REVIEW: Pond - Hobo Rocket

REVIEW: Pond - Hobo Rocket

One of the great ironies of psychedelia, especially modern psychedelia, is that despite all the implications of mind expansion and far-out-ed-ness, the tropes of the genre are actually fairly limited. Take some wavy vocals, a fuck-ton of fuzz, and a hefty “dose” of delay and you’ve got an instant dorm room classic. That formula usually works best when it’s plugged into a more rigid structure, like that of a pop song, forcing its flights of fancy to remain tethered to some more focused center. But more often than not, the formula doesn’t work, and the resultant music can tend to come across as not just boring and meandering, but amateurish.

Pond’s latest, Hobo Rocket, finds itself floating amongst the space whales somewhere between those two extremes, a position which is not only disappointing but fairly surprising. On last year’s Beard, Wives, Denim, the Aussie collective (which features several members of Tame Impala) managed to reign in some of the more experimental facets of their previous efforts and came away with a solid gem of a pop record. Make no mistake: These tracks were still as sticky with resin as anything Pond had ever done. But the freakouts weren’t just tasteful; they served as a satisfying seasoning to the songs…which is precisely where Hobo Rocket loses its way.

LIVE: Tame Impala @ The 9:30 Club - 2/20/13

Kevin Parker’s Tame Impala made a stop by the 9:30 Club last Wednesday, and while they may have had their controls set for the heart of the sun, where they ended up may have been slightly less cosmic. That’s not to say the assembled touring lineup – Tame Impala is largely a one-man studio effort by Parker – didn’t deliver an, at times, hallucinatory and brain melting performance. Layer upon layer of Parker’s modern take on psychedelia were dished out to a blazingly receptive audience who were all more than willing to ride the wave where ever it took them – unfortunately, for the majority of the set that was exactly the same place.

With only a brief detour into 2010’s Innerspeaker, Parker and crew leaned heavily into material off last year’s critically lauded Lonerism, an album that is as divisive in its praise as it is ultimately enjoyable in its technical perfection.  That perfection spilled out onto the stage in tracks like opener “Apocalypse Dreams,” “Endors Toi” and “Music To Walk Home By,” but it wasn’t until weighty riffs of “Elephant” and the resulting instrumental exploration that the band seemed to fully engage with the audience, or even acknowledge that they were playing in front of a sold out crowd.  Of course that crowd didn’t mind in the least – Tame Impala are the torch bearers du jour for lovers of early Floyd and an assortment of mid- to late-70’s prog rockers.

BEST OF 2012: Kevin's Picks


Hospitality - Hospitality

Standout Tracks: “Friends” “Betty Wang”

By channeling everything that was right about the new-wave/punk scene hanging around CBGB’s in the late 70’s and putting a borderline twee pop sheen on it, Hospitality turned out one of the most listenable albums of 2012. More importantly though, it was also one of the most smartly satisfying records in recent memory. By simply having not only great taste in music, but the ability to execute on it with great songwriting,  Amber Papini and crew set the bar just a  little higher for all the aspiring indie-popsters out there this year.



Oddisee - People Hear What People Say

Standout Tracks: “Let It Go” “Anothers Grind”

Hip hop these days tends to either aim to either invigorate social awareness or lean towards a celebration of the more bacchanalian pursuits in life, but seldom does it more successfully meld the two more sweetly than on People Hear What People Say. Oddisee, originally a DC native, laid down twelve tracks of old school rhymes mashed against late 60’s universal soul and the result was an album that transcended the genre as much as it celebrated it. A wild ride that veers from West Coast to East Coast, KRS-One to Posdunus and back , People doesn’t just revel in the history of hip hop, it exalts the history of popular music PERIOD, and isn’t just a record that you shouldn’t miss, if you have ears, you practically can’t. 

