Posts Tagged ‘Cardinal Fuzz’

Elkhorn – “Acoustic Storm Sessions (exerpt)”

Earlier in the year Elkhorn released an album of pent-up psychedelic darkness and desperation that was forged in an unintentional lock-in during a snowstorm that caused them to miss a pivotal Brooklyn gig last year. The album, made with friend and collaborator Turner Williams, showed the band at their improvisational peak, exploring their psych-folk prowess by turning an environment of disappointment into something extraordinary. Seems that the album, which found them in a configuration with Jesse on acoustic, Drew on Electric, and Turner shifting between electric bouzouki on one side, shahi baaja on the next, spawned a sister album that’s just now seeing the light of day.

This time Elkhorn eschew the plugs to release their first completely acoustic album, letting three guitars entwine in the ice-ensconced studio to create something that’s both meditative and mercurial. Not quite born of the Basho/Fahey axis, not quite beholden to the kind of ambient plains dusters that spawned Barn Owl, this is is a more tempered vision of Elkhorn’s apocalyptic folk. On the sample below, you can feel just a small fraction of the scope of these acoustic sessions, stripped bare of the ozone-crackle of their psychedelic fry, but no less devastating in their barren burn. If anything, the austerity only enhances the permafrost isolation of the band’s stranded situation during the recording. The LP is out October 2nd on Centripetal Force and Cardinal Fuzz.




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Prana Crafter

If it wasn’t readily apparent from the sidelong strechout that populated his half of a split with Tarotplane last year, Will Sol’s music is made for grander statements than a compact runtime can accommodate. His latest LP pushes that boundary even further, nudging the scope from one side to two. Though it’s split into six parts, the tracks on MorphoMystic are essentially all part of one long piece. Still strolling the verdant gardens of ‘70s kosmiche and bending the will psych to the whims of prog, the new album truly enjoys the spectral build and release of his German predecessors.

Even when the tempo is slowed to a Cluster-crawl, the new Prana is percolating with a heart-flutter rhythm that’s humid and hungry, yet hunted and wounded — siphoning the cosmic impulses into a dark heart. This is a more furrowed and fraught side of Sol than I’ve heard before. He’s usually threading the gauze, letting his folk strings pull gently at his prog side, but here synths and ambience assert their dominance over the guitar for the most part.

He can still wring wrath from the six, but for the most part he’s embodying the Göttsching persona well while dipping into the works of fellow Ra member Schulze’s works for good measure. Creeping into view with a tempered step, he arcs MorphoMystic into a dizzying psychological thriller by the time “Chalice of the Fungal Sage” hits the speakers. Though if things end with blood and bone, they also end with a somber relief by the time we lie into the weary homecoming of “Starlight, Sing us A Lullaby.” Sol’s been working at body high hits for the last few years, but he’s besting himself yet again with this cohesive platter.




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Prana Crafter – “Rebirth In The Mosslands”

I’ve got a brand new one from Northwest psychedelic soaker Prana Crafter today and it’s just a small scrape of his upcoming release. Fresh off of two lengthy side-long splits with ragenap and Tarotplane, Will’s next release is essentially an album-long composition broken up into movements. The first section, “Rebirth In The Mosslands” walks in slow, with a touch of dread in its blood. Steady, progressive plucks give way to a Kosmiche grind that puts this squarely in the pocket of Popul Vuh fans. It’s the opening salvo to an album that tumbles through cosmic impulses — heady and nebulous — and acts as a proper continuation of what Sol was working on with his Symbiose split. There’s tension and trepidation at play here, and Sol wields both with a fine edge that never cuts too deep for discomfort. It’s been great to see him weave between psych folk and more atmospheric ephemera, as he lends a scholar’s ear to both genres. The record lands September 18th as a split release between Cardinal Fuzz and Feeding Tube and you’re gonna want to get a hold of this one.



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The Heads – Reverberations Vol. 2

Cardinal Fuzz has gone deep into the archives of scorch from Bristol’s merry mindbenders The Heads. Makes sense, the label boasts its roots in the catalog of The Heads, taking the name from a Heads track of the same name. Seems witnessing the first rehearsal in this series acted as impetus to form a label in the first place. As for The Heads, for the unfamiliar, the band’s been clawing at the creosote since ’95, laying down massive slabs of primordial rock that’s built on relentless groove and above all else, a domineering layer of fuzz n’ rumble that threatens to consume us all. The band’s studio albums often try to capture the force that they unleash stage-side, but fall short of capturing the charred ozone and sweat syncopation that occurs once the band is fully locked in. The second in a set of live and rehearsal recordings, vol. 2 certainly attempts to right that wrong.

