Posts Tagged ‘Beyond Beyond Is Beyond’

L’Eclair – “Endless Dave”

Got a brand-new cut today from Swiss progressives L’Eclair. Their previous LP found a home on US psych enclave Beyond Beyond is Beyond last year and the band continues their psychedelic journey with the label on the upcoming Sauropoda out May 24th. The first peek behind the curtain at that lock-grooved wonder is the organ-drenched dripper “Endless Dave.” The track (and album to be quite honest) is buffed to a super-mod sheen, applying a lounge exotica lacquer to their bevy of Krautrock and Kosmiche twinges. The cut in question’s a 12+ minute cruiser of back-trunk funk that reigns it in cool and casual. The band keeps the bubbles simmering just below a full boil, spreading an air of karmic calm through the body like a heat wave. On their way out the door they plug into the cosmic end of the spectrum, tacking a few quasar-buffer burbles to their heady throb. “Endless Dave” serves as the focal point of the album and its as good an intro to the Swiss swingers’ modus operandi as any. Lock down on this one for now, but be prepared to dive even deeper come May.




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Garcia Peoples – “High Noon Violence”

If you’re just now finding your way to Garcia Peoples, well, then I feel sorry for you. Their last album was a true gem of Cosmic Americana and you’ve been missing out. However, I also feel excited for you, go dive through the debut and get ready for the follow-up, which is shaping up to be another heady journey through high-minded, body-buzz jam workouts. The band lets loose today with the torrent “High Noon Violence,” a knotted gem besieged with overcast harmonies and flooded with their usual unspoken imprint of The Dead – though flashes of New Riders and Mountain Bus wash over the rinds of their guitar salad as well as this track kicks into high gear. Its a definite highlight from the upcoming Natural Facts which lands at the end of March on their old stomping grounds, Beyond Beyond is Beyond.



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Garcia Peoples – “Feel So Great”

Less than a year on from their debut this past summer, Brooklyn’s Garcia Peoples are back at the helm with another burner on the docket. Opener “Feel So Great” lightly pushes aside their penchant for Cosmic Americana to go for the psychedelic burn proper, driving a low-slung riff with the prowess of vets twice their age. The harder edge doesn’t keep the ebullience away – the song opens up to a steam-bath cooldown in the middle before hitching the groove back up for a ride out of town. Yet this is definitely a different side of the band from what was on display on Cosmic Cash. Less of the Dead at play here, replaced by shades of Neil Young’s oft-maligned (and wrongly so) ’90s output, though the band claims that The Who’s sweat-soaked live shows were the inspiration for the song. Still working overtime to make believers out of a generation of jam deniers, Garcia Peoples show no sign of flagging, slumping of sagging on their sophomore outing.


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Design Inspiration: Darryl Norsen

I’m excited to get back to a feature here at the site that takes a closer look at the designers behind the album art that adorns so many of my recent favorites. As much as any other part of the full album experience, good art draws a listener in and cinches the argument on owning the physical package. In the past this series has explored works from Robert Beatty, Jason Galea, and El Praraiso’s Jakob Skøtt. This week I’m shining a light on Darryl Norsen. You’ve most likely encountered Norsen’s work on excellent show posters, or in graphics for Raven contemporaries Aquarium Drunkard’s Talk House and Laginnappe series. Those of you winding down the extended path of Dead reissues would likely also have seen his work in recent Jerry Garcia & Merl Saunders reissues and 75th Birthday materials. Norsen’s crisp type work and clean lines have also found their way into excellent albums from Beyond Beyond is Beyond, Three Lobed and No Quarter Records. As usual with this series, I asked Darryl to explore his own favorite sleeves and recount how they may have shaped his own approach to design.

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The Myrrors

For the past three years Arizona’s Myrrors have dug out a dusty psychedelic hovel in their corner of the American Southwest. The band’s third in a string of albums that each seem to build dizzying worlds dappled by psychedelic folk finds resolve in its own warring impulses. It boasts a political core that resonates in an era where borders cut down lives, where happenstance of heritage is twisted into birthright and where the notion of sanctuary has been pulled up at the roots. As much as ever the album leans on Miguel Urbina‘s viola to anchor the record’s heat and heart, fraying the impassible drones and rhythmic barriers sprung up over the album’s six tracks. The strings saw at the record with a wide-eyed insistence, as if the notes were found curdled in blood on the sand and Myrrors are merely decoding the pain let loose on the terrain.

