May 6, 2020 Playlist

"Dances In Dreams Of The Known Unknown" by The Skull Defekts (2014)
The Skull Defekts "Dances In Dreams Of The Known Unknown"  2014 (Sweden)
This is one of the more memorable psychedelic rock records of the last decade. The Skull Defekts are a heavy, psychedelic underground rock band from Sweden. What makes them special is they don't do a retro-flowerpower version of psych, they sound like a contemporary band, and one from the darker end of the spectrum. The classic bands they are reminiscent of would include ultra-outsiders like The Velvet UndergroundFaust and Chrome. And like those bands, it's not just about the sturm and klang of distorted guitars over hypnotic grooves, Skull Defekts music is extremely atmospheric and even downright mystical. They made several albums in their early days in Sweden that I haven't heard, and researching this article I just discovered that they released their final album in 2018 and have broken up. Their peak period seems to have been 2011-2014 when they were collaborating with Daniel Higgs, an American who was their singer during this period who is also the main guy in the long-running underground band Lungfish.
This week I finally got my hands on the new album from my favorite Japanese idols, and it's another classic collection of densely-crafted, all-over-the-map "dempa" music (with more funk and ballads than usual). Here's a very enlightening interview (translated into English) with the two newest members and their managers where they discuss the new album and the context behind it (Nemu's retirement and Mirin's marriage) - they even address the issue of Perorin's "tone deaf" singing! Unfortunately the timing of this album couldn't have been worse, as "The Family Tour 2020" of Japan has been cancelled and is a band whose fandom centers around their concerts. So, like a lot of acts have been doing lately, they have put videos of entire concerts online (I had the links here, but they were only for a limited time and no longer available - too bad, the Spring 2019 concert was particularly terrific.) And, in order to keep busy and stay in touch with the fans, all six members have launched new Youtube channels and are vlogging away from their homes. These aren't terrribly interesting unless you understand Japanese, but since you probably have time on your hands these days you could eat "tapioca pizza" with Mirin, take a virtual tour of Japan with Eimi, or learn the secrets behind Ayane's immaculate fringe (literally: those bangs hide the birthmark on her forehead!)
Also, I came across a new "weird pop girl" of note - Rina Sawayama was born in Japan but raised in London where her music career is based. She just released her debut album which is getting a lot of attention, though from what I've heard it's mostly midtempo R&B ballads. However, the single "STFU!" is another classic of the "girly pop goes metal" trend being popularized by BABYMETAL and Poppy.
(N) = New Release
Artist Song Album Year Country
Thin LizzyIt's Only MoneyNightlife1974Ireland/UK/USA
QueenDragon AttackThe Game1980UK
StyxNothing Ever Goes As PlannedParadise Theatre1981USA
L.A. Takedown Sunset ReportOur Feeling Of Natural High (N)2020 (Castle Face)USA
Mr. Elevator Love AgainGoodbye, Blue Sky (N)2020 (Castle Face)USA
DISQ I Wanna DieCollector (N)2020 (Saddle Creek)USA Aiga Chikyu Sukuunsa! Datte Dempagumi.Inc Wa Family Desho
("Love Will Save The Earth! Because Is A Family")
Aiga Chikyu Sukuunsa! Datte Dempagumi.Inc Wa Family Desho (N)2020 (Meme Tokyo/Toy's Factory)Japan Nama Dempa ("Raw Dempa")Aiga Chikyu Sukuunsa! Datte Dempagumi.Inc Wa Family Desho (N)2020 (Meme Tokyo/Toy's Factory)Japan
Rina Sawayama STFU!Sawayama (N)2020 (Dirty Hit)UK/Japan
Grimes DarkseidMiss Anthropocene (N)2020 (4 A.D.)Canada
Cornershop Highly AmplifiedEngland Is A Garden (N)2020 (Ample Play)UK
CornershopLessons Learned From Rocky I To Rocky IIIHandcream For A Generation2002UK
The Skull DefektsPattern Of ThoughtDances In Dreams Of The Known Unknown
The Skull DefektsIt Started With The LightDances In Dreams Of The Known Unknown
The Skull DefektsKing Of MisinformationDances In Dreams Of The Known Unknown
The Skull DefektsIn Majestic DragPeer Amid2011Sweden
Burnin' Red IvanhoeOblong Serenade (CD resissue bonus track)W.W.W.1971Denmark
Alrune Rod
("Mandrake Root")
Natskyggevej ("Nightshade Road")Alrune Rod1969Denmark
Älgarnas Trädgård
("Garden Of The Elks")
Takeoff / Interstellar CruiseDelayedrec. 1973, rel. 2001Sweden
Amon Düül
(not the same group as Amon Düül II)
Erschlagzeugtes ("Drum Things")Disasterrec. 1969, rel. 1972Germany
Silvester Anfang IIBurkelbosSilvester Anfang II2009Belgium
Hy MayaHydrogen HoverThe Mysticism Of Sound And Cosmic Languagerec. 1972, rel. 2017USA
Ornette ColemanHappy HouseBroken Shadows1972USA
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