Posts Tagged ‘spiritualized’

Top 10 Albums Of 2012 (5-1)

December 23rd, 2012 | Features | 0 Comments

And here are the final 5.

5. Spiritualized – Sweet Heart Sweet Light

Amazing that after all this time and so many album J. Spaceman can still make as excellent and touching an album as this one. The guy doesn’t even really do much different, he just does it really, really well.

4. Julia Holter – Ekstasis

I’ve been a fan of Holter since Live Tapes, but on Ekstasis she finally pulls everything together to make an artful masterpiece full of hooks. If only it didn’t have that annoying “Goddess’ Eyes”…twice…

3. Dirty Projectors – Swing Lo Magellan

Though not as focused and incontestable as Bitte Orca, Swing Lo Magellan continued the Dirty Projectors‘ winning streak with a collection of songs that were consistently innovative and auditorally delightful.

2. Grimes – Visions

Perhaps the single biggest breakout of the year – though Grimes‘ previous releases displayed her unique sound and vision and were recognized as such, Visions saw her leaping far ahead to create a fully cohesive and original work of art-pop that exceeded expectatiions across the board. For most artists as young as the 24-year-old Grimes, one would say they would forward to hearing what’s next – with Grimes of course we all do, but to in any way suggest that this album is less than the work of an already great, matured artist would be unjust.

1. Beach House – Bloom

The little guitar and organ duo that could do it again, following up the hugely lauded Teen Dream with an LP perhaps just as good, if not in some ways better. The minimalist rock duo approach has been a no-biggie since The White Stripes broke it down in the early aughts, but Beach House show again how incredible a band can sound by making the most of a few tools in their pocket to maximum effect. And the melodies! The vocals! The guitar sounds! The lyrics! Overall, just another really, really great album from the Baltimore duo.

Spacemen 3

December 5th, 2010 | Features | 1 Comment

This week’s band of the week is a cherished cult act that has managed, over time, to become legendary. The music they made was so out of its time when they made it, that listening to it now, it could’ve been made in any decade…and still sounded as weird and otherwordly. And awesome, of course. The band of the week is…


Last night in Toronto there was a benefit concert for Natty Brooker, who was the drummer on the first Spacemen 3 album, Sound Of Confusion, released in 1986. He also appeared on the classic and classically titled Taking Drugs To Make Music To Take Drugs To. It was his artwork that would later appear on the cover of Spiritualized‘s first album Lazer Guided Melodies and Spacemen 3’s last, Recurring. Brooker has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and they were raising money for him. I was there and though not all the performances were, shall we say, ‘out of this world’, it was a great community gathering and everyone was happy to be there, celebrating the music of Spacemen 3 and Spiritualized.

To be honest, I’m more of a Spiritualized fan (in case you don’t know, Spiritualized is Jason Pierce aka J. Spaceman‘s post-Spacemen 3 project, which he’s been doing since the early 90’s), and they’ve graced the ‘band of the week’ section of my blog before, but Spacemen 3 is really great also. They’re more experimental, more lo-fi, a bit more ‘radical’ in a sense, as opposed to Spiritualized’s very professional, euphoric brand of psychedelic gospel.

Their classic album Playing With Fire is probably my favorite. The Perfection Prescription is cool too but I always felt like Playing With Fire had a bit more chutzpa, maybe because its got the 12-minute live noise jam-out “Suicide (Live)”. That was always their most Velvet Underground-y moment. All the others are cool too, they’re the usual psych-gospel stuff Spacemen 3 is renown for. It’s not in the psych in the multicoloured sense or the stoner sense, it’s like space-psych. But yeah, probably would sound killer on acid or even weed or whatever.

Anyways, Natty Brooker sells cool, trippy art online and if you’d like to buy some or donate to help a brotha out, you can do so at him website here.


