Posts Tagged ‘Cosmic Americana’

Rose City Band Signs to Thrill Jockey, Reissues Debut

One of the greatest surprises of 2019 was the debut from Rose City Band, the mysteriously shrouded band (with a strangely familiar voice and guitar sound) on Ripley Johnson and Sanae Yamada’s Jean Sandwich Records. As I mentioned in a review previously, “Rose City Band slides in on an autumnal glow of golden shivers, slow-motion choogle, honeyed hues, and cedar swoons. “Rip City” plays right into the hands of the Cosmic American cavalcade that’s building steam in all the best nooks and nodes across the tattered tableau of 2018-2019.” If you missed out on the initial pressing, now’s the time to right some wrongs. The original Jean City pressing in green is long gone, but, Thrill Jockey’s got a limited red version of the LP up on their site for sale now. It’s one of 2019’s essentials for sure! Here’s hoping the signing bodes well for a sequel. We can always use more RCB in our lives.




Support the aritst. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

SUSS

There’s a sense of cosmic wonder built into the sinews of Suss’ latest LP, High Line. The veteran NYC band blends a mix of ambient textures with a high plains country crawl that slices Bruce Langhorne with Barn Owl for a trip down an otherworldly rabbit hole. The album has a hermetic magic to it, lonesome, melancholy, but all consuming and engrossing in a way that seems to transcend more than just just feelings. Like a great work in sound design, Suss’ album seems to be narrating a journey, a wander through mystic corridors that’s beyond this plane. The songs ache with the hollowed marrow of driftwood — a life leeched by the sea and left to burn up in the sun – yet the discarded pieces of pulp have tales to tell, a world left behind in their sunbleached bends. High Line is an album marked by erosion and exfoliation, something that seeks to sink deeper into the strata beyond the dip of the horizon.

The band slinks from mirage to mirage, never explaining but always beckoning with a silent wave of the hand for the listener to follow deeper. It’s as if some truth might be uncovered over the next ridge, but there’s always a next ridge. Somehow when the glare recoils we’re left only with ourselves alone in a parking lot wondering if it was all shimmer and shine, or if those epiphanies were tangible and touchable. It doesn’t matter in the end. We’re changed and the sun sets a few degrees to the North from here on out. New maps are forged while the rest of the world sleeps. The album is the band at their peak, feeling out the lay lines of a new and dire era. For those who can see the cartography, this one’s gonna be a stunner. The rest will just hear the wind rustling and wander lost.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Lake Mary & The Ranch Family Band

“Sun Dogs” is a gorgeous introduction to Chaz Prymek’s new record under the Lake Mary umbrella. On November 15th he’ll release Sun Dogs an aching, expansive exploration of sun-baked and windswept guitar ramble that evokes the winding wooded paths of the Mountain States. Full Spctrum graces us all with the nearly ten-minute title track today in anticipation of the record’s release and it’s a sun seeker that melts into the horizon before it ropes in a bit of motorik pulse in its final minutes. You’re not likely to hear anything this refreshing and bittersweet today, so lay back and enjoy. Record is limited to 300.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Hurt Valley – “Apartment Houses”

Can’t go wrong with a Woodsist record, but this new cut from Hurt Valley is a particularly amber-hued reminder of what makes the label great. The band is the conception of California songwriter Brian Collins and he channels the windswept, sea salt sanded vision of West Coast country-psych with a steady hand. Honestly been looking more and more to this sound lately, so the beach chair strums and wisp of twang that soak into the struts of “Apartment Houses” are just what this week calls for. While Hurt Valley are definitely nestled into that Cali sound, which always evokes a bit of unseasonable warmth, there’s something of an Autumn appeal to this song — the summer sun has long since set, with the track pulling its sweatshirt stings tight against an evening chill that even the California coast can’t fight. The new record is out Decmber 6th. Gonna want to keep that date in mind.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Garcia Peoples

I’ve already broken down both halves of this LP as track posts, but this one’s a true 2019 crusher so it deserves proper credit in the long rundown. To echo the label, two tracks doesn’t make this release an EP, so don’t do it the disservice of calling it one. One Step Behind embraces the Garcias’ prowess for improvisation (as best observed in the live setting ) and amplifies it with ventures into psychedelic jazz and slow-burn downer epics alike. The title track gets most of the focus, which seems warranted given it’s the most ambitious recording the band has ventured in the studio to date. Recorded with Jason Meagher at Black Dirt, the track times in over the half-hour mark and the band doesn’t waste a minute of it, taking the listener on a multi-part journey and employing guitarist Tom Malach’s father Bob on Saxophone to drive this one through the Cherry/Sun Ra cosmic curtain.