When the flutes, showered in an echo that makes them move on month’s wings, dance with the strings then the album transitions from haunted pain to a leathered strength. The album highlight “Formaciones Rojas” is tattered and spattered by mud, but it dances with a fire in its eyes that pushes past appearances. It’s a moment when the album rises past fear and anguish to embrace cultural power in the face of a scale tipping further from the favor of the masses. The track ends with protesters chanting “We’ll be back,” It’s a rallying moment fueled by discontent that seems to galvanize, but its followed by songs that are more chaotic and less sure. “Biznagas” shoulders a heavy heart that feels parched and solemn and the seemingly resilient “Call For Unity” buzzes around in a storm of horns that are more disorienting and ridden with anxiety that unifying.

This all leads to the crusher of a climax, “Note From The Underground.” At almost twenty minutes, the sidelong séance attempts to harness both the anxious energy and the hardened strength into one giant wave of humanity. The song is full of the buzzing energy, often times hard to hack through with the nimblest ears, but the swirling strands become patterns that weave ropes to pull down the walls. There’s light at the end of Borderlands, but just like the real-life tangles it works to unwind it’s a tough road out to that light.



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Garcia Peoples

As I’ve mentioned previously 2018 seems to be coming into its own with an embrace of the oft scorned jam band. What was once the butt of jokes among the more pretentious contingent of music cognoscenti has been given a legitimate platform. It helps that the genre has been rescued from some of the bro-y trappings that typically kept it down. While the new class still embraces the jam proper, they lean into the free boundaries aspect of the original rumblings of The Dead, rather than, say, the Guitar Center chest puffing and puca shell shambles of bands like Moe or Government Mule. In fact, it’s the embrace of the magic years of The Grateful Dead that seem most prescient, especially in a band named Garcia Peoples.

The New Jersey unit, naturally at home in the live setting, brings their sense of immediacy and experimentation into the studio. The record flickers like a living flame – warm and inviting, but able to scorch if given the chance. They’ve nailed the liquid runs of guitar that defined the Dead’s unifying embrace, while also bringing to mind the second-tier stunners like Mountain Bus, Mighty Baby or Fat. On Cosmic Cash’s centerpiece suite, though, they barrel out of the gate with guitars set to Trux and burn down the barn with little regard for the bystanders. Of course, it all smooths out to a buttery soul by the time they get to the end, with just a bit of a lyrical turn towards cringeworthy on “Cashing Out,” but if anyone was looking to elevate the legacy of Jam to something other than college freshman phase territory, its these guys.

The record is sun-streaked with positivity, and that feeling is utterly infectious. You’d be hard pressed to find a band working in the genre that would be called dour, but Garcia Peoples feel like they’re happiest spreading love via rippling riff. Their debut stands central to the new wave of American Jam and given time they’ll likely go down as a pivotal spark in new attitudes towards Cosmic Americana. For now, though, this is just the perfect companion to ride out the tail of Summer. Drop the needle, fill your drink and let the cooldown shake of Garcia Peoples free your soul.



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The Myrrors – “The Blood That Runs The Border”

After a caustic blast introduces the fourth album from Arizona’s Myrrors the band lays into the lyrical and tonal mood setter for Borderlands. “The Blood That Runs The Border“ is a heatstroke invocation to gods of the salt and sand. The title is particularly apt in an age of contentious nationalism that’s led to fierce protection of the imaginary (and very real) walls we conjure around ourselves. The Myrrors divine that no good will accompanies the lines in the sand we draw and they reflect back the feelings of desperation, denial and hackled defense that we pour into our plexiglass and concrete castles. The band often invokes images of nomadic travelers caked in the dust of their desert surroundings and parched as thirsty blacktop in the summer sun, so it’s only natural that they run afoul of systems built on borders.

Giving some insight to the track the band confirms, “The Blood That Runs the Border” is actually an old live standard that for whatever reason never translated into a recording until now, a time in which the issues of manufactured frontiers and the human cost of xenophobic immigration controls are perhaps more immediate than ever before. Destroy all borders, tear down all walls and the governments that build them! In a sense this track actually sowed the seeds for the entire record, from its subject matter to our conscious effort to more accurately capture the sound of The Myrrors in its current live incarnation.”

The track, along with the rest of Borderlands ably achieve a closer communion with the band’s live sound, feeling looser and wilder than they have on any album up to this. Check it out below and put the record on your radar for August.



