Browsing Category Bits & Pieces

The Reds, Pinks, & Purples – “Ahead of Their Time”

After a lengthy gestation period the first Reds, Pinks, & Purples LP is on its way out this year. The band first appeared on Raven way back in 2009 on my first compilation, marking the three-year anniversary of the site. Since then Glenn Donaldson (Skygreen Leopards, Art Museums, Ivytree) has had several records come through, but The Reds, Pinks, & Purples has always lingered in the background. That is, until late last year when demos began popping up regularly on their Bandcamp, promising a fully formed record to come. That LP arrives via Spain’s Pretty Olivia Records. Entitled Anxiety Art the record wraps up a full set of RP&P’s amber-hued jangle-pop with just a slight lap of syncopated drums. The band has always been a close cousin of Art Museums, but where that band’s locked beats and pastel strum skew towards bliss, The Reds, Pinks & Purples scrape the heart with a pang of melancholy. Check out the lovely “Ahead of Their Time” below and nab one of the 150 copies of this gem.



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The Hussy – “Coast”

After a few great side hustles (Proud Parents, Cave Curse) Bobby and Heather are back in the saddle as The Hussy and by the saint’s of the garage gutter, a new LP is on the way from Dirtnap this fall. The band bursts out of the gate with album opener “Coast,” a track that’s steeped in the popped-vein psych-punk that’s wound up the hallmark of their sound. The pair hand vocals back and forth along their records but this one’s a true Bobby thrasher — nervy, fried, and collapsing to the floor by the time the the track tumbles to a close. They’re slicing the skin and inserting just a touch of itchy sci-fi punk creep this time around.

Damned if this record isn’t poised to be among their best. Bobby’s spent a lot of the interim backing up Nobunny as a sideman and he’s bringing quite a bit of that manic, whirlwind energy with him here. Add in some great lost Jay Reatard vibes and this one’s hitting the spot. A lot of bands that shot out of the garage-punk gauntlet of the early 2010’s have sought to sand their edges and spit-shine their sound, but The Hussy remains a dirt-caked fireball of fury, proud of the crust under their nails and ready to scratch you with them if need be. Madison’s never been a hotbed of hype, but every time there’s a new Hussy LP, I think that maybe it should be.

The Looming hits shelves September 27th. Be ready.

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Hans Chew & Garcia Peoples

I’ve been remiss, I’m only now noticing that the great Black Dirt Studios has renewed their ‘Natch’ series of studio improvisations. The series has lain dormant since 2013, but the June and July entries are both stunners. Finding its way out yesterday is a set from RSTB faves Hans Chew (One Eleven Heavy, Hiss Golden Messanger, Jack Rose, D. Charles Speer) and Garcia Peoples. The band entered the studio for a set of five new songs lead by Chew’s ace piano playing and backed by the psych lightning of the Garcias and its nothing short of perfection. The group lays down five songs — four originals and one ace cover from Dave Mason’s debut LP, that’s brought to a vibrant new life by Chew and the boys. Like yesterday’s Suncharms retrospective its listed at the nice price but you should definitely support Jason’s studio with whatever you can. He’s laying down some of the most vibrant jams in the valley.

Which brings me to the second set that’s up in the studio’s series an instrumental set from Wednesday Knudson (Pigeons, Weeping Bong Band) and Willie Lane (MV & EE collaborator, Elkhorn). The set’s more understated than Chew’s but no less captivating. I highly recommend nabbing both of these and placing them on repeat for the next couple of days. I’m backing it with a no regrets guarantee.

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Ecstatic Vision – “Grasping The Void”

Philadelphia space rock rounders Ecstatic Vision have been searching for the connective tissue between Düül, Hawkwind, and the infinite for the past few years. They found themselves in metal’s arms at Relapse but seem equally on easy terms at Italian enclave Heavy Psych Sounds for their latest album. It’s a scrubbed, but still sonically expansive vision that pushes their German Progressive and Swedish psych soundboard to the forefront and adds some nice embellishments of flute to the vortex of sound. First cut “Grasping The Void” pounds the pulse and aims to blast a Monster Magnet-sized hole in the old guard’s umbrella of motorik churn and echoplex ecstasy. The song’s a dizzying dive down the quasar causeway, searching for some ineffable mind expansion among the grind and gauze of the best Space has to offer. If the rest of this beast is half as heavy as this cut, then we’re in for the best the band’s had to offer yet.


