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Happy Belated New Music Day

May 4, 2010

Well today’s haul of new music was such a good one that I got to dish about it. We got albums from The Flaming Lips, Broken Social Scene, and The New Pornographers today, and I got my hands in all of those cookie jars today with reviews to follow after some proper digesting.

On the topic of reviews, you can find my my reviews of the recent releases of Circa Survive and The Constellations here at Music Vice .

I’m listening through that Flaming Lips Dark Side Of the Moon record again, from the beginning the 10th time now. I’ve been doing a lot more reviews lately, and I’m starting to get down a system to this. To do a good review of an album, I feel like I need to listen to it about 10 times. That gives me time to listen through the album once or twice as background noise just to get used to it. Then I listen through it a couple times just listening to it more carefully, not doing anything, you know- just listening. After I go through the album like that a few times, I start taking some notes. And then I do some research and make some more notes as I go through the album a few more times like that. I’m almost ready to write the article now, so I take a break from the listening so I can come at it fresh again- and when I do come at the writing, I basically throw out those notes from earlier, just writing what I feel as I listen through that the album a few last times.

It’s been a bit of an up and down ride with this album, but as I go through this album this last time I think I’ve come to my decision. The latest from The Flaming Lips (with the help of Stardeath and White Dwarfs) is great, but you also have to take the release for in context of what it is.

Yesterday’s release was the release onto CD of an album which was released onto Itunes in conjunction with the release of Embryonic. (5000 limited edition green vinyl records with cds were released into record stores for any of you lucky bastards who got one). The way I see this, this album is a bonus. Its a side project in addition to the work that the Flaming Lips are already putting out, and it was good enough that the Lips are putting out a physical copy of it so people can have something tangible to play.

A few weeks ago I caved and bought myself a record player. It was so cheap I couldn’t not bring it home, so I bought it one night after work with the tips I had made covering an extra shift for someone. I bought it after seeing Girls and Dum Dum Girls live in concert, and wanting to bring home a recording of the Dum Dum Girls to support them as well as because it was impossible to find the recording on the net. And the band was only selling the recording on vinyl and cassette. It was a move both ballsy and arrogant. Pretty immediately after that I got the record player. And let me tell you nothing quite beats the feeling of bringing home freshly pressed vinyl.

But back the Flaming Lips. There’s no getting around it, this is much more a tribute album than an album where the Lips drastically transform the music of Pink Floyd. That said, the Lips do the album a bit differently (although cut for cut, it’s probably just as weird). There’s a neat bit of noise at the beginning of “Time/Breathe Reprise” that’s composed of soundclips of coughing and breathing with a monolithic synthesized version of Floyd flooding through the speakers. This resolves into quiet as the vocal line comes in, clear, with a twangy waa-waa guitar in the background.

That’s how you have to think about this record if you want to really enjoy it, synthesized Pink Floyd. Floyd for the internet age of mash-ups and appropriation. And in that respect, I think the album is effective. The auto-tune robots and other music machines on “Money” might be a little much for some, but I could see how listening to the funky retrofuturistic groove on “Great Big Gig In The Sky” could make a Floyd fan out of someone who’d never even heard the iconic album. “Great Big Gig In The Sky” is my favourite tune on the original album, but Peaches’ wailing on this version is just as haunting and also very reminiscent of Joplin.

Henry Rollins also loans his talents to this project to voice the original segments of interview recorded into the songs. This is my biggest toss-up on the album. The vocals are so weird, but they also add some narration to what is one of the most iconic albums in the world. Really that’s the album in a nutshell. The great weird-o experimentals from new music paying homage to the weirdo-o experimental types from the past. And layer for layer, it’s just as textured and interesting.

I was discussing this album with Sonya on our separate ways home this evening and she tells me she’s heard a reggae project like that, and I wish I could wrap my ears around that in spite of the fact that she says it’s a bit cheesy.

We are on our way home from watching avant-garde Irish theatre at Harbourfront Centre’s Worldstage . Tonight was the opening of Giselle, and the as you walk in you are warned of offensive language, some nudity, blah blah blah. It’s a retelling of the classic ballet of the same name done by a troupe that is both a dance and theatre troupe, and completely avant-garde. The Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre retelling of Giselle is absurd, hilarious and extremely worth going to see during its short May 4-8th run. The tone of the play alternates between a tension that had me sweating, and some really hilarious moments. The dancing varied from line dancing, to the beautiful moonlit noose dance of the dead unwed girls. The cast was all men and just 2 women, but men and women slid in and out of roles in either gender and it was never heard to follow.

Well, even the wicked must rest sometime. I’ll be back at you soon with some new album reviews. I don’t think I’m going to get in to see Stars play the Mod Club tomorrow, so I think I’ll satiate my appetite for live music by going to watch Nick jam at the Rex tomorrow.

the original album cover

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