-->
Music

Pink Mountaintops: Get Back

Get Back aims to be the soundtrack to the party, barreling through ten tracks in just under 45 minutes with a Lust For Life-indebted vibe.


Pink Mountaintops

Get Back

Label: Jagjaguwar
US Release Date: 2014-04-29
UK Release Date: Import
Label Website
Artist Website
Amazon
iTunes

Those expecting a retread of the late-night misery and sad Spectorian pop found on Pink Mountaintops' 2009 release Outside Love will be sorely disappointed with Steve McBean's follow-up, Get Back. Anyone familiar with McBean's main band Black Mountain or any of the bands of those assembled (a shortlist including Dinosaur Jr., Giant Sand, Sunn O))), Cass McCombs, and Brian Jonestown Massacre) however, will know right away that Get Back is a different animal entirely. Playing like a primer in the last 40-odd years of left-of-center rock, Get Back wears its influences loudly and proudly on its tattered sleeves, relying heavily on feedback, guitar solos and roiling rhythms that lend the album an unrelenting sense of forward momentum that betrays its sonic tendency toward backwards glances.

From its slow-build, feedback-saturated opening moments, Get Back lets the listener know the title is an adamant mission statement, that unlike previous releases this will see things amped up more than a few notches in both volume and overall intensity, all while fully embracing its idols and going entirely for broke in the process. Gone are the lysergic tempos and minimalist percussion present on Outside Love, replaced by propulsive drums, droning bass and heavily distorted guitar. Make no mistake, dear listener, this is a full-fledged rock album of the highest order, alternately channeling the unlikely likes of Iggy Pop, Morrissey and any number of Flying Nun artists.

With opening track "Ambulance City", McBean and company throw down the gauntlet, going full-bore into straight-up rock territory, shredding the delicate vocal chords displayed on Outside Love well within the album's first ninety seconds, wrapping them in a ravaged shroud of cavernous drums, grit-laden guitar and pulsing bass.

Employing a slightest hint of Anglophile vocal affectation, McBean tears through "The Second Summer Of Love" sounding more than a bit like The Clash despite a lyrical reference post-dating that group's demise. It's a strange juxtaposition coming nearly fifty years removed from the first titular summer and over a quarter century after the second that somehow still manages to fit more or less flawlessly and keep the moment of the album's opening moments on track.

"Through All The Worry", one of the many highlights on Get Back, is perfect hook-laden pop akin to Teenage Fanclub circa-Bandwagonesque, with guest guitarist J. Mascis playing a very J. Mascis guitar solo. "Wheels", in turn, apes Morrissey and the Smiths (think "Big Mouth Strikes Again" or "Shakespeare's Sister") with elongated syllables and maudlin, minor key musings atop a churning miasma of rolling drums and frantic acoustic guitar. Sure it's all more or less derivative, but consider the source material from which it is derived and you have your answer as to whether or not it's a worthwhile endeavor.

Eschewing the '80s and '90s, the remainder of Get Back falls squarely into Lust For Life-era Iggy Pop territory with dashes of Berlin Bowie thrown in for good measure, creating a rollicking, rocking set of songs that feels very much the result of in-the-moment playing amongst like-minded musicians rather than pre-meditated compositions hammered out by McBean alone. "Sell Your Soul" finds McBean doing a near spot-on Iggy-circa-Lust For Life, mewling his way through a web of chaotic, feedback-drenched guitar work and barroom piano, all underpinned by a simple four-on-the-floor beat and intermittent sax work.

The lone misstep on Get Back is "North Hollywood Microwaves". Featuring Giant Sand's Annie Hardy going off on an extended sleaze rap regarding her affinity for cum, "North Hollywood Microwaves" fits in seamlessly musically and, had it cut itself short of Hardy's moment in the spotlight, would have been just fine. Unfortunately she's given free reign and, sounding a bit like Kimya Dawson at times, it simply unnecessarily drags down an otherwise stellar album and at over five minutes well overstays its welcome.

Thankfully, no time is wasted getting back into things and the last four tracks on the second side return to the quality level put forth on side one, espousing the glories of teenage kicks and rock ‘n’ roll and other tried and true lyrical platitudes, all augmented with an appropriate sax line here and there. "Sixteen" and "New Teenage Mutation" are borderline glam perfection, while "Shakedown" returns to effortlessly melodic, noisy Flying Nun territory, creating a perfect pop partner to the aforementioned "Through All The Worry".

Album closer "The Last Dance" fully embraces its inner Aladdin Sane-era Bowie, replete with clattering pianos, stop-start rhythms and chunky guitars, all while McBean vocals struts back and forth across the track itself. At nearly eight minutes in length and featuring a triumphant major key shift during the elongated instrumental outro, it's a throwback to a time of glorious excess that perfectly encapsulates the album's overall revisionist aesthetic. It's one thing to ape your idols. It's another entirely be able to position yourself firmly in their presence.

8
Music

The Best Indie Rock of 2017

Photo courtesy of Matador Records

The indie rock genre is wide and unwieldy, but the musicians selected here share an awareness of one's place on the cultural-historical timeline.

Indie rock may be one of the most fluid and intangible terms currently imposed upon musicians. It holds no real indication of what the music will sound like and many of the artists aren't even independent. But more than a sonic indicator, indie rock represents a spirit. It's a spirit found where folk songsters and punk rockers come together to dialogue about what they're fed up with in mainstream culture. In so doing they uplift each other and celebrate each other's unique qualities.

With that in mind, our list of 2017's best indie rock albums ranges from melancholy to upbeat, defiant to uplifting, serious to seriously goofy. As always, it's hard to pick the best ten albums that represent the year, especially in such a broad category. Artists like King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard had a heck of a year, putting out four albums. Although they might fit nicer in progressive rock than here. Artists like Father John Misty don't quite fit the indie rock mold in our estimation. Foxygen, Mackenzie Keefe, Broken Social Scene, Sorority Noise, Sheer Mag... this list of excellent bands that had worthy cuts this year goes on. But ultimately, here are the ten we deemed most worthy of recognition in 2017.

Keep reading... Show less

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.


60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less
Music

The Best Country Music of 2017

still from Midland "Drinkin' Problem" video

There are many fine country musicians making music that is relevant and affecting in these troubled times. Here are ten of our favorites.

Year to year, country music as a genre sometimes seems to roll on without paying that much attention to what's going on in the world (with the exception of bro-country singers trying to adopt the latest hip-hop slang). That can feel like a problem in a year when 58 people are killed and 546 are injured by gun violence at a country-music concert – a public-relations issue for a genre that sees many of its stars outright celebrating the NRA. Then again, these days mainstream country stars don't seem to do all that well when they try to pivot quickly to comment on current events – take Keith Urban's muddled-at-best 2017 single "Female", as but one easy example.

Keep reading... Show less

It's ironic that by injecting a shot of cynicism into this glorified soap opera, Johnson provides the most satisfying explanation yet for the significance of The Force.

Despite J.J. Abrams successfully resuscitating the Star Wars franchise with 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens, many fans were still left yearning for something new. It was comforting to see old familiar faces from a galaxy far, far away, but casual fans were unlikely to tolerate another greatest hits collection from a franchise already plagued by compositional overlap (to put it kindly).

Keep reading... Show less
7

Yeah Yeah Yeahs played a few US shows to support the expanded reissue of their debut Fever to Tell.

Although they played a gig last year for an after-party for a Mick Rock doc, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs hadn't played a proper NYC show in four years before their Kings Theatre gig on November 7th, 2017. It was the last of only a handful of gigs, and the only one on the East coast.

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

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

rating-image