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Young Guv – “Roll With Me”

This new Young Guv album begins to take greater shape with the arrival of a second single and the lush, power pop vibes are strong here. Not as overtly shiny or as dug deep into the footsteps of The Quick and Milk n’ Cookies as his stunner Ripe 4 Luv, “Roll With Me” shows a creep towards ‘90s indie pop. There’s a quickstep tumble of drums and a shaggy, denim-clad harmony that won’t quite meet your gaze from beneath a nest of bangs. There’s a touch of Fanclub hanging on Big Star’s swoon, a little Elliott Smith and Velvet Crush in the mix and while the familiar feelings put a few hairs up on the back of the neck, he’s capturing the spaces between those artists rather than retracing their steps. Hoping the rest of the album winds up as comfortably melancholy as this one

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Ty Segall on Aphrodite’s Child – 666

As long as Hidden Gems has been a series, I’ve had a few folks on the shortlist for contributions. Pretty close to the top has always hovered Ty Segall, long a fixture here at RSTB, but also an understandably busy acquisition for the feature. As Ty’s latest, First Taste, approaches next month he’s found some time to think on a rare gem of psychedelic proportions while also giving a bit of insight into how it may have helped shape his new album’s sound. While First Taste might not reach double-fold prog lengths like Freedom’s Goblin its still mining an off-kilter pop sensibility, rooted in psych touches and prog embellishments. This time around the entire record is boiled down to sharp, punchy track lengths, a quality that also informs the third LP from Aphrodite’s Child. The band, and its harrowing, biblical epic 666, served as one of the first outlets for synth master Vangelis, but it’s equally a showcase for sharp-toothed soothsayer Demis Roussos. Though the band’s album spanned four sides of vinyl, they shook prog conventions by keeping the tracks rather tight, spurning the instinct towards improvisation, but not the instinct towards delightful excess. Check out how this album came into Ty’s life and the impact it’s had on his work.

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Parsnip – “Lift Off”

Melbourne four-piece Parsnip have been banging around the Aussie underground for a few years now, showing up on Anti-Fade comps and singles with a delightfully simple sway. The band’s always captured a sort of sun-kissed vision of where post-punk and indie pop clasp hands — the kind that brought the Marine Girls into focus or the type that let Tiger Trap releas smiles on an infinite loop inside your brain. Throw in a good nod or two to late ‘90s power poppers and paisley fallouts like The Apples in Stereo and they’ve been hard resist. The band’s latest single, a prelude to an album on both Anti-Fade at home and Trouble in Mind here in the states, is just as damnably hummable as anything in their catalog. The song jangles and spins, breaks down into girl-gang choruses, and in general brings the rush of childhood back for one more go-round the in the soul. When the Tree Bears Fruit is out August 30th. Be sure to keep it in mind.



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Ty Segall – “Radio”

So, while I was away last week the music world didn’t stop turning, which leaves a few good bits by the wayside. I’m going to use today to catch up on the best of the bunch. Wouldn’t be a year on the books if Ty didn’t have at least one or two irons in the fire. He’s back with a new solo LP with the usual cast of garage gremlins behind him — “Radio” features Mikal Cronin weirding a bout of buzzing sax, Emmet Kelley and Charles Mootheart holding down the rhythm, and relative newcomer to the Segall Circus, Shannon Lay, chipping in some backup vox. This time around Ty’s cutting down the grandeur of last year’s Freedom’s Goblin, but that by no means equals austerity. The track’s got a bit of an Eastern buzz to it, hammering the guitars like sitars in the sun. Cronin’s sax lights a fire from the outset and the whole thing’s dipped in a layer of reflective paint that shines like some extra-dimensional sun. Sounding like another good one on our hands when First Taste lands August 2nd.



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Best of 2019 (so far)

It’s been a hell of a year so far and now it’s time to run down the albums that have stuck around the turntable the longest. For all the fraught emotions and everyday injustices, there’s still some bright spot of solace in music. That’s not a trade-off, but its something to keep you going. As usual, these are the best records that filter through the Raven aesthetic. I’ll be off next week on vacation so this 30-spot plus the ensuing two and a half hour mix will have to hold you for a week. Gonna take a break until the 2nd week of July. The second half of the year already has a few front runners, so enjoy these gems before the tail end of 2019 comes running atcha.

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Moon Duo – “Stars Are The Light”

Though there’s been plenty of activity through Ripley Johnson’s camp lately, its been a couple of years since we’ve heard from Moon Duo. The band is back with a new full length on September 27th and it marks a bit of a sonic shift for the band. Their last album was split into halves — a yin yang of light and dark, with Volume II skewing softer than the band had ever ventured. Still there was the familiar motorik grind bubbling underneath the strums, though. On “Stars Are The Light” the band bubbles along on an effervescent beat, vocals lost in a cloud of bliss and those familiar guitars lines still dripping but no longer lashing. Did the lightness win? Is this the celebratory sound at the end of the battle? I suppose the whole album will have to land in our laps before that question is answered.

For now this is a summer quencher from the Duo, wrapped up in artwork by RSTB favorite Ardneks and Sonic Boom is behind the mixing desk this time around. Turn this one up and let the breezes batter away your blues. Also, I’m very excited to be able to announce that, for you Upstate, upstate adjacent types, and city dwellers looking for an escape, the band will be playing RSTB’s 13th Anniversary this November. The show’s November 15th in Kingston, NY at BSP. Along with Moon Duo Jeffrey Alexander of Dire Wolves will be opening and one more very special guest that will be announced in August when the poster surfaces. Check back for that soon and pick up a ticket here.

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