MICACHU AND THE SHAPES
With tune-yards, Tempo No Tempo
July 22, 8 pm., $10
155 Fell, SF
MOTHER STANDS FOR COMFORT: KATE BUSH IN THE SOUNDS OF NOW
By Irwin Swirnoff
It's always exciting when you sense universal consciousness in motion. Like so many around me lately, I can't stop listening to Kate Bush. I play Hounds Of Love (EMI, 1985) from start to finish again and again, allowing a different song from the album to become my theme or guiding light for weeks at a time. I play The Dreaming (EMI, 1982) and let it spin in and out of my head. These songs are as dramatic as they are sincere. They conjure magic while maintaining an emotional core. Bush's undeniable integrity travels through her songs like a force of nature, from soft-lit soap opera to primal realms.
Many great records by other artists in the last few years have been stamped with undeniable Kate Bush moments. A new generation of musicians is learning that avant and pop sensibilities can coexist in exciting ways and that it is possible to blend the organic and the mechanical to create songs that soar with a mission. Here are some of today's cloudbusters.
GANG GANG DANCE
"House Jams" (from Saint Dymphna)
(from Saint Dymphna, Social Registry, 2008)
On its latest album, Gang Gang Dance not only embraces its love of the dance floor — it invites the spirit of Kate Bush to a psychedelic midnight rave.
"Skin Of The Night"
(from Saturdays =Youth, Mute, 2008)
No strangers to teenage mellow drama and melodrama, M83 makes music with a cinematic quality, much in the same way that Kate Bush's records sound like movies unto themselves.
(from Laulu Laakson Kukista, Fonal, 2008)
This Finnish group roams through a landscape that varies from dusty fairytale to psychedelic future. This track is by far the most dancepop — and Bush-like — moment on a record that also channels Kurt Weill, Edith Piaf, and Robert Wyatt.
(Drag City, 2006)
Many eccentric female artists are compared to either Kate Bush or Björk by lazy critics, but few actually reach that kind of ecstatic individuality. Joanna Newsom is one. Her complete belief in her vision is apparent in these commanding, flawlessly executed songs.
(from Dance Mother, IAMSOUND)
Much like their New York City neighbors Gang Gang Dance, Telepathe calls Bush to mind when it branches out from its experimental roots into a slow burning state that's ready for the dancefloor.
"Running Up That Hill"
(from Night Drive, Italians Do it Better, 2007))
It takes major guts to cover this Bush composition, a contender for one of the most poignant songs of the last quarter century. The air of magic and mystery here is very Kate.
The debut solo record from Karin Dreijer Andersson of the Knife is more internal and intense than the dance floor stylings of her well-known group. Andersson plays with different voices and personas while creating sounds that are creepy and comforting. The result feels like a perfect contemporary response to Bush's explorations of 20 years ago.