Sunday, May 20, 2018

Gum - The Underdog (2018)

I know what you're thinking, this is a surprise.  You're right, it is.  I'm not going to begin to justify why I haven't written or updated my corner of the web, mainly because I doubt anyone would care.  That said, I should at the very least let you in on what I've been doing since I've been away...

Buying and listening to records of course!  Since I last updated, I've added over 100 amazing vinyl albums to my collection!  Far and away one of my favorites that I added fairly recently Jay Watson's, (AKA, Gum), newest album, The Underdog.  

The Australian Multi-instrumentalist singer and songwriter Jay Watson, known as Gum when he's not performing with his associate groups, Tame Impala, and Pond, finally granted us some new psychedelic hotness in the way of a new album back on April 6th.  The Underdog is his 4th studio album since beginning with The Delorian Highway back in 2014.  

Now, you would think that as much of a fan of Tame Impala that I am, I would have discovered Gum a long time ago.  He didn't enter into my consciousness until the late summer last year when I took on an unhealthy obsession with Pond and their hot as fuck album, The Weather, which I will certainly talk about in a future post. None of that would have happened unless I wasn't mindlessly trusting Google Play Music to guide me through new artist suggestions.  Seriously!  The progression from Tame Impala leads to The Unknown Mortal Orchestra, which exposed me to Methyl Ethel, whom I saw in concert last fall, to Pond, to Gum.  Listening to the opening of The Delorian Highway and then his following 2 alums made me obsess just a bit.  I finally understand why Tame Impala is so good.  The sum of their parts, while possibly greater than the whole, is built on some of the most progressive and talented minds in music.  Indeed, Kevin Parker is a gifted artist, but let's be honest, after his work in 2015 with Mark Ronson on Uptown Special, I think we can agree that Kevin is a really good producer.  Jay Watson is still all about the music.  

The Underdog is a focused collection of psychedelic prog, I'm even throwing in some synth-pop into the mix simply because of the chords and highly polished use of electronic instrumentals no doubt driven by someone who knows how to use them.  From the introduction, titled, Introduction, you get a feeling that you're in for an album full of soaring riffs and chill out music reminiscent of Lonerism with a lot fewer experiments and a lot more groove.  I'll again mention his other group, Pond and their album, The Weather.  

The Blue Marble

The first single, The Blue Marble popped up and surprised me somewhere as just that, a single.  I initially thought there was no way this was the prelude to a new album having just released  Flash In The Pan in 2016.  How wrong was I?  After putting this song on repeat more times than I would like to admit, I found out in about 15 minutes that there was, in fact, a new album on the horizon and it would be out in about a month.  Unfortunately, true to form like his previous 3 releases, it would be released on vinyl, only in Australia.  The humanity!  I had to go through some hoops to secure this album, but it was too worth it.  So, shout out Rocking Horse Records in Brisbane Australia for having this.  Since I don't own any of Gums other releases, as they're far too expensive, and again, only available in Australia, it's good to know that indie record stores are thriving all over the world.

As usual, if getting this hotness on vinyl isn't for you, (And I gotta ask why the hell not?), you can snag it from Google Play Music or iTunes, or perhaps Spotify.  Though I gotta vinyl shame you here for a bit.  You're never going to appreciate the sound of this album, it's synths, it's soul, and it's character until you've listened to it balanced and analog.  To that end, check out Spinning Top Music and of course Rocking Horse Records.  Perhaps they'll have a copy or two to send your way.

The Underdog

Gum: @jay_w_watson
Spinning Top: @Spinning_Top

Looking ahead, I've got some awesome vinyl from the U.S. Girls, XTC, Pond, Jack White, Parliment, Depeche Mode, Tricky, and a whole ton more.  In the meantime, what's that that I spy on deck beside Gum?

Friday, June 16, 2017

Sofi Tukker - Soft Animals (2016)

I was turned on to this band after listening to the Coachella stream on a long car ride home back in April.  The crazy thing about this group is, I was resigned to slog through whatever the act was before the one I really wanted to hear, Future Islands, (I'm posting them next.).  I had no idea what to expect.  SiriusXMU is definitely trying to focus on indie artists, but more often than not end up playing the same pseudo-mainstream artists under the guise of indie.  Sorry, Father John Misty is not indie.  Though that's part of a much larger post full of bias on my part, none of which has anything to do with the point at hand.  That point being, Sofi Tuckker's Soft Animals, is one of the best albums that I've bought all year.  I'm kicking myself for not knowing about them sooner.

Sofi Weld and Tukker Halpern got together and collided with Brazilian culture to come up with what has got to be the most incredible menagerie of NYC attitude and Portuguese dance -ever.  I mean, come on... Just. Look.. At... This!

Drinkee - Live at Coachella 2017 Sunday, April 16th

As for their album, it's full of what I would call Brazilian Funk, and lyrics that are so razor sharp, you may even mistake this album as a message to someone.  I haven't heard a modern album this well collected since the 90's.  These guys put together 6 songs that are so far beyond their years, you would think that this was a best of the album.  Of course, I've only heard it on vinyl, so maybe it just sounds a lot better in general.  If you're looking for that summer vibe, this is it.  I can't wait till they come back to the Northeast.

Lastly, and I almost never agree when an artist lends their art to a corporation, ever, but, if you were ever wondering who's music it is behind the current Old Navy campaign, well.  Remember, as usual, I was into it long before it was "in".  ;-)

Check them out: Sofi Tukker
Follow them on Twitter: @SofiTukker
Hear them from time to time on Sirius XMU

Buy their album through their website, or stream it here, and support indie artists!