Podcast: The AM, Jan. 24, 2022

This week’s episode of The AM (also streaming at CJSW.com): I didn’t notice that the 400th episode of the AM had come and gone, but celebrating number 402 works just as well. I shared the first song ever played on The AM, and there’ll be a Spotify playlist of the first episode’s tracklist available sometime shortly—visit theam.ca for that one. But, we’re always looking forward, and this week’s mix of cosmic synthesizers, melodic art-rock, and psychedelic surf is your recommended way to ease into the last week of January.

Continue reading

The Soundcarriers – Wilds

Released Jan 21, 2022

What a delight to have The Soundcarriers back in my life. There have been quite a few bands mining the same vein of nostalgic psych-pop in the seven years since the band’s last release, but very few have pulled it off with quite the same flair. Their sound has never been about faithful recreation of an era, though; it’s an imaginative mish-mash of scenes that existed separately at the time, stitched together from the most appealing elements of Nuggets-era psychedelia, krautrock grooves, Free Design whimsy, and breezy tropicalia.

For this reunion, prompted in part by AMC’s short-lived series Lodge 49, the band picks up right where it left off, their chemistry not at all diluted by the extended hiatus. If anything, those years have only concentrated The Soundcarriers’ sound. The songs on Wilds are concise and focused (no 12-minute jams here), built around Paul Isherwood’s forceful bass and drummer Adam Cann’s relentless drive. The commitment to melody is still there, Leonore Wheatley and Dorian Conway’s vocals blending as sweetly as ever, but the songs feel a little more urgent, more anchored.

Album closer “Happens Too Soon” is about as gentle as the album gets, but even that one ends with a build-up of head-held-high defiance. It’s a fitting end to a release that feels assured from start to finish, a confident reclaiming of The Soundcarriers’ space in the psych-pop pantheon.

Podcast: The AM, Jan. 17, 2022

This week’s episode of The AM (also streaming at CJSW.com): Picking up from last week’s show, an episode anchored by Krautrock and kosmische, with new music from Roedelius and a controversial classic from Neu!. Plus psychedelic jams from Mt. Mountain and Kikagaku Moyo, atmospheric electronics from Bonobo and Sun Rain, and other sounds to warm you up, wake you up, and get you ready for a new week.

Hour One:

  • Crisscrossing
    Roedelius, Tim Story • Four Hands
  • Ever New – Reworked by Joseph Shabason & Thom Gill
    Beverly Glenn-Copeland • Keyboard Fantasies Reimagined
  • Dust and Light
    Tape • Revelationes
  • Capacitor
    Kindly Spoken Thieves • Resistor
  • Man from Gdynia
    Proxima Psychoacoustics • Ataroth
  • Willow Tree Testing (Animal Party Remix)
    Sun Rain • Single
  • Counterpart
    Bonobo • Fragments
  • AndWillContinueToGrow
    lokey • an eternal bloom
  • Reports In
    Die Scum Inc. • The Epoch Code (a Notion Picture Soundtrack)
  • Tintoretto, It’s For You
    Destroyer • Labyrinthitis

Hour Two:

  • Keep Yourself Together
    Contagious Yawns • Dream of Consciousness
  • C.F.D.
    Makaya McCraven • Deciphering the Message
  • Flare Intropin
    Tawni Bias • SEL Fellow
  • Faith in Strangers
    Andy Stott • Faith in Strangers
  • No Refuge in the Past
    Botany • Portal Orphanage
  • Drive (Grundfunken)
    Neu! • Neu! ’86
  • Euphoria
    Neu! • Neu! ’86
  • Cold Dice
    Garcia Peoples • Dodging Dues
  • Hotline
    Lael Neale • Single
  • Always Lovers
    Cindy Lee • Malenkost
  • Watersnake
    Scott Hardware • Ballad of a Tryhard

Hour Three:

  • Freezee Pops
    Sam Evian • Time To Melt
  • Headspace
    Cedric Noel • Hang Time
  • Crazy
    Spiritualized • Everything Was Beautiful
  • Swim in Eyes (Rerecorded)
    Pia Fraus • Now You Know, It Still Feels the Same
  • Ghost
    Parker Sprout • Milk In the Sun
  • We’re Gonna Run Away
    Beach Towels • Single
  • Tassels
    Mt. Mountain • Centre
  • Green Sugar
    Kikagaku Moyo • House in the Tall Grass
  • King of John St.
    Century Palm • Meet You
  • Neutron Star
    Circuit des yeux • -io

Contagious Yawns – Dream of Consciousness

Outside of a single review from a podcast called Tabs Out, this release from anonymous producer(s?) Contagious Yawns seems to have been mostly missed in 2020. That’s a shame, because Dream of Consciousness’ breezy sampledelia is well suited to this atemporal moment. Peppered with spoken-word samples that coalesce around themes of perception, consciousness, and the self, the album is a warm bath of hazy synths, loping cadences, and lo-fi beats.

