Posts Tagged ‘Acid Psych’

Tim Presley’s White Fence – “I Have To Feed Larry’s Hawk”

Tim Presley’s been busy recently, but its actually been a few years since a solo White Fence track has trickled into these parts. Following a joint album with Ty Segall, a solo record under his given name and a Drinks LP with cohort Cate Le Bon, he return to the fertile ground of ’60s psych burble, this time advertised as Tim Preley’s White Fence. That addendum begs the question, what’s the difference now between Presley solo and Presley as White Fence? It seems to be a measure of cohesiveness, as I Have To Feed Larry’s Hawk (both the album and the track) are steeped in the uneasy sway of his omnipresent Syd Barret / Kevin Ayers specter. The solo record lifted the lid on that for just a bit, but with White Fence back in play, Presley is back mining the acid-dipped end of the outsider pop spectrum for noxious gems. The seasick n’ static video for the track from Ashley Goodall gives the cut a proper hallucinatory quality. Full album arrives packed and peaking on Jan. 25th via his constant stomping grounds at Drag City.

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Wayfaring Strangers: Acid Nightmares

Numero never really duffs an opportunity and so it comes to pass that the archival label’s dive into the thicker, fuzzier and less comforting half of acid rock scores some solid one-offs from the gilded age of Hippiedom. Scooping up bands that seem to have gotten into more than a few bad batches and spent the evening flipping between Growers of Mushroom and Arthur Brown’s Kingdom Come until inspiration struck. Run the whole thing through a tetanus shot level of fuzz and grime and you’ve pretty much got me on the line.

The most impressive aspect has to be that with a mounting glut of psych comps out there this could easily rehash a host of fun freakers with extra mileage in their “nugget” credentials. Instead, as comes expected from Numero’s obsessive-compulsive tape bin dumpster diving and ability to stick to themes, they nail the bummer psych vibe and stuff the package with a smattering of new names. Not missing a beat, the collection is wrapped in a black light poster of a cover that’s ripping on the bummer psych vibes in glowing technicolor. There are no sunshine hits here, but for those looking to run the dial on exhaust fume downer psychedelics – welcome home.



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Feral Ohms

Not one second of Feral Ohms’ debut lets up. The trio doesn’t give the listener a minute to catch a breath, and thank the Norse gods of thunderous destruction for that. It’s an acid bath for the soul of the universe, stripping away layer after layer of tar long since calcified and crusted into the shape of society. It appears that Ethan Miller has returned to the his position as frenetic lightning rod for amp fired chaos and it’s damn good to have him back slinging scorch. The world needs this eponymous long player more than we could ever know. As mentioned here previously, Miller found solace away from the white ball of fury that burned bright in Comets On Fire, but began a creep back with Heron Oblivion last year. Feral Ohms asserts his permanence in the pantheon of psych.

The band’s been building a clutch of singles since around 2013, but it wasn’t until Castle Face prefaced the album with a live shot that they sprang into wider consciousness. All of the live cuts find their way onto the album as well as the majority of their singles, albeit re-recorded with a technical lineup that speaks to a top tier of heavy psych sound work (Eric Bauer, Phil Manley, Chris Woodhouse and JJ Golden). It’s very possible that repeated spins of the album could melt speakers into a twitching puddle of gelatinous matter. That’s not even hyperbole, I’m worried about your system. Baton shit down and buckle up. 2017 has proven that despite long lingering reports to the contrary, the guitar still has a place of vitality in music. Few other albums assert this as definitively as Feral Ohms.





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Ash & Herb

A heady new project from Herbcraft’s Matt Lajoie, Ash & Herb pairs his psychedelic haze with partner in crime Ash (singularly named it appears), who provides some haunting vocals and lycergic instrumentation of her own. Not wholly divorced from Herbcraft’s earlier works, before they hit a heavier rock vein, the album wafts in on a puff of shamanistic smoke and settles down to craft temples in the woods. Picking out half ragas, divining rain spirits and then sublimating into a fine ether; the pair have captured themselves in some real improvisational glory. They catch the same spectral breath as Charlambides or Pocahaunted before them, finding solace in their own sense of time and place.

