Browsing Category New Albums

Jane Weaver

Jane Weaver found herself folded into the cosmic plane on previous album Silver Globe. Channeling a refined mash of Stereolab, Jodorowsky, Can and Broadcast, the album pushed Weaver further into a slick-skinned spaciness that’s the very image of ultra-modern trappings. She continues the journey through Krautrock/Kosmiche/Lounge/Experimental headspace to refine the sound into something of a chic psychedelic alternate universe where Wegner’s the standard bearer of public style and the hi-fi has won out handily over the television as the centerpiece of the American homestead.

Though, that’s not to make Weaver sound like she’s merely soundtracking the snooty coffee bar that pushed its way into the neighborhood, there’s plenty of humanity bubbling underneath that well coifed exterior. The beats tap along to a motorik heart, but over the top Weaver is swooning with a natural demeanor that puts her ultra-modern framework on a sweeping vista of verdant forest views. The balance between futurist and naturalist feels at the crux of Modern Kosmology. Weaver is the tear rolling down artificially intelligent cheeks, blushing at the feelings welled up by the modern art in your foyer.

Modern Kosmology is an album that’s comfortable with its niche, well-researched and soldering the markers of genre together into a clockwork hum of perfect unity. This is new age psych for those who have already transcended the physical form and are finally finding their muse. It’s a ripple that reminds one not to trust the eyes too much, instead it communicates on a wavelength that’s pulsing with a strange humanity, earthen and antiseptic all at once. If an album were to have tasting notes then Modern Kosmology seems wrought with the ghosts of moss, leather, Formica and Ozone. Dip in accordingly.




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Ball

Forget the secret society pseudonyms and cryptic backstory on Swedish psych-burners Ball, leave that veil of secrets to Goat and dive into this one on pure sonic salaciousness alone. Ball’s eponymous LP is an ozone-coated burn through biker psych, cocaine face melters, German Progressive freakouts and low-slung pelvic blues that would make yer Grammy blush. The elusive S. Yrék Ball cycles through styles with a deft touch, leaving the album feeling like a concept record built on psychsploitation and powered by pure lust ground to powder.

Ball channels Detroit’s own devil in the flesh Timmy Vulgar on “Speeding,” chewing the psychedelic scenery with guttural howls, but he pins it down to a firmly polished and explosive set of ’70s power trio slash n’ burn workouts that make Vulgar’s psych-punk flinch in the corners. The hits don’t stop there, either. Immediately launching into the horror-synth laden “Satanas” he holds seance into a level of ’70s lock-stop excess that feels like it could only be orchestrated by Andy Votel waiting in the wings. Then, smiling like Baphomet on a psilocybin rant, Ball twists the record deeper into the bowels of gutter-psych.

Ball resurrects the ink-black resin that’s caked into the heart of rock with a double shot in the form of “Fyre Balls” and “Fyre”. The former’s short on words but heavy on grunted passion, feeling like it’s played straight out of the puddle of of grease left behind from the burnt ashes of a Hendrix-ian bonfire circa Monterey Pop. Then like a Phoenix from those ashes, the album version of “Fyre” channels the Experience’s smoke-ringed chaos and propels it full speed through Hawkwind’s space-rock vortex. The gods of guitar-burnt psychedelia have smiled on 2017, but Ball proves that perhaps the demons have a say in this as well. If there’s a record that needs to sully your turntable this month, it’s Ball’s occult-vision of hedonistic flame. Maybe just check the needle for cinders after it’s taken a spin.




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Dream Machine

Matthew Melton has proven nothing if not mercurial over the years. He’s always been a fixture of the kind of garage that’s beaten and bruised, though doggedly interested in the details. Emerging from the twin spires of smoke-choked garage – Snake Flower 2 and Bare Wires – he dove headlong into the pristine clean of Warm Soda’s power pop with occasional digressions back into garage in his solo work and with short-run stompers Pleasers. So here we stand again on the precipice of another change and this time Melton sheds a great deal of those garage pasts to embrace the blacklit arms of prog and proto-metal.

