Monday, July 1, 2013

CD REVIEW: Black Sugar Transmission "The Glamour Pantomime" (Andee's Vault Music)

             I feel like I say this a lot, but I simply cannot stress how much fun it is to constantly listen to new music.   Every time I press play on something that I’ve never heard before it’s like a new adventure.  In this world I believe that you need to constantly keep yourself learning and growing or else you will die.  A good way to learn and compile new data is by taking in new music, and I take in way too much new music on a daily basis even, so I’m left quite satisfied. 

            Now, sometimes when you listen to a new band for the first time you can be left thinking right away “Oh no, this is not for me”.   On the other hand, you could attract the middle ground and find something to be similar to something you already like, which gives you this feeling of liking it (Which is fine) but it doesn’t necessarily blow your mind, if you will.   You can say “Yeah, this has hints of this and this”, so it’s pleasing to the ear, but it doesn’t make you stop what you’re doing and really listen to it because it’s unlike most of what you’ve heard before.

            I started listening to shoegaze when I started Raised by Gypsies, and in that time, yes, I have ventured into other subgenres and branches of shoegaze (dream pop, ambient, etc.) as well as seapunk, 8bit, chillwave, synth pop, and so on and so forth.  So it surprises me that I have not stumbled upon Black Sugar Transmission before now, but hey, I’m a pretty busy guy.  

            Black Sugar Transmission makes me want to dance.  When I was expecting a synth pop theme that I’ve heard before, I got something unlike what I’m used to hearing.   My wife immediately pointed out the Blue October comparison, which I noticed as well, but I think that some more accurate names to draw from this are AWOLNATION (even if just because they are so current) and Stabbing Westward (without the heaviness)  I also can hear a bit of The Beatles in this, “Pretty Hate Machine” era Nine Inch Nails (to get quite specific) and Prince, which is one of the biggest influences I think I hear coming out of here but the mix makes it sound oh so good.

            When I listen to music, sometimes I can hear a story play out through the songs.   Sometimes, you can listen to music, and while it is feeding your ears, a movie plays in your head along with it.  This doesn’t happen often, but when it does happen it is magic.   With “The Glamour Pantomime” I can feel that movie playing in my head from start to finish.   It’s kind of like the movie “Go” only not.

            No, “The Glamour Pantomime” tells the story of someone in their bedroom getting ready to go out for the night, perhaps after a long day at work.  The movie follows them across their trip to meet up with friends and then ride subway to their destination.  (This is not just because there is a song called “Loud Girls on the L Train”, but that did help.  I do feel this would be a great album to listen to in your earbuds while riding the subway in NYC, which is something I would one day like to experience for real—and when I do it will be something I at least tweet about, haha)

            In the end of the movie, the star and co-stars end up at their destination, which is a club full of live music and people already there, which would oddly enough be playing the music of Black Sugar Transmission.

            Now I know what you’re thinking.  You’re saying to me, “Josh, this sounds pretty basic and even almost like a music video that has been made before”, and while I would agree with you that perhaps this concept has been orchestrated over the course of a mere music video before, I do not see this being played out over the course of one music video but rather a series of videos, at least one video per song.   If I was younger, a film student, someone started a Kickstarter or just in general truly felt inspired I would be so influenced as to try and create this series of videos myself, though right now I’m tending to shy away from being a moviemaker in my own right, so if anyone else out there has the passion to do so I’d recommend it. 

            While I will simply live with the images in my mind and not see them flesh out on the screen, I will definitely recommend this album to a number of my friends who I could see being the stars of said movie.   This is an album unlike any I’ve heard in quite some time.  It combines the qualities of some of my favorite pieces of music to form something fresh that caught me completely off guard but in the best possible way.  Wouldn’t it be magical to listen to this album via earbuds one day while riding the train into the city only for my destination to be a Black Sugar Transmission show?  Yes, that must now go on my bucket list. 

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