March 1st, 2009 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

This week’s band of the week is a spacey dude who loves drugs and gospel music and likes to bring along some friends for the ride on each album. Spacey dude + crew have been making trippy, inventive and often stunningly beautiful music for the last 17 years and hopefully they’ll keep it up for as long as possible. This week’s band of the week is…




After the breakup of the legendary Spacemen 3, J. Spaceman (real name Jason Pierce) began Spiritualized, releasing the critically lauded Lazer Guided Melodies album in 1992. At this point, Spiritualized was more along the lines of a more pop-oriented Spacemen 3, featuring higher production values and less feedback. As time went on, Spiritualized’s sound moved away from Spacemen 3’s gospel-inflected noise experimentalism and became it’s own psychedelic – though still gospel-inflected – entity.


By 1996’s classic Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space, J. Spaceman seemed to have finally hit upon the sound he’d been chasing for over a decade. The album combined spaced out euphoria in the form of the title track and “Broken Heart”; noisy, bluesy rock in the form of “Come Together” and “Electricity”; and apocalyptic epics like “No God, Only Religion”. And of course there was plenty of fantastic gospel in “All Of My Thoughts” and the incredible “Cool Waves”.



Last year Spiritualized put out another fantastic entry in it’s stellar discography with Songs In A and E. On the album, J. Spaceman continues to explore his obsessions with love, death, drugs and G-d. As usual, there were awe-inspiring gospel songs (“Soul On Fire”), noisy-blues rock (“Yeah Yeah”) and spaced out euphoria (“Borrow Your Gun”). True, he seems to stick to the same stuff, but when the results are this mind-blowing it’s just about impossible to blame him.

To purchase Songs in A and E click here.

To purchase Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space click here.

Archive: Lights (Album Review)

August 13th, 2008 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments



6.9/ 10

(Warner Music France; 2006/2008)

Archive’s album Lights is clearly the product of a great deal of thoughtful, calculated studio work and admirable experimentalism. It’s production is a wonderful collage of noise, bliss and weirdness that makes for a fantastic sonic experience. Unfortunately, the band doesn’t match their work ethic with as inspired songwriting, resulting in an album which, though accomplished and interesting, sometimes gives out when it comes to songs that resonate with any kind of humanity or emotion.

Basically, Archive is a lot like Spiritualized but lacking J. Spaceman’s heavenly conviction. Many of their melodies feel uninspired (“I Will Fade”) or borrowed (the Verve/Stones/Spiritualized rip “Veins”…which is probably the album’s best song…not such a bad thing actually…). The singing is tight but it feels unnatural at times, as if there’s a singing coach there giving tips. What the album lacks is “chutzpa”.

I was listening to the first Dinosaur Jr. album today and no, it’s not the greatest album. It’s messy, some of the writing’s not great and the performances are not quite up to snuff, but still, they had chutzpa! They had that essential spark that makes Dinosaur Jr. the great band that they are. Archive’s Lights is sort of the opposite: the writing is sharp, the production solid, the album is well organized and the performances are great but there’s just no chutzpa.

Even with the lack of chutzpa though, the album is very listenable and admirable for what it accomplishes.  The Radiohead-esque songs near the end, such as the moving “Headlights” and “Taste Of Blood”, are affecting compositions comparable in their power with the songs off OK Computer and The Bends. The aforementioned “Veins” has a chorus with backup singers and gospel organ that is actually pretty uplifting. The rest is all just very solid, well-written psyche for the millennium generation.

I have no problem seeing plenty of well-fed Europeans loving this album and band but I don’t see it happening with hipsters here in North America. J. Spaceman’s got a broken heart and he wants SO badly to find g-d and all and Thom Yorke is freaked out by everything because he’s just too smart and cool to be alive but I can’t feel that in Archive. There’s pain in the songs but it doesn’t come through strong enough.

Relating this back to my grand theory of music as the ultimate form of communication between individuals, this album fails to make that connection as no individual voice ever emerges. At the end of the day, Lights’ brightness is limited by it’s lack of idiosyncrasy.