Category Archives: Space rock

Can: Tago Mago

Can – Tago Mago (1971)

Glenn: Deep funk you’d feel weird shaking your butt to. Crisp production, with oddly EQ’d drums — muted. Like what you hear with a head cold or a fever. Two long sound collages — one of which contains my all-time favorite 2 minutes of Can (that’d be the opening of “Aumgn”), and the other of which is made up of shouting, carnival blee-boop organ licks, and delay pedal fuckery. A distanced feeling throughout. So is this emotionless post-rock jamming more to be admired than to be enjoyed? Or is there blood in these grooves?

Jordy: There is vibrant life in these grooves.  As my liner notes quotes keyboardist Irmin Schmidt: Can was like a “mighty, pulsing organism.”   Similarly, I would define the “life” of Tago Mago more in biological terms.  It has a regular heartbeat and bowel movements, for instance.  (Excuse me while I abandon this analogy…) Continue reading

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Filed under 1970s, Experimental, Prog Rock, Psychedelic, Rock, Space rock

“Oh, to realize something is ending within us”

The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory....sounds like a Flaming Lips song title, huh?

The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory....sounds like a Flaming Lips song title, huh?

The Flaming Lips – “Feeling Yourself Disintegrate” from The Soft Bulletin (1999)

A while back, Jordy and I were talking about songs with dense, complicated arrangements, and how that density can enhance the meaning and emotion inherent in the song. He mentioned the late-60s/early-70s Beach Boys — Brian Wilson was nothing if not a genius of overload.

But the first thing that popped into my noggin was this ditty from the Flaming Lips’ best record. In fact, it is not especially dense, but I think that every guitar strum, every echoey mellotron yawn, every cymbal ping serves to create a sort of rock-and-roll tone poem. Toward the end the song itself begins to disintegrate.

What dense complicated platters do you love to spin, and why?

Buy the Lips

Posted by Glenn

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Filed under 1990s, Psychedelic, Rock, Space rock

“I can and well just might turn you on”

photo from last years SWR employee picnic

photo from last year's SWR employee picnic

Funkadelic – “Funky Dollar Bill” from Free Your Mind…And Your Ass Will Follow (1970)
Funkadelic – “Standing On The Verge Of Getting It On” from Standing On The Verge Of Getting It On (1974)

Funkadelic was batshit crazy. And it wasn’t just George Clinton: his top-notch sidemen and singers were as into the weird as the Supreme Maggot Minister himself. These two jams attest to that. On “Funky Dollar Bill,” check Eddie Hazel’s brain-melt guitar tone and acid casulty Lucius “Tawl” Ross’s unhinged singing. Clarence “Fuzzy” Haskins sings on “Standing On The Verge,” a mutha-funkin’ masterpiece.

What gets me about Funkadelic is that behind their UFO-psych jamming are tight, inventive vocal arrangments. Mixed differently, a lot of this stuff could be pop. But the Parliafunkadelicment Thang would never let you off the hook so easily, now would they?

Told ya my next post would be cooler.

Mommy, what’s a Funkadelic? (buy it here)

Posted by Glenn

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Filed under 1970s, Funk, Psychedelic, Rock, Soul, Space rock

It’s No Possible

Fela Kuti – “It’s No Possible” from He Miss Road (1975)

While “It’s No Possible” is not Fela’s most political, angriest, funkiest, or even most danceable jam, it’s his spaciest, most trance-inducing, and, to my mind, best structured. And who doesn’t need an induced trance right about now?

Buy Fela

Posted by Glenn

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Filed under 1970s, Funk, Psychedelic, Rock, Space rock

Two songs I adore

Cans

Cans

There’s no theme or commentary to today’s post other than it’s Friday and I adore these two songs.

Can – “Mushroom” from Tago Mago (1971)
Califone – “Sawtooth Sung A Cheater’s Song” from Heron King Blues (2004)

What sounds good to you this Friday?

More Califone on SWR

More Can on SWR

Buy the ‘fone

Buy the ‘an

Posted by Glenn

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Filed under 1970s, 2000s, Acoustic, Experimental, Folk, Post-rock, Prog Rock, Psychedelic, Rock, Roots rock, Space rock

“And the feeling remains”

Ester Drang – “How Good Is Good Enough” from Goldenwest [2001]

The funny thing about Oklahoma’s Ester Drang is that they get progressively less interesting and ambitious with every release.  This, however, is a standout track from their standout album, a shoegaze/space-rock inferno.  One of my favorites, good for weird weather days, great for summer driving, best for giant gray clouds.

Even if you want to, some days you can’t start over.  I listen to this song on these days.

Buy Ester Drang’s spacerock

Posted by Phil

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Filed under 2000s, Rock, Space rock

Moses come ridin’ up on a quasar: A Somewhat Brief Primer To ’70s Live Dead

The Grateful Dead – “Greatest Story Ever Told” from Steppin’ Out With The Grateful Dead: England 1972
The Grateful Dead – “Not Fade Away > Playing In The Band” from Dick’s Picks Vol 10: Winterland, 12/29/1977
The Grateful Dead – “Scarlet Begonias > Fire On The Mountain” from Barton Hall, Cornell University, 5/8/1977
The Grateful Dead – “Friend of the Devil” from American Beauty (1972)

A few weeks back, my pal (and excellent poet) Ryland burned me two discs of the very best of the Grateful Dead, live in the ’70s. As my brother says, “It’s good to have a Deadhead friend, to seperate the wheat from the chaff.” Or the leaves from the stems and seeds, as it were. Here are a few excerpts for all SWR-heads.

“Greatest Story” is good-time boogie rock. “Not Fade Away” is a frantic Buddy Holly cover that segues into (the separate mp3) “Playing in the Band,” in this iteration an ambient groove. (A glance at that night’s setlist shows that versions of “Playing” were scattered throughout the set.) “Scarlet > Fire” is (I’m told) the classic version from a classic show. And “Friend of the Devil” for all y’all who don’t like 20 minute noodle-fests. There’s certainly more Dead to be heard (just trying googling, good god), but these tracks represent the pinnacle of what I’ve listened to, so far.

Buy the Dead

Download the Dead

Or check out setlists here

Posted by Glenn

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Filed under 1970s, Americana, Folk, Live, Psychedelic, Rock, Space rock