Posts Tagged ‘Castle Face Records’

Population II – “Ce n’est rêve”

The recently released LP from French-Canadian psych unit Population II balances creeping tension with explosive guitar and the band packs ever bit of the beauty of their CastleFace debut into “Ce n’est rêve” and the accompanying video. The song creeps into view with dry ice ambiance before bass and organ begin to gnaw at the edges. As the song reaches its culmination, the speakers are on fire with fuzz and rhythm and the band pairs it well with a ’60s light show inspired video that’s every bit as haunting as the song in its simplicity. The new LP is out now and highly recommended.



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Population II – “Introspection”

Castleface’s international contingent has a strong showing, though mostly from Australia with entires from Total Control, King Gizz, and ORB, but they’ve picked up some swingers from Quebec who are pushing a French-tipped, prog-rifled model that’s as heavy and heady as any in their stable. The band lets some air into the chamber as the album progresses, but opener “Introspection” barrels into the record with a noxious guitar growl, psych-blooze stomp, and some sax scorch just for good measure. The song’s very core is built on the need to let the kernel of rock blossom in the brains of those infected with its ferocity. The band sums it perhaps better, noting that “Introspection is an immersion in the mind of one who feels the energy of raw Rock n ‘Roll running through its veins for the first time. Instantly, comes the need to transmit and amplify it.” The song’s built on the the molten core of ’70 experimentation, melting Amon Düül II and Embryo into a furious export from another time. À La Ô Terre is out October 30th from the West Coast psych stable.




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Osees – “Dreary Nonsense”

What kind of year would it be if there wasn’t a new Oh Sees (now it’s Osees, I guess) on the horizon? I wouldn’t know what to do. The tides would be off. At the very least, the axis would slip a few degrees on the ball of dirt and water we ride through the cosmos. The band’s latest, Protean Threat is preceded by the short, but cratered track “Dreary Nonsense.” The cut bursts out of the barrel with a full force blow of guitar and a squirm of keys that’s constantly crushed into new and more uncomfortable positions over the course of the track’s brief tenure on your speakers. It shies away from light, bears its fangs and leaves a light laceration before retreating into the walls of weird once more. From the sounds of things the new LP is bound to let even more blood than they do here. Check out a rehearsal for the LP captured live at Zebulon in March. Protean Threat is out September 18th, naturally from Castleface.




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Mr. Elevator – “Sylvia”

Been slowly sinking into the environs of Mr. Elevator’s latest batch of psych-pop and its finally taking hold. The band, anchored by Oh Sees’ Tomas Dolas, swims in the same magenta-hued waters that float recent releases by Morgan Delt, Jacco Gardner, or The Paperhead. Organs obscure the folds of “Sylvia,” filling the song with shimmer and shine that’s locked to a propulsive beat. There are underlying elements are ripped from the kind of Library Music burbles that filtered through the end of the ’60s and they work nicely with the intrigue-laden video for “Sylvia.” Dolas gives some insight to the track / vid below.

“Without giving too much away “Sylvia” was inspired by a book I put off too long to finally read. It was also one of the songs on the record that I was thinking about cutting because it just didn’t feel right. We ended up keeping just the drums and taking a different approach to it redoing everything else around it. It was the last song to make it before turning everything in to get mastered. The intro that happens now is the tail end of a portion of a drum fill from the intro that ended up getting scrapped. The video was done by Logan Feser, a video artist who recently moved to LA who also did a video for us on our last record. We were back and forth on ideas and I proposed a sort of short film idea and he came back with a whole script and cast/props and all that he put together!“ The band’s on a West Coast tour now. You can catch ‘em at the following dates.

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Oh Sees

At this point in their career, nobody’s gonna tell Oh Sees not to be free. The band’s entering their fifteenth year, give or take (if you count the OCS material), and Dwyer and his consortium have been consistently building psychedelic pyres only to torch them each season. Not a band can yowl through an Echoplex without the “Oh Sees Sense” going off these days, yet somehow the band still manages to push their sound further from those initial seeds of garage with each record. This time the band delves further and deeper into the waters of prog than they ever have previously. Sure, there’s always been a touch of the exploratory crawl and plenty of psychedelic jetsom, but this time the band’s cradling their jams in a fog of organ ripple ripped right from Greg Lake’s cutting bin. They’re tossing in a space ooze that’s sliced clean out of the Miles/Ra/Cherry vein, letting drops of scattered noise sluice through the cracks of their shredded sensibilities.

