Mind Meld – “Viper”

L.A.’s Mind Meld are digging in the same dirt as fellow West Coasters Ty, Feels and Wand. They’re mixing a thick froth of fuzz, riffs heavy as concrete and a desert heat waver of psychedelic slop. “Viper” is cut right out of the cloth of the Segall catalog, but its just as indebted to the heavy skull crushers of Blue Cheer, Sabbath and Hawkwind at their amp stacked best. The single is out on Permanent Records, who have also just moved themselves into cozy L.A. diggs, expanding on their lock on Chicago’s garage glory. If nothing else, I definitely want to hear more from these exhaust huffers in the future and something tells me there’s bound to be more smoke from this fire.




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Abjects – Double Blind

London Trio Abjects follow on their first couple of EPs with a 7″ for NY’s Greenway records. Dual language, twin carbine action that blasts through garage pop with a kind of chaotic energy that’s one part beat denim dine n’ dash and one part amphetamine charged supermarket sweep. “Double Blind” is a soundtrack for hi-jinks, rough and frayed and spitting with garage punk energy that’s wrecked on Pez and ready to run all night. The A-side definitely reminds me of Pega Monstro’s hot charged delivery and the two would make for a scorchin’ double bill anytime. The flip takes the tack to English but doesn’t let up on the gas soaked fumes that haunt the opener. Both tracks make for pretty hard punch to the gut. Can’t imagine how this doesn’t burn live. They just wrapped up some US dates but hopefully they’ll be back around again to spread some love.



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Scott & Charlene’s Wedding – “Delivered”

In advance of a new album on Fire Records, Scott & Charlene’s Wedding have an EP with first single “Delivered” as its namesake and leading charge. The track’s an ode to home weed delivery and its a prime slice of jangle that crackles with urgency and fire. Its definitely a great omen of things to come if the rest of the EP / album are as furious as this cut. The band have long been a prime Aussie export who know that jangles don’t have to mean wistful, twee or necessarily pretty. They wield the strum like a hacksaw and they do it well. The EP’s out in June and album follows on later in the fall.



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Free Time

The debut from Free Time, the Melbourne via NYC via now Melbourne again band surrounding songwriter Dion Nania, was a breezy bit of jangle-pop that hinted at the sadness below. On his follow-up, Nania digs the songs further into that inherit sadness, feeling rooted in an aimless wander quality that’s both lost and reflective. Begun with Jarvis Taveniere here in the States with his NY band and finished back home in Australia with a new band comprised of friends from Twerps, Totally Mild and Terrible Truths, the record is tighter than its predecessor, and its easy to see how some of the current US strummers; Real Estate, Kurt Vile, etc have made their mark on Nania’s own take on the jangle formula.

Flecked with some soft rock sax and buoyant keys, the album’s a fuller realization of Nania’s pop worldview, not as threadbare as the first, but still feeling like its a world away from overstuffed indie-pop. There’s space that hangs in the songs here, adding to the shaggy sheen that gives In Search of Free Time a presence, humming in your ear like a good friend. There’s actually something in the vocal delivery on songs like “Who Owns The Moon?” that remind me quite nicely of Hunx’s stripped pop curio Hairdresser Blues. Like that record, this one has a confessional quality to it and the feeling of listening to Nania letting us in on his bittersweet sighs is one of a willing shoulder rather than observant therapist. We’re there with him and we all feel his pain, and share a beer in solidarity. Its a big step up from Free Time’s debut and one that’s grown some real legs around here.




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Fur – Find What You Like & Let It Kill You

In the glut of Bandcamp explorations its possible to stumble onto one of those sorely missed nuggets of the past and almost miss them. In this case I’d wandered into Conquest of Noise’s den, home to those well loved Dreamtime LPs amid a few other Aussie newbies. I’d originally mistaken Fur for a band a band doing such a good job of echoing the 90’s that it caused a quick double take. As luck would have it, they not only do a good job at echoing the sounds and sentiments of the era, they were doing a fine job of living in it as well. The band originally released this EP, the crown jewel of their short discography, on Fellaheen in 1994. To most Americans that label is not a household name but to those on the the other axis this is their domestic home to Pavement, Superchunk, Luscious Jackson and Guided By Voices among others. So the band wasn’t exactly in light company.

The EP hits hard with a blast of fuzz and flannel that’s got a bit of Veruca Salt for good measure and a definite taste for Nirvana and Mudhoney’s acerbic spit and thick riffs. The band became hometown heroes around the release of this EP and followed it up with solid torrent of singles and EPs leading up to 1997’s The Betty Shakes LP, also for Fellaheen. The EP has been released digitally now but it’ll find its way to vinyl for the first time later on in the year. This is one of those releases that, without the grace of the Internet’s small world syndrome you’d probably only have heard if you were an avid zine reader or Oz collector from way back. Its good to see things like this eking their way back into the world. Your ’90s mixtape just got a lot happier.




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Omni – “Afterlife”

New cut from this Atlanta trio on Trouble in Mind recalls a welcomed jittery blast of new wave / post-punk dragging the line from ’77 – ’81. Flecked with bits of Televison’s hangover and Robert Quine’s shaky surgeon’s hand, the band seems well versed in their music nerdom. Stapling those post-punk guitars to the safety glass gaze of Devo and Pylon, they’re definitely rumbling down a hallway that I’ve got a soft spot for. The video pays homage in kind with some Commodore 64 vintage graphics that feel out the same angles they’re pinning to the track. This song’s giving me plenty of room for anticipation for the rest of Omni’s full length. Hopes on that the rest has the same jittery jones.

