The common narrative is that Wings was the artistically dubious, John Lennon-free juggernaut that kept Paul and Linda McCartney’s pockets loaded in the ’70s. Their 1971 debut, Wild Life, tells a different story: that of the ultimate stoner couple reveling in experimentation and no longer giving a shit about satisfying expectations. If your interest is piqued, here’s a fun game to play as you queue it up: Imagine being a Beatles fan in 1971. You’re pumped beyond reason about Paul’s new band. Then you drop the needle and it’s that.
Vancouver, B.C.’s Loscil is the preeminent ambient chronicler of the Pacific Northwest, taking inspiration from the geography and natural history of the gloomiest, wettest corner of the country. His new album, Clara, is less interested in place than pure sound, being composed of edits and remixes of a single, three-minute piece of music performed by a Hungarian string orchestra. But its mood should be familiar to anyone who’s ever felt a droplet of cold fog shake loose from a tree and land on their face.
“Anais,” the A-side of local house-show perennials Grolixes’ new single, is the latest in a long tradition of power-pop songs that find rhyming potential in the weird and wonderful names of all the people we’re likely to date. (Yes, they rhyme “Anais” with “on my knees.”) But the real treasure is the B-side, a cover of Wings’ “Let Me In” that’s arguably an improvement on the original. Rather than studio-shined Macca happy-go-luckiness, it sounds like it’s bubbling from the bottom of a lake.
One of the great thrills in experimental music is hearing something that sounds like a blast of inchoate noise and realizing it’s hiding a great pop song. Few records illustrate this thrill like Endless Summer by Austrian guitarist Fennesz. The 2002 album’s eight tracks are based on pure, simple pop progressions, but they’re swathed in so much rust, decay and distortion you might be a little surprised when they get stuck in your head. It’s not just for irony’s sake that this album shares its name with a Beach Boys compilation.