by Jeff Milo
From this futuristic MysTopian city (based in/around the occasionally-transient HQ known as the UFO Factory),... comes a new, admittedly epic auditory undertaking: a double album titled In Love With The Light, featuring a handful of musicians known from notable local rock/psyche/noise acts of the last decade, from The Go, to Outrageous Cherry, to His Name Is Alive and F'ke Blood -
These are The Infinity People.
Now, I loathe the practice of cutting-and-pasting from web sites, but this is too tasty: an American kosmische musik-freak rock revue-astral soul-spiritual-musical commune and revival...
Thirteen tracks...many of them reaching (and surpassing) the six minute mark in a trance-like churn-and-tumble of screeching guitars, chant-like howled harmonies and dizzying feedback swirls, backed by a subtly soulful bass groove and charmed by the jangly/driving beat and enticing/soaring hooks of a faintly floating neo-psychedelic pop aesthetic...yes, floating somewhere up there in the oh so dark New Detroit-sky under which these noise-molding soothsayers swing and sway their latest incantations.
And no, this is not a super group. And, yes, it is a concept album...about THE LIGHT. This double album is, so the mangled post-millenial wire report tells me: "universal release by UFO Factory, Burger Records, Cass Records, X! Records, Italy Records and Life-Like"
Find some songs here - and stay tuned - the release date is still TBA. The new location of the UFO Factory is still TBA...but both will, indeed, be announced very soon, as the latter will likely host the former... A F'ke Blood rejuvenation is also on the horizon...as are new recorded offerings from the likes of Owl Rage, Aran Ruth/Scott Michalski, Vortex Project and Dion D. Fischer. And Warn Defever, meanwhile, has that Raccoon album, too.
Ranaldo is, if I can broom in a lazy metaphor, something like the George Harrison of Sonic Youth, the Godfathers of contemporary indie-rock, (more or less).
The sheepish-looking, sad-eyed-smile, shaggy-haired guitarist who, though it was never that much to speak of, had the best singing voice of the group, (ever at the side of the stage to his married collaborators Thurston Moore and Kim Gorden), has often injected this strange and alluring jangle-pop sensibility into some of more dynamic Sonic-Youth-album contributions, albeit, consistently fogged by the group's characteristic squall of roaring feedback and death-knell timbres.
His songs stood out to me...well, at least some of them anyway...for being these strummy, just-barely hook-ish indie-pop anthems akin to vibrant red roses barely peaking out of a ferociously-decked thicket of thorns.
"Mote" is probably the song I've listened to most of any Sonic Youth song...and second after that might be "Tuff Gnarl..." and, then, on the newer stuff there were jams like "Rats..." He mined the sweetness.
And all of that can now come to proper fruition on Tides. Just as Moore and Gordon recently divorced, he can now, if just for a few months, divorce himself from the Sonic stigma and indulge his sense for jangling acoustic guitars, dazzling-pedal-fx'ed cascades of guitars, the graceful arrangement of bent-out wails of noise feedback strands, and his subdued poetic warble fuzzed with just the right amount of dreamy delay.
Listen: Lee Ranaldo - "Off The Wall"
or... Watch: Lee Ranaldo - "Off The Wall"
There's a tour planned...but no Detroit date. Sorry.
My brother and I were driving around last night, scanning Satellite radio and the latest "indie" "darling" of the blogs, Grimes, comes on...
And I tell him, first, not to change channels, and then, how I might be drinking the kool-aid on this one, so far. Mostly, though, I do it to spite him, because he's still all over the moon for Lana Del Rey...all-hipster-backlashes-disregarded.
Listen: Grimes - "Genesis"
I'm always leery to let myself get swept up into whatever the latest weeks-long-window of fervor is--currently basting in the indie-kingmaking-gravy of Pitchforkian-best-new-music - but the hopeless romantic, the naive pop-music-guzzler wants to believe that this time it could be different.
That, maybe, Visions (4AD) is what I wanted something like Cults to sound like... Whereas both have a high-wispy female enchanter lilting and pirouetting her cute cooing voice across heavily pop-structured melodies, the former has more bite while the latter, by comparision, comes off too saccharine, and too-tied to some the mission of a contrived-shoegaze re-imagining of Jukebox Pop-Waltzes.
And I'm sure Grimes (Claire Boucher) is given her bite, her quirky, finespun, extraterrestrial-warble by just-the-right-blend of studio trickery - but that's just one facet of the appeal - there are aspects of the keyed-up-anthemics of a YACHT, with the dark-dreamy-drones of a EMA... and succeeds in staying in a dazzling vocal glide, beyond where the melodramatic balladeer of the rigid Del Rey had already had her wax wings melted by scrutiny.
But, again, I'm probably at the bottom of my sippy-cup's kool-aid. If Grimes must go down later this month, like Del Rey, then so be it. But, when no one's looking, driving down the street, I'm bobbing my head to this...
...this week, anyway.
She'll be in Chicago in March - that's as close as her tour gets...