Also the title of Phil Manley’s first solo album, Life Coach is now a (mostly instrumental) rock duo comprised of the Trans Am / The Fucking Champs guitarist and former Mars Volta drummer Jon Theodore.
The duo’s first album, out today, features a helluva jam as its lead single, as Manley lays down a wicked groove that’s topped by a raging rock solo from Isaiah Mitchell (Howlin’ Rain, Golden Void). Meanwhile, Theodore — a distinctive drummer in his own right — calls to mind John Bonham (Led Zeppelin) and John Stanier (Battles, Tomahawk, ex-Helmet) with his propulsive beats. Enjoy the live-action video as projected landscapes paint the boys’ white-robe canvases.
The sophomore album from London-based pop-rock trio The Invisible opens with thick, mournful swirls of keyboards intended as a send-off for guitarist/singer Dave Okumu’s deceased mother. Evoking a painful separation at the shore between life and the afterlife, the keyboards give rise to the contrasting buoyance of traditional Kenyan folk singing. Within seconds, Rispah (named after Okumu’s mom) announces itself as a work of rich ambiguity.
Bay Area post-punk trio French Miami is focused on the integrity of its art. Its DIY reputation and self-described “dynamics and bombast” have landed it more than a few fans — including one rock legend in a bar in Ohio.
[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/Seven_That_Spells_Olympos.mp3|titles=Seven That Spells: “Olympos”]
Croatian space-rock outfit Seven That Spells deals in extended psychedelic guitar freak-outs in the vein of Magma, Circle, Zappa, Trans Am, or Hawkwind. Perhaps its biggest musical influence, however, is Kawabata Makoto, who appears on the 2007 album Men From Dystopia. Founder and guitarist Niko Potočnjak modeled his collective after Makoto’s Acid Mothers Temple; lineups are transient, albums sound raw and live, and though recorded material is certainly released, the band lives for the performance.
The following Q&A was conducted with Potočnjak. He is extremely passionate about the music that his band creates, preferring danger and experimentation over consistency. The most telling quote from his dialogue demonstrates a singular philosophy that eschews genre: “We play music.”
How do you describe your music?
Psychedelic rock for the 23rd Century. New old religion of super loud! Polymetrics and occasional Viking funeral rites.
Can you give us a history of the band?
STS was formed in 2003. The main purpose was to have fun and play rock. Eight years, 60 people, and nine albums later, the purpose remains the same. We believe in the power and sincerity of rock music. I say “we” because STS is a collective — I just happen to be a guy with good organizational skills and a strong vision.
Among the thousands of under-appreciated or under-publicized albums that were released in 2010, hundreds became our favorites and were presented in ALARM and on AlarmPress.com. Of those, we pared down to 100 outstanding releases, leaving no genre unexplored in our list of this year’s overlooked gems.
Trans Am has explored all decades of rock, funk, and dance while continuously searching for new and interesting sounds. But the band has reached a pinnacle with the release of Thing, a dark concept album that channels John Carpenter vibes through the band’s trademark style.
Pick up a copy from your local bookstore or order a copy here. And while you’re at it, subscribe to ALARM and save 52% off the cover price! Your subscription starts with Invisible, which ships immediately.