Words by Andrew Ryan Fetter
Andrew Fetter has been writing about music for over the last decade and playing in bands for even longer. His latest endeavor is the radio hour, The Noise Kaleidoscope which airs Tuesdays from 4:30-5:30pm ET on 99.1FM WQRT in Indianapolis (Past episodes are archived online). On it he covers his personal collection and influences of psych rockfrom over the last half century, starting with early influences and reaching to its modern incarnations.
So we’ve come to the end of our Pink Floyd dive. With The Endless River, David Gilmour tries to draw things to a close and preserve the band’s legacy in the best possible way. And I think he succeeds. While not an album that truly represents what fans have loved about the band over the years, it has all of the elements of what make a good Pink Floyd record. Gilmour is at the top of his game with guitar work that isn’t too showy, but still just amazingly done. A mostly instrumental album (with the exception of the album’s closer “Louder Than Words”), and compiling many leftover ideas from The Division Bell (apparently some really good ones too), Pink Floyd certainly leaves behind a body of work that is as complex as the band’s history itself, captured perfectly by “Louder Than Words.” The lyrics were composed by Gilmour’s wife Polly Samson, after observing the interaction (or at times lack thereof) of the original band members (including Waters) in rehearsals and the performance at Live 8 in 2005. It seemed like it was for the last time, they all wanted to let the past be the past and do the thing that made them great. It didn’t last, as legal battles and petty spats (mainly between Waters and Gilmour) have continued up to the present. Still if you look solely at their body of work, it’s undeniable that Pink Floyd left an indelible mark on psychedelic rock music.
The 13th installment (or “trip” as they’re called) of Riding Easy Records’ Brown Acid compilation series once again shows that there are so many undiscovered gems in the world of heavy pysch and stoner rock. The time and care put into these compilations is clear just by hearing these great jams. Things start strong and heavy with Max (from Montreal, QC) and “Run Run,” the b-side of their only single “The Flying Dutchman.” A couple of artists from previous trips make repeat appearances. Ralph Williams and the Wright Brothers (from the 10th trip) show up again with “Dark Street” with a heavy riff that’s really reminiscent of Roy Orbison’s “Pretty Woman”, which works for some reason. Bacchus (from the maiden voyage of this series) also makes a return with “Hope”, a more bluesy stomper than “Carry My Load” but doesn’t lose any of the band’s 70s edge. It’s hard to imagine the circumstances that led to these bands fading away undiscovered. Even some of the more forgettable tracks (the few that there are) in this series still would have made for some classics to be enjoyed for years.
While Stephen Pierce has spent most of his time making noise in one form or another (be it heavy hardcore with Ampere or thick noisy shoegaze with Kindling), the self titled debut from his new solo outfit Gold Dust pulls things back, but only a little bit. Influenced heavily by 60s and 70s psychedelic and folk music, Pierce takes his love for that genre and runs with it. And while this may be drastically different stylistically, he’s able to navigate through these 11 songs with ease. Standouts include “Run Into Clouds” with it’s hypnotic drone-y vibe that’s almost comforting in a way; as well as “All’s Well That Ends” with a more Neil Young/Crazy Horse feel, and everything you’d expect in between. Pierce has truly shown a side that he’s truly as passionate about as his other projects. And with a book on this genre in the works as well, I think it’s fair to say that he has much more to share from this side.
Scott von Ryper’s debut solo record (Tran-si-ent / Silver Door Music) is just as wonderful as you’d expect. After years of making beautiful sounds with Black Ryder and touring with The Jesus and Mary Chain, we get an intimate glimpse of Ryper’s abilities as a songwriter. While dark and moody, just as they should be, the 9 songs that make up Dream State Treasure also have a lot of heart. “Getting On Home” has just enough gospel-esque twang to add some joy into the mix. On the other side, “Lucifer” is just ominous enough to balance it all out, with a build at the end that brings the best of Nick Cave to mind. “Pulse” is the song that feels the most “familiar” with it’s droning distortion, as close to Ryper’s previous output as it gets, but it’s enough to grab your interest in the rest of what he has to offer.
Tom McGreevy and Evan Lewis as the duo Ducks Ltd. have created a pretty amazing work of art with their newest album Modern Fiction (Carpark Records). A 10 song jaunt that’s equal parts shoegaze pop and danceable indie rock, yet chill enough to simply zone out start to finish. Imagine Real Estate with a bit more pep, the album was pieced together here and there but doesn’t sound like music “assembled” on a computer. McGreevy and Lewis are able to keep that “live band” feel throughout Modern Fiction, even with the very apparent electronic drum programming. It’s not an easy thing to accomplish but they do it well. Thematically exploring a world in decline, but with enough melody to almost be content watching it happen but not in a nihilistic way. Just seeing it as it is.