Puzzle of Who I Am” and “Keep Yourself Together” are highlights, the former for its playful appropriation of Alan Watts (who seems to have become a patron saint of chill electronica), the latter for a timbre that lies somewhere between the lysergic and the liturgical, building to a climax of overlapping voices, insistent drums, and church-organ swells. Elsewhere, “Infinite Mirror” follows a post-rock path of continuous crescendo, a welcome change of pace from the laid-back mood that dominates the album.

It’s a very soothing album, living in the same neighbourhood as Bill Holt’s Dreamies or the esoteric plunderphonics of Lesbianhorse, just a bit more affirmational and accessible than either. Like a nostalgic tribute to an era that never quite existed, it’s a calming, questioning refuge from the world outside.

Podcast: The AM, Jan. 10, 2022

This week’s episode of The AM (also streaming at CJSW.com): New music from Neu’s Michael Rother and Cocteau Twins co-founder Robin Guthrie, a double-dip into the sounds of UK label Woodford Halse, a throwback to the sweet sincerity of Martin Rev’s See Me Ridin’, and other dreamy songs for a Monday morning.

Full track list for those who are curious:

Hour One:

  • Exp 1
    Michael Rother, Vittoria Maccabruni • As Long As The Light
  • Dissolution
    Melodien • Monad
  • Periodic Waves
    Bristol Manor • Going Nowhere
  • Galaxies like Grains of Sand
    Hampshire & Foat • Galaxies like Grains of Sand
  • Astral Projection
    Jung People • Empyrean
  • Come With Me
    Eve Parker Finley • Chrysalia
  • Safe
    Copcarbonfire • Deep Forest
  • Band of Rain
    Red Setter • Water Feature
  • Robot Timide
    Ouska • Single
  • Sun Shower
    Various Artists, featuring Yutaka Hirasaka • Futures Vol. 7

Hour Two:

  • Strata
    Marconi Union • Signals
  • Starfish Prime
    Robin Guthrie • Riviera
  • Serious
    Mansur Brown • Heiwa
  • Portrait
    Euchan Chon • Worst Contender
  • I Heard Your Name
    Martin Rev • See Me Ridin’
  • Secret Teardrops
    Martin Rev • See Me Ridin’
  • Pyramid
    Trees Speak • Vertigo of Flaws: Emancipation of the Dissonance and Temperaments in Irrational Waveforms
  • Curse Your Fail
    Broken Social Scene • Old Dead Young (B-Sides & Rarities)
  • Performance
    Modern Nature • Island of Noise
  • Who Has Seen the Wind?
    David Byrne, Yo La Tengo • Ocean Child: Songs of Yoko Ono
  • Bijoux
    Caribou • Up in Flames

Hour Three:

  • Sacred Ritual To Unlock The Mountain Portal
    The Hologram People • Sacred Ritual To Unlock The Mountain Portal
  • A Force at Play
    Cloakroom • Dissolution Wave
  • Slow Shines
    Living Hour • Softer Faces
  • The Straight Line is Dead
    Von Lehbauer • Single
  • Everything is Simple
    Widowspeak • The Jacket
  • Cults
    Florida BC • Salt Breaker Sand
  • Due to Advances in Modern Tourism
    Peel Dream Magazine • Modern Meta Physic
  • Love is In the Air
    Nobaby • Single
  • Sabre
    Monochromatic Visions • Reform
  • Magic Pig
    Tonstartssbandht • Petunia
  • Sunrise
    The Radiation Flowers • Summer Loop

The Hologram People – Sacred Ritual to Unlock the Mountain Portal

A satisfying slab of instrumental psychedelia and earthy kosmische from the UK. Acoustic guitars add bright textures, while walls of fuzz and cosmic synths aim to pierce the veil between this world and the great beyond. “Planet Sahara” makes the Sabbath influence explicit, although The Hologram People are less spooky, the buoyant grooves of tracks like “Pray to the Maypole Witch” and “A Seventies Void” indebted as much to Air’s hazy nostalgia and the prog-inflected library music of the Space Oddities series as to any lords or darkness.

Barring the extended ambient interlude of “Lord Shiva’s Mother Ship”, The Hologram People’s incantations are more concise than the mouthful of an album title would suggest. They may be opening the portal, but they aren’t leaving you adrift.