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Wooden Wand – The Thump Sessions

Well I suppose the sad news first. James Toth is putting up the possibility that these may be the final Wooden Wand recordings. I suppose everything comes to an end and over fifteen years we’ve all gotten a good fill of great music from Toth’s alter ego. Though its hard to think of a guiding light of the site going dim. This year’s hard enough. The good news is that these final recordings were made with Jarvis Taveniere at Thump Studios and feature a backing band that included Jeremy Earl, Kyle Forester, and John Andrews of Woods, and singer Katie Von Schleicher. So, in a way this is Woods(en) Wand and that’s, quite honestly something I fully support.

The four songs on offer are sweeping and lush, probably on par with James’ work during the Ecstatic Peace to Ryko transition – tender melodies that streak the windows in just the right ways. There’s a reworking of his song “Don’t Let Love Make A Liar Out of You,” that first appeared on the one-off Carlos The Second, a song he recorded with Langhorne Slim originally. Here he’s alone here, but no less bittersweet. The set is essential for any longtime fans of WW and up now on his Bandcamp. Stop by and say a heartfelt goodbye to an old friend.



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Ryley Walker Presents Imaginational Anthem, Vol. 9

When acoustic guitar haven Thompkins Square first came to the fore in 2005, they began with a series called Imaginational Anthem which sought to shed some light on overlooked entries to the fingerpicked oeuvre. They’ve cycled through a few (or 9 to be exact) and as of 2010 the series began to look into more contemporary players with one artist doing the curating. This time around its generational mouthpiece and all-around jack of all genres Ryley Walker doing the picking. He’s gone deep into his bench of contemporaries for a set that includes faves like Mosses, Fire-Toolz, and new BBiB signing Kendra Amelie, who shares the first track from the comp. Check out “Boat Ride,” a decidedly more acoustic affair than her upcoming longplayer, but no less captivating or technically astounding. The comp is out September 20th.





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75 Dollar Bill – I Was Real

If you missed out on 2016’s highly underrated Wood/Metal/Plastic/Pattern/Rhythm/Rock from 75 Dollar Bill, then this seems like the perfect time to jump onto the band’s sound. Melding the current free-jam inclinations of improv live sets with a guitar sound that picks at the kind of Haino/Akiyama boogie blended with West African blues, the band has long been a singular entity on the scene. They’ve just announced a new ripper for Thin Wrists / Black Editions and prefaced it with a live recording of a portion of the album’s title track, “I Was Real”. This time around the duo of Che Chen and Rick Brown are joined by a larger ensemble that wrangles in eight additional players, adding to the desert blues vibes of communal playing for social spaces. Check the trance lockdown into burner blues vibes in the video below and look out for the new LP June 28th.



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Jacco Gardner – Fading Cosmos 12″

Jacco Gardner’s last album, while still quite steeped in the seeds of psychedelia, was a departure of sorts. It served as a complete instrumental journey that echoes the type of synth-heavy psych and prog that inhabited the Harvest label, the more cosmic side of the ‘70s German underground, and pastoral Swedish psychedelia. Along with those sessions Gardner recorded two songs that didn’t seem to quite fit with the overarching journey and now they being released as a 12” called Fading Cosmos. The title track still follows the album’s thrust of burbling synths and lilting guitar melancholia, but there’s not as much buzzing of the MS20 that drove his direction on Somnium.

Rooted in the idea that artificial light is slowly eroding our ability to observe cosmic occurrences, the song wafts into a quivering dream state that’s almost unsettling in the ease of its embrace. Hazy, and rocking on a lullaby beat, the song slowly hypnotizes the listener into a meditative bliss while the organ sketches soft penlight patterns on the eyelids. Along with the flip, “Autumn in Lisbon,” the release makes a nice compliment to Somnium‘s synthedelic themes. The new EP out June 14th from Full Time Hobby.



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Allah Lahs – “Raspberry Jam”

I’ve previously mentioned the ambitious and excellently zen project from Mexican Summer, Self Discovery for Social Survival, which pairs bands like Dungen, Conan Mockasin, Peaking Lights, Jefre Cantu-Ledesma and Allah Las with pro surfers in three different, distinct environments around the globe. The bands traveled with the surfers to experience the trip and feel the energy alongside them and then wrote their accompaniment to the live footage. Some of the most compelling and sun-soaked cuts on the comp come courtesy of Allah Las and now the label’s let one of their fruit-themed tracks out into the air. Check out “Raspberry Jam” below and you can catch the film and full soundtrack in June.

The premiere of the film will be at the Palace Theatre in Los Angeles on June 15 with a live score by Allah Las, Connan Mockasin and Andrew VanWyngarden of MGMT

Ticket HERE.