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Garcia Peoples – “Show Your Troubles Out”

2018 is proving to be something of a renaissance for the typically shunted “jam band.” The term inspires revulsion in so many, but to those with crisper memories of prime-era Dead shows there exists a pang for a higher level of improvisation than wading into the bottom rung puca necked garden variety jammers that clog up college campuses. To that effect, there are quite a few records that nail the good and scrap the bad connotations associated with the term (see One Eleven Heavy, Wet Tuna, Weeping Bong Band, and the return of Howlin’ Rain). Add NJ youngbloods Garcia Peoples to that roster. The band might not have the age range to have had firsthand experiences with the parking lot set but they’re clearly versed in the wealth of prime live boots that float around the internet and given the ability to hear the best of the best they may well have used them as a primer and style guide to the cosmic float.

The band has recently added P.G. Six on keys, who gives a further seal of approval (and enters into a contest with himself for excellent psych jammer of the year with his work in Wet Tuna). What works best about Garcia Peoples is that they feel unrestrained by the walls of the studio on their debut and that shines through on “Show Your Troubles Out,” a track deeply indebted to the groove and stretching out for the highline haze with each starburst jut of guitar that slaloms through the cut. Of course, this one has to have longer legs on stage, but it’s a damn fine argument for Garcia Peoples upcoming stunner on Beyond Beyond is Beyond.



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Prana Crafter

I believe I’ve expressed the notion that the stream of psych-folk seems to have been damned a bit since its early aughts resurgence. That’s not to say that there haven’t been prolific pockets, as speaks to the work of labels Eiderdown and Deep Water Acres, both of whom have nurtured the career of Washington’s Prana Crafter. It’s just that now when an exceptional example comes hurtling through the tubes, I stand up and take notice. Will Sol stands ready with a new cassette release under the Prana Crafter banner for psychedelic wellspring Beyond Beyond is Beyond, and it is certainly an example of psych-folk at its finest. Though, while the excitement of a new poster child for the sound is tempting, I hate to back him into that corner alone, as it seems a disservice to his brand of psychedelia on the whole.

Bhodi Cheetah’s Choice is dank with the moss of the best burrowed forest psych – bubbling acoustic strums in a vat of ozone-scummed guitar. But Sol folds in haunting ambience, via organ moans, electronic thrums and the rhythmic hum of field recordings. He’s imbued the record with an haunting sadness that gives it an otherworldly quality. It’s psych-folk for all intents and purposes, but bigger and more affecting than any one genre can conjure. The label’s not entirely offbase to associate this with the more experimental work of Fahey (see perhaps his work for Table of the Elements), but even as a one-man band he’s pushed this into territories once occupied by heavy improv psych masters ¬– Popul Vuh, Träd, Gräs & Stenar, Amon Düül II.

With this record Sol has marked himself one to watch from here on out. Prana Crafter may well climb the ranks to sit alongside the likes of Six Organs of Admittance and Vanishing Voice-era Wooden Wand in terms of the modern day psychedelic luminaries. Here’s hoping that with enough groundswell BBiB will bump this one up to a full vinyl release rather than the cassette ghetto that Prana Crafter’s found himself in previously. This one deserves the fuller spectrum to spread its discomfiting burn.




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Joel Gion

For a guy most famous for his tambourine work, Joel Gion’s got quite a range on his eponymous LP for Beyond Beyond is Beyond. The artist, best known for his work as auxiliary percussionist/ hype man for the great psychedelic circus that is The Brian Jonestown Massacre has explored his own psych leanings before, most notably on 2014’s Apple Bonkers, but here he lifts off into his own lush vision of lounge psychedelics. Drenched in flute, wafting with synth atmospheres and practically breathing a smoke of its own, the album is oscillating between the spires of Spiritualized, The Telescopes and the more languid arm of Tropicalia (think Tom Ze’s ’68-’70 work or London exile-era Caetano Veloso).

That combination of candlelit confessionals and pillowy effects makes for a unique vision of modern psych that’s a touch lighter, not afraid to wander into territory that could be construed as indulgently soft. There are certainly lite jazz elements here, but Gion’s ability to drop back into a lush, cinematic swirl of salsa makes the album feel every bit like it could serve as the backdrop to a casino scene in any given Connory-led Bond film. Gion’s albums don’t come out at a rushed pace, and while his name still garners more recognition with Jonestown than it ever will on its own, this is a choice nugget for collectors of a decidedly luxurious psych format, one that leaves behind any notions of Beatles vs. Stones and makes its home in the clouds far above such touchstones.



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