Yeah yeah, we know what you’re thinking. “Hey, isn’t this just last week’s music… this week? What gives? I’m a 21st century type, a real go-getter. I don’t have time for this shit! I need the newest music reviewed and packaged to me in easily digestible blurbs, and I need it constantly, 24/7, like the gooned out media engorged worm I am.” Well, the big wigs here at .WAV were simply too busy living our jet setting lives of being young and changing the culture. As I’m writing this, there are two supermodels waiting in the lobby of the Madonna Inn. No, they’re not waiting to see me, I actually don’t even know them. That’s because I’m busy making calls, doing business, living an executive lifestyle.
That said, since it’s the beginning of the Holiday season, you peasants can have a crumb, a morsel, of our good music takes. Is La Femme still cool? Will King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard uphold their reputation as “The Most Band of all Time”? Can a legendary punk rocker of the past find redemption in this very lame future? Will Christian end up Leaving, and does his Bed Ache? Phoebe Bridgers? Find out this week on .WAV’s weekly* music roundup.
“Cool Colorado”- La Femme
You know, I don’t think these guys are from Colorado.
La Femme is back with more of the slick, psychotropic pop music that they’re notorious for. Hey, remember how in third grade they used to tell you not to use “cool” as a descriptor, since it’s a nebulous term that doesn’t really mean anything in every day vernacular? By the sound of it, La Femme never got that advice. And, uh, sorry Mrs. MacNamee, but I can’t take that advice either. Because let me tell ya, this song is cool. Cool like a French dude smoking a cigarette, crooning about how cool it is to be in Los Angeles man, and how it’s cool to be cool, getting stoned off of the coolness of it all, in a Rock N’ Roll kinda style man, hanging out with cool, cool people in a cool, cool world. La Femme manage to perform some musical-linguistic necromancy, resurrecting the dead word “cool” by reaching out into aether, grabbing the very essence of “cool”, and jamming it right back into the proverbial corpse of “cool”. The guitar is slippery, the horns are crisp as all hell, and the backup vocals really tie the whole thing together into this exciting sneak peak of all the cool things La Femme has in store for their upcoming album.
K.G. – King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard
As if the band wasn’t prolific enough, King Gizzard dropped two albums on Friday, one studio project and one live recording. KG finds itself working primarily in the same “microtonal” fashion that they styled Flying Microtonal Banana in 2017. It’s another psychedelic, wigged-out album that relies mainly on fuzzy electric guitar, but some of the acoustic tracks stand out. “Straws In The Wind” and “Honey” both neglect any use of an electric guitar, instead featuring flurries of bass, flute, and acoustic guitar solos. It’s something of a typical King Gizzard album that finds some sort of middle ground between the excitement of Flying Microtonal Banana and the serenity of Paper Mâche Dream Balloon. “Ontology” and “Automation” are definitely highlights on the album, pulling from the band’s signature sounds and roots. Just when I thought the band had explored practically every genre, they took a stab at Turkish house music: and they nailed it. “Intrasport” is a funky, catchy club banger that you might hear in the underground nightclubs of Europe. KG isn’t anything too ambitious or super out-there, it’s just another solid psychedelic-focused album to add to their impressive discography.
Live in San Francisco ‘16 – King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard
Moving to the live album within the record drop wombo combo, the Gizzy boys gave us an extra treat with Live in San Francisco ‘16. Featuring songs from their albums Nonagon Infinity, I’m In Your Mind Fuzz, Float Along – Fill Your Lungs, Quarters!, and Paper Mâche Dream Balloon, it’s a trip to hear their energy encapsulated within their live performance. Moreover, with all the effects and layers heard within their studio albums, it is impressive to hear their live renditions be pretty close to the studio versions. This is especially impressive with all the guitar slides, vocal layering/distortion, and sudden pedal combination shifts – a testament to their experience as performers. Having a great flow and cool album art, this is definitely one you want to check out if you’re looking for more Gizzard action during this quarantined holiday season.
From an Old Guitar: Rare and Unreleased Recordings – Dave Alvin
Formerly a member of legendary LA outfits The Blasters and X, Dave Alvin has made a name for himself as a solo artist since the 1980s. Stylistically, Alvin’s music falls under the broad umbrella of roots rock, also drawing inspiration from Country, Rock, and Americana music. From an Old Guitar: Rare and Unreleased Recordings features a number of previously unreleased songs spanning Alvin’s solo career. The material is appealing in many ways – from Alvin’s distinctive guitar playing and tone, to his poetic lyrics and gruff vocal delivery. As an artist, Dave Alvin is one of the best observers and storytellers of gritty Southern California life. Those who hold a grudge toward Country music or are otherwise unfamiliar with Alvin’s work may find the the material to be corny. While it may not be for everyone, Alvin’s music is a quintessential, yet under-appreciated part of California musical history
“Bedache” – Christian Leave
Leading up to the release of “Bedache,” Christian Leave announced that it was made (yes, in all caps), “PURELY FOR JAMMING OUT IN YOUR BEDROOM AND FEELING LIKE A KID LISTENING TO YOUR FAVORITE BAND FOR THE FIRST TIME!” And boy, does he deliver. Bedache is the early 2000s pop song of my 10-year-old self’s dreams, showing leaps and bounds of development from his most recent prior release “Adult”. Leave’s echoey vocals and electric instrumentals deliver on the exact bedroom jam sesh vibe he promises. Lyrically, the song is your classic pop anthem. Definitely worth the listen.
Copycat Killer EP – Phoebe Bridgers
Phoebe’s haunting voice is carried through over string instruments with the help of Rob Moose in this rendition of some of the essential Punisher album picks in the Copycat Killer EP. Opening with “Kyoto”, the first released single from Punisher, which became a summer jam, Bridgers experiments with subtle changes in her vocal inflections to create a softer sound in this version. Then moving onto an underplayed favorite, “Savior Complex”, this song’s brooding build up is elevated by the bowing of violins played by Moose. There is more room for pure instrumentals to shine through in an orchestra style elegance, this version of the song will make you want to dance around the room in a ball gown. Next is “Chinese Satellite”, which begins with sped up guitar chords, picking up the pace and really acting as the climax of the EP. This jam has more of a soft-rock feel compared to the original, while still being influenced by Bridgers’ emotion struck vocals. The EP is finished off with Punisher, the namesake of Bridgers’ latest and second ever full length album. Again, the string instruments offer a breathier and more moving flair when compared to the album versions, really changing the overall experience. As always, Bridgers delivers on the sad girl bops that anyone can sob along to while crying in their car.