Paisiel

Released in short supply as a cassette on Portuguese label Lovers & Lollypops last year, Rocket Recordings is giving new life to the eponymous album by Paisiel, the duo of João Pais Filipe and Julius Gabriel. The album’s three tracks are dark sojourns through psychedelic jazz – wrestling with rhythms and running sax down the skin with the menace of a freshly sharpened knife. The pair coax one another constantly throughout the LP, challenging the other to make a step too far, to pierce the psychedelic barrier and scar the psyche beyond repair. On opener “Satellite” the drums pound in the brain with an anxious insistence – skittering in an endless tumult before the foreboding gnash of gongs makes it clear that something transcendental and otherworldly is afoot.

The space rock shivers continue to torment the onset of “Limousine in the Desert,” bandying echo and dust about in a sandstorm of sound that’s only hushed by a return to the polyrhythmic clatter of drums and the lonesome moan of the sax once again. Moans turn to squeals, squeals to squals as the band pounds out ritualistic furor that catches in the throat. The album is drenched in panic sweat, feeling every bit the soundtrack to imminent danger from all directions – the sky, the earth, the mind. There’s a feeling of ayahuasca and adrenaline in the veins and a teeth-clenched sudden realization that maybe there’s no danger at all. By that time the band rolls into the shortest and surest track in their album’s cycle. The panic calms, the dust clears and the earth crystalizes beneath the feet once again. They let the listener go with a grey trickle of rain that nourishes and numbs the psychic wounds inflicted over the past thirty minutes, but the scars remain.




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Cherry Pickles – “Mais Rápido”

Perennially fun Swedish enclave PNK SLM kicks out a new track, “Mais Rápido” from London duo Cherry Pickles this week. The pair embraces an economical aesthetic, drawing on garage and punk bashed out without paying mind to fidelity or function. Two drums and an acoustic underpin squelching synths that dirty the track up with a whirlwind of chaos. Singer Priscila B belts the lyrics in her native Portuguese, barely tacked onto the track’s furious careen. The song dredges up images of house shows from ’86 or ’06, depending on where you’ve shifted in time. Catch the band’s upcoming LP on April 5th.


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The World

Gonna keep things centered in Oakland today with the new mini-LP from The World. The band hit hard with their debut, First World Record in 2017 and this more compact version of their sound doesn’t sway too wildly from the formula that brought them my way initially. Seven tracks dot the EP, ranging from the elastic dance contortions of “White Raddish” and “You’re Going Down” to the slow-down simmer of “Punctuate” and the buzzsaw beat of “Last Rhodesian.” As in the past the band is at its best when they let the sax slice through the crushed tin timbres, shredding the reserve of icy cool that they build up in the more mellow moments.

Despite it being an icy chiller about finding common ground, the band’s probably not loving the cultural timing of a song titled “Jackson 5” on the EP, but they work it into a bubbling lock groove that works all the same, despite the headline connotations that spring to mind. They round the EP out with a bit of bleary dub on “Kill Your Landlord” and the sample slapped strangeness of “Slow Rho,” which seems like a fun experiment but doesn’t do much other than tie the EP together at the stiches. Still, a couple of killer tracks in the mix here and likely they hit hard from the stage. As I mentioned with Preening, there’s definitely something at work in the bowels of Oakland and their new wave of post-punk is much appreciated around here.



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Preening

Plenty of acerbic vibes wafting out of Oakland these days. Alongside equally ravaged post-punk releases from The World, Andy Human & The Reptoids, Rays, and No Babies, comes the debut from Preening. Just as sax slashed (if not more so) than their contemporaries in The World, Preening is chewing up post-punk and spitting it back on the dancefloor for the crowd to slip in. Their vision, while angular and infectious, is also confrontational in a way that many of their peers don’t come close to. While there’s a woolen irritation that gets under the skin with a band like Lithics, Preening are a whole other hairshirt to contend with. Think The Contortions backing Beefheart and we’re getting closer to the kernel that wrought ‘em. This is a record that’s built to batter and be battered by.