Over the last few albums the band has embraced longer runtimes, but here they close out both LPs with crushers that push in excess of 14 and 20-minutes respectively. They don’t waste the space, either. Both tracks push Oh Sees out of their panicked pacings, layering in downtempo modes of Gong and Amon Düül II between the flashes of freaked-out guitar, punk sputter, and motorik pounce. It is, admittedly, a lot of album. The full runtime clocks in around an hour twenty, so this is more of an undertaking than a light listen, but Oh Sees embrace the journey, pushing the listener through chapters and changes – a prog mindset without necessarily ascribing an overarching theme. Sometimes the harder hitters pull away from the squirrelled weirdness. I’m always going to cue up a track that squirms or seethes like “Together Tomorrow,” or “Scutum & Scorpius” over the frantic fangs of “Heart Worm” but they make it all stitch together without missing a seam. Overall, another set of cavernous crawlers from Dwyer and co. that cement their status among the top-tier psychedelic pantheon.



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Oh Sees – “Poisoned Stones”

Another dosed droplet from the upcoming Oh Sees confirms that the band is headed ever further down the prog wormhole and it suits them just fine. “Poisoned Stones” is a shorter shakedown than the previous taste of Face Stabber, but its no less packed with tumbling drums, yowling guitars, and shell-shocked keys than the epic run of “Henchlock.” The band augments their psychedelic pursuits with a video locked into an 8-bit battle with reality. The clip’s a third-eye thumper that fits the song’s chaotic crunch quite nicely. Check the clip and look for Face Stabber (side note: how did it take Oh Sees all of seventeen albums to hit on Face Stabber as an album title?) on August 16th.



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Oh Sees – “Henchlock”

Its that time of year again, there’s a new Oh Sees album on the horizon and cinder and smoke on the wind. The band follows up their punishing LP Smote Reverser with the rather excellently titled Face Stabber on August 16th. The band is the latest to lead with more than the listener can chew, offering up no bite-sized singles an instead bracing for the album’s release with the 21+ minute closer “Henchlock.” The song is a massive organ & sax slasher, with no darth of John Dwyer’s guitar-scuzz pyrotechnics. The band’s never really stopped crushing the garage-psych axis and this is documented proof that Dwyer and co. remain the perennial authority on how to build an empire of sound. Lock in and fuzz out to “Henchlock” below.



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POW!

SF’s POW! pick up the yolk from a generation of sci-fi scanners and jitter-blasted synth punks crawling out of the debris of ’79. The band’s been bubbling under the surface like a boil for years now, but this is the most crystalized and cracked version of their Vaseline-vibed visions yet, conjuring up some real Howard Devoto/ Magazine heat this time around. There’s an uneasiness to Sift, the band’s fourth record for Castle Face, and the band uses that to their advantage, pushing listeners away from any notion of bliss with their infected slink. Aside from the veneer of menace though, the band gives some substance to their doom with sketches of cybernetic chaos and a future ravaged by reliance on mechanical artifice.

Sure, they’re not the first band to slide under the vinyl veil and deify the vile image of dystopian drama via mangled metal riffs and well-oiled synths, but for fans of the aforementioned Magazine, Simply Saucer, Tubeway Army, The Units, or Chrome the band is providing a wormhole from their weirdness to the present day. Byron Blum’s blast furnace of guitar and pitch-perfect vocal warble has this feeling like more than just mere homage. The band’s vomiting oil slick bile and wires all over the turntable like they’ve lived in the muck for years. In the past there was a scrappier sense of, low-fi fizz, but by whittling it away the band has finally arrived at the perfect balance of crisp angles, crushed glass and rampant nihilism that this genre requires to thrive.



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POW! – “Disobey”

SF synth-punks POW! are back with a new LP for hometown powerhouse Castle Face and they’re leading into the album with new single “Disobey.” The track’s shredded and shambolic – dredging up shades of The Twinkeyz, Tubeway and The Units. They pair an insistent pummel with headspins of effects, guitars that unspool like discarded wire and the manic yelps of Byron Blum shaking listener’s out of their somnambulant safety. The cut’s got a paranoid core and like Timmy’s Organism or Mind Spiders, they’re not afraid to unnerve. Its just the tip of the future-fogged freakout, but good enough for now. Get jittery with the new track below.


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Flat Worms – “Shouting At The Wall”

Another gas huffer out of L.A’s Flat Worms today. The band’s announced a bump from Castleface to Ty Segall’s imprint God? over at Drag City, and with it the band gets some recording help from the label honcho himself. Like the band’s previously breathless LP for the ‘Face, new track “Shouting At The Wall” is grinding out garage punk riffs that are scraped to the bone by sandpaper guitars and running itself ragged with a widowmaker pace that does their former SF hometown proud. The band’s long been one of the best acts bubbling under the surface of notoriety and its great to see them get a bit of a bump to the big(ger) leagues here with the DC backing. The band is built of members from a rogues gallery of good talent (Thee Oh Sees, Night Shop, Dream Boys) but they’re not holding onto any of their allegianes under the Flat Worms guise. Punk – unfussed, uncluttered and unrestrained – that’s it. With this EP the band stands to knock a few jaws loose from their moorings, and rightly so.



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