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 was the radio hour, The Noise Kaleidoscope which aired on 99.1FM WQRT in Indianapolis (now on hiatus – past episodes are archived online). On it he covers his personal collection and influences of psych rock from over the last half century, starting with early influences and reaching to its modern incarnations.
We are graced with another new Brian Jonestown Massacre full length, so in addition to exploring our place in their discography we’ll also take a look at their latest offering, The Future Is Your Past.
We’ll start in 2015, when the band released Musique de Film Imaginé. As the title suggests, this is a soundtrack to an imaginary film that pays homage to the masters of French cinema. The album guest appearances from French multi-instrumentalist SoKo and Asia Argento, an Italian actress, singer, and director. Their contributions to this record cannot be understated. SoKo’s vocals on “Philadelphia Story” give probably the best indication of how this record will stick with you like nothing else Anton has created. The melodies are beautiful and haunting and the songs take shape and tell a wonderful story that Anton must have had in his head while writing this. An interesting interlude between Revelation and Third World Pyramid, released the following year.
Released earlier this month, The Future Is Your Past is the perfect companion to last year’s Fire Doesn’t Grow On Trees. Fitting since they were both recorded in the same time period and were originally slated to be released in the same year. “Do Rainbows Have Ends” is probably the best opening track on their records since “Vacuum Boots”. And from there, we’re pulled into yet another wild fucking ride with “The Light Is About To Change” and “The Mother Of All Fuckers” (a contender for their best song title). Both I seem to remember them playing when I saw them live last year. And they really leaned into these songs, which you can hear come through on the recording. By the time we reach the album’s closer, “Stuck To Yous”, it’s hard to accept that so far there’s no word on anything new on the horizon. At least not yet. But it seems apparent that the block Anton had been feeling for some time has at least broken up a bit, thank god.
When I read that Allen Epley was making a solo record, I honestly did not know what to expect. After years of heavy post-grunge with Shiner and more shoegaze-y indie rock in The Life And Times, Epley slows things down just a bit with Everything (Spartan Records). Paying tribute to the mellowed AM pop-rock of his youth, this dreamy LP checks all the right boxes for a soothing experience. “Thousand Yard Stare” kicks it off with Epley’s signature layer up layer of guitar, opting for mostly acoustic and clean electric guitars which, if you’re used to his noisier/heavier output, might require some mental adjustment. However, once you get your bearings, you’ll be all in through the 9 tracks and ready for more once it comes full circle.
King Tuff’s Kyle Thomas seems to be on a similar trajectory with Smalltown Stardust (Sub Pop). Black Moon Spell was a more raucous garage rock party and The Other saw a slight transition to more mellow songwriting. But after time spent really making noise with J Mascis in Witch, Smalltown Stardust seems a really appropriate next step. Songwriting that rivals McCartney’s solo output with harmonies to match. It’s a record that just makes you feel good. And we all need that.
Well, never thought I’d be covering a Lil Yachty album in this column but fuck, here we are. Let’s Start Here (Concrete) is described as a psychedelic odyssey and it certainly is that. The marriage of psychedelic music and hip hop is something I’ve been fascinated by for quite some time. Yachty’s love of Pink Floyd shines brightly throughout. Sprinkle in bits of The Love Below, Cudi’s Man On The Moon trilogy and Thundercat, then you get a glimpse of what he’s going for. Certain songs do veer into cringey territory lyrically and the reliance on autotune gets to be overwhelming. Yet when you get into tracks like “drive ME crazy!” it becomes pure sexy disco magic. And by the end you’ve definitely had an experience. It’s up to you whether it was good or bad.