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Top Five Fridays: Aster More

April 21, 2017

Hey Folks,

It’s time for another Top Five Fridays, where I wrangle a cool group of musical creators into giving the skinny on five albums that bring them joy! Last week we were in my home town of Harrisburg, PA talking with Concrete Beach, a garage rock outfit of the HIGHEST order (don’t believe me then listen to THIS GOODNESS).  Today we’re in philly with dream psych punk rockers Aster More!

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I gotta give thanks to The Key and Chad Snyder for bringing Aster More’s mix of raw punk and shoegaze to my attention back in December 2016 when he reviewed their debut EP.  I instantly fell in love with the sound of a band that was so effortlessly able to sound musically expansive, employing meandering guitars, keys, and even a freaking sax break, while still delivering the emotional directness and punch of any good 1:50 minute punk rocker.

I was over the moon when Aster More agreed to take some time and share some of their favorite records with you dear readers.  The result is one of the most eclectic and thought out Top Five Fridays I’ve ever received.  Give it up for Aster More!

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Hey Peter!

We decided to have each member of AM pick one album that they love, and write a bit about it. Thanks so much for asking us to do this!

– Kristine // ASTER MORE

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Rel’s Pick

Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation

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This album is reminiscent for me, and every time I hear it, it takes me back some summers ago to all my bike rides through the city when I’d play this while riding through one of my head phones.  I love how fuzzy, dissonant and unapologetically loud this album is.  It builds and builds and goes haywire towards the end.  The droney and screeching guitars and weirdly recorded rumbling sounds only adds to it, making it the perfect combination of rock n roll, grunge and noise.

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Rachel’s Pick 

Yo La Tengo – Electr-O-Pura 

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This LP is over 20 years old, which seems impossible, but regardless is true and its allure from the early 90s is just as appealing as it was back then. The opening track, Decora, immediately sucks you in with James’ driving bass line and Ira’s twangy guitar.  This record is such a complete balance of soft and hard between the whispering vocals on “As the Hour Grows Late” and the organ freak-out jam on “False Alarm”.  It’s not a record you listen to when you’re in a certain mood because it takes your emotions on the most twisted, loop de loop roller coaster ride only to spit you out at the end with the most heart crushing finale, “Blue Line Swinger”.  This nine plus minute jam (where at least five of those minutes are dedicated to Georgia’s drum buildup) bring me back to a time in college when I was waiting for my bus to school, jamming out this track at full volume on my CD walkman and hoping the batteries wouldn’t die before the lyrics emerged beneath all of the tom hits and feedback fueled, repetitive guitar licks.  And when Georgia croons with her breathy voice to say ” And I’ll find you there…I’ll find you there” I know the end of this journey is near and that I am left only wanting more. Decades later the scenario is still the same only I find myself at the bus stop hitting play again on my on iPhone.

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Carolyn’s Pick

The Ghetto Brothers – Power-Fuerza

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An incredible pop/funk/latin rock band lead by Puerto Rican brothers Benjy and Victor Melendez.

The band took its name from the club the members belonged to, one of the most powerful in the South Bronx and instrumental in the Hoe Ave peace meeting on December 7, 1971.

The forever travelling bass lines, the ripping lead guitar tones, the hypnotic use of vocal slapback, the incredible use of auxiliary percussion – to me I’ve heard very few albums that blend so much pop and Latin/funk rhythm. And the HARMONIES. These boys had passion. And for good reason – they were a part of one of the darkest eras of New York inner city existence. Fully involved in the height of New York gang violence. And yet they promoted peace and unity between gangs and turned their outrage to those who held back their economic opportunities. There’s now a graphic novel out that tells the incredible Bronx peace story – written by Julian Voloj and Claudia Ahlering (it’s called Ghetto Brother: Warrior to Peacemaker)

Top tracks: “Viva Puerto Rico Libre”, “Ghetto Brothers Power”, “You Say You Are My Friend” but would 100% vote to listen to the entire album because they’re all catchy, they all tell a story, and they all (at the very least) hint at a sadness I don’t think I’d ever understand.