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Nadah El Shazly w/ Karkhana + US Tour

Ahead of her upcoming tour with Iceage I’ve got a listen to Nadah El Shazly’s side of her recently released EP Carte Blanche (Unrock Records). The EP, a split with Sir Richard Bishop and W. David Oliphant, sees Shazly collaborate with her ensemble Karkhana. Said ensemble is comprised of top Middle Eastern and Mediterranean players including Sam Shalabi, Michael Zerang, and Umut Caglar. The tracks scrape at the psyche, focusing not on the fluid rhythmic styles associated with the region, but on an inverted vision of jazz, psychedelics, noise, and tradition. The songs for the EP were recorded while the band took up residency at Inter Arts Center in Malmö, Sweden, where the band also worked on tracks for an upcoming full length due later in the year.

For the tour Shazly will be backed by Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s Thierry Amar, Shayna Dulberger and Luke Stewart on double bass along with saxophonist / drummer / synth player Devin Brahja Waldman (Patti Smith, William Parker, and Thurston Moore, Brahja, etc.). Dates below to see Shazly swing through your area.

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Curved Entrances – “Inscribe In Night”

Phoenix’ transcendental psych collective The Myrrors have birthed a new offshoot this year (two actually, but just gonna focus on the one for now). Guitarist Nik Rayne and drummer Grant Beyschau have drawn in The Night Collectors’ Connor Gallaher to form a trio that boasts similar vibes to their own brand of sweat lodge psychedelics. Gone is the sawed violin, though and instead the band locks into the séance slithers of deep-set drone – meditative, monolithic, and ultimately boiled into a guitar maelstrom that’s slipped out of time and into a zone beyond what they’re laying down in their flagship band. The first release as Curved Entrances offers up two side-long runs of improv insanity in extremely limited runs from Carinal Fuzz. Check the five-ton freakout “Inscribe In Night” below and snag one of the remaining LPs while you can.



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Sad About The Times: An Exploration of North American 70s FM

Anthology is really digging in this year (not that last year was slouchin’) and they add another solid compilation to the collective wantlist. Compiled by Mikey Young, who’d previously worked on a comp of ’70s folk and psych tracks from his native Australia, the new compilation focuses on the barely there bands who breached the walls of FM in the ’70s. Young expresses the impulse behind the compilations as an extension of frustration with finding brilliant overlooked music and coming up short from sharing his finds with those in his immediate reach. I can relate, to be honest. And given Mikey’s already picked out a damn fine gem for RSTB’s Hidden Gems series, I’d trust his taste completely.

Mikey breaks it down, “”For nearly all my 41 year old life, my most constant joy has been to find new music to love. My next move is usually to force the people around me to listen and hope they feel the same joy. Teenage friends and crushes didn’t care at all about the knowledge I was imparting or the mixtapes I was laboring over, I’m pretty damn sure. City life was a little more receptive, though dj’ing what i heard as totally life changing, life affirming jams at bars to dudes requesting GnR didn’t always make it feel so. The occasional radio show gives me an outlet to continue sharing tunes but sometimes that feels like firing noise into a blackhole filled with all the other bazillion archival radio streams. Doing these comps with Keith (of Anthology) seem like the logical progression of what I’ve always loved doing. ”

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Self Discovery for Social Survival:
Surf Film + Soundtrack

Quite and interesting one coming down the pike (so to speaK) today in the form of a super ambitious film and soundtrack from the folks over at Mexican Summer. Now Sum’s reissue arm Anthology has been digging into surf culture for a while, issuing vinyl versions of Tully and Tamam Shud LPs that tied into Aussie surf culture while also reissuing soundtracks to Andrew Kidman’s Litmus and Glass Love surf films and packing them into a high-end box. Seems only natural then that someone over there was going to push it one step further. That step included getting top surfers from the US and Australia to travel with three groups of musicians and films crews to three top surf spots. The completed film follows Allah-Las and their surf group to Mexico, Peaking Lights and theirs to the Maldive Islands and Conan Mockasin & MGMT’s Andrew VanWyngarden with a group to Iceland. Each group then composed songs as reactions to the days surfing footage which is cut together with narration by filmmaker Jonas Mekas and art and animation from Robert Beatty and Bailey Elder (who also provide the packaging for this artifact).

Add to that extra pieces from Dugen and Jefre Cantu-Ledesma and this is a fairly unique package. I’m no surfer, never stepped on a board in my life, but the scope of this and the breadth of talent involved is frankly pretty intriguing. Plus, the psychedelic shimmer of the soundtrack stands on its own, even if you never witness the fully combined efforts. Check the trailer above and keep a lookout for this sucker when it comes out June 14th.

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Minami Deutsch & Damo Suzuki release Roadburn Session

In a meeting of two waves of Japanese psych, famed Can frontman Damo Suzuki teamed up with Guruguru Brain’s motorik heavies Minami Deutsh for a performance at 2018’s Roadburn festival. The live recording – which sees the band working tight corners, with their locked-on grooves and slash n’ burn guitar letdowns – also features the singer in true-to-nature form. While the band’s performance is airtight and barbed, Suzuki does them one better in the opposite direction. Letting his lyrics wander around in his trademark free association, the artist is echoing many shades of his former life in Can. The whole set is comprised of three improvisations and is available from London’s Fuzz Club records today.



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