The Moles - Untune The Sky (1990), On The Street/Rare And Weird (recorded ~1990), and Instinct (1994). Richard Davies and The Moles stand as one of the greatest underappreciated artists of the 1990s. The Moles were influenced by some of the greatest touchstones of rock music: lush psychedelic soundscapes reminiscent of the Beatles and Beach Boys, dramatic art-rock from Bowie and Love, clean jangle-rock from the Byrds, the Feelies, and REM, minimalism and economy from the Minutemen, the Fall, and the Kinks. It's not for nothing that their bandleader Richard Davies toured with the Flaming Lips circa 1996. The Moles are quite sympatico with the Lips, although I admit I like The Moles more, which is really saying something. Untune The Sky is their debut album, opening with the irresistible jangle of "Bury Me Happy" and proceeding to get weirder and more delightful with each track. The version I have includes some material that I believe was originally on an EP, including the utterly amazing "What's The New Mary Jane?," a title stolen from a then-lost Beatles track that has subsequently surfaced. The first half of On The Street/Rare And Weird remixes and resequences Untune The Sky, and the second half includes outtakes and B-sides. It is freaking excellent. But best of all is the EP-length Instinct, which was, I believe, actually a Richard Davies solo album with the Moles moniker thrust upon it by the label. Instinct is the most Bowiesque of the Moles' work, but I find it incredibly rewarding for all of its weirdness. The heart of the album is the 1-2-3 punch of "Already In Black"-"Instinct"-"Cars For King's Cross," three virtually perfect songs. Five stars and two thumbs up.
Molly Berg and Stephen Vitiello - The Gorilla Variations (2009). I don't remember where I picked up this lovely album, but it consists of multiple gorgeous ambient soundscapes. I believe it was intended as a soundtrack to a movie, but I don't know any more about this (or even if it is indeed true). Excellent wallpaper music, though, in the Satie meaning of the term.
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