Music

New Electric Ride: Balloon Age

There must be something in that Newcastle water...


New Electric Ride

Balloon Age

Label: Beyond Beyond Is Beyond
US release date: 2014-02-25
UK release date: 2014-02-25
Amazon
iTunes

New Electric Ride are a British psych-rock band who channel equal parts 1960s grooviness and Brit-rock twee silliness. What makes them great – and they are pretty great – is that this combination is mined not for novelty value but in the service of compelling tunes. Songs like “Here Comes the Bloom” and “In Chains” are rocking confections built of equal parts fuzzed-out guitars, reverbed harmony vocals and left-of-center jump-cuts: sitar and accordion breaks, abrupt shifts in tempo and time signature, and fuzzy-headed lyrics about submarines and going with the flow. Instead of being a mess, it largely works, mainly because the band employ their wide-ranging range of tricks in order to create compelling songs, not to bask in their own cleverness. In tunes like “Marquis de Sade” and “Bring What You Expect to Get”, you get everything from Black Sabbath-y guitar riffs to subtle cello flourishes to spoken word extracts – in French. "Lovers" flirts with a bluesy riff, while "Bye Bye (Baton Rouge)" sounds like an outtake from one of John Lennon's solo albums. One gets the impression of a band whose restlessness won’t allow its members to stick too long in a particular groove. In this case, that’s okay, because the next groove is almost always just as good as the last. Special mention must be made of album closer “From Under Me”, an outstanding, wistful that drops all the cleverness and head games and mines a vein of pure heart. An outstanding capper to an already-engaging album, “From Under Me” shows that New Electric Ride are far more than simply a bunch of clever musicians.

7

Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

Bob Dylan's career has been full of unpredictable left turns that have left fans confused, enthralled, enraged – sometimes all at once. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – accompanied by a pickup band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – he performed his first electric set, upsetting his folk base. His 1970 album Self Portrait is full of jazzy crooning and head-scratching covers. In 1978, his self-directed, four-hour film Renaldo and Clara was released, combining concert footage with surreal, often tedious dramatic scenes. Dylan seemed to thrive on testing the patience of his fans.

Keep reading... Show less
9
TV

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

Keep reading... Show less

The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

Keep reading... Show less
9

Here comes another Kompakt Pop Ambient collection to make life just a little more bearable.

Another (extremely rough) year has come and gone, which means that the German electronic music label Kompakt gets to roll out their annual Total and Pop Ambient compilations for us all.

Keep reading... Show less
8

Winner of the 2017 Ameripolitan Music Award for Best Rockabilly Female stakes her claim with her band on accomplished new set.

Lara Hope & The Ark-Tones

Love You To Life

Label: Self-released
Release Date: 2017-08-11
Amazon
iTunes

Lara Hope and her band of roots rockin' country and rockabilly rabble rousers in the Ark-Tones have been the not so best kept secret of the Hudson Valley, New York music scene for awhile now.

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image