Friday, June 25, 2010

Music Library: Macha, Macy Gray, Mad Scene, Madvillain, Maggie Osterberg, Magma

Macha - Macha (1998), See It Another Way (1999), Macha Loved Bedhead EP (2000), and Forget Tomorrow (2004).  I'm surprised that Macha is not better-loved than it is (or was: I'm not sure whether Macha is still a going concern).  Anyway, Macha was an Athens band that combined moody indie rock with trancelike gamelin music.  The first two albums are fantastic and beautiful and I recommend them to people who like their indie rock full of interesting sonic experimentation.  The Macha Loved Bedhead EP came about when Bedhead broke up.  Macha's McKay brothers had apparently been in a high school band with the Kadane brothers of Bedhead, and Macha took a few raw demo tracks, including a cover of Cher's "Believe," and came up with a synthesis of the Macha and Bedhead aesthetics that somehow sounds like neither.  Neato.  The final album downplays the gamelin side of Macha's sound and up-plays the poppy side, and I just don't like it very much.

Macy Gray - On How Life Is (1999) and The Id (2001). She's a hell of a great pop singer. What do you want, a dissertation?

The Mad Scene - Sealight (1995). Led by Hamish Kilgour of the Clean (on guitar and vocals here rather than drums), Lisa Siegel on guitar, and joined by Robert Vickers, formerly of the Go-Betweens, on bass, The Mad Scene have a killer Aussie-kiwipop pedigree.  Good songs, too.

Madvillain - Madvillainy (2004). One of DOOM's finest moments, this is a collaboration with producer Madlib where the two keep pushing their respective envelopes - better sounds, better beats, better rhymes - to the point that this is one of my favorite hip-hop albums.  Wish I had a better way of talking about it, but it's been discussed at length elsewhere around ye olde interwebs.

Maggie Osterberg - Snowy Days EP (2002) and The Red Cow In Heaven (2003).  I've known Osterberg for quite a while.  These two EPs combine her slash-and-burn pop guitars with sampled vocals.  Intriguing stuff!

Magma - Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh (1973) and Ẁurdah Ïtah(1974).  Magma is among the most wretchedly excessive of prog-rock bands: their albums build mythology about a sci-fi future on the planet Kobiai, mix choral music and electric jazz elements with complex-but-driving rock, and are completely sung in the made-up language Kobiain.  They are like Yes as kidnapped by French Situationists besotted with Popul Vuh, Beefheart, and Arthur C. Clarke.  I don't mean to insult these albums; music this weird and silly certainly deserves respect.  In fact, it's actually fairly brilliant.  Thanks to John Kuhlman for the hook-up.


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