Saturday, 1 March 2014

Three Albums Which Suit Vinyl

I've never been one for the vinyl hype. That's not to say I don't appreciate the needle-altered rendition of vintage LPs like Highway 61 Revissited, Pet Sounds, or Axis: Bold As Love, but rather that I've found it hard to buy into the modern vinyl hype: it's all well and good to buy them as collectors' items, for the artwork, or just because you're really craving that authentic turntable-hiss, but to buy a newly manufactured mainstream radio-commodity like Bieber or Gaga on vinyl because it “sounds better” is just unwarranted pretension. If you are going to bother with the Compact Disc's 12-inch forefathers however, I can't help but feel that the following three albums are so shamelessly clothed in scratchy, shellac sensibilities you'd probably be forgiven for giving them a spin.

Painted Palms- Forever (2014)
Having recently release their first full-length effort Forever, I feel Painted Palms are an act who are yet to garner the recognition they deserve. Playing sunny Brian Wilson-informed pop, Louisiana-raised cousins Reese Donohue and Christopher Prudhomme first started making music in the form of 'hypnotic sound experiments and song fragments'1 which they would swap between each other whilst Donohu was away and school in California, and Prudhomme in New Orleans. After the duo officially banded up as Painted Palms following a reunion in the winter of 2009 they continued collaborating on tracks by phone and email: eventually leading to the release of their debut EP Canopy in 2011.

Whilst at its core their music is fundamentally a digital patchwork of the two musician's independent creative inputs stitched together on a computer, their pop-powered psych-rock soaked sound, brimming with reverb-drenched vocal hooks and raucous phasered-riffs in songs like Spinning Signs, and broken up by hazy surf rock excursions like Sleepwalking, shows an understanding of the art of album-composition that puts them in in refreshingly pre-digital light and surely deserves being committed to vinyl.

Temples- Sun Structures (2014)
Hailed by many as another beacon of the psych-rock revival so intuitively embodied in the expertise of Kevin Parker's Tame Impala, Temples' eagerly-awaited Sun Structures, fully met the expectations set by Shelter Song in 2013. A fluid twelve song pantheon of lysergic, Byrds-bleached melodies, their chromatic debut is solid through-and-through. Unpinning their first full-length with a backbone of self-assured snares, cinematic strings, harp flourishes, and blues-read bass and guitar, the Kettering four-piece confidently purvey their sound across the breadth of the album: from the verdant, record-ready Shelter Song opener, through the mysterious glam-gloam lands of songs like Colours to Life, and finally to the pensive Round-Table-rock conclusion of Fragment's Light. Engaging and consistent, this is pop-friendly psych that's rearing for a turntable.

Foxygen - We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic (2012)
Ray Davis-reared Californian's Jonathon Rado and Sam France have already achieved a disconcertingly analogue vibe on their third full length effort We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic. Renowned for their “unhinged stage antics”,2 the high-school friends have embroidered a nine-track patchwork of psych-rock ditties, dip-dyed in Dylan-drawls in songs like No Destruction, gleaming with clean Kinks-y-choruses in San Fransisco, and going so far as to flirt with bebop in numbers like Bowling Trophies.

Brushing shoulders with Jagger-forged rock sneers, silken bluesy-licks and self-aware lyrics that show they know well the sixties-stunt they're pulling, frontman France declaring Oh I got the movies and a discotheque inside my mind / all the time, all night yeah / I'm feeling groovyin Oh Yeah. At a nimble nine tracks long, LP number three is an arresting and intoxicating rock romp that's ripe and ready for the record.

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