Tracks build up out of the clatter of percussion, feed on guitar and crumble away before they can imprint, occasionally picking up a lost transmission of blues scattered somewhere in the ionosphere. Lajoie’s early work as Cursillistas comes into play here, a band delighted in creaking and gnawing at the world in ecstatic bursts. He communes the same spirit for Ash & Herb, augmenting it into a smother smoke curl and pleasing some apparent Earthen gods with Ash’s harmonious call. There was a time when psych-folk went deep and there were plenty of folks poking around through the beautiful bliss of cacophony. Now, it’s fewer and further between, but Ash & Herb, like MV & EE, who head up their label Child of Microtones, prove that there’s still more to till in that soil.



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Wolf People

There are several schools of psych revial that run concurrent to each other in any given year, but Wolf People’s strain of Anglo-centric psychedelia marries the whimsical swords & sorcery, PhD caliber concept variety with a penchant for the heavier nugs of British proto-metal that began to spring up in its wake. They don’t really go in for the flights of fantasy lyrically, barring perahps “Night Witch”, but on Ruins they are embracing the itch for high concept. The album takes on the idea of an Earth in which the scourge of humanity is in its waning hours, being overtaken by nature as the heirs to the planet. They pin that concept to their brand of folk-rock, burnt to a cinder with the spark of psychedelia drawn in a direct line from the true heads of yore. There’s always been a deviant spore of The Moody Blues in the band’s sound (maybe its the flute, maybe its the timbre of Jack Sharp’s voice) but they embrace it fully on Ruins, conjuring up the spectre of prog loud and large.

That’s not to say that this is entirely picked from your dad’s stash of college LPs, Wolf People have an admitted love for both hip-hop and post-punk and while there aren’t overt inclusions of either in their pure forms (thank goodness), those influences seep through in their own way. Drummer Tom Watt swings the rhythms on Ruins, creating not hip-hop, but the kind of beats that well-tuned crate diggers tore from in the genre’s infancy. It was often the more adventurous strains of prog and rock that made for some of the most pummeling breaks and Watt seems to strive to find that charm in reverse. The guitars are thick as smoke over a ravaged 16th century village, but Sharp and Hollick weave them with a modern update blending the fuzz metal blast with the iron angles of a later ’70s vision.

It really isn’t an easy feat to bring this sound into a modern light, but Wolf People succeed in landing a foot in nostalgia proper and one in the archival spirit of an age that can cross reference the myriad histories of bands and movements in an afternoon spent internet digging. They form the best prog band that never set foot in the ’70s but holds its spirit alight for those that missed that the first go’round.




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Tyll – Sexphonie

There are still things in the pipes that deserve a proper reissue, though we’re certainly approaching peak lost record in the realm of reissues. However, this overlooked piece of Krautrock history from Tyll is definitely one of those lost era gems that slid from the view of most of the buying public. The album got a shout from the always intriguing Mutant Sounds a few years back and now, as luck would have it, Guerssen imprint Mental Experience has offered up a legit reissue of this lost nugget of German Progressive history. The band is an offshoot of sorts of fellow German psych band Eulenspygel, though not necessarily an amicable one. The two bands had a falling out that resulted in poached members (specifically drummer Günter Klinger) and legal disputes in the end.

The record’s story is atypical to be sure. Kerston Records approached guitarist Teflon Fonfara about recording a Progressive album and since he was on hiatus from Eulenspygel, he accepted and began to assemble a band of players and friends. The record came together quickly and was the group’s sole offering. With the band given a fairly antonymous amount of freedom to create whatever they liked in the studio, the record pushes outside the bounds of many more rote releases of the time. For every searing guitar lead there’s echo laden tape effects, grunted vocal intros, spaced out synths and music box outros. The rest of the album mixes folk guitars with acid psych and harder rock impulses. To call it a Krautrock album would probably be a bit misleading, as it lacks the propulsive bent that’s so often associated with the movement. Though there are definite Kosmische trappings in the spaced out effects that swirl around several of the tracks, giving it a clear connection. This is more of a true German Progressive album, capturing everything from Zappa’s influence, to jazz, folk and their homegrown Krautrock sounds. Its definitely the kind of album that feels like the hand of a label wasn’t holding on too tightly and that’s what makes it so much fun. Excellent to see that this kind of oddity has found its way back to vinyl.


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