Last night I sat in a freezer at 0° temperatures for TWO hours as part of the ongoing “Effects of Hyperoxia on Exercise Performance in the Cold” at the Brock Kinesiology lab.
See how happy I look?
Consequentially, this morning when I woke up everything was stiff and sore…joints, muscles, the works. Needless to say that going outside to run (currently feels like -11°) was not going to happen – maybe tomorrow. Tonight’s 90 minute warm indoor spin, however, is going to happen. And my listening pleasure is the ‘Transient Random-Noise Bursts With announcements‘ album by Stereolab.
This is the bands major-label debut, originally released in August of 1993.
Throughout the 1990’s, Stereolab was definitely a band on an artistic journey – one that fully launched with ‘Transient Random-Noise Bursts With Announcements’. Perhaps not as diverse and layered as subsequent albums, most fans will claim that this album shines the brightest when it comes to sheer verve. With a simple yet determined snare fill the albums bursts forth with ‘Tone Burst‘; the Stereolab crashing in with a driving, riding, grooving bass and a hot wall of fuzzy guitars and analogue keys. Yes – this is immediately righteous music – maybe the most righteous sounding rock since Velvet Underground’s ‘White Light/White Heat‘.
In 1993, so many acts were getting their bleak wailing grunge on, but here was Stereolab rocking with subtlety and euphoria. Even though this was on Elektra, unlike Sonic Youth when they ‘Goo‘-ed it up on Geffen, Stereolab maintained their rawness and guerilla stylings of their indie-recordings (at least for ‘Transient Random-Noise’ anyway). I read that the album was quickly recorded and it was better for it; you don’t capture this level of excitement over months but days. Most of the album follows the rolling drone-work of ‘Tone Burst‘, yet it carries well – never feeling too monotonous. In fact, by the time I arrived at ‘Crest‘, it feels that things were just getting warmed up for this knock-out crunch; there’s such intense, concentrated power in this track – absolute sonic beauty!
Still, don’t think this album is just one giant drone-rock affair; there’s a few curveballs along the way. ‘Our Trinitone Blast‘ is a unique song in the Stereolab catalogue – almost sounding like Siouxsie and the Banshees – believe it or not – a bittersweet apocalyptic gem with gnarly effects. ‘Pack Yr Romantic Mind‘ reveals the growing influence of ’50s and ’60s easy listening on the group’s musical direction towards their later, shall we say, “lounge-ier” sound. ‘Pause‘ also performs prologue duty with its eerie organ trance and hint of electronica and I absolutely got 100% lost in my sweaty suffering during the 18 minute ‘Jenny Ondioline‘, a hypnotic opus encompassing dreamy yet driving pop, a Krautrock groove, forceful, churning guitars, and a furious climax.
Damn fine listening and a decent (not to mention warm) spin to boot!