The set is taken from the band’s set at The Gnostic Bash: A Tribute to Kenneth Anger. The festival was a fundraiser for Anger’s longtime goal to make a film of Aleister Crowley’s Gnostic Mass along with a documentary about Anger himself. The band’s played to a partial recreation of Anger’s ‘Equinox of the Gods’ — a live film of The Magick Powerhouse Of Oz band that featured Bobby Beausoleil (of Manson Family notoriety). With the film as backdrop the band launches into a breathless version of their live fave “K.R.T.” letting the song flesh out to over thirty minutes before lighting the rafters with “Split Riff.” They don’t let up or let down between the songs and by the time the whole set ends both the band and listener feel ready to collapse to the floor. You can listen to the set in its entirety, available on vinyl August 28th for the first time along with plenty of other Heads curios and necessities that the label has culled over the years. Better give this one some volume and space, it needs room to ravage your listening zone.



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White Manna – “Mythic Salon”

Long running California psych band White Manna returns with a split release for Centripetal Force and Cardinal Fuzz August 28th. While the blast-force riffs still abound on the album, on “Mythic Salon” there’s a drive towards rhythmic oblivion. Hewing closer to the German Progressive blueprint rather than the amplifier exhaust that they were known for early on, the track wraps elusive vocals around a percolating beat that’s haunted by horns over the distant hills. The song slots in nicely on ARC, as the LP shifts endlessly between growl and grind and the further reaches of space, noise, kosmiche, and Krautrock. It solidifies what the band were beginning to mold on Ape On Sunday, tightening their hold on cosmic psych and letting the spaces between the storm speak.





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Dire Wolves (Just Exactly Perfect Sisters Band)

It’s been a hell of a year for Dire Wolves. The bi-coastal psych slayers have been on an endless tear for over a decade, but some of their best moments have coalesced in between 2018 and the present. Flow and Heady comes close on the heels of the vinyl pressing for their tour-only I Just Wasn’t Made For These Set Times and in an almost tandem issue with another live to tape recording, Knee Deep In the Buchla on Stoned To Death. The latter is from the same tour just shifting the focus from Copenhagen to Prague. There’s a rash of live recordings within the cosmic sphere of late, but with the Wolves in particular, being in the room isn’t just a matter of experiencing one of their studio records flung far and wide. Often as the lineups mutate and the song matter evolves, certain shows can contain the only true version of a song. A pair of hungry mics picking up the delirium to be experienced outside of the walls that were doused in the electric sweat of the moment is a reason to be thankful indeed.

Flow and Heady takes place, as I mentioned, in Copenhagen. In particular it was recorded for their appearance at Festival Of Endless Gratitude. The festival is a freeform, psych-folk gathering that pulled Jandek and Lau Nau alongside the Wolves and a good crossection of Scandinavian psychedelic collectives. Already primed for elevated vibes, the festival appearance divined a transcendent set out of Dire Wolves. Covering ground not previously explored by the band in existing recordings, this is an aura that can’t necessarily be replicated by conventional means. Not that the Wolves mean to use anything conventional. On this tour the band connected with Nik Rayne of The Myrrors (guitar and clarinet) and Scottish player Bell Lungs (violin, voice and bird calls) who both add an extra dimension to the European dates and their presence is felt deeply threaded through the set.

The album is anchored heavily by the title track which takes up a good portion of the first side — pairing the band’s freeform wander with an expanded guitar interplay and ululating vocals from Bell. The song hangs on their own particular ether and soaks in the damp humors of the humid atmosphere. They roll out of it with something of a ritual or incantation before pumping the calm out of the room for a tangled mass of distortion and woven wicker lines set ablaze in the Copenhagen sun. “Dr. Esperanto” closes out the set with a combination of the two — guitars still smoldering from the previous outing, but laced with Bell’s violin and a haunting bout of vocal apparitions. If you’ve stuck around here long enough, then chances are you’re already following the band’s releases with perked ears, but for any newcomers to the Just Exactly Perfect Sisters Band, this is as inviting a portal inward as any. Bonus: All come with bonus Download Content featuring 2 extra concerts (Die Friese – Bremen – 6th September and Rhiz – Vienna – 9th September)



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Banshee

In an age that bubbles under with rage, someone needs to tap the crack that breaks the damn. The floodwaters don’t always have to be righteous, sometimes they just need to be cathartic. That’s where Boston’s Banshee come in. Livin’ In The Jungle lets the chaos of the current free with the kind of wild abandon that feels counterintuitive of late. The band are huffing the exhaust from the sinewy side of the ‘70s. Their new LP for Feeding Tube/Cardinal Fuzz is knuckle beaten by the animal instincts of The Stooges, The Deviants, and Dead Boys, but they don’t stay down in the dirt for the entirety of their trip. While a primal thrum is at their core, the band stripes the record with a psychedelic smoke that winds itself around these chiseled rhythms. On “Dawn of Man” the band pounds a glam-stomped beat that reverberates to the bone, but they lace it up with ecstatic strings and narcotic gang vocals. In that regard, they take a good couple of swigs off the hippie hell raiser brand that Hawkwind and The Pink Fairies used to stoke their fires.

