Browsing Category Tracks

The World – “Hot Shopper”

The World’s solidly slung EP from a short stretch back was full of taut post-punk nugs that cracked the window to their new full length for Upset The Rhythm. First single “Hot Shopper” is a spring-loaded knuckle-popper full of rubber band bass and staccato horn stabs that bring to mind Maximum Joy and A Certain Ratio. Its got a scrubbed up fidelity from the short format predecessor and bodes well for an album crackling full of the certain kind of dancefloor ozone that lived in the underground of the ’70s. If this Oakland band is missing from your radar, adjust, and quick.

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Mapache – “Chico River”

Picking up the West Coast psych rock tradition and peppering a liberal dose of country swoons n’ American croons, Mapache are heirs apparent to the Rademaker brothers’ crown of Alt-country warblin’. The first cut from their upcoming eponymous LP on Spiritual Pajamas is sweltering in the afternoon heat of slide guitar and rambling plucks, but its the honeyed twining of their voices that seals the deal. The duo work their way around harmonies with the grace of artists twice their age. It seems that they’ve caught on to the old soul early and are making it work well to their advantage. Keep this one in your sights when the album hits next month.




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Gunn-Truscinski Duo

Back before Steve Gunn was commanding Matador wheatpaste, he and John Truscinski had been laying down cinder-psych issues for Three Lobed with no particular agenda except finding the a common buzz and following it through the veil. They’re back in form here, with Steve shying away from his accessible canon of late and going in for scorched threads of nylon string rip and Truscinski anchoring him back down to the cruel, dusted Earth. Couldn’t be happier that the duo is divining the truth yet again, though I’d also be amenable to news of a new Golden Gunn album as well. Guess I shouldn’t go asking for favors. Still, mark you calendars for this nugget.




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The Schizophonics – “The Train”

San Diego’s Schizophonics tap the primordial soup that fuels the rawest riff on rock n’ roll – the kind that left crowds slack-jawed and jonesin’ after performances by The MC5 and their siblings in sweat, The Stooges. The Schizophonics pump that strain of heat through every inch of “The Train,” coursing 1.21 gigawatts of disjointed guitar fury through any speaker that thinks it has a shot to handle the noise. They’re picking up the mantle once held high by frayed freaks like The Sonics. They’re donning the cape and bending down to the same twisted Tiki God that bestowed King Kahn with the very tempest of Soul that infected James Brown and Little Richard before him. With no small amount of blood letting, they’ve caught the manic itch of rock’s own riotous ripple and they’re spreading it far and wide here. Their LP is out now on the famed Sympathy for the Record Industry, so dig in for a full helping.



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Gen Pop – “Dear Jackie”

Rising out of the ashes of the short-lived, but ferocious Vexx, Gen Pop spits out petulant noise-pop that’s chaotic and catchy. “Dear Jackie,” from the band’s debut 7″ on Upset The Rhythm, is a quick burst of shout-along punk with vocals that tumble over one another for dominance and a rumble in the rhythm that’s not without a certain ominous tension. I was sad when Vexx folded, but it’s good to know that with members MaryJane Dunphe and Ian Corrigan living on in Gen Pop, there’s hope for some more frantic tunes to come.




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Premiere: Joseph Childress – “Footsteps”

Joseph Childress’ debut has been a long time coming, building out of the bones of his sorely overlooked demo collection, The Rebirths, and inspired by a move to ranching in Wyoming. He embeds plenty of the wide-skied country charm on his eponymous debut, moving from Townes Van Zandt weary-eyed yarns to fingerpicked folk that showcases his technical side. However, there are few songs like “Footsteps” on this album. Building from a slow, plaintive pluck, the song is hushed and practically bumping against the quiet calm of summer cicadas when Childress lets us in. One minute on, a powerful piano chord transitions the tone from wistful to mournful.

Each consecutive moment takes Childress closer to the edge of breaking. The song works through emotions that have no boxes built to contain them. The end of the track sees Childress pleading with the listener, howling to the wind while it overtakes him – a storm of sound that’s on the precipice and teetering. As I mentioned, there are big skies on this album, but none bigger than here. Cracked with lightning, it is proof that Childress can sling songs with the best of them. The entirety of his self-titled album is engrossing, but this is a true high water mark.



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Frankie and the Witch Fingers

L.A. psych swingers Frankie and the Witch Fingers are back and tapping into a dank sweat lodge brand of psychedelia that sows its seeds in the euphoric daze that drove Roky Erikson, The Remains and Rudy Martinez (aka the ephemeral Question Mark). They’re looking to find that heat lightning intangibility that crops up when the stars are aligned just right and the crowd is in full sway. “Lernings Of The Light” is a full-on, harp-pocked, blooze-psych blowout that rattles the rafters and picks up the mantle that so many of the class of ’68 left curled and waiting between the tubes of their battered amps. New one is out via Permanent in September.




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Flat Worms – “Motorbike”

Following up a couple of solid singles on Volar, L.A. trio Flat Worms jumpstart the anticipation for their album proper with “Motorbike,” a two-ton fuzz whollop of a track that’s fueled by adrenaline, squelch and rumble. Pounding the pulse as hard as any cross traffic lane zagging, the song is too much fun not to crank on repeat for a good 5 or six rounds. If the rest of the album is even half as ripped as this cut, then its another win in the Castle Face column for sure. Need more reason? Sure you do. Members have spent time as part of touring bands for Oh Sees, Ty Segall, Kevin Morby and Wet Illustrated.




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Headroom – “How To Grow Evil Flowers”

Earlier this year New Haven’s Mountain Movers slipped out a crushing blow that went largely unheraleded. It’s a shame too because few are delivering the kind of Michio Kurihara shadow-fuzz grind or dipping into the Bardo Pond deep end like the are. Thankfully, though, you get another shot at basking in the cold sun squall of guitarist Kryssi Battalene as she heads up her debut as Headroom.

The album opener “How To Grow Evil Flowers” is a lead-footed crusher that picks up the P.S.F. legacy and wraps it around a dark funnel of mournful psych energy. Any list of current psych shredders that omits Battalene does a disservice to themselves. She’s not looking to melt faces with aceylene heat, rather she’s got the chops to erode the ground underneath you with a steady rumble before you even notice your descent into the doom caverns below. Look out for Headroom on Trouble in Mind in October.




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Flesh World – “Into The Shroud”

SF group Flesh World share another piece of their upcoming album, Into The Shroud, giving the title track a lo-budget clip that belies the track’s driving sheen. The song vacillates between the brittle, anxious verses and the exuberant chorus that breaks free of the tendrils of tension the band lays down throughout. It’s a tough knife edge to walk, but its clear that they’ve come quite a ways since their debut.

It’s fitting that they’ve landed on Dark Entries for this LP, a label more associated with obscure post-punk and synthwave reissues than with new acts. The band feels like they exist in a world of lost maxi-singles found at the flea market on a stroke of blind luck, but packed with the kind of electricity that causes a two year binge to find the band’s roots. Their sophomore LP looks to kick any hint of a slump to the side and act as their springboard to wider appreciation.



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