Posts Tagged ‘Heavy Psych’

Bonnacons of Doom – “Esus”

Liverpool heavies Bonnacons of Doom return to the fold with a new EP that reworks previuos tracks from their debut, with edits by JD Twitch, Liars and, Capac. Also included is a new track, “Esus,” that proves once again why the band is such a stunner in Rocket’s roster. Making good on their name, the track gathers clouds of doom under a megaton blast of guitar and the soaring incantations of Kate Smith. Her vocals push the track towards oblivion as the track growls behind her. The band’s debut was a welcome surprise last year and they’ve apparently been working up some devastating live shows, more of which are on the way. The band embarks on a short UK tour starting on the 30th of August. The EP is out September 13th digital and on limited cassette.



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Salt Lick – “Into The Night”

Got another drip-dried, gutter-glued bout of heavy garage blues from L.A.’s Salt Lick today. “Into the Night” turns the turbine to swamp n’ swelter with a sludge-thick blast of power trio swagger that’s huffing from the same tube as Blue Cheer, Toad, Buffalo, and Tractor. The band’s only polished their pedal-down power since their early singles and this cut from their upcoming LP proves that the crew at Permanent know their way around a chest-rattler or two. Seems only fitting that the guys putting together those Brown Acid comps (Salt Lick double as label staffers) also have it in ‘em to channel the handlebar heaven of guttural psych-sploitation when they step up to the mic. This is a nice slice of what’s on the way from their eponymous full length, so inoculate yourself to the fuzztone fever with this cut and get ready for more when the album hits this Friday.




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The Spacious Mind

Long running Swedish psych unit The Spacious Mind are still mining the edges of lysergic consciousness after fifteen releases and counting. The band’s been scratching at the surface of the sun since 1993, and their latest on Essence Music sees the band working through longform pieces of aching dread. They rise out of the mists with “The Cinnamon Tree,” a haunted dirge of psych-folk that pairs mournful guitars with the scrape and scuttle of bells and percussion – feeling like Loren Connors rinsing his licks in Ash Ra Temple’s altar. The 13+ min opener builds to a peak of mossy graveyard aura, threatening to burst open with riffs that melt the stones and burn runes along the entry, but the band keeps their restraint, giving the song a tension of dread that lumps in your throat the whole way through.

They throw out form altogether for a mid-point track that amps the clatter up to a din – smacking sticks into a hectic racket – before flipping on the throb of guitar growl to push their pallor of daunting dread even darker than the opener. They resolve into gaunt, bitten guitar works with shades of Evan Caminiti strung throughout the skeletal second offering, before finally lighting that aforementioned torch on the album’s closer “Creekin’ At The Goose.” The band hurtles into the piece, amp-scratched and clawing at the cords. There’s a whiff of ozone and a metallic taste to the formless riffs that squelch from the speakers, before the band settles back into their haunted desert caravan, crawling towards death or transcendence or both. Clock this one alongside that Ulaan Passerine album from earlier in the month for album’s that weave guitar scorch with apocalyptic dread. If this is your first taste of The Spacious Mind, don’t make it the last. Dig deep, but start here.






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WEEED

On the sixth LP from Portland’s WEEED, the band is again wrangling longform jams and pristine fingerpicks into a record of psychedelic transcendence. Given the name they hung on themselves, that’s probably not too great a shocker, but they’re still finding room to maneuver in the genres without wearing the fabric thin. The record eases into view with the gorgeous, opalescent strains of “Opening,” which finds itself in the band’s instrumental bag. The song is a welcome pre-dawn crack into WEEED’s worry-free soundscape and they dive off the precipice into knotted whorls of guitar and percussion interplay that’s clearly built to stretch out in the live setting.

WEEED seems like they might tender some crossover with the current wave of Cosmic Americana, and in the sense that they’re indebted to the freeform ‘70s school of letting the groove dictate the terms, they have plenty in common with the winding cascades of Garcia Peoples, One Eleven Heavy and Howlin’ Rain. They embrace a similar sunny-skied, bliss-blistered shakedown but they’re not hitting the Dead/Little Feat/Mighty Baby triangulation that’s been so prevalent of late. In fact, they wander into some of the creeping dread of King Gizz’ motorik mayhem on the album’s hinge point, “Open Door.” And the track has the effect of feeling like the trip might just turn bad – the blissful skies from the first couple of tracks grow grey streaked and threatening.

