This guy looks back from the page with a strong vibe. I spilled coffee on one of the floating space eyeballs and blurred it in retouching.
I'll continue to review the best albums of 2016, aka ANY RECORD I BOUGHT.
Guided By Voices: Please Be Honest
This Guided By Voices record goes all the way back to Vampires on Titus approach, just Robert Pollard recording everything under the GBV name. It sounds fresh to me, it has some killer artwork and killer tunes on it, what's not to like? Along with the poet William Stafford, Pollard shows that steady process works, relaxed standards keep the flow going, and gems emerge. These two are unlikely allies but they're kind of on my personal creative board of directors. I found this on a spree at Josey Records with Dave Snider.
Sun Ra: Angels and Demons At Play
Also a crazy prolific artist with a bent point of view, Sun Ra has a lot of music to explore. His Twitter feed, from beyond the grave, on the other side of Saturn, is always a refreshing aside of mysticism and affirmation. This record seems transitional to me, between the more traditional sounds of the late 50's and 60's, and the noiser electric jams of the late 60's and 70's. This was a Half Price Books find, on one of their bad-ass coupon days.
"My music comes from outer regions, from other beings I communicate with. I've been to Jupiter, and I've seen a lot of things." (Sun Ra)
The Bevis Frond: Miasma
I guess this continues the theme of out-there, independent artists like Pollard--this is a home-recordist classic, reissued on groovy blue vinyl for 2016 Record Store Day, also a Josey Records find. In the early days of college rock I would hear about Bevis Frond but I never went down the rabbithole. The sturdier sounds of Screaming Trees was more my thing. You seldom hear outright Hendrix-ism in indie rock--this has the psychedelic guitar god thing going on, miniaturized and privatized in the arena of backyard imagination, which is kind of where I like it best. And with great pop songs (oft-covered) that is a sweet deal.
Charles Bradley: Changes
Of all the records I've checked out this year, this one has the feel of an instant, note-perfect classic. The retro soul movement is one of the best things we have going in this icecap-melting age, but it can at times begin to sound by-the-numbers. This is, top-to-bottom, a perfect batch of songs, recorded vintage, and very moving. Also a Josie Records find.