Indie Weirdo Round Up – Black Moth Super Rainbow, Sir Richard Bishop, Battles, Jim O’Rourke, Tarwater
Dandelion Gum – Black Moth Super Rainbow (Graveface)
Dandelion Gum is the third album by Pennsylvanian psychers Black Moth Super Rainbow, though its sound is so unique that it is hard to imagine it as belonging to some kind of progression. Sounding like the first spikings of an acid culture in the jungle of a Martian sub-continent, Dandelion Gum is all lush atmosphere. The standard formula involves drum beats fragmenting betwixt organic organs and vocodored vocals. What titles like ‘They Live in the Meadow’ and ‘When the Sun Grows On Your Tongue’ lack in melody and hookiness — and they lack a lot — they more than make up for in beguiling prettiness.
While My Guitar Violently Bleeds – Sir Richard Bishop (Locust)
Many artists return to their roots as they grow older, and Richard Bishop — in many ways — is no different. Of the tragically/recently defunct Sun City Girls, the hyperprolific Bishop’s While My Guitar Violently Bleeds finds Bishop laying down three extended guitar improvisations that sound perfect and natural, as if they were merely part of Bishop’s blood: one acoustic, one electric, one both. Ideas of Indian, African, Asian, and European folk music run through tracks with mysterious names like ‘Zurvan’ and ‘Mahvidya,’ but so does American punk — the binding momentum in Bishop’s enthralling flights, which range from six minutes to nearly a half-hour.
Mirrored – Battles (Warp)
With Battles, we finally get to the deep and inevitable question: what the fuck happens after "post-rock"? Well, whatever the super-secret rock-crit cabal comes up with, it’s gonna have to describe Battles in a way that doesn’t make people’s minds get all blown-out end-of-2001-style. And Battles, who’ve issued three EPs before this year’s full-length Mirrored are pretty damn cool. Throughout, they turn the manic precision of Tortoise and Aphex Twin on its head, spitting out nano-compiled clappers like ‘Ddiamondd’ and machine gun prog-rock epics like ‘Rainbow’ that sometimes sound like Phish only way more intricate and plain out weirder and wankier. Awesome!
Corona: Tokyo Realization – Jim O’Rourke (Columbia Japan)
Turns out the self-proclaimed semi-retirement of Jim O’Rourke was a myth, as a half-dozen new albums per annum come trickling out of the guitarist/producer/noisemonger’s stay in Japan. One is Tokyo Realization, O’Rourke’s reading of avant-garde Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu’s ‘Corona for pianist(s)’ (1962) — an aleatoric piece recreated anew by a performer as he arranges cards with giant circular patterns into an abstract score and interprets however he pleases. O’Rourke’s pleasure, released on Columbia in Japan only, are two extended tracks of piano, harpsichord, and organ that move between the gorgeous and the chaotic. Inviting in places, Tokyo Realization is just as foreboding and harsh in others. Always good to know what O’Rourke’s up to, though.
Spider Smile – Tarwater (Morr)
The 10th release from the Berlin electro-duo is strange and beautiful. Mixing vaguely Beatlesy exotica ("Arkestra") with smart, wistful pop ("When Love Was the Law In Los Angeles"), the band is still just as at home in instrumentals that are equal parts grandeur, texture, and abstract expression, like the disc opening "Shirley Temple." Though the disc’s framework is undoubtedly beat-driven, every song finds its emotional heart in acoustic sound sources, such as the origami-folded trumpets of "Sweet Home Under White Clouds." If the novelty of the production doesn’t get too dated, this could remain satisfyingly weird for a while.