Its almost enough to pull the listener out of the pocket, but they don’t let it dive down to the inky depths for long, swerving back to a golden luster on “Carmelized,” which acts as a true highlight of the album. On the back half they find their element in a couple of 10+ heavy-hitters that exemplify the band’s want to let the mind and meter wander while also toughening their sound just up to the edge of heavier Stoner-Rock territory. The band had sidled up to Important record for their last album, but this finds them again at their outpost of Seattle’s Halfshell, perhaps feeling free to wander as they choose on familiar grounds. This hadn’t gotten a whole lot of shouts this year, but if you’ve been locked into the Cosmic-core I’d mentioned previously, then there’s plenty of zone to float in here.



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Centrum – “Stjärnor”

Great new track today from Centrum, the Swedish duo comprised of members of Hills and Weary Nous. The band’s ethos centers around meditation, and while “Stjärnor” does have a meditative thrum to it – built from sawing violins, organ drones and the slow amble of drums – the track doesn’t shy away from the psychedelic melt either. Much like contemporaries Myrrors, and by extension , Träd, Gras och Stenar and International Harvester, the band builds slow tsunamis of souund, with “Stjärnor” crawling towards the ignition of guitar that burns the track down by its close. The cheekily titled För Meditation is out April 19th on Rocket Recording.

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Hoover III – “Fathom”

Following up their excellent album of space-sliced psych from last year, L.A.’s Hoover III return with a new single on French enclave Six Tonnes De Chair. Starting with a riff that scratches the ol’ runes of Sabbath in the sand, the band proceeds to drive the track in a lighter direction, welding the heavy guitar chug to echo-dripped harmonies. The track doesn’t just troll for grooves, though. As they arc into the second half the band stompboxes the warp drive and takes “Fathom” through a few layers of cosmos. Hoover III have been working a particularly potent strain of Space Rock in their first couple of releases, and if this new single is an indicator of where they’re headed, then the next LP threatens to be one to watch out for. In the meantime, this is a good reminder to shake the earthly tether once in a while.



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Sunwatchers

Following the searing burn of their previous album, II, is no easy feat but it seems that Sunwatchers are more than up to the task. As the band flings themselves into Illegal Moves, they tear another hole in the cosmic quilt – shredding the mind and invigorating the soul. Every minute of the new LP is built to launch the listener through a full-body wormhole in space and time – hurtling enough sax n’ skronk one minute to bend the brain, and cooling out the curdle the next with a rippling display of Kosmiche calm. In the world of Sunwatchers Free Jazz, Psychedelia, Krautrock and Space Rock are all on the same temporal plane – either that or once the needle drops we all inhabit several simultaneous universes that have converged on a single aural vessel to enter their plea for a balance between harmony and discord.

They were dipping into the well of electric Miles with shades of Ayler before, but that was then and this is now. Now there’s less mercy, less need to return to the structures that serve. Now the band is hot-gluing High Rise and Pharaoh Sanders to the tail pipe of Hawkwind’s space ship and letting the jagged edges tear up all the no wake zones along the Universe’s glowing canals. Now the band is slicing bits of Sun Ra’s Ark and tying them to the bumper of a biodiesel-powered minibus with Alice Coltrane (whom they cover as well) on the 8-Track at top volume – spreading an aura of defiant calm to the huddled masses. Now they’re building war cries and lullabies for a time when talk is rendered irrelevant so only the splatter of feedback and the warble of synths will communicate the proper level of dread and dreams and anger and anguish.

I said before that there’s no better moment in time for a band like Sunwatchers to exist, and I stand by that statement. The band is recording the moment the wave crashes and rolls back. Not only are they standing at the fray, but they’ve got the thread in hand to pull apart the seams as they tumble headlong into the unknown – taking us with them.



