The psychedelic era, short-lived as it was, produced some of the most memorable tunes of the late Sixties and early Seventies. It also spewed forth a lot of crap. Basically, if you had a flange or wah-wah pedal on your cheap electric guitar, and some decent harmonies from the bassist and keyboard player, you could churn out a great psychedelic song in about half an hour. The lyrics didn’t have to make sense. As long as you were blowing someone’s mind, or singing about blowing someone’s mind, you were set.
The Primitives have the distinction of creating—arguably—one of the top ten greatest “one hit wonder” singles of all time with their perfect ‘90s pop gem “Crash.” They’re back with Spin-O-Rama, their first album of entirely original material in 22 years. Fans of their brand of sunshine-infused, jangly guitar Power Pop will be thrilled with this new release.
Spin-O-Rama picks up the band’s sound precisely where they left off in all the right ways, combined with a Byrds-like and ‘60s garage band-tinged influence, along with hints of the Monkees. There is nothing here that quite hits the heights of their delightful earworm “Crash,” but the undeniably catchy single and title track “Spin-O-Rama” as well as shimmering upbeat tracks like “Lose the Reason” and “Petals” make up a solid album from start to finish. It should make old fans deliriously happy and create a large contingent of rabid converts.
Spin-O-Rama was released October 14 via Elefant Records.
By Tyler Hodg
In music, collaboration can often bring out the best in songwriters.The first offering from 3RDEYEGIRL features none other than Prince, who at this point is basically an honorary member of the band (4THEYEGIRLBOY?). Stylistically different than Art Official Age—Prince’s album featuring 3RDEYEGIRL which was released on the same day—Plectrumelectrum is a fairly straightforward rock album, with a few surprises sprinkled in. Ever wondered what Prince would sound with a hard rock band? Here’s your answer!
By Tyler Hodg
The ever-enigmatic Prince returns with not one, but two new albums with help from his friends in 3RDEYEGIRL. With the first of the two—Art Official Age—Prince’s ambitions were to incorporate creativity and artistic value back into music. He is able to achieve this, also revealing that there are no guidelines in music, despite what mainstream pop artists often deliver.
How does writing an album on piano differ from writing an album with a guitar? For an answer, listen to indie/neo-folk singer Jen Wood’s new album, Wilderness. While her previous releases had been written on guitar, Wilderness is piano based and as a result, even at its quietest and most intimate, has a massive, almost filmic quality. The songs are deep and moving and meaningful, chronicling the last several years of her life.
Dutch singer-songwriter Angela Moyra’s stateside debut album is bound to the ocean. A charming, sweet, throwback record, Fickle Island is full of tropical vibes and lyrical imagery, and the accompanying laid back rhythms. It’s a sometimes-delightful debut.
When the first Madeleine Peyroux album was released, I was managing a corporate store and gave her non-offensive easy jazz debut a lot of play. I remember thinking, “she’s got a nice voice, even if it is Billie Holiday’s.” She had the chops, but lacked emotional conviction. Since it was her debut I thought perhaps she would find her own artistic voice on her sophomore release.
On their fourth album, Charlottesville, Virginia outfit Sons of Bill (brothers Abe, James and Sam Wilson are literally, sons of Bill) return with glorious harmonies, thoughtful, literate lyrics, and some excellent musicianship. Produced by former Wilco drummer (and Grammy-nominated producer), Ken Cooner, Love & Logic is the sonic equivalent to wispy clouds scudding across a full moon. It’s arresting and loaded with hooks, but also at times deeply lonesome.
On their third album, Mended With Gold, The Rural Alberta Advantage continue to make hooky, emotion-heavy, often gorgeous, folk-ish music. There’s an epic quality to Mended With Gold that exists in the quiet moments of introspection in frontman Nils Edenloff’s songs: a feeling of space and loneliness, and a feeling of hope. It’s a really good record. I wish Friday Night Lights was still on, because these songs would be perfect soundtrack fodder.
New Orleans transplant Luke Winslow-King is spreading his ever so creative wings and trying a new musical direction. Sort of. Not every song on his new album Everlasting Arms hews to his faithful reproductions of pre-war, deep South music (though those are the best tracks), and he tries on some rockabilly pants and samba beats for size. The results are mixed.