Beset with howls and the squalls of horns competing to crack the senses, “Savage Man” is hot to the touch, but the band are pretty quick to inject a good ounce of dry ice dampness elsewhere. Biker-psych isn’t a genre that gets too much love these days, and when it does its never with this level of self-awareness and swagger. Simmer the releases of Hoover III and Zig Zags down to their bits and bottle ‘em and its a brew coming close to what Banshee have concocted. The band aren’t afraid to mix their psychedelic metaphors and I respect that. They’re perfectly happy to dip their throat-shredded ozone burners in the mayfair trappings of hippiedom and it works so well. This one has all the earmarks of a record that’s going to get slept on, so I’m urging you not to be among the poor souls left behind. Crack the windows and let this one echo off the second stories around you.



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Waterless Hills

Manchester’s Waterless Hills lay an absolute gem on us, quietly eking out an eerily calm eddy of prog from under the scarred English skies. The group, which features previous Feeding Tube alum C Joynes on guitar and Dan Bridgeood-Hill on violin (Irma Vep, Charles Hayward), trades in a dark strain of folk that wanders the streets at dusk and wanders states of reality after that sun finally sets. There’s an outworld quality to the songs of The Great Mountain, and as much as that title conjures up visions of Jodorowsky’s nightmare wonders, the band makes good on them with aural imagery that’s as tarnished by ash, sand, and soil as his films. The record is dried by the sun — scorched, leathered, and laid bare — and in many moments that simmers from the speakers there’s a feeling of palpable sweat seeping through the songs. It’s not constant, though, there’s the respite of dusk and the cool ripples of clean water tumbling through natural cut rock in the bones here as well.

The guitars chime and bend, roll and ramble. The drums crash and skitter with a malevolent force and all the while that violin drags us to our feet time and time again to take the journey to the mountain on the mantle. The journey is the through line and we, as listeners, arrive changed certainly, but not exhausted. Instead there’s an elation, an unplaceable euphoria humming through the invisible wires of Waterless Hills’ offering to the endless horizon. Aside from a lone lathe cut sourced from the same sessions this is the band’s only output, but here’s hoping its not the last. The record finds its home here in the states on Feeding Tube and abroad in the arms of Cardinal Fuzz. Best grab one of these because neither of those labels has a tendency to let record sit idle in their bins.



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Dire Wolves – “Flow and Heady > By The Fireside”

Brand new heady jammer from Dire Wolves is up today and heralding a live release split between Feeding Tube and Cardinal Fuzz. The set was recorded live at the Festival of Endless Gratitude in Copenhagen last year and presents the band in full shamanic glory. The opener “Flow and Heady > By The Fireside” plunges straight into the heart of the beast, clawing through the psychedelic ephemera like only Dire Wolves could. Alexander’s guitars are as hooked into the ether as ever and as would be expected the track is doused in a swirling interplay between violin and voice that’s disorienting and delightful. The band has had an unstoppable couple of years and this LP shows no signs of stopping their roll. The LP lands on the tables April 17th. Definitely get in the running for one of these limited pressers.



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Hôpital De La Conception feat. Junk Nurse

A head-scratcher of a platter from a triumvirate of labels (Feeding Tube/Cardinal Fuzz/Opaque Dynamo) births the mysterious debut and sole artifact from France’s Hôpital De La Conception. The record is swift to note that it features Junk Nurse, but he seems to be the only avatar piloting this thing through the blooze swamp foot stomp anyhow. The record is ripped and ragged – zeroed in on an Earth’s core riff that drills down to the very kernel of psychic consciousness. There’s a dogged locomotive rhythm to the record, constantly chuggin’ through the smoke curls and feedback flutter. That hypnotic heave anchors “The Electric Rockin’ Chair” to the concrete so that it doesn’t get flayed clean by the storm swirling about it. The Junk Nurse doesn’t relent, plowing this one through a “Sister Ray” / Don Van Vliet vortex caked with noise and cursed to rumble for all days.

The album’s just the one song – flip it and it starts chuggin’ all over again like a lost soul condemned to scream sonic fury for all time. If this is Dante’s soundtrack to scuzz, then when the fury kicks up, the Nurse has you hitting your head on every wrung of the inferno before laying limp on the floor and begging for no more volume. The Hôpital and Junk Nurse hear your plea and turn the thumb down. The riff will rage and you will be inflamed with the body buzz of chooglin’ fury once more. Into the abyss, let it lock down and linger. That’s what I say. Now as for all the mystery, shadows and riddles about who’s behind this opus of guitar offal. I don’t know about you, but the possibility that the only other record to come out on France’s Opaque Dynamo is from GR (aka Gunslingers’ Gregory Raimo) makes this one a very good bet. Who knows who the Nurse serves but if its outta that camp, I’d put my money on it being a necessary pickup.




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