The Olivia Tremor Control, Love Athena, Memories of Jacqueline 1906, Black Foliage (Itself)

Posted in The Olivia Tremor Control, Youtube Favs on September 20th, 2011 by Willie

The oddly named Olivia Tremor Control hail from Ruston, Louisiana, and are probably the most beautiful thing ever to come out of that place.  Along with Robert Schneider’s Apples in Stereo, the OTC were founding members of the Elephant 6 Collective, the group of like-minded psychedelic  enthusiasts who sought to re-inject the world with the sort of pure kaleidoscopic bliss not heard since 1967.  Fronted by the songwriting team of Bill Doss and Will Cullen Hart, Bill and Will churned out two timeless records of 90s indie rock, possibly the best ever, with back to back double albums, Dusk at Cubist Castle and Black Foliage.  These records are monuments to their ability to carve beauty out of sound.  Filled with fragments, song experiments, and some of the greatest psychedelic pop songs ever, the two records weave together in a gorgeous cacophony of sonic splendor.  If you’re the kind of person who loves the Beatles “White Album,” and always wondered what the  Beach Boys completed Smile would sound like, just buy, download, or steal the OTC’s records immediately.  The band never released any official music video that I know of, so you’ll have to do with straight up still youtube videos as samples, but my preview is going to glide you along OTC’s chronological history.  The first song, “Love Athena,” is from their earliest days, appearing on compilation records California Demise and Singles and Beyond.  It is the great white whale of underground psychedelic pop rock, filling you with feelings of nostalgic love for perfect lost days.  I kind of hate how they mumble some of the greatest lyrics ever written.  Just check out the chorus, “Shining like Athena in a silver suit of armor, Her love is like a nail and now I’ll bring down the hammer, Sprouting like a flower on a hill top where I’ll find her, Where I’ll plant a seed and watch it grow into the streaming light of love.”  Unbelievable poetry.  The next song, “Memories of Jacqueline 1906,” is from Dusk at Cubist Castle, and is just a perfect rock and roll raga.  I have no idea what the song is about, but its basically like a lost melody the Beatles might have churned out in early 1968 when they were meditating in India.  That introductory electric and acoustic guitar part is so perfect, my God, just play it!  Last is the song “Black Foliage (Itself)” from the epic Black Foliage record, (itself.)  Hah.  This song is just a masterpiece of sonic architecture, with sounds rushing in and out, all orbiting around a melody and words so dark and beautiful.  I love how the song keeps crashing into itself like ocean waves at midnight.  All this stuff is hard not to describe abstractly, so I really suggest you get right to work and listen to these tracks, then get everything they’ve ever done.  Before  I go, if they are reading this, I just want to thank the Olivia Tremor Control for creating some of the greatest music of all time, and inspiring me to make music as well.  From one Willie to a Bill and Will, you guys are the best.

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The Beatles, Strawberry Fields Forever

Posted in The Beatles, Youtube Favs on April 26th, 2011 by Willie

In part 46 of my youtube countdown, we travel back to the past again, my past.  When I was 17 years old, “Strawberry Fields Forever” was my favorite song in the world.  I don’t know why exactly, but this song just seemed like the greatest work of music I’d ever heard.  I loved the loping mellotron introduction.  I loved the way John’s voice stretched over the distorted string quartet, as if it were being pulled like taffy.  I loved Ringo’s manic jungle like drumming.  In fact, this is the most psychedelic drumming Ringo achieved with the Beatles, a massive achievement in a string of drumming highlights for Ringo in this period, (A Day in the Life being Ringo’s true drumming masterpiece.)  I remember as a teenager writing the words, “Living is easy with eyes closed,” everywhere; in my notebooks, on desks, on my locker, on walls.  I remember finding an old newspaper in my attic that my dad had from 1969 with the original “Paul is Dead” article, highlighting all the clues, with one claiming that John is chanting “I buried Paul” in the outro.  The reality of course being him saying “Cranberry Sauce;” (an equally delicious phrase in a song full of gorgeous imagery.)  Speaking of gorgeous imagery, the video I present here is the most perfect, stunning capture of the Beatles legendary video for “Strawberry Fields.”  The video presents the Beatles at their most weird.  They are reveling in their artistry and merry prankster like shenanigans.  What is the theme of this video?  As far as I can tell, the Beatles are gathering in a field, and are constructing some sort of magical piano by tying the strings to a tree.  Then of course they paint it with beautiful psychedelic colors.  So, here you go, unabashed strawberry love from me to you.

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The Flaming Lips, She Don't Use Jelly, Live on Letterman

Posted in The Flaming Lips, Youtube Favs on April 24th, 2011 by Willie

Welcome to part 44 of my youtube countdown!  Today I bring you a real blast from the past.  It’s the Flaming Lips on the David Letterman show in 1995 performing their only commercial pop hit, “She Don’t Use Jelly.”  I discovered the Flaming Lips when I was 17 years old ten years ago, right before they blew up again in the pop culture landscape.  They are kind of impossible not to love.  Their sound is a psychedelic mix of screeching yet melodic electric guitars, bodacious larger than life drumming, and lead singer Wayne Coyne’s unmistakable, warbly high, pitched croon.  For whatever reason, “She Don’t Use Jelly” made it to #55 on the US Billboard charts, probably just riding the grunge wave of the early mid 90s, but the Flaming Lips were never a grunge band.  They have always been a psychedelic garage band bent on pop music domination, clawing their way to immortality by recording dozens of gorgeous songs and records, having an always incredible experimental live show, and lastly, just through sheer grit and determination.  They are the ultimate underdog story in rock history.  So, without further ado, I present to you their epic ode to female masturbation, with Paul Shaffer making another appearance in a band that no one would have ever have guessed he performed with.  Enjoy.

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