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Austin Psych Fest Preview: Pure X

March 4, 2012

all are pure X, but only one has the power to purify the depths of your soul

When we first met, Pure X has me thinking of hand sanitizer and MDMA, but that was a trick. Neither of these references are appropriate when it comes to their music. Certainly in a broader scope, there is ecstasy here, but nothing quite so chemically sinister as their name might imply. This Austin band doles out more of a slow motion, have you ever really looked at your hands? vibe than the rhythmically infectious psychedelic camel-step that one might expect at a rave. With gently crunching echoes of the X in sexy, their lo-fi wallpaper melting drone would make an excellent soundtrack to a three hour make-out session where you never go beyond kissing and couldn’t be happier about it. Unfortunately, I’ll never be sixteen again. This is music to melt by. It would certainly be a welcome luxury to have several couches scattered about the venue when they play the Psych Fest, as my knees are already weak and all I want to do is sink into a cushion and marinate in this band’s enveloping and expansive glow.

Pure X – Voices – MP3

Pure X – Easy – MP3

Pure X – Dream Over – MP3

Now that you love them, but their album here. Don’t buy it at Amazon. If you do, they’ll sell your name to the DEA. Seriously, they will.

Song of the Day: American Music Club’s “Myopic Books”

March 3, 2012

Mark Eitzel has ventured out of his room on a cold night and all he wants is to find a bookstore. They’ll play Dinosaur Jr and the people who work there will be super unfriendly and that will make him happy … There’s really nothing I could write that can illuminate the compressed beauty of this song. I’ll just say a bookstore like that would make me happy, too.

American Music Club – Myopic Books – MP3
“Myopic Books” is from the album Love Songs for Patriots. Buy it here. Whatever you do, don’t buy it at Amazon. They kill bookstores. In fact, each time another bookstore dies Jeff Bezos drinks a shot of a struggling writer’s blood in celebration. Of course, Bezos thinks he’s doing the writer a favor. After all, he makes it so easy for the writer to get him his blood. It’s way more convenient than the plasma center. He’ll even pay for shipping, although his stipend never quite covers the actual cost and once Amazon takes a commission on the transaction, it’s hard not to wonder if your blood was really worth anything at all.

Song of the Day: Radiohead Serenades Andrew Breitbart

March 1, 2012

“Matt Drudge’s bitch,” as Andrew Breitbart called himself, died last night at 43. Breitbart was a Republican activist who delighted in dirty tricks and character assassination. Because the truth was never on his side, he subverted it in whatever way he could. In Breitbart’s addled mind – and in the world of the modern GOP – up is down, black is white and wrong is always right. His most famous hatchet job was to edit video of  Department of Agriculture employee Shirley Sherrod speaking at an NAACP fundraiser to make her look like the racist GOP’s idea of every black bureaucrat. The video appeared to show the crowd applauding as Sherrod bragged about denying white farmers federal assistance. Reality, though, was the exact opposite. The unedited footage showed Sherrod discussing episodes in which she overcame her own flawed instinct to under-serve white landowners. Her speech was about seeing past our preconceived notions, not acting on them. It was a courageous admission to make. Her ultimate goal was to bring the races closer together. Thanks to the gutless Obama administration, the manufactured outrage cost Shirley Sherrod her job. When the full tape came out, she was offered another gig at the USDA, but declined.

Andrew Breitbart at work

We can also thank Breitbart for providing a platform on his website for his protege James O’Keefe, who made the infamous ACORN videos that featured O’Keefe pitifully dressed up as a pimp asking ACORN employees how to avoid prostitution laws. The outrage from the right that followed led to ACORN being defunded by the government. The organization is now defunct. It was a huge win for Brietbart and his band of evil tricksters. Of course, ACORN’s big crime in conservative circles was the sin of registering voters, many poor and/or brown. And there’s nothing that threatens the GOP more than people who aren’t white who exercise their constitutional right to vote.

On the day Ted Kennedy died, like a shit-throwing monkey, Breitbart delighted in tweeting a stream of vile attacks on the not-yet cold Senator.

Here on the day after Andrew Breitbart’s death, one not need make vile remarks. Character assassination is not required. All it takes is a sober look at his body of work to get a measure of the man. While the GOP grieves for one of their master practitioners of deception, somehow the rest of the world will have to find a way to spin without him.

Dead at 43, with four children left behind. What is it they say about karma?

Song of the Day: Daydream Believer

February 29, 2012

Davy Jones died today from a heart attack at the age of 66. People will say that he is best know for singing “Daydream Believer” – which, indeed, is a phenomenal accomplishment.  It’s a piece of pure pop gold and The Monkees were a great band.  But I will always remember him best for stealing Marcia’s heart on the Brady Bunch.

While it’s hard to top the great Davy Jones and the Monkees’ version of John Stewart’s “Daydream Believer,” here are some who have tried:

Paul Westerberg

This track is from another performance and is quite stellar:

Paul Westerberg – Daydream Believer (live) – MP3

The Great Shonen Knife

The Four Tops

The Timers – in Japanese!

Yes, there are others, but editorial mercy required me to leave off Alvin and the Chipmunks, Susan Boyle and the cast of Dawson’s Creek. Sorry.

Austin Psych Fest Preview: Moon Duo

February 28, 2012
where is my mind? moon duo knows

It is quite uncanny how Moon Duo has hit upon the perfect psychedelic frequency. The crunching guitar and propulsive keyboard combine to form an undulating wave that has been seemingly designed to wash away all the chatter in my head and replace it with a renewed sense of possibility and desire. With mind controlling abilities clearly at their disposal, a band with these transformative powers could be dangerous. I can only hope that they are not as nefarious as they sometimes sound for under their spell I could see myself being compelled to abandon any sense of morality I thought I possessed and do their diabolical bidding. It only takes about five minutes with them in my ear and I’m poised to have everything I thought I knew about the world subverted. If you were going to start a cult, these guys would make a great house band.

But would I travel to the moon to see them? Yes, if they told me to. I would have no choice. Good thing for now, I’ll just have to go as far as Austin.

Moon Duo is Ripley Johnson of Wooden Shjips and Sanae Yamada. Here they are playing at KEXP, the best radio station in the world.

Here’s a track off their latest album “Mazes” (Sacred Bones, 2011). Buy it anywhere but at Amazon.

Moon Duo – When You Cut – MP3