Along with his wife Doris, who steers the band’s distinctive organ sound, Melton and Dream Machine enter a black drape of dry ice and incense that’s dug deep into the prog mindset, snaking through the corridors of the ’70s on trills of organ that can’t help but bring to mind Iron Butterfly, Deep Purple or Rhinoceros. Doris’ vocals give Dream Machine a nice touch of soulfulness, and a dose of femininity that sometimes eludes Melton’s past projects. He’s often felt like a bastion for young men with record shelving conundrums and while this won’t necessarily scare that set off, it’s got a great deal to offer those that fall outside the devoted choir of believers.

The record even comes with a dive into heady human harmonics in the band’s insistence on re-tuning to accommodate brain-reactive frequencies. Check out their explanation on A=432 that swerves from Joseph Goebbles to The Four Yugas. All these trappings feel essential to their true progression to, well Progressive Rock. The album is, as with most Melton projects, a perfect encapsulation of genre. While there have been plenty of dogmatic psych albums made in the past couple of decades, this one feels like its filling a niche that’s been left behind. With the exception of Black Mountain, the bands that have embraced anything approaching organ-prog in later years get hung up in Rick Wakeman wankerisms that leave out the pelvic thrust at the heart of the original players. Dream Machine manages to ride the line between the dirty crawl of garage and the stadium-sized ambitions of the supergroup generation. You’re gonna want to grab the headphones and sink back in that beanbag for this one.




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Endless Boogie

Regardless of what else is going on in your life, your country, your brain or your heart it’s a good year when Endless Boogie descends from the fanged fog to bestow an album on the poor disenfranchised souls laid down at music’s hearth. From the first second that Vibe Killer sweats through your needle, the album owns you. Vocalist and beating heart of the Boogie, Top Dollar, is a beast that leers at the listener and oozes every bit of the twisted soul of 3AM predatory rock n’ roll.

And like the album’s mouthpiece, there’s a sickness to the grooves that inhabit the record, expunged every so often by the raised hackle burn of guitar scream. The outbursts are rare exorcisms, but when the band want’s to twist the knife, they know how hard and fast to turn. For the most part though Endless Boogie are the essence of unshaken cool, reflecting your own insufficiency back in their steady mirrored gaze. Hell, this is a band that’s taken a story about seeing Kiss at a kite festival in ’74 and made it seem like boogie chillun gospel, a tale as old as time riding the rope burned ruts of a molasses groove. That’s musical alchemy. That’s the cold hard delivery of no-nonsense masters at work.

If you’ve come this far in life and had Endless Boogie soundtracking a even a small piece of it, then the album should fit like a worn leather companion. They’re not gonna shake the foundations that built ’em at this point, but the damn sure know how to sell the formula. My advice is to buy the ticket, take the ride and let it seep into your own soul. Take the ninety degree burn of confidence that Vibe Killer employs and refract it back out to your own world. The world won’t see it coming.




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Flowers Must Die

UK psych outpost Rocket Recordings roster is full to brimming with Marshall-stacked amp toasters, but Swedish six-piece Flowers Must Die vary the formula by adding a touch of deep bench influences to their sound. Not totally divorced from fellow Swedes Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation, who bend pop instincts through the prism of Krautrock and a fog of psych, Flowers Must Die are cherry picking bits of bottom-down disco dipped in space-rock swirls for a record that’s decked out in psych’s finery but feeling frisky with the notion of pop. The band has a habit of dipping the ends in free jazz squall and haunting Eastern drones as well and blending the styles subtly rather than throwing wholesale styles into a hodgepodge pot.

