Lost Heads

We’re back. A day’s drive from southern Brittany yesterday with a three hour pause while the ferry captain took over saw us get through the door at just before midnight. The coastline and beaches with their clusters of pine trees and beautiful, golden-to-deep-blue dusks seem a long way away now. The Atlantic coast near Royan is wonderful, packed full of coves and beaches and forests, lots of places to stop and wile away the hours. South Brittany, particularly round the estuary of the river Odet and the town of Benodet is also a lovely place with miles of rocky coastline, some sandy beaches, the undulating Breton countryside and cheap wine and food.

While we were gone Britain seems to have been overtaken by a right wing coup, led by an English, No Deal fanatic and his cronies. Keeping in touch at a distance was pretty depressing and after a few days I tried to ignore political events in the UK as far as possible. Meanwhile a dam not too far from here threatened to collapse and destroy the town of Whaley Bridge. Local roads here were flooded, the Mersey was at an all time high, routes to the airport closed.

Here’s a new hit of summer psych- disco from Moon Duo, Ripley’s guitar falling in sun dappled waves and droplets over the beat with some very laid back twin vocals. The album is out at the end of September but the songs released so far seem perfect for August.

 

Stars Are The Light

Moon Duo have a new album out at the end of September, an announcement that brings me great joy. The new one sees Ripley and Sanae Yamada dig into the sections of their record collections that contain the disco and rave 12″ singles. Ripley’s usual fluid guitar playing and Sanae’s synths are still there but it’s a definite move on from the darker, motorik grooves of the Occult Architecture albums of two years ago- the synths glisten and shimmer, yep, like stars in the inky black sky. Gently trippy. It was recorded in Portugal at the Mountains of the Moon with Sonic Boom on production and mixing. I think Moon Duo (and by extension Wooden Shjips) may be favourite current band.

Round The Old Jukebox In The Candy Store

Brian pointed out the day before yesterday that when putting together an end of year list it is always the case that you’ll miss or forget something. I agreed. The other situation is buying a record after posting the end of year list that then becomes a clear contender for said list (I spent some Christmas money in Piccadilly Records two days ago on just such an album, which I imagine I’ll come back here to in a few days time). The record I forgot about was Moon Duo’s 12″ single from January, a pair of covers that I should have put in my list. The first was their version of Alan Vega’s 1981 single Jukebox Babe, a two chord homage/motorik groove…

Jukebox Babe

Vega’s original is New York rockabilly at the turn of the 80s, brittle and wired…

Jukebox Babe

The other side of the Moon Duo 12″ was a slowed down cover of No Fun. Today is New Year’s Eve and I shall be back later if I find the time get something else written for the end of 2018. See you tonight.

White Rose

I am in a bit of a Moon Duo/Wooden Shjips groove right now and have been returning to the pair of albums Moon Duo released last year, Occult Architecture 1 and 2. The first volume was closed by a final track that was a scorching, repeating and hypnotic delight, White Rose. While digging on the internet last week I found some live versions that are superb. This one was filmed for a session with KEXP and is a masterclass. Once that drumbeat sets off and the drone gets going it could quite happily go on and on and on…

And then I found this one from a festival called Endless Daze held in South Africa last year, which is like the other one but even more so, especially Ripley’s reverb drenched guitar playing.

Sleepwalk

Celebrate the arrival of Friday and the weekend with this- a free download of an Aron Ya reworking of Moon Duo’s Sleepwalk (if trancey, psychedelic, repetitive, acid drenched drone rock is your bag. And if it isn’t, why isn’t it?)

Jukebox Babe

My love of San Francisco drone hippy-punks Moon Duo is well documented. They have a new 12″ out today, a pair of covers. One of them is a version of No Fun by The Stooges that they worked up when appearing on 6 Music for Iggy’s 70th birthday (and it gives me an excuse to use this picture of Iggy a friend shared on social media recently). The other is a cover of Alan Vega’s 1981 single Jukebox Babe, an exercise in repetition and reverb that will take some beating. Both were recorded/produced by Sonic Boom, who knows a thing or two about repetition.

High Over Blue

Back in 2013 when Moon Duo released their Circles album, a full on psychedelic blast of bright light and drones, they gave away this song- firstly as an iTunes only bonus track, then as a one sided 12″ single and finally as a free download from Soundcloud. You can still get it for free from the player below. High Over Blue is a twenty minute excursion into space and time- phased out sounds, chuggy rhythms, droplets of guitar, reverb laden vocals, slow burning with FX all over the show. Probably more s p a c e d  o u t than anything else you’ll start today with.