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Mythic Sunship

While Another Shape of Psychedelic Music might not radically reinvent its own genre the way Coleman did for jazz, or upend possibilities quite as much as The Refused did for punk, their latest for El Paraiso is an immersive and writhing organic beast that certainly reconfigures their own sound enough to warrant the wink on that title. The band’s Land Between Rivers was a stunner, raining down brimstone blasts of doom and psych in equal measures, charring pretty much everything in its wake to a carcinogenic crisp. On last year’s Upheaval, though, they got dense, maybe wandering a bit to far into their own heads and leaving the listener without the spark of unpredictability and terrifying edge-of-reality playing that marked their earlier release. They’re stoking the embers of that fire once again, though, on Another Shape and it feels good to see the madness back in their eyes.

The band incorporates free jazz and a heavier stroke of prog into their usual mix of doom, psych and motorik German references here. Saxophone splashes over every inch of the record, and the frantic squalls fit right into their particular maelstrom. From an opening cut that pushes past the fourteen-minute mark, to their skronk-greased breakdowns, it’s an album that’s not working off of any preconceived set of expectations. They’re playing purely to torch the turrets on their personal temples, channeling the heat of the blaze into a set that radiates genesis and destruction like never before.

The howl of sax seems to have awakened something in them and its great to have one of Scandinavia’s rawest units back in fine form. The record boasts some guidance from label co-head and Causa Sui member Jonas Munk. His production, along with the searing third guitar he’s lent to their gauntlet gives the album a lot of its vibrancy. There have been a lot of great psychedelic records this year, but Another Shape of Psychedelic Music is steadily pushing its way to the top of the pile. It may not be the shape of psych to come, but it’s definitely among the best shapes 2018 could ask for.



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Slift

At this point it might be said that Thee Oh Sees are a genre unto themselves. The psych-scratched garage rock, punctuated by John Dwyer’s echoplexed howl is a calling card of their frantic punk pedigree. As such, its hard not to immediately think of them whenever a band wades into their particular sonic jungle. Whether a new artist is expanding the sound or not, its always going to immediately shift the brain to comparisons with San Francisco’s untethered heroes. Same goes for Animal Collective, I suppose. There are just a few indie bands today that have nailed their milieu and no matter how universal some of their underlying influences are, they own their sound. With that said, its hard not to feel the specter of Dwyer looming over La Planète Inexplorée, the debut album from French quasar-punks Slift.

The album lifts off from the same platform of heavy, syncopated riffs and psych freakouts, even executing Dwyer’s caustic creep vocal patterns. However, they’re working well to try to make their own mark in in the heavy tank treads left behind by SF’s favorite sons. The trio takes the frizzle fry to some excellent heights, drops in some icy flute to creep up the spine and works out their best motorik impulses all over this platter. The record’s burrowed deep into a subterranean cave ambience, feeling like an otherworldly accompaniment to sci-fi wonderlands parched by desert heat and strange magic.

The LP brings to mind the harsh yet vivid worlds built into the comic works of Rick Remender – complicated vistas full of wonder that are often just as deadly as they are breathtaking. The deeper the record goes, the more the band begins to swirl the heavy smoke and smolder that permeates the mind. Divorced from its most obvious influence, its a spot on psych record that’s clearly built by skillful players with a tendency to push their songs as far as possible to the outer reaches of fuzz and froth. The band proves that their initial EPs were no fluke and makes it clear that they belong in the expansive arms of a well thought out full length. Perhaps as they soldier on the band will evolve their sound and hone in on what separates them from their looming shadows.



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Axis:Sova – “Dodger”

Axis:Sova dragged their sound out of the lo-fi ghetto on their last album, Motor Earth, proving they had a handle on boogie-belted face-melters, but breaking through the veil of hiss that dogged their debut. The album still retained a good amount of grit, though, knocking fuzz riffs down with a sonic sledgehammer and indulging in lengthy psych workouts. The band returns for another round and this time they’ve power washed their sound even more. Their devotion to the less terrestrial among us (Hawkwind, Guru Guru) seems to have cooled. There’s still a boogie itch at work on “Dodger”, though, but now they’re burning clean, piping Creedence clairvoyance through the dry ice dirges of Wooden Shjips.

They pair the track with a dizzying video, employing Mylar Chamber photography, bending light around and through the band with kaleidoscopic results. The new album rises up on Drag City imprint God? November 16th, so be ready.



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