The extra hands make it possible to flesh the sound out with vintage keys, flourishes of flute and a clattered clutch of percussion. The hard to pin down styles mesh together nicely, not unlike some of the more outre soundtrack work of the ’70s. “Why?” seems like it might hold sway among some of the pieces from The Holy Mountain, with its ecstatic moans and chugging percussion. The band flips from Ash Ra Temple to Lindstrøm and finds space for both to butt against the ozone fry of dry ice riffs that feel like a Logan’s run dreamscape. Its a banner year for the psychedelic folds and Flowers Must Die are pushing things out of heavy riffs and into a heady haze that’s far more than the sum of its parts.

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Mooner

Indonesian stoner metal isn’t a term that gets thrown around lightly in these parts. To be fair, its not a term I think I’ve ever thrown around up to this point, but given the thick billowing riffs on Mooner’s debut, it’s probably time to start exploring the rest of the Indonesian scene. The band is comprised Voltron style of members of existing Indo metal bands – The Sigit, Sigmun, The Slave, and Sarasvati. The music follows the tone of The Slave most closely and like that band the tracks from Tabiat were intended to back their own skate videos. The Slave/Mooner’s Absar Lebeh has been kicking around the skate world for some time actually which serves to explain why one of the only other US mentions of Mooner comes via Thrasher.

“So what does this all mean for me, the listener?”, you say. Well, the band is riding nimbus clouds of guitar bearing down on a ’70s Flower Travelin’ Band / Mountain / Blues Creation highway. In fact, with the prog-ripped backdrop propping up the cinder-psych vocals from Marshella Safira, the band draws a pretty good side by side to Blues Creation’s collaboration with Carmen Maki when BC are at their heaviest. Even more apt in the recent reissue box touchstones would be the still overlooked Hungarian psych goddess Sarolta Zalatnay if she might have lasted to front the New Wave of British Metal. Comparisons aside, though, Mooner are 100% killin’ the nu-prog vibes and reveling in what are sure to be stacked crates of their own heavy faves seeping into the sound. The band cites Indonesian bands AKA and Panbers, so probably best to start their for some real-world comparisons. High quality crushers abound on this one that should have their American stoner metal counterparts sweatin’ their game.



Support the artist. Buy it HERE (Physical) or HERE (US Download)

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Moon Duo

As the sequel, or rather, better half to their Occult Architecture Vol.1 from earlier this year, Vol. 2 acts as the softer side of the band’s motorik psych-punk universe. Where the first volume was steeped in anxiety, tension and darkness; the second volume is by turns blissful, celebratory even. Its still chugging along with a chainsaw grind and lysergic stabs of guitar via Ripley Johnson, but now the tone is relaxed and surprisingly languid. The albums form a duality or a complete picture, but taken on its own merits, Vol. 2 is still pushing into Moon Duo’s best work.

There are strums, I think perhaps a first for Moon Duo, or even Wooden Shjips’ catalog. There are genuine moments of resplendence, flipping the band’s Kosmiche switch from throb to fizz. The pair submerge into a milky bath of sound that’s pulsating with light and love and all the Springtime green feelings that may have eluded their grasp in the pursuit of Krautrock edge in the past. Instead, this is pure dreampop, a silken submergence into ionic bliss that can’t hold back its own giddiness. Sanae Yamada’s synths emerge as a key component here, floating in waves of magenta majesty primed to induce shudders in the listener. As part of the band’s Yin and Yang concept, this fills the bill nicely, but even left to its own devices, it’ll sate your hunger for higher consciousness grind for months to come.




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RVG

RVG is the overarching name for the Romy Vager Group. The short, but impressive A Quality of Mercy swims with visions of ’70s and’80s heroes, wandering through touches of The Go-Betweens, Echo and The Bunnymen, The Cure and Patti Smith. The album indulges heavily in the lush, dark-rimmed tones of The Bunnymen the hardest and Vager’s voice is a dead ringer for the smeared stylings of Ian McCulloch. She’s enmeshed in the extravagant gravity and widescreen approach that made the goth darlings such longstanding obsessions year over year.

