The Joup Friday Album: Midnight Juggernauts – Dystopia

midnightjuggernautsA triumphant blend of electronic pop, new wave, and disco, Australian synth-maestros Midnight Juggernauts’ 2008 debut album Dystopia plays out like the end product of Daft Punk travelling back in time 30 years in a Delorean to produce a dance record for David Bowie. Drums and bass thump. Synthesizers pulse and swirl. Booties shake. I don’t know what’s been in the water down in the outback the last several years, but the local synth enthusiasts have sounded the battle cry, the denizens of analog electronics raising their keyboards and arpeggiators high into the sky for the whole world to see. The results have been fun as hell, and it all started (for me at least) with Midnight Juggernauts.

Joup’s Friday Album: Lubos Fiser – “Valerie and Her Week of Wonders” OST

valerieostFor this week’s Friday Album, I’m veering off a little into leftfield, selecting the original score to the 1970 Czech film Valerie and Her Week of Wonders by composer Lubos Fiser.  I initially became aware of this wonderful album when it received its first proper release on Finders Keepers Records in 2007, a label whose entire output and catalog of discoveries and reissues I cannot recommend enough.  Upon first listen, I was completely in awe.

The Joup Friday Album: Helmet – Aftertaste

I had a rocky start with Helmet. In high school, when Meantime first hit, some friends and I played it out very quickly and somehow I went from absolutely loving the record to feeling as though it was stunted. At close and repeated examination it didn’t hold up to my teenage metalhead mind because I hadn’t really learned to listen for the kind of nuances that Page Hamilton and crew would become known for throwing down on their records. This stigma stayed with me for a few years. There were a never-ending stream of great bands in the 90’s, many reaching high profile status due to the “alternative” boom wherein the major record labels tried to sweep up anything they thought might be the next Nirvana, and that coupled with the rise of the indie label and my own submersion into various pockets of the underground meant that by the time Betty came out I was barely cognizant of it. Then, somewhere around 1997 everything changed.

Joup’s Friday Album: Lovage – Music to Make Love to Your Old Lady By

lovageWhy don’t you go ahead and come over here and sit by the fire.  Have yourself a drink…something smooth.  Listen to the ice cubes clink around in the glass as you slink down onto the soft and plush rug on the floor.  Close your eyes and breathe deeply.  Feel the heat from the hearth on your face.  Relax.  Loosen those top buttons on your shirt and prepare yourself for an aural aphrodisiac.  It’s about to get a whole lot sexier in here.

Joup’s Friday Album – Chris Bell’s “I Am the Cosmos”

chrisbellLike most everyone, I came across Chris Bell’s lone album I Am the Cosmos way, way late. The material was recorded over a three year period during the mid 70’s, but aside from a 7” single of the title track featuring “You and Your Sister” on the B-side, it didn’t receive a proper release until 1992, well over a decade after Bell’s tragic death. It was worth the wait though.

Joup’s Friday Album: Olivia Tremor Control – Black Foliage: Animation Music Volume 1

oliviatremorcontrolblackfoliageTrying to cram as much music into my brain as i can muster over this week, so I’m just going to have to eek this one out as quickly as possible.  In 1998 I had brief, but pretty awesome stint as a deejay at a college radio station, KVRX 91.7 at UT Austin.  Among the hordes and scores of bands, artists, and music that I was exposed to during that time, one of my very favorites was Olivia Tremor Control, a group of kids from Louisiana (which happens to be where I’m from) who were a part of the famed Elephant 6 collective, a large group of bands including Neutral Milk Hotel and The Apples in Stereo and many, many others.  All of the bands involved pull from various influences, most notably 1960’s pop, psych, and folk.  In so many ways Elephant 6 just took what The Beatles started 50 years ago and ran with it.

Joup’s Friday Album – Second Edition

airhzlegendFor my Friday album, I’m embedding electronic French duo Air’s second proper album, 2001’s 10,000 Hz Legend.  Following the warm, chilled out sounds of 1997’s Moon Safari and the darker, smooth psych rock film score to 2000’s The Virgin Suicides, Air got cold and weird for their next release, employing more of an icy, electronic sound, mixing in elements of folk, soul, French pop, and experimental textures and tones.  The album is awash in strange quirks, vocal effects, and an almost ping-ponging back and forth of styles.  At once it feels both radio-friendly and like some completely off the reservation oddity.  It’s the sounds of Serge Gainsbourg put in a blender and then reassembled by two evil geniuses in a sound studio somewhere hidden in the Himalayas. Oh, and Beck and Ken Andrews (Failure) make appearances on the thing as well.

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