Album Review: Super Furry Animals – Dark Days/Light Years

Super Furry Animals
Dark Days/Light Years

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Super Furry Animals - Dark Days/Light Years

Super Furry Animals - Dark Days/Light Years

Dark Days/Light Years could well be considered the second coming for my favourite Welshmen, the Super Furry Animals.  Always innovative, the band performed the album in a live webcast to celebrate the digital release of the album in March, which was prefaced with a series of videos shot during each recording session.

After a choppy excerpt of such a session, the album launches into the fantastic with the unstoppable experimental force that is ‘Crazy Naked Girls’.  If you didn’t engage with previous releases Love Kraft or Hey, Venus!, fear not – the Furries will now have your full attention.

Built upon an infectious work of percussion, the song boasts not just the usual daft wordplay but also some impressive guitar riffs and solos, the likes of which have yet to grace a SFA record to date.  Perhaps someone spent the winter playing Guitar Hero:  World Tour?  ‘Crazy Naked Girls’ cascades into a mess of wah-wah guitars and grunge pedals – a bold move that pays off.

A diverse record, Dark Days/Light Years demonstrates the breadth of influences upon the band and their dedication to pushing the boundaries of their sound.  The juxtaposition of Gruff Rhys’ Welsh pop and Nick McCarthy’s (of Franz Ferdinand) German rapping in ‘Inaugural Trams’ makes for a very catchy monochrome beat reminiscent of Kraftwerk.

‘White Socks/Flip Flops’ sees the song material spill over into the ridiculous, but you’ll soon find yourself singing along and harvesting weirded-out stares on the monorail.  Guitarist Huw ‘Bunf’ Bunford takes on the mantle of vocalist with swaggering results.

Rhys’ vox are at their most mellowed out on ‘Where Do You Wanna Go?’, an earnest ditty spanning a sweet two and a half minutes.  Perfect to herald the coming of summer, this Beach Boys-esque track is sure to have you reaching for your beach towel.

The album closes with ‘Pric’, a gorgeous offering complete with melancholic warblings and repetitions.  A sitar-like riff drives the song, but the track houses so many other whistles, tinklings and video-game inspired bleepings that it cannot be described as dated, rather as an ‘episode’ of jamming at its finest.

The Furries leave their familiar stamp of psychedelic, pun-loving fun on Dark Days/Light Years, but have proven themselves open to taking chances and expanding their sound.  The results are invigorating for a band who have just released their ninth studio album; a joyful celebration of the absurd.

Dark Days/Light Years is out April 21 on Rough Trade Records.
www.superfurry.com

Nicky Andrews

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Photos: Starfucker @ the Vera Project

Portland’s Starfucker played the Vera Project Friday night. Photographer Julie Harmsen was there and took some stellar action shots!

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Photos: Sound on the Sound’s Blue Moon 75th Anniversary Show (night one)

Holy wow – what a night. Since I’ve seen them nearly a dozen times each, I was fully prepared for The Whore Moans’ and Thee Emergency’s undeniable awesomeness. Certainly both are among Seattle’s finest bands, but the buzz in the room was all about Hopscotchboys. I may have been the only one in the 75-year-old Blue Moon who hadn’t seen them before and was assured by many that their incredible set last night was tame in comparison to most.

Sound on the Sound is one of the few sources for new-to-me music that I blindly trust. They’ve turned me on to more bands I adore than I can count and were so adamant about Hopscotchboys that again I didn’t bother with a pre-listen. Hopscotchboys delivered well beyond the hype and since this was a reunion show, I’m lucky to have been there for an amazingly fun set by a beloved defunct band.

High Class Wreckage kicked off the night and a lesser opening band would have been immediately forgotten in a lineup of this caliber, but I heard well-deserved praise tossed around the audience throughout the rest of the night.

Sound on the Sound hosts another bash celebrating the Blue Moon’s history this Saturday and again they’ve booked a great lineup including A Gun That Shoots Knives, We Wrote The Book On Connectors and Junkface.

Here are my favorite photos from last night. See more in and add yours to our flickr pool here.

