Browsing Category Tracks

David West with Teardrops – “Swan’s Beat”

After already turning in a great releases with his bands Rat Columns and Rank/Xerox earlier this year, David West goes for the triple with a new one from his solo (yet very collaborative) band The Teardrops. The record pulls in members from Eaters, Rat Columns, Total Control, Eddy Current Suppression Ring and Grass Widow. “Swan’s Beat” looks to the big, syncopated drums and outsized guitars of the ’80s that would also serve as fodder for 90s hip-hop samples. Though, as much as he claims a Billy Squire influence here, West tempers the excess with cold n’ humid vocals a la Martin Rev and some flecks of dub that give the track a very modern take with a hot flash of nostalgia rattling around in your ears. This actually doesn’t fall too far from the spooky ambience of his standout from Rat Columns, “Blinded By The Shadow,” and its leaving me very eager to get more of this record on the speakers.




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Premiere: The Cowboys – “I Hope She’s Ok”

The Cowboys’ excellent Vol. 4 was a nice surprise last year. The band cleaned up their act a bit, headed into the studio and laid down an excellent, yet overlooked album. It bumped them onto some radars though, and with luck they’re about to pop on a few more. Their pace hasn’t faltered a step as they head into the Fall with another release on the docket, this time for HoZac. They’ve swapped the studio for the four track this time, but “I Hope She’s Ok” doesn’t show too much crackle for their austerity. As a contrast to the first taste, “Mike’s Dust,” the band kicks the up tempo again and injects a ragged spirit into the track. They cut the edge with a sweet blue-eyed soul stab before the track melts into a molten fray that should play well in this summer of swelter. It’s just more goodness from a band that’s quietly building a reputation as slept on garage-pop heroes.



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Premiere: The Lovebirds – “Ready To Suffer”

San Francisco is full of guitar rock of the jangled variety but rising above the typical Mission fray soars The Lovebirds. They’re packing a satchel full of chiming chords here, but rather than throw a nod to SF’s ’60s roots, they channel College-ready literate charmers and powerpop dandies alike, drawing a line from the Groovies on down to Elvis Costello and Teenage Fanclub waiting in the wings. “Ready To Suffer” flicks at the subconscious, feeling familiar in a way that pushes it out of time, like a lost b-side from the archives of any of those bands.

It certainly doesn’t holler fresh-faced kids about town, that’s for sure, but that’s to the band’s credit as scholars of their influences. Add to the quality tunes some mix n’ master duties from RSTB faves Glenn Donaldson and Mikey Young respectively and this is a tight package and prime introduction to a band to watch.




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The Fresh & Onlys – “Impossible Man”

Stripping down to their core for this record, Tim Cohen and Wymond Miles continue to be consistent muses to each other, pushing their collaborative work harder than ever before. The latest single off of their upcoming Wolf Lie Down is one of their most driving and insistent songs in a long time. The band’s always benefited from framing Cohen’s lyrics in a lush backdrop of Miles’ alt-psych, making them heir apparent to the College Rock kingdom. As they grew legs, they pushed their sound out of the garage roots that birthed them and ventured well into lusher pastures, leaving their last album, House of Spirits, awash in a tangle of textures. Now, they return to a bit of the bite that anchored Long Slow Dance, bringing along the lessons learned and lived on Spirits. This one reminds me of the gnarled version of “Vanishing Cream” from the band’s excellent single on Plastic Spoons (a gem if you find one to pick up). Suffice it to say that, in that respect, “Impossible Man” ranks as one of the band’s most enduring hooks and a peek at what feels like a real jump forward for the veteran band.


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Beaches – “Void”

Aussie psych stormers Beaches are back after what feels like an almost unbearable hiatus (last album was 2013). Though to be fair, the ladies that make up the group have rather a lot going on, with members sharing duties in Love of Diagrams, Scott and Charlene’s Wedding and Panel of Judges among others. The group pushes the pedal down even harder on their motorik psych sound, fizzing like the ragged spirits of Spacemen 3, Neu!, Loop and Popul Vuh had all infected them simultaneously and were fighting for space. “Void” is shrouded in cavernous echo (just like I like it) and pulsating with a rhythm that all but glows. They drop in a touch of space-laced synth to keep it interesting and with that, anticipations are high for this double LP monster to drop later in the fall. Chapter Music is pushing the gems out this year, and this chalks another one up on the board.