The band builds the beginning into a circular riff, sliding off of the jam/psych axis for a while and into a minimalist float that locks somewhere between Terry Riley and Steve Hillage’s Rainbow Dome Musick. When Mallach Sr. hits the speakers he brings the full force and nuance of his years locked in sessions with everyone from Stevie Wonder to Arto Lindsay and his sax proves dexterous and devastating in equal measures. The band exits the psych-jazz rumble with a powerslide into their expected, but always welcome vision of Cosmic Americana and it’s just as drenched in sunshine curls and verdant strums as any of their works. The track tears into its second half with a twin guitar attack but the band makes it feel like they’ve hardly broken a sweat. The song is a proper showcase of all that makes the Peoples tick – technical skill, boundless enthusiasm for elevating guitar rock, and grooves that can’t and won’t be denied. The band’s played extended and abridged versions of the track live lately and both work incredibly well, a further flex of their arranging skills.

After all that, they still have the energy for an eight-minute closer that channels the broken and beautiful excess of Gene Clark’s No Other, albeit with a good deal less cocaine dusting the edges. With a swap in songwriting duties, the band shifts bassist Derek Spaldo to the piano and new permanent keys player (and man of many instruments) Pat Gubler to flute for a late night, whiskey-soaked comedown dedicated to lost love. It’s one of the more tender moments in the Garcia Peoples songbook, and it’s good to see them shading in their edges beyond expectations. The whole record leaves the listener twisted and torn, lifted and lowered. I can’t predict where the band goes from here, but standing on the precipice of this release I can only imagine they’re going to completely tear down what it means to be a jam/psych/choogle/rock band in 2019 and rebuild it in their own image.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

One Eleven Heavy

No time was lost between One Eleven Heavy’s debut, which landed about a year ago and their latest platter this month. That debut found the band winding their way through deep seated loves and musical roots that were etched in their formative years only to be embraced in the face of critical naysayers as the new dawn rose over 2018. They came together to exhume something cosmic buried in the delta soil and let it fly once again, finding themselves lost in the segue symbols on setlists until they emerged infused with Little Feat, late ‘70s Neil Young, New Riders, The Dead, The Burritos and other choogle-chapped visions of Southern and Western rock that refused not to ramble. Jam might be a barbed word in some mouths, but not these. They pick those handles right back up and expand on the depth of the dive into that push-pull between the cosmic and the concrete.

The dark furrows are more ingrained on Desire Path. “Hot Potato Soup,” seethes, never turning sour, but boiling to the point that the riffs scald the soul. “Chickenshit” has some bite, and a defensiveness thats rubs against the chill, but that’s just their Trux ties showing through. Not all the skies are blue, but that doesn’t dim the party here. Not all trips are serene either, and that’s reflected in the new album as much as their continued sense of the sublime. The Heavies find a home in harmony this time around as well, citing some Allman’s inspiration, and that’s on the mark. Maiato/Toth/Chew form a backbone that melds three distinct voices into a wave of twang that rolls off the guitar gnarls with a touch of ash and bourbon burn. The twined croons add a new dimension to their ‘70s streak, pulling them out of the Stars and Bars they’d been haunting and into a more verdant valley.

Hans Chew makes his first writing contributions (“House of Cards,” “Fickle Wind”) and as a whole the record embraces his keys with fuller-bodied enthusiasm than before. He’s layering down Nicky Hopkins sparkle that glints off of the songs, adding a few stepping stones into the clouds they perch on once the stringed solos get going. The peak of that cosmic float winds up the closer. On “Three Poisions” the band lifts off into the kind of glow that they perennially seek to embody. The ‘in the room and on the tape’ sound that’s always been at their core finds it’s lift into the atmosphere as the album comes to a close and Maiato’s guitar is playing somewhere between the notes here. They’re still playing against the grain of what’s cool, but they’re making it sound like a fight already won. This isn’t an album for revivalists (but I’m sure they’ll find a foothold if need be.) This is an album for those seeking to extend the groove forever into the horizon and melt right back into the wet soil, wood and concrete that vibrates under us all.






Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Garcia Peoples – “Heart and Soul”

The other half of this new Garcia Peoples platter found its way out yesterday and it’s a damn fine shade on them. Unmoored from the band’s usual groove, the flip to their epic One Step Behind finds the band whiskeyed down in the pre-dawn light, feeling out the bottom of the soul under the flickering bare bulb of yearning. Putting Derek Spaldo’s keys front and center, the song takes the band through country-scarred territory they’ve only hinted at before. The song dives into the large statement sadness of No Other-era Gene Clark in a way that most contemporary artists could only hope to scratch. While the band has cemented their status as kings of the stage — no matter how big or small — with this record they’re proving that the studio is just as much a home, and a place to carve out ecstatic highs and crushing lows that forever reverberate in their two-inch loop around the soul. If this one isn’t already on your wishlist for 2019, this damn well better seal the spot.



Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

SUSS – “Ursa Major”

After a stellar single earlier in the year, Brooklyn’s SUSS return with another take on a cosmic rinse to their ambient country sprawl. “Ursa Major” rises over the horizon in purple and blue hues, creeping with the cool density of low-lying mountain fog and practically yawning its way through a sauntered pace. The band hits many of the same notes from their “Chisholm Trail” single, especially evoking the flip, “Aurora.” The sawing of strings meets the opalescent slide of guitar and the whole thing melts into the rocks as the daybreaks through its cracks. The band’s new LP, High Line is out from Northern Spy November 8th and if my eyes don’t deceive me there’s another nice Darryl Norsen cover wrapped around it as well. Keep yer ears out for this one.



Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Garcia Peoples “One Step Behind (Single Edit)”

It would be disingenuous to say that Garcia Peoples rise over the past year has been anything short of impressive. Following their sophomore LP for Beyond Beyond is Beyond in February they’ve become staples of the live circuit in NYC (a quick dig through Archive.org or NYC Taper will confirm their prowess in the room). They’ve opened a slew of dates with Chris Forsyth and Kurt Vile, fleshed out their sound with the help of new permanent member Pat Gubler (Wet Tuna, P.G. Six), cut a lightning crack studio session with Hans Chew, and now they’re onto their second album of the year. Some might think the second helping would leave the band wanting for material, but it’s a goddamned smorgasbord at the Garcia’s house and we’re all invited. Taking their improvisational prowess from the stage to the reels, the band is issuing a 32-minute epoch of a title track that brings Guitarist Tom Malach’s father, Bob on board for a deep dive through space jazz that upends everything you’d expect going into a new Peoples record.

Diving deeper into the mercurial depths than they ever have before, the band eschews their usual groove to get lost in a bit of the cosmic wilds for a patch. Malach, the elder, used to knock down sessions with everyone from Miles Davis to Arto Lindsay to Stevie Wonder so this is no nepotism knockout, this is a familial team-up for the ages. Ah-ah, but you’re gonna have to wait until the full platter’s out of the oven to hear Bob’s double overdubbed sax goodness. Right here is the radio edit, a line closer to what they’ve been playing live for the track. Heard this the other night when they opened for KV and it hit just as hard — the band workin’ up their own “Playing in the Band’ alchemy. They sync up in full symbiosis, playing off of one another with the veracity of players with twice as many trips ‘round the sun and its a delight to watch.

The band’s Danny Arakaki peels back the curtain on One Step Behind’s origins. “We had a great time recording this track,” grins Arakaki. “Many highlights involved. One being, Tom’s dad, Bob Malach, coming to the studio to lay down the sax tracks (which you’ll hear later on the full-length album version of the song) and after killing it, casually saying, “fooled em’ again.” Great to see Tom and his dad work together. Every time we make the trip out to Black Dirt Studio we end up finding new sounds too. That has everything to do with the way Jason (Meagher) works with us. Positive vibes all around. Enjoy the changes and ride the tune.” The record lands October 18th on Beyond Beyond is Beyond. Best be ready.

Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

Continue Reading
0 Comments

One Eleven Heavy – “Mardi Gras”

Following up on Nick Mitchell Maiato’s Gems contribution from earlier in the week, the first single from One Eleven Heavy’s sophomore LP, Desire Path, arrives and it leaves a jagged rut on the lawn as it pulls away on rented wheels. “Mardi Gras” is steeped in the ‘70s lawless looseness that rock cribbed from its country kin just about the time Parsons caught the train outta here. The song knocks some well needed honkey-tonk into the tepid tea of 2019, feeding on the grass n’ gas vibes of Muscle Shoals bound Stones. It’s hinged on a Hans Chew piano pound that feels like he might tip over with every note, a third-degree rub of guitar that makes good on the band’s live reputation, and a soaring chorus that begs the listener to join in. Just a touch harder and hotter than they ran on the last album, the song’s still filled with their effortless ethos led by a Toth tale of a hapless gambler who can’t face his truth.

“‘Mardi Gras’ is part of a tradition of songs about delusional luckless losers,” elaborates the band’s James Toth. “I don’t believe for a second that this character’s ship will ever come in; his destiny is in many ways preordained. And yet he is sincere in his belief that his luck will turn around if only he could get that one lucky break. In some ways it’s an allegory but I prefer the literal take: this guy is almost certainly going to let you down.” “It is also one of several of my songs to wedge in an obscure reference to the television program The Honeymooners,” adds Toth. “Spot the others!”

The album lands September 20th on Beyond Beyond is Beyond and I’d wholeheartedly recommend tucking into it in its entirety.

Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

Continue Reading
0 Comments