Von Andersson Noise System – Echoes
Genre: Post-Punk, Shoegaze, Alternative Rock
It’s amazing how far a few well-placed notes and some serious intention behind them can get you. You wouldn’t have believed it listening to Rick Wakeman describing his keyboard and synth collection back in the 1970s. Great as his prog fancies were, following in the footsteps of those people, naturally would mean putting up your house for sale in order to afford the gear and spending the next 10 years patiently studying.
Then punk happened and as the record companies scrambled to understand what was going in, many people with a few great ideas and a bit of luck, snuck right in. It just takes listening to Peter Hook’s memorable bass hooks to understand why so many still quote Joy Division as a marvelous influence.
Similarly, the bass guitar on Von Andersson Noise System’s Echoes sounds serious enough that it could be used to gather up an entire village and lead them into battle. This, combined with the 80s post-punk-styled drums, have an entirely hypnotic effect that is only broken, slightly, by the emotional singing. Echoes is a great reminder of what amazing things that simple rhythm tools can still provide.
Joan of Arkansas – Hate Ashbury
Genre: Pop Rock, Indie Rock, Alternative Rock
Similar artists: Superchunk, The New Pornographers, Mcklusky, Wavves, X-Ray Spex, X
In 1967, it looked like the U.S.A. might be going through its very own spiritual revolution when kids refusing to embrace the old grind of American society opted to spend their days smoking weed and singing songs of peace. Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco became a symbol for these new communities.
Then a bearded folkie leading a bunch of stoned hippies killed a bunch of people. The public began to see Haight-Ashbury as freeloading, strung out deviants who could easily endanger themselves and others. The hippie dream was over.
Now, since I dislike hippies as much as the other fellow, I was instantly taken with the song title of Joan of Arkansas’ Hate Ashbury. It does, as you might expect, sound like a twisted trip through the aberration produced by the common drugged-out hippie. These are sludge riffs to start a death cult to. Not even the Beach Boys would dare cover it.