Gang Laughter pitches and fidgets in its seat, wads riffs into balls of wire and then, unprovoked, lobs them at the listener in the form of sax squalls and sandpapered epithets from vocalist Max Nordile. If a record could be described as sounding like a lack of sleep, then this is it. The record spins on its impulses – swinging wildly without planning but connecting with the razored wit of someone used to operating out of control and keenly in their element with hackles raised. Like most bursts of manic energy, the record doesn’t stick around long. No songs here bust the 2:30 barrier. Preening slash in, slide out and leave onlookers befuddled, bemused and bandaged, but changed all the same. My suggestion is to succumb to Gang Laughter. Let it wash over and poke at your liver for a heckled half-hour, there’s something freeing in letting go of the societal thread for a while.



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Oblivion Reptilian – “Draconian”

After Blown Out and Comacozer released a joint LP last year, guitarist Mike Vest (Blown Out, BONG, Melting Hand) and drummer Andrew Panagopoulos (Comacozer) decided the only proper idea was to take the collaboration further and create their own band. Despite living on opposite sides of the globe a new spark was lit under the name Oblivion Reptilian. Seemingly taking the conspiracy nonsense of a Reptilian Agenda as the base for the new band, the duo kicks off with “Draconian,” an 8+ minute space shredder that sews the seams shut between Acid Mother’s Temple, High Rise, Earthless, and Helios Creed. The band’s set to lay out five huge instrumental wormholes over the rest of the album, and if they’re half as heavy as this first offering, the record threatens to sink into the Earth like a doomed and damned artifact of civilizations that spit in the eyes of gods.



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Ausmuteants – “Forever Cops”

New Ausmuteants on the scene this week and it’s a doozy, as could only be imagined by the band. Taking off from the dyspeptic seeds they sowed on the track “We’re Cops” from 2014’s Order of Operations, the band swings back with a full album written from the perspective of an authority crazed walker of the beat. The band cites a loss of faith in law enforcement worldwide as the impetus for the album and they paint a vivid picture of overreach on “Forever Cops.” Its no less dystopian than they’ve ever been, just maybe a bit more prescient. The song is soaked in drunk-sick keys, rabid guitars and fever panicked vocals with a finger on the trigger. Take a listen below and look for the full rager on April 26th.



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Caetano Veloso – S/T (Tropicália)

Not that the folks at Third Man don’t have wide ranging taste, but its not the enclave I expected to birth the first official version of Caetano Veloso’s eponymous solo debut. The man, responsible for the name of, and in large part the direction of, the Tropicália movement, moved from former child prodigy to art impulses with this 1968 album. Along with Gilberto Gil, Gal Costa, Tom Ze and Os Mutantes, Veloso was integral to the shift away from indigenous folk music and towards a larger psychedelic consciousness within Musica Popular Brasileira. Though Costa and Veloso recorded a duet album, Domingo, together in ’67, it wasn’t until the release of a pair of self-titled albums by Veloso and Gilberto Gil the following year that the movement would begin to take shape musically. The reaction wasn’t necessarily always to the welcome reception of fans, who objected to the shift away from folk. Moreso, given his and other Tropicalists’ critique of their military-led government, it was even less popular with the powers that be.

The album was aimed at becoming a cultural hinge-point, inspired by the open pop format of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s. The record embraces traditional bossa rhythms, spoken word passages, heavy electrics, and a newfound interest in effects. The resultant album, though attempting to veil its political leanings in cheeky implications, drew ire as it grew in popularity. For as much ground as it broke in shifting traditions, it broke twice as much in emboldening and codifying youth culture against their own broken systems and American institutionalism. Eventually this would result in the exile of Veloso and his compatriot Gil.