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Omni – “Equestrian”

Atlanta’s Omni are back and refining the post-punk jitters from last year’s excellent debut offering. First single, “Equestrian” picks up with more Verlaine-veined guitar lines nestled atop a skittering drum beat. They lean into progress with some syth strains to back the track up, pouring on a glaze of synth-punk that doesn’t dominate, but pays reverence to their brand of ’70s gods as the track progresses. They don’t mess with the formula too much though, making this a nice extension of their knotted punk lacerations from Deluxe. Omni was a nice addition to last year, a collector’s curio that hooked in kindred spirits by the cart load. Lookin’ very likely that they’re about to do the same this turn around.




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Wand – “Plum”

Wand’s last album, 1000 Days opened up their fuzz-psych to broader territory, digging themselves out of the shadow of the roster of bands they’d been opening for (Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, Moon Duo) and letting them carve out their own path through psychedelia. That album trended towards a ’70s psych-folk that was continued, refined and shot through with a dose of melancholy on Cory Hanson’s solo album last year. Now the band adds two new members, Robbie Cody (guitar) and Sofia Arreguin (keyboards, vocals), giving their sound a wider screen than ever and tacking into a new wind on their latest album. The title track from the upcoming Plum culls from a later brand of psych-pop, streaking their psych stylings with nods to ’90s heroes, while keeping their experimental core solid.

The song crushes cacophony under the boot of melody in a way that hasn’t worked so well since The Beta Band were running wild. Hanson and his expanded outfit tumble over one another to each get their instrumental line to the top of the heap and the result is dizzying and shambolic with his vocals adding a nice touch of bittersweet bite to the track. With so many bands going back to the well that feeds them time and again, its nice to see Wand continue to grow and explore new directions on each new album. Can’t wait for the rest of Plum to seal the deal.



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Chris Forsyth & The Solar Motel Band – “Dreaming In The Non-Dream”

Whew, Forsyth comes into his own on this one. Not that the guitarist has been slacking, his Solar Motel Band has been excavating their own cavern of psych for a long time, but on his latest record he’s reaching to a new level of intensity. With his teeth sharpened and the kind of motorik instincts that drove Neu to repetitive stress, he’s let a monster down on the world in the form of the title track off his latest LP, “Dreaming In The Non-Dream.” The track’s a blistered American bar guitar workout gone cosmic – Pere Ubu and The Dead shot through the soul of Hawkwind and Ash Ra Temple. I’ve often held Forsyth in high regard, but this album seems to have actualized his soul and burnt it out through the wires. Damn well worth looking into and keeping your eyes on.




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Astral TV – “Sun Flares”

More great work out of the El Paraiso camp. This time the vibes skid less into the psych valley than into the Kosmiche ripple with a solo outing via Causa Sui synth and electronics-wiz Rasmus Rasmussen. The track is a prime example of ’70s German progressive synth float flecked with cosmic ambitions and rippling waves of lycergic bliss. Kosmiche has come storming back as a tag of notoriety in the last few years, but its also become a lazy signifier for letting synths drone on too long. Rasmussen can hardly be accused of aimless synth noodles. The track builds to a tower of crystalline beauty and glows like a beacon of new age glory. Many have tried and failed, but Astral TV nails the vibes that brought Germanic synth lords shuttling into view in the first place.




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Oh Sees – “The Static God”

Thee Oh Sees loom large once again and the air grows acrid with the stink of sonic deluge on this one. They’re just called Oh Sees now, you say? Sure, why not? No matter what name you hoist on the masthead, if J. Dwyer is steering the ship you can count on a good dose of psych-smacked garage. “The Static God” is paced to palpitation and bursting at the stitches with outbursts of noise that seem to take a swipe through Eastern tuning. Maybe they’ve been hanging too long with the Gizzard crew. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing. Three things you seem to be able to count on in a given year – Gizz, Ty and Oh Sees will come roaring in and light up the husk dry timber of your soul as they channel the very vien of psychedelic furor. As much as I enjoyed the departure on Weird Exits/ Odd Entrance last year, its good to be back behind the jet engine blast of Oh Sees guitar once again.




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