Tag Archives: planetary group

Stream: FIM – “Alien Beach Party”

It’s rough out there, trying to find an audience and undoubtedly getting lost in the shuffle with the approximately 10,000 other bands that release music at a steady pace every day. The internet is jammed full of mediocrity parading as proficiency via PR savvy, and giant bands that manage to focus all eyes on them whenever they so much as hint at the possibility that they are going to be doing something in the future (ie Arcade Fire’s incredibly redundant advertising campaign for their latest overhyped album).

So sometimes things that are really worthwhile are released quietly, buried under the aforementioned pile of mediocrity and lost. Thankfully some of those releases get an extra push after a while, allowing them a chance to resurface, gaining back some of the attention that they deserve.

FIM’s “Alien Beach Party” is one such release. The 12″ EP initially came out back in early June of 2013, but is available now for purchase on limited editioin vinyl (yes, it’s still available), or download (name your own price).

Even though everything that I’ve read about the band makes use of the “psychedelic” designation, I am going to have to respectfully disagree with such labeling. To me, as far as the lead track “Fast Cars” goes, there is definitely more of a pronounced new wave/dancey vibe to it. Dark synths that sound more like old Casios than analog synths, drum machine, and off-kilter vocals really make that track sound like something straight out of the early 80s.


When the bass picks up on “Shit God Dam,” throwing down some aggressive, minimalist proto-punk bass in combination with the drum machine now taking a turn toward Big Black territory we can hear the band moving away from that new wave sound a bit. Maybe it’s a little less catchy than “Fast Cars,” but it features a bit heavier on the harmonic and melodic dissonance, which is a good thing.

The remainder of the EP features similar branching out, from the bedroom production of “Believe,” that may be trippy, but “psychedelic” still does not come to mind. And closing the album, the “Flaming Lips” ala “Approaching Pavonis Mons By Balloon”-esque 6 minute synth jam just takes everything in a whole wonderful new , and somewhat unsuspected direction.

So, they have already proven themselves worthy by rising up through all the noise of the oversaturation running rampant in indie-music today. The good news is that you don’t have to wait, or pre-order the EP, it’s out now. Check it out in full above and then head to the bandcamp page.

FIM has a show coming up at the end of the month, if you are in or around their hometown area of L.A. then get down to The Satellite on February 24th to check them out. Many links below:


Stream/Download: Confluence – “Awaiting”


Have I ever railed against prog-rock on this blog yet? I can’t remember. Well let me sum things up really quickly: When I was a teenager, and just learning the guitar, and in a really terrible band, I was all about the King Crimson, and Yes and Genesis, which later turned into being all about Tool. I think that (I mean I know that) the reason that I gravitated toward these bands was that their style of music doesn’t really focus on finesse at all. There’s no groove to it. Groove is something that you can’t learn, you either have it or you don’t. On the other hand, technical facility, such as within the confines of prog-rock, is something that can be learned.

It’s not that all prog is bad, that’s definitely not the case. It’s just a genre that is really easy to overdo; when the music takes a backseat to the group showing off how complicated that they can make things, that’s when things start to get annoying. Yes, we all know how smart you (think) you are, now can you play some music please? So often actual, well-crafted melodies are thrown away in favor of something that is jittery and obtuse for the sake of being jittery and obtuse. Give me a melody that I can sing along to! Give me something that flows and has a little bit of a swing to it! I don’t want to hear machines with guitars, I want to hear human beings!

So hearing “Awaiting” by Confluence was actually a pleasant surprise. Sure, there are all sorts of complex musical things happening, but they aren’t made the focus of the tune. It’s much easier to sit back and listen to the melody, and enjoy it for what it is, without having to take into account the technically complex backdrop. I’d hate to take the term “melodic” away from its specific meaning, but it is very tempting to place something like this under the label of “melodic prog.”

What the song immediately brings to mind for me is Maps & Atlases “Trees, Swallows, Houses” EP.  This song, like that EP, manages to walk the line of technicality, but with a sort of groove, or delicate sensibility in that they are flashy, but not for the sake of being so. I dig the way this track grooves, and the clarity of the recording, that’s something that really helps a band like this that seeks to take advantage of all the spaces between notes, those little silences. Sometimes those little silences can just make a song.

Give it a listen above and then check out one of the many links below.