23 August 2007

8+

"Big City (Everybody I Know Can Be Found Here)" by Spacemen 3 which clocks in at 10:50

On June 29th, when I was standing at South Street Seaport waiting for Sam Champion to begin their set (prior to Ra Ra Riot), the MC of the event took an excited moment to announce that legendary NYC duo Suicide would be gracing the Seaport stage in the near future. The news landed with a thud as very few, if any, of the people around me (or in my group) had ever even heard of Suicide. Fucking blasphemy, I thought to myself. Here was a band "as influential as the Clash" that not one single person in attendance at this music nerd/blogger/hipster event had enough admiration, or love for, to even acknowledge when the announcement was made. Okay, sure, this particular June 29th lineup wasn't exactly going to attract the kind of people who'd listen to Suicide, but that's beside the point. My point is, some of you guys out there calling yourselves big fans of music need to spend a bit of time learning about the most important bands of the past 40 years that you've never heard of. Self-education, really digging into the past, is as important to one's musical growth as keeping up with Pitchfork and Elbo.ws is. No, it's more important.

I don't throw around the term "legend" much at all, but the band Spacemen 3 is legendary. Read a bit about them on All Music or Wikipedia, you'll see. They're one of the seminal post-punk bands who laid the foundation for so much of everything that happened in the genres of post-rock and shoegaze - so much of indie, underground, alternative, whathaveyou - since the mid-80s. They took everything that had been started by bands such as The Stooges, The Velvet Underground, 13th Floor Elevators, Suicide, etc. and blended it into their own mind-melting style of noisy minimalist psychedelic darkness. Spacemen 3 brought to the rock music world a touch of avant-garde, often challenging, music. They're the band known for "taking drugs to make music to take drugs to", and they spawned more than one successful off-shoot band (see Spiritualized, Experimental Audio Research, and our After the Jump Fest day show headliners Spectrum). Needless to say, it more than baffles me when people say they "have no clue who these people are."

The song posted here is from Spacemen 3's final album Recurring. Prior to the recording and production of this record, the band saw a ton of tension and strife between key members Jason Pierce and Peter Kember. In fact, things had gotten so bad that the two songwriters decided to split the album in two, with Kember's (also known as Sonic Boom) songs to make up the first half of the record and Pierce's (aka J. Spaceman) to comprise the second half. These two halves ended up being recorded in two different studios with a cover of Mudhoney’s “When Tomorrow Hits" separating the songwriters on the actual album. Things were very bad - the band had ceased to exist. Yet somehow this made for an excellent record, as each songwriter was able to truly delve into his own style and explore precisely what interested him most.

"Big City (Everybody I Know Can Be Found Here)" is the lead track on Recurring and was written by Sonic Boom (Kember). It shows off his obvious adoration of Kraftwerk and Suicide and hints at the kind of experimental approach and sounds that would later be showing up in Sonic's future efforts under the Experimental Audio Research/Spectrum names. While not extremely indicative of Spacemen 3's overall sound (or of what you'll be hearing from Spectrum this weekend), it's one of my favorite songs of his/theirs and well worth checking out for anyone out there wondering who the heck this Spectrum is who is playing the After the Jump Fest.

*cover image of Recurring found HERE.

Buy Recurring HERE on Amazon or HERE on iTunes.

EAR FARM's 8+ is a weekly feature that showcases songs longer than 8 minutes. In the recent past these songs were featured on EF's 8+:
Pulp - "Seductive Barry"
Pelican - "March to the Sea"
Jerry Garcia, David Grisman, and Tony Rice - "Guitar Space/Summertime"
Boris - "Flood"
Vieux Farka Touré - "Diabaté"
Morrissey - "Southpaw"
Mastodon - "Hearts Alive"
Frog Eyes - "Bushels"

To see a full list of every song featured in EAR FARM's 8+ click HERE.

7 comments:

Taylor said...

you should turn this into a regular feature.

called the school of ear farm.

or something.

nards said...

oh, there you are asshole earfarm! I was wondering where you'd been. i've missed you. you've tamed it down a little, but i still recognize you.
cheree cheree cheerio

Anonymous said...

this isn't asshole earfarm. asshole earfarm is funny earfarm! this isn't funny!! i want my money back.

Graham said...

I like the school of ear farm idea.

Brian Fenton said...

More Spacemen 3 please! I have all this stuff buried away on vinyl at home, never to be played again...

BTW Isn't it spelled "here" not "hear"?

Matt said...

Brian - it seems as though you're correct... the CDDB is what gave me the spelling you see above ("hear") when I imported the disc into my computer. AllMusic and Amazon state it should be "here".

I believe that to be right and am changing it now.

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