Browsing Category Bits & Pieces

Walter – “Poetics Of Space”

A harder look for Walter, the L.A. band that’s made of members of Meatbodies and Ducktails. They’ve definitely absorbed a few of their fellow L.A. brethren, leaning into a storm-wrung psych cloud that dredges up Wand comparisons for sure. The song is the A-side to a new single out for garage well-spring Famous Class and hits in full in July along with a new b-side, “Like The Fly”. Ominous and doom laden, this is a good look for Walter and a step up in my opinion from their eponymous album from last year. The best change is that Chad Ubovich’s recording bumps up the fidelity and gives the band a bit more punch. The ozone fried volume paired with a headspun space rock bent lets the song fully embraces its title. Great to see this band developing along with some of the best bits of the L.A. underground. File it next to your Mind Meld, CFM and Meatbodies 7″s for maximum impact.



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Ben Chatwin – “Inflexion”

Ben Chatwin’s last record, The Sleeper Awakes was a grey-skied masterstroke of noise-flecked neo-classical. His solo works find the deep ravine of sadness and rub cold dirt into the wounds, feeling somehow achingly painful and coolly soothing at the same time. The first bit of his new record for Ba Da Bing is just a quick flicker of the match but it hints at another album of cloistered and creaky compositions. Sounding every bit like the slow creep up the stairs to a dark childhood secret, the track pads in on soft dulcitone feet and that creeping music box feel runs up the listener’s spine with icy expectation. It appears most of the album centers around Chatwin’s use of pianos and, like the dulcitone, piano-like hybrids. This is just a tiny morsel of the album, but few bites have ever left me so hungry for more.



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Cool Ghouls – “Sundial”

Its always good to have Cool Ghouls back in my life, and on the verge of Summer no less. The first peek at their upcoming album, Animal Races is steeped in the same ’60s jangle that has long defined them, bringing up thoughts of a more swooning Byrds or Flaming Groovies during their Cyril Jordan years. Kelley Stoltz continues to be the secret weapon in any band’s back pocket. He imbues the track with a sparkling view of the pop paradigm they’ve been itching at for the past two albums. The track practically pools with cool water harmonies and warm breezes and every note is ready to tug at a the heart with just a subtle twinge of nostalgia for lazy days with nothing to do but watch the waves. No doubt this is just the first thread to pull before the rest of the album unravels in cascades of sunny West Coast pop goodness.



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Acid Mothers Temple & Melting Paraiso U.F.O. – “Nebulous Hyper Meditation”

Why is it I’m somehow both surprised and not surprised that there’s never any clatter about a new AMT on the horizon? The long running (21 years!) Japanese psych lords are reaching a new chapter with the exit of longtime rhythm unit Shimura Koji and Tsuyama Atsushi, and with the addition of some youngblood players, Makoto Kawabata seems to be invigorated on this latest cut. It creeps in on sweeping synths, swirling and illusory as quasars, while Kawabata locks in his guitar to euphoric bliss. It seems that we’re never too far from one Acid Mother’s release or another, but that’s no reason to go taking ozone burners like this for granted. Someday there won’t be any more Acid Mother’s Temple, and on that day I assume there will be a collective funeral from the heads of the world, the band lifted off in a Sky Burial/Viking Funeral type situation that turns supernova overhead. But for now, cherish the gifts that come down the mountain.



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Frankie and The Witch Fingers – “6,000 Horns”

L.A. via Bloomington garage-psych slingers Frankie and The Witch Fingers are back and touting a fuller sound that’s buoyed by sun-streaked harmonies and a driving guitar wail that shows their 60’s allegiances but nods a head to their current garage trappings. The chorus is huge and swaying, the organ is wobblin’ and swellin’, the rhythm section makes it apparent that they have no intention of stopping for breath. It’s practically euphoric in its crest of the hill and by the time it all breaks down for a finish, everyone’s sweaty and ready for more. Lookin’ out for their longplayer, Heavy Roller, landing in July from Permanent.



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Miss Destiny – “Law and Order”

Following up on a single for Hozac last fall, Melbourne punx Miss Destiny are ramping up for a long player on the venerable R.I.P. Society in June. The first taste of the album is a bail jumping, octane burnt slice of rock that’s barrelling towards your ears on the gnarled strength of Harriett Hudson’s gravel and glam vocals. The track barely takes a breath, pounding at the pavement harder than a jackhammer and somehow evoking Shannon Shaw at her most accusatory (think Hunx’s “You Think You’re Tuff”) and The Donna’s at their most acerbic. That actually sounds like a pretty perfect combination to me, so all the more reason to be excited for the rest of this one.



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Le Villejuif Underground – “Since Everything Changes”

Ah man I’m slipping in my old age. France’s SDZ is a constant source of joy that I’d been remiss about checking up with, but this new slice of slackened and slumped pop via Le Villejuif Underground, who understandably know that their Velvet Underground worship is front and center, is a perfect antidote to what’s got ya down. The track is from their upcoming album for the veteran French label and it’s perfectly downbeat and shaggy, with mussed hair, rolling out of bed at three PM and wondering if it is, in fact a weekday. The band is headed by Aussie expat Nathan Roche and takes their name from the village of Villejuif in which they reside. There’s no shortage of bands that can’t get the Lou Reed monkey off their back but when you know how to inhabit those blues in a way that feels like a comfortable pair of shoes you’ve had all your life, then fuck if I’m the one who’s going to tell you that you can’t pull it off.


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Psychic Ills – “Baby”

Had you told me back in 2006 that the dark clatter of Dins would eventually beget a country album that features Hope Sandoval, I’d probably have laughed. Didn’t really seem the fit for Psychic Ills, who were playing basement shows that made the walls sweat with psychedelic ooze. Cut to a decade later and the band has followed their wits through a range of styles and psych country seems a good fit for them. “Baby” has a soft lilt that leans well and warbles ever so slightly in the summer air. Its a song that the band seems to make sound effortless, though its clear this is probably the most polished they’ve ever been. By the time the pedal steel seeps its way into the room, marbled and smooth, the track’s been cemented as a top earner in their catalog. With the first couple of dips into Inner Journey Out hanging around, I can’t wait to let this hit the table and soundtrack pretty much any weekend afternoon.




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Cakekitchen LP Reissues

A while back I wrote up The Cakekitchen’s indespensible, but pretty overlooked album Time Flowing Backwards. At the time the band was just finally putting their catalog up on Bandcamp and it was available digitally after some years of lapse. Today there’s some more exciting news, Dais is reissuing not only Time Flowing Backwards but also their sophomore LP World of Sand. If you’re unfamiliar with the work of Graeme Jefferies, then this is a prime opportunity to get acquainted with one of New Zealand’s great exports. The origianals appeared on vaunted labels Homestead and Flying Nun, both reasons in their own right to check into the band’s catalog. The reissues mark the band’s 25th anniversary and both have been remastered from the original tapes. More info over at Dais’s site.




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Strange Feelings: The Twinkeyz’ Alpha Jerk Resurrected

That the Twinkeyz were overlooked wasn’t shocking, but rather saddening. They released three singles and an album that burned too bright, but unfortunately also too scarce for the general populace. Coupled with their inability to tour widely, it added up to the kind of all too familiar tale of a great band shuttled to obscurity. Formed in 1977 by Donnie Jupiter (nee Marquez) and Tom Darling, the band proved to be more at home in the studio than on the live front. They played their hometown of Sacramento, but their immediate sphere of influence remained local and largely relegated to their home base of Moon Studios, helmed by friend and engineer Dave Houston. There they would lay down their own brand of power pop with a heavy infection of experimental impulses and outsider aura.

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