Three tracks in, and I’m officially stoked about Thurston Moore’s post-Sonic Youth band, Chelsea Light Moving. Here, on “Frank O’Hara’s Hit,” Moore goes back to the sounds of the Velvet Underground for inspiration, something he’s done often in his career. The minute-long opening is clean and spacious, before it takes an unexpected turn: Moore as a glam-rock hero in the David Bowie, space alien vein. It’s like one of those all-star collaborations you didn’t see coming, except it’s not. “Frank O’Hara’s Hit,” is Moore working out a new band through the possibilities of noise rock being paired with a more traditional ’70s stomp.
A classic rock chug in the style of Deep Purple meets Dave Fridmann’s patented weirdness in Tame Impala’s “Elephant.” Neither impulse ever quite dominates — The guitar and bass are processed to the point where they may not really be guitar and bass, and every excursion into oddville, eventually leads back to that opening melody. Ultimately, that, and an uncommonly concise run time, is what makes this appealing number more than an exercise in genre.
YOUTUBE: Tame Impala – Elephant
There’s a moment, and for purposes of this discussion, a moment is defined as the first five seconds or so of “My Love Won’t Wait,” where it appears the San Francisco duo, Two Gallants, have gone soft, or even worse, gone jam band. Years of music have taught me to expect the opening harmony to be followed by slap bass. There’s a second moment, the next five seconds to be exact, that lay that previous notion to waste. Adam Stephens’ guitar has rarely been this loud and this distorted since the band’s 2004 debut record. His vocals sound more poignant, too. Maybe those five years between releases did some good in dragging the boys out of the bland abyss that was their self-titled release. One can only hope “My Love Can’t Wait,” is a fair sampling of what’s to follow.
Call me old-fashioned, but I like my sad bastard music to be sung by an authentically sad bastard, like this dude, King Dude. “You Can Break My Heart,” hints at the darkness of Nick Cave, the unease of Shane McGowan, and even the hardness of Tom Waits with both its unyielding baritone vocals and its solitary electric guitar.