Posts Tagged ‘Dire Wolves’

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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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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Dire Wolves

Last year’s Grow Towards The Light was an absolute highlight of the year, pushing the boundaries of Dire Wolves’ sound to further heights of lysergic ecstasy. The band made a bit of a companion piece last year, but it wound up as a merch table totem that was hard to get into the hands of the many, especially from a multi-coast band that didn’t have a sizeable tour. Unless you were at a handful of great shows last year, I Just Wasn’t Made For These Set Times remained out of reach. Enter Centripetal Force, though, who’ve not only revived it, but laid it down to vinyl as well. The record ably amplifies the vibes that were strewn throughout GTTL, expounding upon the grey-hued mists that spring forth from their sound – a mysterious mélange of vocal incantations that seem to meld with the wind, violins that saw at the air with desperate, wild panic, and guitars that singe with subtlety.

Over the four tracks here the band stretch their strengths, packing in as much propulsive chaos as quiet moments of haunted introspection. The latter is particularly apparent on the side two opener “Circle of Friths,” a funereal specter that’s laced with sorrow. While Georgia Carbone might not put forth her woes in discernible language, the pain permeates the soul just as hard through her vocal exhumations. What’s most impressive is that this wasn’t even designed as an album proper, but a bonus for those who were taken by the live experience. Thankfully, Centripetal saw the release for what it was, a vital chink in the bands chain of releases that elevates the ache they put forth last year.



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Jeffrey Alexander on Keith Jarrett’s – Restoration Ruin

Among the artists that dominated RSTB last year, Jeffrey Alexander was one of the most prolific, showing up with Dire Wolves (in one of their best yet), on a solo jaunt for Feeding Tube, and playing the RSTB anniversary show with a new group dubbed The Heavy Lidders. The latter featured members of Elkhorn and Bardo Pond laying waste to the blues in fine fashion. In anticipatetion for Dire Wolves’ latest album, on the way next month from Centripetal Force, Jeffrey’s contributed a pick to the Hidden Gems series. Picking out an oddity in the typically jazz-centric catalog of Keith Jarrett, he sheds some new light on an often maligned piece of the artist’s repertoire. Check out how this record came into Alexander’s life and what makes it such a treasure.

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Dire Wolves – “Myriads”

Another superb, smokey cut from Dire Wolves’ upcoming Centripetal Force LP, I Just Wasn’t Made For These Set Times, surfaces today. “Myriads” creeps out of the cobwebs with a séance slink. Anchored by the beguiling vocals of Georgia Carbone, the song hovers in air, hanging like a fog over the listener until the cold compress of its spell is broken. Arjun and Geoffrey spar on violin and guitar respectively, adding to the dizziness of the track that’s highlighted here in the Sheila Bosco-directed clip. As with many of the Wolves’ best cuts, this one is built to grow – a longform lurker that blossoms from quiet menace into a force of ecstatic expression. The band’s latest lands February 9th.

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RSTB Best of 2019

2019’s drawing to a close, so I suppose this is the place to tie it all up. I’ve mentioned in years past that ‘best’ is a hard line to draw around the music from the year. From a blog perspective ‘favorite’ seems more appropriate, but then for all intents and purposes my choices are qualitatively the best to me, if not necessarily quantitatively best in the sense of the zeitgeist. The drive to figure out what’s best seems to just consolidate consensus and we’re all treated to dozens of lists that cross over with each other, especially in the top spots. I’ve long been a proponent of niche. I say long live finding your voice and letting others find theirs – we can all compare notes and discover new music in the process. I don’t need anyone to sand the edges and offer up a list that’s all inclusive. I like the edges. These are my favorites from a great year, edges and all.

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Dire Wolves – “(Brother Lee) Womblife Blues”

Exciting news today as Dire Wolves announce another crusher for 2019. The band’s Grow Towards The Light is already a staple of the turntable around here, but they’re never ones to shy away from prolific output. Centripetal Force is putting the band’s I Just Wasn’t Made For These Set Times tape on LP. Not familiar? I don’t blame you. The release was previously only available as part of a 50-cassette run at the merch table on their last European tour, released by French label Ruralfaune. The release comes from the same fertile sessions that birthed Grow and Paradisiacal Mind and it’s rooted in much of the same meditative/explosive sensibilities that anchor their recent work.

On “(Brother Lee) Womblife Blues,” Georgia Carbone’s vocals transport the listener away from the physical world, leaving language bound to the Earth in favor of something more ephemeral. Like many of the Wolves’ compositions, Arjun Mendiratta’s violin elevates the track, sawing at the mind in sinewy swaths, while the battle between guitars and drums reaches a fevered pitch. There’s never a good reason to pass up on Dire Wolves vinyl, and this one’s probably not sticking to the shelves too long. The label’s putting out a run of 300, with 100 on sky blue. The pressing lands February 2020.


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Dire Wolves – “I Control The Weather”

If, for some reason I couldn’t possibly fathom, you haven’t already slid a copy of Dire Wolves essential LP from earlier this year onto your shelf, perhaps this disorienting new video for the band’s standout “I Control The Weather” might sway ya. Their verdant collection of cosmic psychedelia is one of the year’s best and the otherworldly croon of Gerogia Carbone and the guitar drip of Jeffery Alexander might just be more convincing than I could ever hope to be. Check the Sheila Bosco directed video above and don’t hesitate to nab that LP from the Beyond folks.

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My Body ‘Tis of Thee Comp – Centripetal Force Records

Nashville psych outpost Centripetal Force has a new benefit compilation out this month, with funds going to support NARAL Pro-Choice America in the wake of abortion legislation in Alabama, Ohio, and Missouri. Aside from the good cause, it’s got a pretty killer lineup of psych warriors in tow. The compilation features tracks from RSTB faves Vive La Void, Dire Wolves, Big Blood, Marisa Anderson, and Village of Spaces alongside several other greats. The comp is available digitally and on cassette. Check out the hypnotic “Desert Sky” from Sanae Yamada’s Vive La Void and a killer live cut, “Lion’s Mouth” from Dire Wolves below.



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Jefferey Alexander

Its already been a pretty impressive year from Jeffrey Alexander. The recently released Dire Wolves album is fresh in RSTB’s best of the year and he’s got a solo jaunt on the way from Feeding Tube. This time the maelstrom that marked Grow Towards The Light is tempered. Instead, the album explores solo sojourns through the dark, favoring instrumentals that scrape at the corner debris of psychedelia and churn the subconscious a turn or two while they’re at it. Alexander’s pieces creep through the echo, delicate and dewy with hope in some spots (“Rewinding”) but more often creeping with eerie unease. There’s a dusting of crackle and hiss, not unlike The Caretaker’s most recent explorations into the trauma and trials of dementia, only here the forlorn linger of jazz halls is replaced with a lost echo of bittersweet psych-folk. The memories crumble on like a found hurdy gurdy left to rot in the woods, revived by the ghosts of an intangible past.

Wedged between these pieces, Alexander also places two top-shelf psych stunners that don’t go the instrumental route. Traveling down a bit of the Golden Road, he divines the midnight, pre-dawn shivers that would wear well on any release on Child of Microtones. Both songs are haunted and hushed, driven by firelight and solitude. Its a nice companion for recent releases by Ash & Herb and Wet Tuna, among others – a mountain pass primer of nocturnal psychedelic bliss. As usual, both Alexander and Feeding Tube don’t disappoint.



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