The Whore Moans

whorenikuse

whorejonface

whoresurf

whorehair

Thee Emergency

theehair

theeditacrow

theeba

theedtabs

Hopscotchboys

hoplighjj

hopsin

hopdrum

hopsky

High Class Wreckage

highsing

highup

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Photos: Team Gina & The Redwood Plan

The Redwood Plan and Team Gina played Chop Suey last night and the super-talented Alex Crick took some sexy shots. Start your weekend off right with stone cold foxes:


Gina Bling & Gina Genius of Team Gina – photo by Alex Crick


Lesli Wood of The Redwood Plan – photo by Alex Crick


Gina Genius of Team Gina – photo by Alex Crick


Lesli Wood of The Redwood Plan – photo by Alex Crick


Gina Genius of Team Gina – photo by Alex Crick


Gina Bling of Team Gina – photo by Alex Crick


Lesli Wood of The Redwood Plan – photo by Alex Crick


Gina Bling of Team Gina – photo by Alex Crick

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Interview: Kim Moyes of the Presets

The Presets return to Seattle on April 14th for a headlining show at Neumos. I saw them last year on their tour with Cut Copy and was blown away by the power of this band. They’re one of my favorite groups and you should check them out live. I talked with drummer Kim Moyes this week about music, videos and a little bit about massages.

Q: Did you get any type of break between your tour with Cut Copy and this one?

Kim Moyes: We had a bunch of festivals back home for our summer. That was just weekends and stuff and then had the whole month of January off. Then we had to go back into the studio and work on our new live show for this tour. We had enough time off to get fired up again.

Q: How did the rest of your tour with Cut Copy go?

KM: It was really fun. We did our first ever tour in Australia with them as the Presets so it was really fun to kind of come full circle in a way and do it over here. They’re like brothers, it was just hanging out with really great friends and probably having too much fun most of the time.

Q: I was at the Seattle show – it was amazing.

KM: Oh cool, that was actually particularly fun that night.

Q: Is it frustrating for you not to be able to dance as you’re playing your music?

KM: I’m definitely getting my dance vibes expelled through my arms and legs. I’ve just got some different moves.


Kim Moyes @ the Showbox, 2008 – photo by Dagmar

Q: Is it your older brother, Kris Moyes, who has directed some of your videos?

KM: My younger brother – 2 years younger.

Q: What’s it like having him bossing you around? Is it weird?

KM: Yeah, there were a couple of moments in the My People video where his directions were getting a little bit uppity and I was about to turn around say, shut the fuck up. Get him in a headlock and give him a Chinese burn. He’s a lot more talented than I am and has done amazing stuff so I can kind of bite my tongue.


Directed by Kris Moyes

Q: I’ve been listening to your solo work and really enjoying it. Are you going to do more?

KM: I am. It’s more about time than anything else. There are a few different things I am interested in. I’ve been doing this club thing for awhile and I’m not sure what I want to do first. They’re going to be a lot different, a bit more ambient, something to make your day nicer instead of something that you put on to take drugs to. I finished a club track the other week – it should be coming out in the next couple of months.

Q: Do you remember what the first music you bought was?

KM: A seven-inch by an Australian band called the Machinations. Kind of 80s pop. My mom bought me some stuff. My first record on vinyl was Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet. I used to take a lot of stuff off my sister, who’s six years older and she had all these great things like the Smiths, Madonna . . . My friends at school had Public Enemy and Run DMC. We used to swap tapes. It wasn’t until I was older, like twelve or thirteen that I really started buying records.

Q: When you were a kid what did you think about doing when you grew up?

KM: I always wanted to be Indiana Jones. I always wanted to be my heroes in movies. I don’t think I had a real firm grip on reality. I got completely entranced by drumming and by the time I got to that age where I was buying music I knew what I wanted to do. I just wanted to play music. I did everything I could from that point on to make it happen.

Q: What kind of drummers did you like listening to?

KM: I just liked the drummers from the bands that I liked. It was always for something that had nothing to do with the drummer. I liked a pair of boots someone was wearing on a record cover or something completely irrational and superficial. I do have a couple drummers I really like. There’s Tony Buck from an Australian band called the Necks. He’s amazing. Do you know Dirty Three? [He mentions their drummer, Jim White too].

Q: I was reading in an interview that you like to make music that punches listeners in the face.

KM: And then caress you gently. Tie you up, whip you and shove your thumb down your throat.

Q: What do you like to do besides making music?

KM: There’s not really anything else I can do besides music. I like to go to the beach, read and cook. I used to surf and skateboard but I don’t have much time for that now. I like to get massages – I always have a knot at the base of my neck from drumming.

Q: What kinds of books do you like to read?

KM: I’m reading about settling Australia and the convicts London didn’t want. It’s a weird history. The truth is very murky. I am 90% sure that both sides of my family were convicts. My mom’s side of the family made it a point of saying they were settlers. They loved the Queen and traditional things. At Christmas it would be boiling hot but they’d make a roast. There’s not much out there on my dad’s side of the family.
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Check out more of my photos from their Showbox appearance here & here.

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