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‪This Weekend I’ll mostly be listening to….Spectrum Meets Captain Memphis -‬ Indian Giver May 28, 2011

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....

Ah, Sonic Boom [no relation to Irma, if you’ll forgive me my little joke). Or Pete Kember, though he appears to prefer the former appelation. One time member of Spacemen 3, mentioned indirectly here. A neat ear for a melody, drugs references galore, a penchant for droning keyboards, a love of 60s trippy psychedelia and ambient and a hint of Mary Chain thrown into the mix. And yet it’s not him who gets the plaudits but Jason Peirce of Spiritualized, racing ahead on the outside with his neat ear for melody, drugs references galore, a penchant for droning keyboards, a love of 60s trippy psychedelia and ambient and a hint of Mary Chain thrown into the mix.

But that won’t stop me from loving dearly Mr. Boom’s output as a solo artist under the name Spectrum and loving not much of Spiritualized’s output (bar Pure Phase). All kaleidoscopes and colour wheels. I think he was trying to say something – hmmmm…

In fairness these men are still alive is a testament to the resilience of the human body in the face of self-inflicted pharmacological warfare. I’ve said it before, I’m pretty straight edge myself, bar Beamish and Smithwicks, so that don’t impress me much, but that said there’s always the odd interesting despatch delivered straight from the front-line. Particularly when it’s delivered in a format like this. Sweet melodies, one note keyboard lines, the 60s, no the 70s, no the 80s references, found sound and so on. A sort of compressed history of music, or at least one slice of it across the various albums released as Spectrum or Experimental Audio Research.

And here is Sonic Boom working with the now late but no less legendary Captain Memphis aka Jim Dickinson, a man with a Zelig like capacity to be there at some of the more interesting moments in rock over the past forty, or is it fifty, years. Producer, frontman, instrumentalist. All of these and more, and so some will recognise him from his work with Alex Chilton on Third/Sister Lovers as well as a career that linked him with a plethora of others including the Replacements. Indian Giver, the album is a shortish and snappy mixture of Boom’s trademark drones and Dickinson’s Deep South sensibility, the two merged into an updated 2000s sensibility without losing the strengths of their respective starting positions. Particularly interesting/enjoyable are the ones where Dickinson did spoken vocals over some of the tracks, “Til Your Mainline Comes” is perhaps the best. But those hankering after Sonic Boom’s trademark output won’t find this album wanting, from “Hey Man” to the keyboard driven groove of “Take Your Time”. When I found myself whistling along to the latter it struck me just how fresh, how effortless Boom makes it sound, but despite the fact that he’s been doing this for over two decades I don’t think it is.

I’d have liked to have heard them doing more work together. But Sonic Boom is no slouch when it comes to working with others, and a fairly diverse crew at that.

It’s far from a novel thought, but the capacity of rock and whatever else you want to call itself to find more in what should be an over-worked medium is fairly extraordinary. But although I’ve heard riffs like that which underpins Hey Man, I’ve never heard anything exactly like it. In that distinction is everything. I’ve thrown in How You Satisfy Me and Neon Sigh from Sonic Boom’s early 1990s output just by way of comparison. They demonstrate different aspects of his approach from poppy to more blissed out soundscapes. In some respects there’s little difference with what he’s been doing more recently, but that’s the point. There doesn’t need to be.


Hey Man

When Tomorrow Hits

‪”The Lonesome Death Of Johnny Ace”‬

‪The Old Cow Died‬

How you satisfy me [Spectrum, Soul Kiss (Glide Divine) – 1992]

Neon Sigh [Spectrum, Soul Kiss (Glide Divine) – 1992]


1. Earl Williams - May 28, 2011

Did you hear that Gil Scott-Heron died?


WorldbyStorm - May 28, 2011

Darn it, no I didn’t until you mentioned it.


Chet Carter - May 28, 2011

Unfortunately it is true. An artist that will be sadly missed but he left a great body of work behind.


2. Chet Carter - May 28, 2011

“And quick as Kodak your leaders duplicate with the accent being on the dupe – cause all of a sudden we have fallen prey to selective amnesia – remembering what we want to remember and forgetting what we choose to forget.”

B Movie (1981)


EamonnCork - May 28, 2011

Very sad news.
“Would we take Jesse Jackson? Hell, we’d take Michael Jackson.”
Re-Ron (1983).
“A rat done bit my sister Nell, with whitey on the moon, her arms and face began to swell, and whitey’s on the moon, I can’t pay no doctor bills, but whitey’s on the moon, ten years now I’ll be paying still, while whitey’s on the moon.”
Whitey On The Moon.
“The revolution will not go better with coke,
The revolution will not fight the germs that cause bad breath,
The revolution will put you in the drivers seat,
The revolution will not be televised.”
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.


3. Seán Báite - May 31, 2011

See you got to Gil Scott-Heron on another post – another victim of ‘self-inflicted pharmacological warfare’ as you put it.
Had you seen these 2 fairly unusual vids of SPECTRUM in a bandstand in Seattle with an out-of-tune acoustic and an ancient Casio (manned by ‘Randall Nieman from the great experimental band, Füxa’) :
It’s from that nifty French music blog ‘La Blogotheque’. There are some other gems in among their couple of hundred ‘Takeaway Shows’. No GSH unfortunately.


WorldbyStorm - May 31, 2011

I have not seen those vids. Sound brilliant.. Thanks a million Seán.


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