Manfred Mann, it's Music Monday!
We'll start today with the first publicly available track from Marriage + Cancer. You might recognize the "pissed pop" band (their words) from their former incarnation as the band Nucular Aminals. That name—meddlesome for spelling purists—is now behind them, but the band's aptitude for crooked, anxious, punk-flecked rock is not. "No Sum" is a lengthy but exciting track with haunted funeral-parlor organ, tempo shifts, an expansive, sweeping scope and a stunning climax. Nucular Aminals are dead; long live Marriage + Cancer! The freshly renamed band performs Friday, December 20 at Club 21 with Wounds and Big Eyes, which will be awesome.
Here's Our First Brains covering the Nerves' power-pop gem "Hanging on the Telephone (made famous by Blondie, of course). It's a squealing, squalling, nervy take on the power-pop gem, and the Portland quartet blast through this excellent rendition with energy to spare. Their 2013 album Feelings and How to Destroy Them is about to be sold out forever, so jump over to their Bandcamp page and give it a listen.
Well, this is incredible. It's another cover, this time of the Velvet Underground's spoken-word piece of unsettling brilliance "The Gift," and it's done by none other than Portland's weed-lovin' love-jammers the Memories. At over eight minutes long, this is roughly five times longer than anything else the Memories have laid to tape, and the narrator (Memories singer Erik Gage, I think?) nails John Cale's clipped Welsh accent perfectly. This comes out tomorrow via cassette as part of Burger Records' new album-length tribute to VU's White Light/White Heat album. I guarantee this blows Macaulay Culkin's new pizza-themed Velvet Underground cover band the Pizza Underground out of the water.
More Monday after the jump!
More spoken-word weirdness—and British accents—come from the Harvey Girls, who conclude their yearlong four-EP project with Ad Astera. Its 16-minute title track is an aural play (a radio play, if you will) written by the band's Hiram Lucke, with friends playing the various parts, and background music from the band. The EP is rounded out by some musical experiments that are still anything but straightforward. In a catalog littered with challenging releases, Ad Astera might be their most unconventional yet.
Brooklyn band My Body is formerly from Portland, and they've remixed a track from their old friends in Wild Ones, who of course still live here. My Body's remix of "Paia" is sensory overload, with shards of ambrosial sound fragmented over rumbling bass, creating something quite new out of Wild Ones' malleable but precise pop sound. Be sure to check out the equally good remix of Wild Ones' "Rival" remixed by California's Trails and Ways; it's a much more straightforward spin, but equally as ravishing. These two remixes appear on Wild Ones' new remix EP, Keep It Safe Retouched, which also includes Radiation City's bonkers remix of "Golden Twin." Listen to the whole thing on Soundcloud.
We'll close today with a new B-side from the Parson Red Heads. "State Lines" is a seven-and-a-half-minute jammer from the sessions from their recent Orb Weaver album, stringing different sections together in a suite that reminds me of some of the Roger McGuinn/Jacques Levy material from the Byrds' (Untitled) album, followed by Television-like dueling guitar solos. In other words, this is crazy good for a B-side. Download it over at Soundcloud. The Parsons will continue their annual tradition of covering albums in their entirety for New Year's Eve. They're performing JJ Cale's classic 1970 debut Naturally at the White Eagle on December 31, joined by the Builders and the Butchers' Ryan Sollee performing Tom Waits songs, and members of Blitzen Trapper, Pure Bathing Culture, and the Parsons performing as Free Car Walsh (AKA Walshatron 3000) doing Joe Walsh songs. (If they don't play the James Gang's "Midnight Man," raise some hell.)
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