Browsing Category Bits & Pieces

Spectres – “Strange Weather”

Moving into a lusher headpsace than on previous LPs, Vancouver’s Spectres are nailing a classic post-punk sound that seems slotted nicely between The Sound’s “Heyday” and early Cure singles. “Strange Weather” is built around on the urgent beat set down by drummer Mitch Allen and carves its way from there. Cavern echoed vocals bounce like hazy dreams and the band nails the crunch of guitar that’s pulled from the tail end of glam and crushed like glass until it gets that panic and pomp that defined the early ’80s post-punk elite. Spectres are definitely echoing a time long gone, but as hordes of bands have proven, never forgotten; and while it seems that at times they’re parading in another era’s eyeliner, they’re making it look damn good and sound even better. Seems this LP has been in the works for a while and hit a few snags but its finally making its way to the world in May.



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The Myrrors – “Entranced Earth”

The Myrrors upcoming album on Beyond Beyond Is Beyond has a couple of tracks out there now but the epic sprawl of the album’s title track is by far the most intriguing. Laden with overlapping waves of squall, a motorik chug and a haze of saxophone and flute; the track descends into the swamp of psychedelic miasma in a disorienting plunge. The song finds its groove quickly and locks in for a complete and total nod out. The band aren’t looking for a hook, far from it, the hook is that they reach further for the edges of space and stir up the dust clouds that echo the quarks in the back of your mind. But every time that pummel of drums hits the groove is grounded back to an organic rhythmic chug that keeps things from getting completely untethered.



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Kikagaku Moyo – “Kogarashi”

These guys caught my attention last year with a batch of reissues through Captcha and after a split single with Moon Duo they’re ramping up for a new Spring record, House In The Tall Grass for Tokyo psych label Guruguru Brain. The track, which translated means The Autumn Wind, is aptly named, with a kind of pastoral psych that recalls touches of The Zombies, The Apryl Fool and Pretty Things circa SF Sorrow. Shrouded in a veil of canyon echo the track burns with the last dying embers of firelight before sleep. The band have always had a knack for balancing a bit of fuzz burn with the lusher side of ’60s psychedelics adding up to songs that might not shred the skin but make for a slow burn in the long run, lending themselves to hidden gems with each new listen. It remains to be seen if the rest of House In The Tall Grass goes in for the fire or keeps it all as breezy as this but if they are keeping things mellow, this hints at a pretty phenomenal start.




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Dreamtime LP Reissues

Fans of Aussie psych can rest easier knowing that Dreamtime’s two LPs from 2011 and 2013 have found their way over to domestic shores via Captcha (US) and Cardinal Fuzz (UK). The labels are reissuing the band’s eponymous album and Sun, both of which were pressed in numbers that went quickly in their native Australia. The Brisbane band have made a name for themselves in the interim, opening for Bardo Pond, Moon Duo, Boris, Earth, King Gizzard and Earthless and hopefully this means that there might be some new music on the way shortly.

New music or no, for the stateside uninitiated this is a great chance to get acquainted with the band’s heavy, tribal pscyh. The two records show two sides of the band, their debut is built on a bed of scorched fuzz and amplifier vomit, with the bass throbbing in heatsick wobbles. They incorporate a bit of the high plains dust into their ourvre, but this one puts them squarely into the lexicon of psychedelic scorch. The follow-up is more subtle than its predecessor and more so than some of their chosen touring mates’ might lead you to believe. Sun’s brand of psych is heavy, but not crushing. They utilize mantra-like droning and dextrous guitars that explode when the fuse is lit. As a pair, the albums lift Dreamtime up as an essential South Hemi export.





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P.S.F. – Black Editions

News came down today that the vaunted P.S.F. catalog is getting a new home and some proper reissues. Anyone familiar with the Japanese psych/noise/experimental scene should be familiar with P.S.F.’s long shadow but for the uninitiated, the label was started by Hideo Ikeezumi in the ’80s in order to document music that he found interesting. Matters of genre weren’t necessarily important as long as the music was original and moving, and nothing more could ever be said of entrants into the label’s catalog.

The label’s dense catalog has been purchased by L.A. based Black Editions, run by Peter Kolovos. Along with the announcement comes news of the first batch of reissues for 2016: “definitive editions of Fushitsusha’s 2nd Live, the original version of High Rise II, the Tokyo Flashback compilation, Che Shizu’s A Journey and through special arrangement with the artist- Keiji Haino’s classic 1981 debut Watashi Dake?.” That High Rise album alone is worth the price of admission but for perspective other gems in the label’s catalog include White Heaven’s – Out, Acid Mothers’s Temple – S/T album and Mainliner’s – Imaginative Plain. Its the first time many of these will be available on vinyl and for many the first time outside of Japan at all. This comes as pretty exciting news, no doubt, to psych freaks everywhere.



