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Maston – “Swans”

After a solid LP a few years back on Trouble In Mind and an EP/Rarities collection Frank Maston is back under his surname as a psych-pop provocateur on his own imprint Phonoscope. In the interim he’s been busy as a touring member of Jacco Gardner’s band and working with several members of The Allah-Las on side projects.

The first cut from his upcoming LP Tulips sees the songwriter again working in a vein of whimsical soft psych that pulls from Brian Wilson to The Focus Group in its approach to childlike wonder. The accompanying video and graphics play up the ’60s connection nicely with a faded filmstrip feel and some BBC echoing design. This track feels entirely like its part of a larger whole, and while nice on its own, it will be intriguing to know how this fits into Maston’s larger picture.



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Wireheads – “Indian Pacific Express’

Getting to be a regular occurance around here, Wireheads have an album on the way via Tenth Court. The first cut is even more refined than I’ve heard them in the past – janglin’, plunking piano and a smooth keel running through Dom Trimboli’s vocals. This sounds like a natural progression from the material they’d cut into on Arrive, Alive, clean burning Aussie jangle with just the right touch of vulnerability and visceral punch. Definitely got eyes out for the new album.


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Wand – “Bee Karma”

Second cut off of Wand’s upcoming LP pulls them even further from their fuzzbomb psych roots, diving hard into the ’90s end of the pool. With a stadium-shaker riff opening up “Bee Karma,” the band alternates between guitar crush and soft-alt, bordering on psych, but never toeing into the kind of haze they’ve enjoyed in the past. This, more than anything feels like a mark of Wand looking to widen their audience and shake the shackles of their Ty-indebted past. It’s working, though. While there’s a lot of ’90s grunge nostalgia bandying about these days, something about their unabashed melting of tentpole faves – the tender delivery of Thom Yorke, the gnarled STP licks, the larger than life bombast of Afghan Whigs – makes this all the more ballsy for the heart on it’s sleeve. The clip, goes in for a weird, sad clown car ride and another glitching bird makes a corner cameo.

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Spectre Folk – “We’re So Tired”

Volume 4. heralded the welcomed return of Pete Nolan’s Spectre Folk after a five year hiatus. The album employs the help of alt legends Steve Shelley and Mark Ibold, diving headlong into the fuzzed psych fallout that Nolan has become known for. The clip for “We’re So Tired,” a gauzy, pulsating standout from the album, employs flashing black and white geometirics for a psychedelic strobe mind melt. The track is pure Spacemen 3 rough filtered through a nimbus thick shock of smoke and cinder. Simple, but effective, this clip is nothing if not mesmerizing.

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Zola Jesus – “Exhumed”

With a new Zola Jesus release on the way this fall, the horizon’s grown invitingly dark. In the clip for “Exhumed” from the upcoming Okovi Nika Danilova channels The Ring with a shallow wooded grave escape and a multitude of VHS glitch effects provided by Corey Johnson. The song itself hits as hard as any of Danilova’s best – pounding, leaden beats push against the soaring cello work of Shannon Kennedy and over the it all Danilova’s voice beckons, an angel of destruction and redemption in one. It’s a powerful track and given the sense of loss that she’s exploring throughout this album, it winds up one of her most overtly powerful statements.

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Circuit des Yeux – “Paper Bag”

Haley Fohr’s Circuit des Yeux has been bubbling under for a while now, but with her Drag City debut she (with help from Bitchin’ Bajas’ Cooper Crain) knocks the production up to the next level and puts this track into the bin of delightful experimental pop tracks finding their way out this year. The song starts with a swirling bit of cosmic psych that has Crain’s fingerprints all over it, but when Fohr’s knockout voice comes in, the track grows into another animal entirely. Rolling on a bed of guitar and a chugging beat, the track gathers darkness and strength around her booming delivery. The visuals from U.S. Girls’ Meg Remy suit the track amiably, giving the surroundings an offbeat weirdness that feels just the right kind of disorienting. Gonna have to look out for the rest of this one as it unfolds towards the October release.

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Kelley Stoltz – “Same Pattern”

San Francisco’s secret weapon, Kelley Stoltz, is back with a new album for Castle Face and he’s perfecting his brand of Neu-wave pop. Stoltz has lived a career on the periphery, often appearing behind the boards or in the guest musician credits of lauded releases, while his own never get the full acclaim they deserve. Even with label stints at Sub Pop and Third Man, Stoltz remains a secret handshake for those with discernible taste, but so be it, I guess. This hint of his newest is pulsating with life – motorik, hazy, blissful and buzzing. It’s a step into the ether for Stoltz, who’s often found his way along the garage-pop spectrum. “Same Pattern” is built on a throbbing vein of Krautrock that’s a step in a new direction, albeit fitting to the artist’s greater pop universe.

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The Murlocs – “Snake In The Grass”

While the gunshot psych train rolling towards damnation that is King Gizz cannot be stopped this year, with five albums promised and two delivered, why shouldn’t that schedule leave room for a side project or two? The band’s Ambrose Kenny-Smith has embarked on another record from The Murlocs, his own garage bound warriors on the edge of time. The clip for “Snake In The Grass” goes full claymation, with a few other swipes at the stop-motions playbook and that’s somehow always a welcomed wayback around here. The song’s hitting the sweat-rock button squarely, with Kenny-Smith’s harmonica blowing hard as ever. If you’re already in for a penny on the Gizz, why not stock up the full pound with The Murlocs on the side? This one’s got bite.



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Premiere: New Rose – “Going North”

New Rose captured the spirit of comedown country on their recent album, Morning Haze, for Brooklyn label Broken Circles. Steeped in the kind of spectral light that peeks over the mountains, threading through the marine layer gauze of daybreak, no song sums up their album’s title better than “Going North.” Paired with an equally ephemeral video courtesy of Rat Columns’ David West, the band penetrates a musical purgatory that hangs thick with fog. It’s inviting, enveloping and comforting like the smell of old bar wood and whiskey. You can practically inhale the dankness of the room in this clip and the band wears the ghost town vibes well. If you haven’t already locked onto Morning Haze yet, then its about time to check it out. The band will also be taking the Haze on the road for some tour dates. Check those after the jump.

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Patience – “White Of An Eye”

The end of Veronica Falls always left me feeling a bit sad. The band’s perfect distillation of jangle-pop on the skids, sunny melodies with a tear in their eye, was always comforting. James Hoare has gone on to a myriad bands in the interim, but Roxanne Clifford’s output has been more selective. Now on her third single as Patience, Clifford is ably working a brand of synth-pop stung with jangles and it suits her well. “White Of An Eye” swims through the backwaters of the ’80s – mopping up bits of The Jasmine Minks on a bender with Chris & Cosey and Strawberry Switchblade. Hopefully this third single signals the oncoming announcement of an album proper. For now, though, we’ll have to just enjoy it on its own merits. This one’s been growing on me with each subsequent listen.

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