The record borrows a silk-screen of style, to be sure, but that style is nothing without substance. That’s where the band pounds the anvil harder than most adopters of minor key moroseness and ringing guitars. They aren’t just wistful for the aesthetics, Vager digs into disenfranchisement, pleas for some scrap of understanding and does it with a stately dignity that can’t help but round back on her similarities to Patti Smith. As she sings it feels like the gravity in the room reorients itself to the speakers, and reportedly the effect is visited tenfold in the live setting, where the band have kept audiences in rapt attention.

Increasingly we’re in a return to long incubation periods, brought about by bands regaining the means to self-release and experiment over time before finding their footing. In that respect it’s rare to find one so firmly and forcefully formed. RVG are a band that knows exactly who they want to be and then simply pulls it off in a manner that feels effortless; crafting songs that hang on the rain like old favorites. If this is the beginning for RVG, then I, for one, can’t wait to see where they’re headed.




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Mountain Movers

New Haven’s Mountain Movers have been building out a homegrown psych scene since 2006, with releases swerving between hometown label Safety Meeting and their own Car Crash Avoiders imprint. Unless you’re digging into the New England psych pantheon rather heavily, this debut for Trouble In Mind might be their first blip into your world. The band has their psych credentials in order though, stretching out for a fourteen minute opener that flexes with tension and rains down a fair amount of feedback fallout.

The record doesn’t flag after the epic opener either, they flip the switch from walls of squall to echoplexed strums that hang on the air in icy tendrils. They pick up cues from the Nuggets set, but find a more languid purchase on “Everyone Cares,” a subdued standout that still finds time to chew a little fuzz. In fact, as the album progresses, their true strength seems to be balancing their ’60s jangle love with front row seats at Pompeii level burndown amp-friers. They’re always building to an entropy of noise release, but they spend some quality time getting to the punch in each of the tracks that adorn their eponymous LP. The band may have spent the past few years filling out local hangs, but this one might just raise their profile among heads looking for two sides of the of the psych coin packed into one platter.




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Taiwan Housing Project

As I may have mentioned when the first single hit, I’m thoroughly excited for the full bore return of Kilynn Lunsford, she of the sorely overlooked caustic rockers Little Claw. The singer returns with the first full length from Tawian Housing Projet, a sprawling post-punk noise collective she started with ex-Harry Pussy mainstay Mark Feehan. The band also pulls in members of Tyvek, Writhing Squares, Tickley Feather and Dan Melchior’s gang of garage punks. That lineup reads like an RSTB who’s who and as expected the band chews noise-spun frantic panic into a vital stew that dips the listener in a cauldron cradled acid bath of sound and squelch.

Taiwan Housing Project, like Little Claw before them, pulls the same slight of hand shuffle; brutalizing at first blush with dented and demented guitars, clattering percussion and a free jazz hazing ritual of horns, but dig further and the sonic debris disguises some of the most solid pop hooks to find their way crawling out of the post-punk puddle in 2017. Lunsford and Feehan plug straight into a high-functioning wavelength that channels the B-52s if they’d relocated to New England and stapled their house-party punk to Sonic Youth’s tornado of feedback. Atop this ragged and glorious din, Lunsford howls, swoons, gnaws and accuses as if she’s the heir apparent to Poly Styrene’s crown of thorns.

The LP follows on a promising EP from M’lady’s last year, but after hearing Velben Death Mask those tracks seem like preamble to the main event. The record is as bracing, breathless and acerbic as anything you’re likely to hear this year and it’s jockeying heartily for the top spot as one of the best of 2017. In an age that’s more likely than ever to see labels softening their signings to fit into a narrowed view of consumer acceptance and exposure through licensing, it’s reassuring to know that Kill Rock Stars is still out there ignoring commercial appeal in exchange for immortality. This is the kind of record that grows in legend with years to come – a miss it now and kick yourself kind of noise gem that winds up collector’s fodder and fan lore. This is the real thing.




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