Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Canon #10

Lift To Experience - Falling From Cloud 9

Since the release of Lift To Experience's first (and last) album, The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads, the band's mastermind, Josh Pearson, has slipped into an existence eerily similar to that of fellow Texan Roky Erickson, leader of 60's psych-rockers The 13th Floor Elevators. The LTE story is just like that of the 13th Floor Elevators and dozens of other bands: brilliant cult band, after a brief existence and limited output, implodes and fades into obscurity. Fortunately, word has surfaced that Josh is returning from his monastic exile into the desert to finally release new music. Josh needs to be making music because his sound and approach to music was/is captivatingly unique. He has the God-fearing, rebel swagger of Johnny Cash and David Eugene Edwards (16 Horsepower), the angelic vocal chords of Jeff Buckley, and he can whip up a guitar squall like Kevin Shields (My Bloody Valentine). It's also worth noting that LTE was "discovered" and signed by Cocteau Twin Simon Raymonde.

"Falling From Cloud 9" begins, appropriately, sounding like a gathering storm. For the first 30 seconds, Josh unleashes a sandstorm of melody from his guitar and then everything drops away except for his voice gently whispering:

"Rising to the top/Knowing I must fall/
Re-feather the wings - soft, it stings/
to make the crawl to the top and then take the fall again/
blood-soaked, gagged and choked, lying face on the stone,
stripped bare, sucking air/This is my home, it seems,
with the rock and the hard place I'm stuck between"

The reference to Jesus is rather obvious, but the reference is not made in an evangelical or overwrought manner. Actually, you're likely to miss most of what he is saying unless you pay close attention. From what I can gather, Josh seems to be conjuring up these pre-crucifixion moments to echo his own personal struggle over what kind of life he wants to live. Perhaps he perceives himself as "falling from God's grace." The lines "this goddamn cross crushing into my chest/I'm still doing my best" are quite telling. Maybe his religious upbringing is placing a burden of guilt on him for his "life on cloud nine." Like the aforementioned Johnny Cash and David Eugene Edwards, Josh taps into his spirituality as a means to judge and point the finger at himself only. When he's not doing that, his rebel spirit is on full display.

And what wonderful sounds are accompanying this tale of woe? Guitar-playing that tip-toes beautifully between waves of feedback and starburst melody. Did I mention Josh's beautiful voice? In lay terms, just imagine three guys in Stetson hats playing OK Computer in the desert.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Rob's Summer Mixtape

Due to popular demand, I've decided to follow in Ben's footsteps and do this as well. So sit back, chillax, and enjoy the ride. If you can't head out to the porch with some cool beers and enjoy these tunes with your bros or broettes, you can go fuck yourself. Sorry, but them's the breaks.

21 hott traxx, 78 minutes.

1. Talking Heads - Thank You For Sending Me an Angel
This song kicks of More Songs About Buildings and Food and it kicks off this here tape. If there's one thing that makes me happy, it's the Talking Heads, and summertime is happy, so there you go. Particularly this song.

2. Modest Mouse - Float On
This song broke just before summer a few years back and we couldn't go anywhere without hearing it. I got sick of it for awhile, but fuck, it's just jammin'. And oddly uplifting for Modest Mouse. But sooner or later, Isaac had to stop being such a curmudgeon, albeit temporarily, and that's what this song is about. Shit happens, but whatevs, it's all good!

3. Daft Punk - Digital Love
I don't dance, but if I did, and I was in Europe, I would like to do it to this song. Are you picking up on the happy, good times theme here?

4. The Notorious B.I.G. - Hypnotize
If it's good enough for Julia Stiles to go dance on a table, it's good enough for me! Hott traxx indeed. The video helps give it that beach vibe.

5. The Go! Team - Ladyflash
This is what it was like to grow up in Brooklyn circa 1977. I say this because I was there.

6. Sly & the Family Stone - Dance to the Music
Listen to Sly.

7. David Bowie - Young Americans
This is easy going, soft, and agreeable. It's also schlocky. Don't think the Duke didn't know this. You got served, America.

8. Supertramp - Goodbye Stranger
I will sing this at a karaoke bar before I die.

9. Cornershop - Brimful of Asha
I don't know what a brimful of asha is and I don't care. What I do know is that everyone needs a bosom for a pillow.

10. The Clash - Rudie Can't Fail
The Clash and their most reggae before they went over the top.

11. The Replacements - Alex Chilton
Ben mentioned that Big Star are summery. Well, this song is about enjoying Big Star. Beat that!

12. The Libertines - Can't Stand Me Now
This song is basically one long bro hug. Jealous, girls? You should be, because you can you have all the pillow fights and girltalk that you want, but you'll never have the bro hug.

13. Wilco - Outtasite (Outta Mind)
This is porch music.

14. The Smiths - This Charming Man
Not too angsty here, and upbeat enough to enjoy on a summer afternoon.

15. Pavement - Spit on a Stranger
Pavement is pretty summery as a whole, and here they near their summeriest.

16. Neil Young - Walk On
Neil's all "Eat a bag of dicks, Skynyrd." Neil rules.

17. T.Rex - Mambo Sun
If you want to get high on a hot summer afternoon, here you go...

18. Paul Simon - You Can Call Me Al
Overplayed and justifiably so. This is 100% pure fun.

19. The Beach Boys - I Can Hear Music
Odd that I'd choose a cover, true. But this is about as simple and fun lovin' as it gets. If I had a convertible and a blonde, I'd never leave my car.

20. The Avalanches - Since I Left You
Spring brings a rebirth, but summer is when you really start start feelin' at home in your new shoes. "Since I left you / I've found a world so new."

21. Harry Nilsson - Coconut
Self-explanatory, dudes.

That's all! Thanks for reading, friends, and stay refreshed!