More info HERE.

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Spectrum Control

Dewey Mahood has earned himself a place a the psych warrior roundtable and then some, serving in Eternal Tapestry, Plankton Wat, Gärden Söund and Edibles over the years. Now he sets off on a new endeavor in the solo vein. Tacking a different wind than previous (pseudo)solo adventure Edibles’ junkyard dub; Spectrum Control is built on a midnight shift grind of junkshop beats scotch taped to 4 AM cigarette curls of guitar that wind their way around buzzing organs, dipped into the last grit coffee of the evening. The record has a bloodshot quality that taps an energy on the line between the nervy edge of exhausted and exhilarated. Mahood’s not off base in the least by calling it twilight pop. Its music for the eternal wanderers, the streetlight scions.

There’s certainly a feeling that Mahood is finding his footing within the framework. The album’s got a rough charm about it, but I’m hoping this gets a little room to breath and more shelf space down the line. I was a fan of Mahood’s Edibles and this has some crossover appeal for those on the fringes of psych’s heady hang. But for now, this is a pretty strong jump out of the gate.




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King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard

King Gizz have blessed us with quite a few years of prime psych around here, rolling through a tumble of incarnations – stomping blues, acoustic pop, savage psychedelic storm and cowboy poetry. They’re reviving the storm for Nonagon Infinity, recorded at NY’s famed Daptone studios and over a year in the making; an eternity for a band on a two to three album a year schedule. The polishing has paid off as Nonagon rolls through speakers like a battering ram of rhythm and fury, bringing down a metric ton of squall and slashing at any who might doubt that such a prolific outfit could have this much quality material on lock at all times.

The record runs rampant with a thematic punch, a pounding repeated guitar herald and chant of “Nonagon Infinity opens the door.” The theme plays into the band’s touch of occultism that’s risen in some of their past videos and here they mix that with a doomsday prophecy and lyrics that hint at mankind’s ravaging of the planet. Most environmental screeds don’t burn to the touch like this one does, but King Gizz manage to make the looming atrocities of man’s greed seem both harrowing and thrilling at the same time, like being strapped into a George Miller setpiece and shot at the speed of sound across a desert flatland powered by harmonica screech and a double kick pounce.

What could make the package more enticing? The whole album runs on an infinite loop if you knock it to repeat, feeding back into itself like a lysergic ouroboros with a furious appetite for destruction. It goes without saying that this was highly anticipated but in the wake of its scorched path, this is going to be a hard one for anyone to touch as album of the year.


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Bardo Pond – AcidGuruPond

I’m not always one for RSD releases. For every amazing collaboration or clutch reissue, there are usually a hundred releases that are thrown in bins for the sake of pressing up needless nostalgia. Personally, I don’t ever need a reason to be coaxed into a record store, either, let alone wait in line for one. However, Bardo Pond’s release this year warrants some true praise. The long beloved drone/psych unit teamed up with Acid Mothers Temple and Guru Guru, both of which collaborated themselves on a solid string of records, including the spark that set it all off, 2007’s Psychedelic Navigator. Adding the Pond to the mix only makes this psychic stew even heavier, swampier and more psyionically gelatinous.

The album opens with a bit of pastoral psych before it moves into heavier tones and the ozone burn of AMT and Guru Guru can both be felt. Its not as slung with rhythmic chug as one might expect given that Guru Guru is involved, rather the combo seems to be coasting on melted vibes that roll through floor puddled zone out to the clash of free jazz ramble (specifically “Orange”). By the time “Red” rolls around the record drops into noisier territory, smoldering in full on cinder-psych territory, uncomfortable in any position and twisting to break free of its constraints. A damn fine outburst from all involved and Fire has put it together in a gorgeous package as well (RSD, gotta have colors). If your local store is out, you should buy something else from them and then head to Discogs. There are still some moral souls there selling it for around retail.

Some copies available HERE.

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Jackie McDowell

Jackie McDowell’s been around a stretch, either under her own name or as Inez Lightfoot, but her latest is a psychedelic sweat lodge that pores deep into psych folk territory and refreshes my interest like it was the first time. There’s something in the timbre of McKenzie’s voice that reminds me of Kilynn Lunsford from Little Claw, especially on “Thirteen Mothers Rose,” but rather than clashing with the amp frizzle fry she’s swathed in the echoed psychedelics of harmonium, dulcimer and banjo. The album definitely has a late night cracking into morning vibe, rich with incantations and skittering percussion that’s shuffled spatially around the album’s field of focus. McKenzie leads the spell sessions with a dark rapture and its pretty hard to divert attention from her mournful and haunting howl; but just as amiably, the tidepool of psychedelic folk puddling beneath her captures the imagination, bringing the heydays of Badgerlore, Charlambides, Tower Recordings and Fursaxa flooding back.

I believe I’ve said it already this year, but its good to get back to a solid run of psych folk, as the well seems to be getting, not dry, but certainly low as of late. McKenzie is a welcome reminder that there are still those souls haunting the forests, channeling the the moss flecked flats of the American wilderness and fog odes that roll in among the trees. This is one of those albums that feels like it flickers only by candle or firelight and it makes me anxious for the sun to set so that the proper respects can be paid as the first track clicks to start.


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