Posts Tagged ‘Garage’

Lavender Flu – Follow The Flowers

One of this year’s sorely overlooked gems was the sophomore LP from Lavender Flu. The band tightened up their sound and delivered an album of excellently psych splattered garage pop. If perhaps this one got a way from you, then now’s the time to go back and right some wrongs. The band’s sparkling, soaring song “Follow The Flower” has been adorned with a suitably psychedelic video that pulses with light and color. Check in with the visual treat and then head over to In The Red for the full experience.

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Paint – “Daily Gazette”

So, in general, the phrase Allah-Las solo project peaks my interest. Call it a trigger, if you must, but the thing that hooks me in here is that on top of the SoCal garage pedigree lies some production by Frank Maston. Maston’s albums of spot-on Library psych are intriguing to say the least, but when paired with a more traditional model, he’s laid the works of Pedrum Siadatian in to a frothy pocket that’s flecked with sea air and nonchalance. Siadatian’s songwriting is bleary, smudged, and unhurried in a way that begs for the aching expanse of the West Coast. While Ariel Pink might hold the ’60s xerox-pop crown, that’s not to say there aren’t other subjects in the realm. Paint’s first offering sits well within the same context, its imbued with jocularity, imbibed and exhaled with a cocked eybrow and slight smirk, but its refreshing all the same. What remains to be seen is how the rest of the album stacks up to the street corner swagger of “Daily Gazette.” For now, though, this is just the respite we all need.

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GØGGS

While the reflex on any Ty Segall adjacent project is to focus on his contribution, in reality GØGGS runs rampant with Chris Shaw’s hand on the tiller. The Ex-Cult singer brings his panic-sweat intensity to the band’s sophomore album, knocking out eleven new visceral body blows that drape power metal in the cloak of ozone churning prog. Where their first album played with themes of experimentation, on Pre-Strike Sweep, they step much further into the darkness of their impulses. Ex-Cult always cut to the bone, with little time for atmosphere or instrumental acrobatics, so its good to see Shaw (alongside Segall, Charles Moothart and Michael Anderson) stretching out into the dust-choked cosmos, basking in the oven temps of salt flat freakouts and digging through the drainage of fuzz deluged swamps.

The band’s clearly been rifling through their heavy psych catalogs – Hawkwind, Sabbath and Captain Beyond waft through – though they’re not lingering long with the Lords of Light, instead churning the afterburner effects of space rock into a kind of sickness that’s infecting their arsenal of punishing riffs. They tend to more often lace up the heavy boots of Sabbath, but the boys replace Ozzie’s hash howl with enough cocaine to tweak him far beyond the Void. The thick cloud of ever-present rumble is punctuated by screaming leads on tracks like “Disappear” and “Morning Reaper.” The latter also contorting itself through a Pere Ubu possession of tinfoil twists before opening the lava gates of molten metal mania. The last album had its moments, but its clear that what’s come before was just a preamble to the sonic assault that’s formed here.

The assembled members have enough catalog between them to knock your luggage over the weight limit and then some, but the way they’ve found egalitarian ground between their respective takes on fuzz-huffing heaviness is key here. Moothart brings the bottom-end blowout of Fuzz, Shaw the wide-eyed intensity that’s his trademark, Anderson snags some of his atmospheric rinse from his days in CFM, and, yes, around it all Segall wraps his adaptive brain and engineer’s ear to bring this all together to an apocalyptic boil. For album number three, the band just need to pepper in their mercurial take on “Planet Caravan” and they’d be set to roll.




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Warm Drag

In The Red trades in half a ton of garage that’s streaked by exhaust and choking on fuzz, but with Warm Drag they’re adding some dirt caked dance to the stable. Paul Quattrone and Vashti Windish roll the vamped and Cramped sleaze of garage’s past into a writhing record of mud-splattered garage-electronic. Samplers in tow, Quattrone is backing Windish’s snaking vocals with a hypnotic approach that coaxes some evil desert psych out of the wires. He’s talking up the Bomb Squad as a touchstone, and while there’s some of that unit’s high-octane collage work in the DNA, this is something grittier. Windish makes the most of the spaces between Quattrone’s apocalyptic-Western drags. She peeks from behind crumbling corridors of echo n’ hiss to coax the listener toward each song’s punji pit of ill will.

