocent he has brought his jangly guitar, his reverence for early Who and Kinks dynamics, his fondness for psychedelic chords, wispy vocals, the patchouli ambience… brought it all to a studio where Mr. Segall himself plays drums and marshals the Dolby hiss fighters to render this in damn near high fi!”

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