Blank Expression

Music mostly (but sometimes comics, film, writing)

Twitter: @_jimbush
Website: www.jim-bush.com

September 12, 2014

Witch (also known as The Witch) - “October Night”

From Lazy Bones (1975)

Psych rock with a funk element from Zambia. This album is killer. I dig the way the song switches over around the 2:00 mark.

September 3, 2014

Jeronimo - “SIlence of the Night”

From Jeronimo (1971)

German heavy psych/rock/prog.

There is something almost metal about the crawling bassline in this song, though the nice vocals on the chorus balance this as well. A number of the other tracks on this album rock just as much as this one.

August 23, 2014

Tomorrow - “Three Jolly Little Elves”

From Tomorrow (1968)

English psychadelic rock. This band featured Keith West, who had already had a solo hit, and Steve Howe, who would later be the guitarist for Yes. This entire album is outstanding. Many excellent tracks. I love the way in this song that the floor toms simulate the stomping of the giants as soon as they lyrics mention him.

August 1, 2014

Os Mutantes - “Dois Mil E Um”

From Mutantes (1969)

Like many people, my first real exposure to Tropicalia came from Os Mutantes, who are an extraordinary band in so many ways.

It’s probably even unfair to characterize them as “just” a Tropicalia band since they have so many influences and directions, as displayed on “Dois Mil E Um,” from their second album, Mutantes. There’s the folk music beginning, combined with the rhythmic beat typical of Bossa Nova, before the song takes a marked turn at the chorus: fuzz bass, interplayed vocals, and spacey psych pop at the end. There is a very Os Mutantes type of weirdness in the middle of the track. Later in the song (around the 2:50 mark), there is a wah guitar version of a Country & Western shuffle. And that’s in one song! On later albums, such as Jardim Electrico, they moved more into prog elements, as well.

 

July 27, 2014

Jorge Ben - “Xica da Silver”

From Africa Brasil (1976)

This album is fantastic and coming in the mid-70’s adds more funk to the Tropicalia mix. 

July 25, 2014

Os Brazoes - “Espiral”

From Os Brazoes (1969)

This is a classic under-the-rader album. It’s pretty consistently strong. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in Brazilian psych and Tropicalia. I especially like when the horns come into the song after a minute and it gets off kilter.

I’ve loved this album for years so it’s cool to see that this was recently re-released by Light in the Attic records

July 23, 2014

O Bando - “Alegria - Alegria”

From O Bando (1969)

This is a more traditional Tropicalia sound than others on this list, but it’s a pretty infectious song. This is one my favorite tracks from this album. While some others are not quite as memorable, there are many good tracks and overall it’s still an enjoyable listen.

July 18, 2014

Liverpool - “Paz e Amor”

From Por Favor Sucesso (1969)

Liverpool were in some ways a combination of Tropicalia and psych rock/garage elements. Their vocal and rhythms are distinctively Brazilian, though. This is one of my favorite tracks from their only album, Por Favor Sucesso. It is emblematic that it’s a pretty mellow listen overall, though there are certainly rollicking numbers on the album as well.

July 18, 2014

Brazilia

I’ve been wanting to get back to posting music vids/songs on the blog for a while.

With the World Cup in Brazil ending last weekend, I thought it was a great chance to jump back in — by featuring some great Tropicalia/psych albums from Brazil.

August 26, 2013

Foxygen - “In the Darkness” and “No Destruction” (Takeaway Show - live)

Songs originally appear on We Are the 20th Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic (2012)

I went to see Foxygen play a free show in Manhattan last month and I was really impressed by their presence live. I had been enjoying their album We Are the 20th… but it’s relatively chill. However, in a live setting the band really amps up the energy. At times, they are so frenetic that the songs seem to wobble on the brink of disaster. It mostly works, though. They have a fun attitude that borders on goofy, too. I think the latter is captured pretty well in this video.

It’s true that Sam France apes Jagger at times, which is even more apparent live when he’s using some of the same spastic body movements, but he’s got the voice to carry it off. I also think the band is as influenced by other 60s band — Beatles, Velvet Underground, Kinks, Donovan — as much as they are by the Stones.