When the formula works, it’s a potent pill to swallow – dark and dirgey, the kind of tracks music supervisors looking to add a bit of edge drool over. The highs here hit the solar plexus with a delightful ‘thump,’ and the slinking sensuality of the record is hard to deny. Though, sometimes the sauntered pacing can weigh the record down. Its great to saunter, but when they do it too often the dust they’ve been kicking starts to stick. While the record could use a few more of those high huffers to balance out the creeping dread, it’s a nice shift from the guitar grind of ITR and a good mood setter for the dark corners of Autumn ahead.

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Salt Lick – “Dirty Dream”

Another ripper out of the Permanent Records camp this week. Coming on like an MC5 fever dream, this b-side from Salt Lick’s debut 7” shakes the window panes until they beg for mercy. See-sawing on a monster riff, the track is muddied and murky but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t knock the wind out of you. Salt Lick rounds up members from the Permanent staff, but its more than just a bit of nepotism here – it seems that those curating the power of pummel can also deliver it just as well. This is scuzzy, crusted, exhaust huffing garage rock with no spit shine in sight. The band lets loose with the new single on Wednesday and precedes it with a hometown release show in LA, so if you’re West Coast centered you can experience the brutal beatdown in person.



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Kelley Stoltz

San Francisco’s secret weapon is slipping out his tenth (!!) album on low key label Banana and Louie. Feels like Stoltz has been a part of this site for the better part if its duration and whether he’s behind the boards (The Love-Birds, Rays, Sandwitches) or working as a studio rat (Thee Oh Sees, Sonny & The Sunsets, The Fresh & Onlys) he’s a welcome name in the credits of any release. More important yet, his own mounting discography is packed full of jangled-nerve post-punk and paisley pools of pop that mark him as not only a conduit for others’ excellent visions, but as a purveyor of his own unique strain of pop psychosis. Natural Causes comes fresh off of last year’s Que Aura. a highlight in the songwriter’s late period catalog. While the short, but sweet, nine-cut album doesn’t quite dig in its heels as hard as last year, there are some moments of pure Stoltz on display here.

The record is valiantly attempting to balance Kelley’s love for light-touch jangles and sunshine shimmy with his weakness for a darker side of the ‘80s. “Decisions Decisions” packs up some of his most shimmering strums, while eschewing the darker threads of post-punk that work their way through his pieces. Similarly, he’s huffing a dose of verdant vapors throughout the handclap-infected shaker, “Are You An Optimist.” The album caps off with one of his most fun tunes in a while, the light-hearted jangler, “Rolling Tambourine” – a barrelhouse romp through 60s’ pop impulses. That’s not to say he’s shed the post-punk pound just yet. There’s a post-disco shiver that runs through “Static Electricity” and he adopts a spaced ominousness for the particularly on the nose “How Psychedelic Of You.” When Stoltz wants to bring on the preening intensity, he’s got you more than covered.

For an artist who has released albums everywhere from Sub Pop to Third Man to Castle Face, this seems to come with desperately little fanfare, which is a damn shame. While he’s got albums that outstrip it in scope and style, there’s a lot to love on Natural Causes and Stoltz never leaves listeners without a few hooks stuck in their heads. There’s some great polish on the album and its clear that Stoltz keeps enough of his studio tricks for his own albums. Don’t let this one slip away in the flood of 2018 albums. Kelley Stoltz remains a modern songwriting workhorse and this small collection does little to tarnish his reputation.



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Ty Segall & White Fence

Insane schedules and myriad commitments can’t keep Ty and Tim from gravitating back together it seems. While Hair wasn’t received as a major event on its release, it remains a frozen moment of fuzz-whacked garage-psych that’s a highlight in both artists’ catalogs. Segall was but an upstart wading his way through seven-inch stacks to nestle albums one after another until the accolades couldn’t help but catch up to his frantic pace. Tim was fresh from his years in Darker My Love and building a wobbly psych-pop prominence of his own. The album lit a match on the powder keg of creativity that was buried knee deep in Syd Barret B-sides, deleted Pretty Things cuts and the kind of Nuggets-worthy references that stretched from July to Grapefruit and from Kaleidoscope to, well, Kaleidoscope (UK).

Seven years on from their first matchup the pair are worlds removed from the scrappy sonics that defined them both in that moment. Still, with the best of a decade behind us, its good to see that the pair have no intentions of digging in another pile of toys to build their collaborative sound. Joy bears many of the best hallmarks of Hair with an improved fidelity and the steady hands of two artists who know exactly what they love and how to pull it off. The album is stuffed with psych pop that still chews at the same wobbly wrappers littered behind by Barret (Presley’s influence one can only assume) but they also charge head on to some fuzzier fodder that’s got Ty’s footprints firmly embedded in its DNA.

