July 28, 2012

Playlist Week of 7-28-12

Astra - The Black Chord

* Buxtehude: Seven Sonatas, Op.1 (Holloway/Mortensen/ter Linden) (CPO/Naxos CD)
* J.S. Bach: Violin Sonatas (Manze/Egarr/ter Lindedn) (Harmonia Mundi 2CD)
* De Falla, Albeniz, et al.: Spain (Chicago Symphony/Reiner/Price) (RCA-Victor SACD)
* Sun Ra: St. Louis Blues: Solo Piano, Volume 2 (Improvising Artists, Inc. CD/video)
* Sun Ra: Axis-In-Soho, New York, NY July, 1977 (Improvising Artists, Inc. video sdtrk CDR/video)
* Anthony Braxton: GTM (Iridium) Vol.2, Set 2 (New Braxton House FLAC>CDR)
* Derek Bailey & The Ruins: Tohjinbo (Parachute CD)
* Derek Bailey & The Ruins: Saisoro (Tzadik CD)
* Tom Rainey Trio: Camino Cielo Echo (Intakt CD)
* Ingrid Laubrock Sleepthief: The Madness Of Crowds (Intakt CD)
* Paradoxical Frog (Kris Davis/Ingrid Laubrock/Tyshawn Sorey): Paradoxical Frog (Clean Feed CD)
* Herbie Hancock: Feets Don’t Fail Me Now (Columbia LP)
* Herbie Hancock: Monster (Columbia LP)
* Herbie Hancock: Mr. Hands (Columbia LP)
* Grateful Dead: Five Seasons Center, Cedar Rapids, IA 7-04-84 (selections) (SBD 3CDR)
* Emerson Lake & Palmer: Tarkus (Island LP)
* Camel: Camel (MCA/EMI CD)
* U2: Achtung Baby (Deluxe Edition) (Island/Universal 2CD)
* U2: Zooropa (Island CD)†
* Guided By Voices: Class Clown Spots A UFO (GBV, Inc. LP)
* Beck: “I Just Started To Hate Some People Today”/”Blue Randy” (Third Man 7”)
* Steven Wilson: Insurgentes (KScope CD/DVD)
* Opeth: Blackwater Park (Music For Nations/KOCH CD)†
* Opeth: Ghost Reveries (Roadrunner HDCD/DVD)†
* Opeth: Watershed (Roadrunner CD/DVD)
* Opeth: Heritage (Roadrunner CD/DVD)†
* Katatonia: The Great Cold Distance (Peaceville CD)†/‡
* Evoken: Atra Mors (Profound Lore MP3)†
* Agalloch: Pale Folklore (The End CD)
* Agalloch: The Mantle (The End CD)†
* Agalloch: The Grey EP (Agalloch/Bandcamp FLAC)
* Agalloch: Ashes Against The Grain (The End CD)†
* Agalloch: The White EP (Agalloch/Bandcamp FLAC)
* Agalloch: Marrow Of The Spirit (Profound Lore CD)†
* Agalloch: “Faustian Echoes” (Agalloch/Bandcamp FLAC)
* Baroness: Red Album (Relapse CD)†/‡
* Baroness: Blue Record (Relapse 2-45RPM LP)
* Baroness: Yellow & Green (Relapse 2-LP)
* OM: Advaitic Songs (Drag City 2-45RPM LP)
* Animal Collective: Sung Tongs (Fat Cat CD)
* Akron/Family II: The Cosmic Birth And Journey Of Shinju TNT (Dead Oceans 2LP)
* Pelican: Australasia (Hydra Head 2-45RPM LP)
* Pelican: The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon The Thaw (Hydra Head CD)†
* Pelican: What We All Come To Need (Southern Lord CD)(†)
* Pelican: Ataraxia/Taraxis (Southern Lord EP)
* White Hills: White Hills (Thrill Jockey CD)†
* White Hills: H-p1 (Thrill Jockey 2LP)
* White Hills: Live At Roadburn 2011 (Roadburn/Burning World LP)
* White Hills: Frying On This Rock (Thrill Jockey LP)
* Astra: The Weirding (Rise Above/Metal Blade CD)
* Astra: The Black Chord (Rise Above/Metal Blade CD)
* Dusted: Total Dust (Polyvinyl MP3/CD)(†/‡)