More info on Black Editions HERE.

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Bad Vision – “Goons”

Melbourne’s Bad Vision have taken their frenetic punk down a notch and added a bit of pop, a lot of jangle and a slight bit of twang to the mix. The pop concoction “Goons” from their forthcoming LP, Turn Out Your Sockets, comes in sounding rather close to RSTB fave and recent entry into our ‘Most Overlooked’ list, Thomas Function. In the same fashion as their American counterparts, the Aussies pin driving country-tinged jangles to explosive choruses full of tales of bored suburbanites and its endless fun to shout along to their declarations that they “don’t want no good advice.” The track’s got anthemic written into its seams and if the rest of their upcoming LP is half as fun as this opening salvo, then I’m certainly upright and paying attention.





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EZTV & Nic Hessler – “Buy This Record”

While I can always use any reason to love a good power pop cover, combining one of RSTB’s favorites from the present (EZTV) and the past (Milk ‘n Cookies) pretty much tops the list. For those who aren’t versed, Milk ‘n Cookies were probably one of the softest punches that power pop ever pulled and their dreamy-eyed debut is a classic in its own right that’s now getting yet another life from the folks at Captured Tracks. Well technically they gave it a new life a few years back on the sorely missed Radio Heartbeat imprint, but same owners different name on the delivery here. The CT issue is expanded with some extras but what you need is the main course anyhow and its a record that should be in all hands, not just us power pop nerds.

Anyohow, in honor of that release, and probably to shine a bigger light on its necessity, Captured Tracks is also issuing a Record Store Day single of labelmates EZTV and Nic Hessler covering the band’s shoulda-been-classic “Buy This Record”. Personally I’d have gone for a cover of “Typically Teenage” but any Milk ‘n Cookies is good Milk n’ Cookies and the pair up works well to capture the track’s fizzy fun. Can’t pick the single up until the insanity of RSD but you can grab the Milk ‘n Cookies box now, and you should if you know what’s good for you.



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Beach Skulls – “Santa Fe”

Ok so appending the Beach qualifier to your band name is officially past its prime, to the point that its just getting silly and for lack of a better word, distracting. There have to be some good band names out there, right? That aside, I’m not one to toss a track just because the band name grates me like no other. UK trio Beach Skulls have definitely been mainlining a heavy dose of Velvets here, but a bit of this track’s charm is that it feels like the band could give two fucks if you think they sound derivative. In fact this track seems so completely relaxed its hard to believe their singer could have been completely upright when he turned in this performance. “Santa Fe” is a prime slice of smoke ringed garage pop that feels like the last song that should play before you shuffle off home, harboring the kind of buzz that will stick with you the whole train ride home and sack you out peacefully once you reach it.


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Seth Bogart – “Hollywood Squares”

Seth Bogart’s dropped the Hunx and embraced his true name, though no one ever accused Bogart of ever pretending to be anyone other than himself. The album’s a barrage of pop-laced over consumption, art piece poses and general outsized weirdness in dayglow colors that seems like an extension of what Hunx’ tenure stood for and what Bogart’s visual art has evolved into. Its a bit like Pee Wee’s Playhouse (the collective consciousness of the whole house) wrote an album about the underbelly of sex and obsession. But there’s a part of me that knows that for all the big, weird fun, I’ve always loved Hunx for his campy take on the power pop formula and that’s exactly what the opener on his eponymous LP embraces. “Hollywood Squares” is like a bigger, shinier version of what Hunx had been pushing for on Gay Singles, its scrubbed up in sound but still riding that dreamy-eyed heat wave to your heart. The rest of the album’s the artpiece, but this is the mindrocker right here and mostly, I just want to turn it up and let it buzz.

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The Savage Young Taterbug – “The Paperstud”

If you’ve spent any time poking through the spools of the Night People roster (and you should, you really should) then its more than likely you’re already familiar with Charles Free’s Savage Young Taterbug. The label has released several tapes of his cracked folk implosions and now there’s finally a release coming to a turntable near you. “The Paperstud” creeps in like a lullaby, soft and sweet with Free’s vocals warbling over the top of music box melodies like a faded message recorded to private press and beat up by the mail en route to a relative overseas. Despite that rather dusty description, this is actually one of the more untarnished bits of the Taterbug universe and it proves that he’s always had a bit of a pop charmer floating under his tattered offerings. This one arrives as part of the Shadow of Marlboro Man picture disc, as usual, on Night People and wrapped up in some Sean Reed art goodness.

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