The two performed on TV in 1968 and the ensuing uproar sent both artists overseas to London until 1972 when they were finally allowed return. There Veloso would work write and record the somber and superb follow-ups (also self-titled, but typically referred to by their first tracks “Irene” and “A Little More Blue”). As he returned Veloso would become the center of Brazilian pop for more than twenty years. This is, essentially where it began, and in many ways still some of his best. The record has been reissued several times over the years, but this is the first sanctioned US-pressed copy. As with any version, it is utterly essential.


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Papercuts – “Blues Run The Game”

Last year’s Paralell Universe Blues was a highlight among Papercuts’ fairly stuffed catalog, adding a dose of hazy gaze to Jason Quever’s always welcome folk-pop. On the eve of embarking on a European tour supporting Steve Gun, the band is releasing the EP Kathleen Says, which rounds up that standout from the 2018 LP alongside a dreamy version of the Jackson C. Frank classic “Blues Run The Game” and a stripped down version of new song, “Comb In Your Hair.”

Long covered as a folk staple, Quever gives Frank’s version a lush treatment that lets glints of sun in through billowing clouds. Though its hard to stand out among versions by everyone from Bert Jansch to Nick Drake, Papercuts gives the song a modern update that’s swirled in closing time twinges of sadness – the purple stage lights flickering and just a taste of dry ice on the air as the last of the bottle caps are swept into the corner. The EP is out this Friday and the tour heads out on the 19th. Give a first listen to the cover below.

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The Coathangers’ Julia Kugel on Howlin’ Wolf – The Howlin’ Wolf Album

This year has been stuffed with great Hidden Gems and the latest continues the trend. After the release of one of their best album’s to date, The Coathangers’ Julia Kugel has passed along some wisdom from her own record shelves. If you’re unfamiliar with the band (which, frankly seems unlikely) their latest is a great place to start, boiling down their punk, post-punk, and garage impulses to a sound that’s serrated and sawing yet damnably hooky. The band is blessed with three strong songwriters, each bringing their own particular burn to the band and its great to get a look at what’s behind that burn, even just a bit. Julia chooses a conflicted blues classic for her entry. Check out her take on Howlin’ Wolf’s psychedelic period below.

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Sacred Lamp

Familiarity with Canada’s psychedelic noise conduit Matthew ‘Doc’ Dunn may have come to you in quite a few ways over the last year or so. Despite having been the eye of the storm when it comes to Canada’s more experimental core, Dunn also proved that he’s got a tender tear in him as well with his solo album, Lightbourn, last year. The album saw Dunn slinking towards more traditional songforms, finding solace in Northern Lights country and flaying open his heart. While he did occasionally break out the burn on a few of this songs, the album a fairly different animal from the CD-r stock pile of an artist who’s spent time in the trenches with MV & EE, Woods and the more outre end of the psych-folk spectrum. Even more unlikely, Dunn was integral to coalescing the band that would back up Meg Remy on U.S. Girls’ In A Poem Unlimited last year, straying even further from his comfortable soil with a blend of ‘70s pop twists and jazz-scratched disco that led to one of her most invigorating albums.

He’s proved a versatile artists who can’t be underestimated, or pinned down. So naturally, his collaboration with longtime cohort Ayal Senior as Sacred Lamp is akin to none of these things. If these are your entry points to Dunn, then the duo’s eponymous LP is something more ephemeral. Built on an interplay of guitars that run between the blues ballasted acoustic and twilight divining electric runs that feel haunted by the memories of something just beyond the folds of the horizon. The record is forever chasing the feeling of peace. The LP luxuriates in the guitar, touching on moments that recall Bishop and Chasney, Basho and the collaborative combos of Steve Gunn.

Its a rose-hued gem of a record that should appeal to any fans of those respective camps or the long tendrils that tie them to several schools of fingerpicked and potent psych-folk. This one feels like it has the capacity to slip through the the most slender of cracks. I’d advise grabbing hold before it does.



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