Epic songs made up of intricate, polymetric guitar riffs, thunderous bass, and myriad Moogs, Mellotrons, pianos and organs – is it King Crimson or Yes circa. 1972? No, it’s Astra on their new album, The Black Chord, where progressive rock still reigns supreme. To say that this stuff is derivative is an understatement. But these San Diego kids wear their influences so enthusiastically—and with nary a trace of smirking irony—well; you can’t help but be charmed by their retro musical obsessions. Amazingly, Astra manages to do something more than just an ironic pastiche: the songs are singularly compelling and they flow together into a cohesive album—just like the “good old days.” Moreover, the band sounds tighter and more disciplined than on their audacious, double-LP debut, The Weirding (2009), and the production is cleaner and richer, giving The Black Chord a more polished surface befitting this kind of symphonic prog.This is the real deal, perfectly crafted and executed. If you love ‘70s prog, space-rock, jazz fusion and the other “cosmic music” of the era, you’ll love this—and wonder how such a thing could have been made in 2012. 

1 comment:

Sam said...

A little late, but here are my lists from last week:

Playlist 2012-07-30:

*Beethoven: The Late String Quartets (Emerson String Quartet) disc 3
*Schubert: String Quintet in C Major/Quartettsatz in C Minor (Weller Quartet/Dietfried Gurtler)
*Daniel Barbiero: Exchanges & Improvisation (home recordings 2012-07-14) wav
*Colla Parte: 2012-06-21 Fillmore, Washington DC (wav)
*Duke Ellington: The Centennial Edition: The Complete RCA-Victor Recordings (disc 6)
*Andrew Hill: Passing Ships
*Interstellar Fife and Drum: 2012-06-30 RVA Noise Fest, Strange Matter, Richmond VA (mp3)
*Ingrid Laubrock Sleepthief: The Madness of Crowds
*Sun Ra: St. Louis Blues
*Henry Threadgill & Zooid: 2010-05-12 Koln (CDR)
*Henry Threadgill & Zooid: 2010-06-23 Jazz Gallery, NYC (CDR)
*Anduin: Stolen Years
*Blackman: Blackman (CDR compilation)
*Boston Spaceships: Brown Submarine (selections)
*Boston Spaceships: Let It Beard (selections)
*Steve Cropper: With a Little Help From My Friends
*Dark Carpet: CDR compilation 2 (2010)
*De La Soul: First Serve
*Dr. John: Locked Down
*Mike Elder/Greg Jordan/Harry Forrest/Sam Byrd: 2012-01-27 (wav)
*Mike Elder/Greg Jordan/Harry Forrest/Sam Byrd: 2012-02-09 (wav)
*Mike Elder/Greg Jordan/Harry Forrest/Sam Byrd: 2012-03-30 (wav)
*Mike Elder/Greg Jordan/Sam Byrd: 2012-04-20 (wav)
*Mike Elder/Greg Jordan/Harry Forrest/Sam Byrd: 2012-05-04 (wav)
*Mike Elder/Greg Jordan/Harry Forrest/Sam Byrd: 2012-06-01 (wav)
*Mike Elder/Greg Jordan/Sam Byrd: 2012-06-29 (wav)
*Hella: Chirpin' Hard
*Hella: There’s No 666 in Outer Space
*Janel & Anthony: Where Is Home
*Robert Pollard: Space City Kicks (selections)
*Wendy Rene: After Laughter Comes Tears: Complete Stax & Volt Singles + Rarities 1964-65
*Sonic Youth: Washing Machine
*Patti Smith: Horses

Reading List 2012-07-30:

*Barth, John. The Friday Book (reread/started)
*Schreiber, Joe. Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick (started/finished)
*Dumas, Alexander. Count of Monte Cristo (transl. Robin Buss) (finished)
*Barthelme, Donald. Sixty Stories (in progress)
*Link, Kelly. Stranger Things Happen (in progress)