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Kristine’s Pick

Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do

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As time goes by, Fiona Apple continues to release material that inspires me and draws me to the darkest parts of my mind. Even though this album came out in 2012, it remains a constant on my record player. This album feels authentic; it feels fierce and determined, and empowers me in the best ways. The spareness and lightness of the percussion (i.e. the heartbeat on “Valentine”), accompanied by Fiona’s suspenseful and playful piano, underlies the strongest components – her voice and her lyrics. Apple’s words are assertive, demanding, and her delivery is raw. I love the way she plays between voicing a melancholy review of a relationship and then effortlessly builds to belt and scream her angry realizations on “Regret.” You can feel the pain and the pushing in her voice. “Every Single Night” perfectly captures the way a sleepless, restless night feels – the way a brain that never stops, spirals downward. The Idler Wheel… is so smart, and so beautifully arranged. I never tire of turning up the volume on Apple’s confessionals and finding my own self in each song.

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Amanda’s Pick 

Mew – And The Glasses Handed Kites

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I came across Mew how I found out about most bands when I was in high school – randomly buying used CD’s because I thought the album artwork was cool, the name seemed interesting, or it was so cheap I just threw it on the pile. I decided to unearth bands this way mostly because I didn’t have many friends, and the ones I did have weren’t into music I actually enjoyed. My first blind Mew purchase was “The Zookeeper’s Boy EP.” Starting right into the first song –  ‘Apocalypso’ – I felt transported. I felt like I came across something (at the time), I thought no-one else had. Finding out about music on my own prompted my self-discovery through music in a way where each band became its own unique, very close, personal realization for me. Mew’s ethereal vocals and captivating lyrics, combined with powerful, well choreographed bass & guitar parts are what immediately pulled me in. I still to this day, can not get over their musicality. At the time, It was nothing like I was use to.I quickly realized this EP derived from their album ‘And the Glass Handed Kites’ – where my infatuation truly began. ‘And The Glasses Handed Kites’ is seamless from track to track – which is the ultimate calling card for attentive musicians, I find so attractive. Cascading vocals drip addictive melodies over dynamic drums communicating effortlessly with equally as mesmerizing bass, keyboard and guitar parts, only progressing you into another song you’re not even sure how you got to. ‘And The Glasses Handed Kites’ sounds like one massive dream – where in a single sleep you experience various figments, but somehow they were threaded together and you can’t decided which part was the weirdest.  Well, I am constantly trying to figure out which is my favorite song off of ‘And The Glass Handed Kites.’ For any interested in listening to this album, do yourself a favor and listen to it all the way through, beginning to end.

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Thanks so much everyone! Totally some of the most beautiful, vivid musical descriptions anyone has ever brought to the table for a T5F!

Now folks, on May 5th, 2017 Aster More will be playing on a killer lineup including Shannen Moser and katie ellen for philly diy punk heroes Cayetana’s all ages release show for their second record “The New Normal.” The action is going down at the First Unitarian Church in Philly. Find out more info HERE and score some tix here.

To help convince you to go to the show, here is a video of Aster More playing at one of my favorite venues in the world, Everybody Hits! (yup it’s a batting cage) back in January!

Be sure to do the 2017 Social Media dance and follow these cats on twitter and like ’em on facebook.  They have a killer self titled EP on bandcamp which dropped late 2016 as well as a live track for you to download and enjoy!

If you enjoyed today’s edition of Top Five Fridays, head on over to the ARCHIVES for other exciting installments including contributions from creepoid, Radiator Hospital, Abi Reimold, and Roger Harvey!

well peace out good people of the world,

Peter Winter

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Peter Winter is getting ready to find some exciting new music and also watch The Last Jedi trailer a million times.  He’ll tweet the adventures @peterwinter38

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