[image by Max Capacity]
In celebration of one full year of Altered Zones, we're going back to where we began and observing our very favorite tracks of 2011 thus far. We pulled together all of AZ's contributing blogs' top picks and assembled a 25-song list of cuts that can't missed. --Ric Leichtung, Altered Zones
Balam Acab: "Oh, Why"
Bill Callahan: "Baby's Breath"
Clams Casino: "I'm God (Instrumental)"
Devin Gary & Ross: "Four Corners"
Dirty Beaches: "Lord Knows Best"
Ford & Lopatin: "Emergency Room"
Gang Gang Dance: "Glass Jar"
Holy Other: "With U"
Iceage: "White Rune"
John Maus: "Believer"
Julian Lynch: "Terra"
LA Vampires Goes Ital: "Streetwise"
Light Asylum: "Dark Allies"
Matthewdavid: "Like You Mean It"
Panda Bear: "Alsatian Darn"
Peaking Lights: "Tiger Eyes (Laid Back)"
Pure X: "Don't Wanna Live, Don't Wanna Die"
Purity Ring: "Loftcries"
Puro Instinct: "Stilyagi"
Sic Alps: "Do You Want To Give $$?"
Sleep ∞ Over: "Casual Diamond"
The Weeknd: "The Morning"
Woods: "Pushing Onlys"
Spune was gracious enough to let us host a wonderful show they booked to wet your appetite for the mass onslaught headed through North Texas in the next month. Sic Alps, who rarely come through and if they do they play to 20 people in a hallway in Dallas, are about to blow everyone's minds at Haileys in Denton with their cacaphonic pscychedelia. They’re making the rounds after releasing one of the best records of the year thus far, their 22 track tour-de-force, Napa Asylum, an LP that is already SOLD OUT through Drag City. “Third-eye-opening minimalist kraut-rock” band CAVE will be playing, as well as Denton 90s noise-rock bloodhounds Kampfgrounds. --Ryan Ellis, Weekly Tape Deck
More info here
Noel Von Harmonson of Sic Alps says:
This is one of the most ridiculous songs ever written and I love it to-fucking-death. It's perfect. Anyone who ever thought that rock 'n' roll was tidy has missed the point. Some of the greatest rock songs have come from other countries, with musicians attempting to emulate the spirit of rock. In the same way that poor translations of literature or voice-overs in films can so brutally mar a piece, such is the case with Western music (but in a good way). I'm not saying that the Western world was onto something more so than other cultures; pop/rock music has always been a kind of parody of itself, right? For years, I've been obsessed with the filter that the revolution of "rock" passed through as it traveled to other countries and was interpreted, recycled, and re-presented.
These guys (Gedo) are TOTAL emulators. Not like when you listen to a record and say, "Oh, this song/band was obviously influenced by The Kinks or The Beatles"; these guys are fucking CHAMELEONS. Beyond this dominator of a jam, they've got several Ramones-y numbers, a few kind of nauseating Buddy Holly-inspired numbers, and some material that is way beyond despicable. The thing that I love about international rock music is when folks accidentally pull off something so monumental that they probably didn't realize it when they were doing it. Because they were trying to "emulate" something so hard, but ended up pouring in many new elements in the process: their culture, their heritage, and any LPs they had magically been able acquire at that point, which became their rock 'n’ roll scriptures.
A quick Google search reveals, not entirely surprisingly, that my colleague Julian Cope is down with these guys, too. Apparently, they had a Japanese biker following (check the song "Motorcycles", it blows), similar to that of Les Rallizes Dénudés. Go figure.
If you told us that Sic Alps' new full-length was a long-lost, acid casualty rock epic from 1969, we just might believe you. Napa Asylum, out tomorrow on Drag City, has enough off-kilter songwriting, heart-melting drum fills, and polaroid-quality production to fit snugly in between Skip Spence's Oar and Morgen's self-titled LP in any psychedelic speciality store. AZ contributor Raven Sings The Blues just premiered this video for album single "Do You Want To Give $$?", directed by the band's own guitarist/singer Mike Donovan with the help of drummer John Harlowe. Might be an unknowing response to the similarly recession-themed "$20 Dollar Bill" video by Outer Limits Recordings, but sounds a whole lot more like this.
Napa Asylum is out tomorrow on Drag City
Following an epic collection of their best singles and 12"s and a 90-degree pop turn on a single for Slumberland, breath was baited and anticipations were high for how Sic Alps would develop next. Though the more traditional pop fans drawn in by the "L Mansion" single may find themselves scratching their heads, those of us who've trodden the road thus far with Sic Alps have to see Napa Asylum as something of a welcomed continuation of their brilliantly scattershot catalog. Again tying in their perfect distillation of the Skip Spence school of loner blues, they weave a healthy twenty-two tracks of patchwork pop and noise-pitted gutter-stomp. There's just something about Sic Alps' bone-ragged delivery that sits right with me every time. (via Raven Sings The Blues)
Napa Asylum is available soon from Drag City