Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Festive Dozen 2015: Tess Parks & Anton Newcombe - Wehmut

I wouldn’t have known much about Anton Newcombe or his fabulously named psych-rock band, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, if it wasn’t for Dig!, the Sundance Award-winning rock documentary of roughly a decade ago. I was a fairly big Dandy Warhols fan at the time, and Dig!, of course, um, dug deep, into the often fractious relationship between Newcombe’s band and the much more high profile Warhols. Neither band emerged from the documentary unscathed … with inter-band rivalry, petty in-fighting, jealousy, and drug abuse, being the film’s predominant themes.

The Dandy Warhols subsequently struggled to match the highs of a turn of the millennium peak (the band was at its best between 1996 and 2003), while The Brian Jonestown Massacre went on to enjoy a large cult following for many years – quite probably because of the film’s success, and the enhanced profile that came with it.

Which more or less brings us up to date, and to my point … which is to acknowledge what the now apparently clean and sober Newcombe has been doing in 2015. Namely, collaborating with Toronto-based singer-songwriter Tess Parks on an album called I Declare Nothing, which had a mid-2015 release.

I probably could have selected any number of tracks from the album for the sampler I offer here, and I really loved ‘Cocaine Cat’, but none capture the album’s stoner-psych-prog crossover excess quite like ‘Wehmut’. I’m not really sure what Parks was doing before this, but that voice has certainly been lived in, and in Anton Newcombe, she may just have found a perfect muse.

Curiously enough, I’m sensing a fairly strong Dandy Warhols influence here …

(The Festive Dozen is a fairly randomly selected year-end collection of clips featuring the tunes which featured most prominently on the (generally pop-loving) iPod playlists of everythingsgonegreen at various stages throughout 2015) ...


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