Friday, February 20, 2009
These Were the Week that Was
Samurai (Esoteric) were an odd duck of a band who did one album in 1971 before packing it in. Their sound blended some jazz, soul, and progressive, ending up somewhere in the vicinity of Gentle Giant's departure point. With sax and vibes to colour the guitar/organ foundation, it's a fun listen, and the songs are mighty catchy. Songwriter, vocalist, and keyboardist Dave Lawson went on to Greenslade, whom I have no idea about.
I'm really into Popol Vuh at the moment. I guess they're best known for their Werner Herzog soundtracks, and their non-soundtrack work is definitely "cinematic" as well. I have three of their albums now, and they all sound completely different while retaining similar atmospheres, which is something I admire. Letzte Tage-Letzte Nachte (1976, reissued by SPV) is supposedly their hardest-rocking release...it's certainly the most guitar-based of the three I've heard. What amazes me is how contemporary this sounds. If you'd told me this album was recorded by some cool Mount Pleasant kids who played the Biltmore last week, I'd be impressed, but I wouldn't doubt you at all.
A new Zombi album is cause for celebration. This Pittsburgh duo gets better and rocks harder with every release. They hit some amazing grooves in 7 and 5, and of course it's a tone picnic from beginning to end. Steve Moore's bass tone alone brings a big grin to my face, never mind that he's got a ruling drummer to play along with. Seeing them with Isis a couple years ago was a treat, and I hope they come back while touring for Spirit Animal (Relapse).
It's high time I picked up No Pussyfooting (DGM), which I did at Soundscapes in Toronto last month. Originally composed of two side-long pieces of tape-manipulated guitar and synthesizer drones, this two-disc edition also features each selection in reverse—exactly the way the album was aired (mistakenly) on BBC Radio in 1973.