When Ty Segall announced that he'd be releasing three albums in 2012, there seemed to be more excitement than skepticism, though the latter is usually the reaction toward most artists trying to pull off such a feat. I'm not sure if that speaks to the value of the Bay Area rocker's music, or if it speaks to people's genuine excitement for his style of grunge revival.

 

Last year's Goodbye Bread put Ty Segall on the national map in a way that albums like Lemons never managed to. In 2012, Segall seems hell bent on catching up the rest of his cronies -- the collaborators, conspirators and friends which have made southern California the hot bed for psych and garage rock in recent years -- to where he is now. Hair combines the talents of both Segall and White Fence, the stage name of Tim Presely. Presely has also released an album under the White Fence title this year, Family Perfume Vol. 1. Given that context for the album, there are plenty of people who know exactly what this album should sound like before ever hearing it. And, for better or for worse, those people are probably right. Take the more classic rock-influenced style of White Fence, a mutation of The Zombies and The Fall, and throw in some of Segall's ear-piercing guitar squeals and vocals, and you've got yourself the recipe for a pretty damn good album. Hair is maybe less impactful than these individuals have been in their own unique ways, and maybe the expectations from those in the know were a little lofty, but nonetheless, this seemingly inevitable album is still impressive.

As unthrilled I am to have to link to Spin Magazine to make this happen... you can now listen to the entirety of the new Black Dice record on their site. It also comes with a track-by-track breakdown of themes. Mr. Impossible comes out on April 10th on Ribbon Music, and it's the band's first record in three years. "Pinball Wizard" and "Pigs" are the two album singles which have been released so far. Pre-ordering the record now will get you a special edition hand-numbered and individually-screened LP, limited to 350 copies! See the full post for album stream, tour dates, and music video for "Pigs."

 

Huh? The album art for British singer-songwriter J. Spaceman's newest album Sweet Heart Sweet Light dons a white background, the outline of a stop sign, and the phrase "Huh?" It's an interesting icon, especially for a man who has made his life's work dodging media and disrupting critics, all the while releasing some of the most cherished music of the past few decades. Is it meant to confuse listeners? Should it signify a new direction for the band? More likely, it's Spaceman's subtle shrug of indifference to every listener.

But sadly, the album's cover is the most interesting word or phrase used throughout the entirety of Sweet Heart Sweet Light. Lyrically, the album is a huge step back for J. Spaceman, otherwise known as Jason Pierce. Spiritualized's lyrics have always been immediate at best, but there was a more heartfelt nature about them on past records. When Pierce sings, "I used up all my affection," and "I lost all of my direction," on "Get What You Deserve," the execution is far from effective, and the character in the song is Pierce personified. Maybe you're piqued by sentiments like "Love lights the flames when there's hearts it can burn," but on most of Sweet Heart Sweet Light, the messages are trite and over-simplified. And maybe taking lyrics out of context to make Pierce sound like a lazy songwriter is over-simplifying the issue, but one spin through the record, and it becomes blatantly obvious that brains behind Spiritualized was grasping at straws for subject matter.

 

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