Like most music lovers living in the 21st century, I download a lot of albums and a large percentage of those are by artists I’m not familiar with. I get my recommendations from blogs, reviews, from friends, links people post on Twitter, and even from TMT. Still, I have no idea how I came across Psychogeography, but I’m glad I did.
The sound Poem Rocket practices is not far removed from that of noise rock bands like Swervedriver, Band of Susans, or Throwing Muses. Like most good bands — including the ones just mentioned — Poem Rocket sound all their own with only hints of the brand of force, beauty, and cacophony displayed by their predecessors and contemporaries. Unsurprisingly, they hailed from NYC and were formed in the early 90s by Michael Peters and Sandra Gardner (who are now married and have a child together); as mentioned, their music reflected their time and place of formation without feeling dated, carrying it into the 00s.
Psychogeography is the band’s second album and it’s an ambitious effort — a concept long player based on theorist Guy Debord’s idea of the influence of surroundings, both natural and man-built, on a person. Even more ambitious is the music contained within. The sound is intricate, grating, and layered, serving as a vehicle for some incredibly melodic songs that defy outlandish choruses but remain catchy, thanks in no small part to the male/female vocal counterpoints reminiscent of Sonic Youth’s “Kotton Krown” if that song formed a band and wanted a record deal. To top it all up, Poem Rocket liked to make challenging arrangements without sounding indulgent, as heard on album opener “Dirigible,” while others like “Intermission” are more straight forward.
This is a fantastic album made by a great band that most people don’t know but remains alive on the internet, ready to be discovered by the right person. That is, if file-sharing isn’t made illegal in the near future.