Best Of 2012: Andre's Picks


Hundred Visions – Permanent Basement

Good morning class, my name is Dr. Jim Sullivan and I’ll be your instructor for this semester’s class; Introduction on How to Rock Face 101. Here is your first assignment. I want you to go home, put on Hundred Visions Permanent Basement and loosen up your rock maneuvers along with some serious rock face. Although, there is one condition, you cannot, and I repeat, do not, at any point in this exercise rock face to this album into or near a mirror or any other reflective surfaces.  I’ll see you all tomorrow for our discussion.

Welcome back class. Well, based upon the look on all of your melted faces, you probably think that I’m disappointed to see that you all have failed to follow the instructions. Billy, what was the last instruction I gave? Uhhhmmm, don’t look into a mirror or reflective surface while rocking face to Hundred Visions? Correct Billy, and based on your experience, why would I give you that instruction? Uhhhmmm, because even the reflection alone of how hard this album makes us rock face would cause us to melt our own faces off? Correct Billy, but sometimes the best education is experiencing the true power of rocking face first hand. You can thank Hundred Visions for that one. Good job class, now let me tell you about an album I like to call U.F.O.



Damien Jurado - Maraqopa

Similar to Jim Sullivan’s 1969 masterpiece U.F.O., Maraqopa is a lush, multi-layered and mysterious sounding folk album that may not get the credit it deserves in its day and age.  This album is also one of the few examples of how to tastefully use strings and choirs in modern music. But, like a fine wine, this one will definitely age well and stand the test of time so that it can be lauded when the Space Jesus returns (listen to podcast 17, time stamp 52 minutes for further explanation on that front.) I just hope Damien doesn’t mimic Sullivan and decide to walk into the desert and get summoned back to another planet where the general public appreciates his music in the time when it is actually happening.  So, as Carrie would say, sometimes you have to ask yourself What Would Alien Jesus Do? Well, apparently he would listen to Damien Jurado. 

Andre's Top 10 of 2012 (so far)

We're back! After a much need break from the rawk, the crew is rested and restored and ready to dive into this increasingly daunting back half of the year. Before heading out on break, we unleashed our collective top ten unto the world and all was good. But that list was made up of over sixty submitted albums, across any and all genre's you could think of. Taken as a whole, it paints a pretty clear picture of the personalities here and how everything fits together. Beyond that though, there are some great (and not so great) albums that didn't quite make the cut that are well worth a mention.

Kicking things off is Andre's top 10 list. It's a little more cosmic than most, but we wouldn't expect anything less from the good Doctor. So strap in and prepare for liftoff, because you're about to head through the looking glass and into the heart of the sunrise with your cosmic captain at the helm. Safe journeys. We'll see you on the other side.

Best of 2012...so far

What happens when you put a bunch of music nerds in a room and ask them to talk about their favorite music of the year so far? Why you get a Top Ten List of course! There's been a metric sh@# ton of great music this year, with new releases from the likes of Punch Brothers, Leonard Cohen, Alabama Shakes and more, but ultimately there can be only TEN that make the cut.

With over sixty albums mentioned the whittling down process was arduous and sometimes painful, but in the end we came together and saw our way through the adversity/diversity to deliver unto you this list of the best that 2012 to date has to offer. 

#10 Hospitality - Hospitality

KEVIN - New York hasn’t sounded this cool since the glorious heyday of CBGB’s, Blondie and The Talking Heads. Complex, confident, and unabashedly poppy, this is easily the most memorable debut record from any band on a long, LONG while. 


ANDRE - I recommend talking to Kevin on this one. Just remind him that the first step is accepting you have a problem.  I dig it as well, just not as much as Kevin...because that's impossible.

ChunkyGlasses THE PODCAST: Episode 3 - Squirrel Cape

ChunkyGlasses THE PODCAST: Episode 3 - Squirrel Cape

In which a lady joins the crew, Andre dons a cape, and we talk about new releases from Andrew Bird, Yellow Ostrich, Whirr, Pond and THE BOSS. 

So grab a seat, grab a beer and strap in because honestly, what could be better than listening to a bunch of morons sit around and talk about music for an hour or so?