Joy’s only stumble can be its apparent need to stuff itself to the seams. While its stretchier length doesn’t give it the same edge of your seat whiplash that accompanied Hair, the duo takes advantage of the space to shake out all their ideas. T&T fleck their creation with echoplex blowback and spine compressing feedback. They dip into post-Mothers chewed psych-soul mantras, wonky intermediary tracks that would make the Small Faces proud, and folk pop that sees them reaching for shades of Gary Usher and Curt Boettcher. Though, unlike that songwriting pair, they’re clearly not striving for perfection. There are some great cuts on Joy and a whole lot more that sound like two crate diggers riffing on one another. Its fun, because you can feel them having fun but it also feels a bit like they’re missing the opportunity to stuff it full of hits.





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Ty Segall & White Fence – “Body Behavior”

Its definitely good to see Ty Segall and Tim Presley jumping back in the same sandbox again for round two on their collaborative LP from way back 2012. They were both just barely eking out their own legends at that point, so Joy comes with higher stakes and a whole lot more studio wizardry behind it. They still careen down the madcap halls left barren when Barrett died, but they’re giving the take on “Body Behavior” a lot more grit. The track dips into the garage grease a bit when the guitars get their speed up, putting a bit more hair on this than some of the other tracks on the album. It doesn’t pull the track too far into modernity though, and this is still pure ’60 psych in its heart. Their collabs always come out heavier on the White Fence side of the equation, playing with Presley’s scattered pop sensibilities as a base. Though, while I love White Fence’s take on the spindly sounds piped into the psych ward of DMT casualties, I’ve always thought that he and Ty take the sound to its fullest realization together.




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Hoover III – “Taste In Highlife”

For the flip of their upcoming 7” LA’s Hoover III go full bore psychic shakedown instrumental, slithering their way through motorik beats that stop over at the houses of Can and Düül before snaking down through the dens of Morricone and Jodorowsky. The track builds slow, dripping with humid tension before lighting the match and letting fly with an indomitable wall of guitar scorch. The improv style looks good on the band (which features mems of Mind Meld, Jesus Sons, Numb.er, and Babylon) and they make the most of this mind flayed backer to their “Guillotne” single for Permanent. Get on it fast and there’s a super limited purple edition ltd to only 100.



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Simply Saucer – “Lo-Fi Garage Symphonette”

As reissues begin to mount interest in bands the next stage brings the inevitable rumblings of reformation. For fans that missed out on the live shows of ‘blink and you miss ‘em’ bands this is sometimes a godsend, though it also holds the possibility of besmirching a tight catalog with an experience that can’t hope to live up to the originals’ weight. Its with such weight that bands also embark on the endeavor to extend the catalog. It’s a hard rope to cross without leaning too far into imitating one’s prime or updating it into something that’s well out of the scope of what fans came to hear. Canadian psych obscurities Simply Saucer have been having a year full of reissues and they now come to the precipice of adding to the conversation with new works.

Their first single in 40 years ropes in two original members along with studio friends and Jesse Locke (Century Palm, Tough Age) who has been instrumental in getting the band’s work back out to the public. The songs are sown from their same well of weirdness, though it’s clear in their present state they’re working with much better equipment than the machines that wrought Cyborgs Revisited. With the technical upgrade comes some wish fulfillment in fleshing out their sound with a battery of keys and backup vocals. They don’t push too hard into making it a recording “of its current time,” so it sits well with their back catalog, but it loses a bit of the immediacy and electricity of something like “Bullet Proof Nothing” and neither captures the off the rails quality inherit in “Instant Pleasure.”

That said the single’s not without its charms and indeed its not an addition that falls into the besmirch category. 40 years is a lifetime and that the band still have some of the same tinfoil wobble that blew through their amplifiers when they stood on the edges of punk is a testament to their core. “Alien Cornfield,” taken without expectations and stripped of associations is a prime slice of sci-fi garage, though “Lo-Fi Garage Symphonette” gets a bit grandiose for my taste. Regardless, its good to have the band back in the public eye. As I mentioned with the reissue, they’re an essential piece of the psych-punk lineage.



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