What a fun Halloween week we had here at Radio 1190. We decorated our studio with the spookiest decorations, gave away concert tickets and CDs and had a bunch of fun with on-air holiday trivia. Thanks to our listeners who called in Hallo-week. But now that the ghosts and hangovers are gone, here are some amazing new albums fresh in rotation.
With a name like Meatbodies, it is to be expected that this band does a lot of ass kicking. And they definitely do. Signed to Los Angeles record label, In the Red, the self-titled debut brings in a spacey-er brand of Southern California garage rock. Like contemporaries FuZZ, Ty Segall and King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Meatbodies worship the greats of psychedelic and proto-punk. But the influence of space-rock shows that the outfit loves Hawkwind more that Mr. Segall does. Sadly, unlike many space-rock outfits, Meatbodies don't dare to go past the five-minute mark. By disregarding the jammy and improvisational aspect of this beloved genre, the group becomes less captivating — and a little bit scared to venture outside the comfort zone.
The story of folk singer-songwriter Vashti Bunyan is an interesting one. Her first album was released in 1970 to initial commercial failure, only to later become a cult classic. Her sophomore release was released in 2005 to much critical acclaim, being that the songs have been tinkered with and thought-over since '72. Come 2014 and she's released her third album, Heartleap, that is equally as beautiful its predecessor, but is rumored to be her last. Like her previous efforts, Heartleap is as delicate as the first blanket of virgin snow in winter. Vashti's voice is soft and breathy giving the album an overwhelming sense of innocence. Overall, the album is cohesive and gets pleasantly psychedelic with each listen, reassuring that it has as much staying power as Vashti's debut album. If this album may be her last, Heartleap is a spell-binding, hypnotic and beautiful note to end on.
In the past, there have been interesting collaborations of musicians but none have ever been more fitting yet bizarre as Sunn O))) and Scott Walker. For introduction, Sunn O))) is a drone-metal band from Seattle that is known for incredibly loud live shows and record-length song times. Scott Walker, on the other hand, evolved from a 1960s pop singer to one of the most provocative avant-rockers of the 00s. Together, this group released Soused , a record that ventures into some very strange, and ultimately underwhelming territory. Naturally, Scott Walker provides his haunting style of operatic vocals to accompany Sunn O)))'s classically droney guitar and bass. For any left-of-center music lover, this combination sounds like a match made in heaven, but the end results feel lackluster. Even at the beginning of the record, you realize that the group doesn't have anywhere to go sonically than just drones and vocal improvisations. The fact that Scott Walker sounds like Randy Marsh from "South Park" is also an issue with the record. Though it does look like a good idea on paper, Soused is pretty much just a great conversation piece to keep in your record collection.
James Calvet is the music director for CU-Boulder's Radio 1190.