Posts Tagged ‘In The Red’

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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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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GØGGS – “Pre Strike Sweep”

Whew, lotta news today and all of it good. Adding to a busy year with a solo record and collaboration with White Fence already under his belt, the inexhaustible Ty Segall jumps to sideman with GØGGS. The band’s sophomore LP for In The Red comes prefaced with a caustic blast of volume-shredded punk. Frontman Chris Shaw (of Ex-Cult) brings the heat, same as the band’s debut, but this time there’s more than just roadburn riffs. Augmented with some spaced synths, this one comes on like Hawkwind gone hardcore and its a brutal slap to the collective jaw. The full LP drops in September and if its half as full of crushed glass and airplane glue as this track, then we’re all in for a treat.


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The Lavender Flu

Considering Chris Gunn’s past in The Hunches and The Hospitals, the most glaring quality that permeates Lavender Flu’s sophomore release is a renewed sense of calm. While there are pop outbursts aplenty and redline levels that would make his history proud, the record also drags up moments that recall Galaxie 500’s quiet woolen itch and The Cakekitchen’s hazy jangle. Overall the record is locked together with quite a bit more glue than Heavy Air. It seems that the time spent touring his previous record and working out these new cuts with a full band in tow had an effect on Gunn. He translates the cohesion into a slightly less sprawling take on this particular niche between grunge, garage, psych-folk and the tentpoles that propped up an indie generation in their wake.

The band relocated to a Pacific Northwest cliffside for the recordings and the cool air may have tempered the band’s direction into the reluctant sighs that waft off of Mow The Glass. Gunn still has an urge to swing the style spinner to find his muse – crunching guitars through the grunge-flecked “Dream Cleaner,” dousing the burn with country slides on “Like A Summer Thursday,” and “Distant Beings,” then twisting his experimental nerves on “A Raga Called Erik.” He even dredges himself back into the arms of noise-pop with the graveled blast that accompanies “Floor Lord”. Within the span of Mow’s relatively brief half-hour(ish) span he covers a lot of ground. It reads like a mess on paper but sounds like a dream through the speakers.

The album never feels disjointed and that’s to Gunn’s credit more than anything. It comes off as capturing a college rock heart that beat somewhere between ’87 and ’93 – heartbroken and healed, besieged by angst and calmed by numb resolve. It’s unsettled at its core, scratching at the walls that would try to contain it. For all its ambitions it truly succeeds on Gunn’s ability to throw himself into a song harder than most would ever even try.



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Warm Drag – “Cave Crawl”

Warm Drag’s first single slinks out of the gate, coating everything in its path with an ooze of psychedelic excess and basement lounge sex appeal. The band is comprised of Paul Quattrone, who’s done time in Oh Sees and !!!, and singer Vashti Windish. Blending the aesthetics of his respective resume entries, Quattrone is building guitar psychedelics on samplers, dropping fuzz-choked guitars and synths echoplexed beyond their breaking points on top of pounding beats that have him referencing The Bomb Squad’s production. The whole thing is tied together with a low-slung twang that gives things a touch of Western futurism – soundtracking the watering holes of lone gunmen preening through dystopian housing blocks.

Windish, for her part, bursts onto the track with a confidence and cool that is palpable. She’s wrapped Quattrone’s beats and dusted twang around her arm like a mic cable and her vocals seem to twirl the whole track in a practiced precision that’s almost bored with its own show of skill. How this all fits into their upcoming album for In The Red remains to be seen, but it’s a good first look for sure. Paired with remote control happy barrage of images, the video and track are a damn fine freakout that’s built for clubs that skew less bottle service and bros and more leather and blacklight.



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Simply Saucer – Cyborgs Revisited

Haven’t heard too much about In The Red doing the universe a solid by cobbling together a “definitive” version of Simply Saucer’s sole collection Cyborg’s Revisited, but if you’re any kind of fan of future punk with a sci-fi soul, then this one should be on your list. The Hamilton, Ontario band recorded the bulk of the set at the studio of Bob and Daniel Lanois as demos, but given the absolutely stone-faced reaction they received to them, those demos remain the core of their output. Those tracks are represented here, as they have been on the Mole and Get Back editions of the record, but ITR bumps up the package from past LP editions by including a set of live recordings made at the time that give the studio sets some context to the band’s live presence.

The gears of Cyborgs Revisited are wound with a space rock float that hooks in Hawkwind and Floyd allusions, playing to the heads urging to break free from the beige constraints of the Canadian status quo. Trust me, I’ve been to Hamilton, ON – that city needed / still needs moonwalkers like Simply Saucer to throttle it from slumber. Breaking tone with much of the psychedelic fray is “Bullet Proof Nothing,” a VU-indebted pop gem that more modern listeners might recognize as covered by Ty Segall as the flip to his Goner Recs single “Caesar” way back in 2010. It’s as close as the band would ever come to a pop hit, and a damn fine gem in any band’s catalog.

The early editions were scarce, and rather unheralded unless you were a crack collector at the time, so for many this presents a new opportunity to snag this on vinyl without the premium of a Discogs dig. The label is touting this as a “definitive” version and for the format that holds water. Though it does leave off 1978 recorded versions of “She’s A Dog” and “I Can Change My Mind” that were recorded after the band recruited 15-year old drummer Tony Cutaia. The live version of the latter does appear in the bonus material, though. Still, a solid set that rounds up a lot of material to vinyl for the first time. The CD edition on Sonic Unyon might give it a run for the money in total coverage, if you’re into that kind of thing, but for turntable fanatics, this is your best shot yet. Can’t recommend Simply Saucer enough, if this is an oversight on your shelf, rectify it now.




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Lars Finberg

Remember how a certain T. Segall has been dropping some coarse post-punk nuggets, with a heaping helping of Mikal Cronin squalling on the sax? Seems like perhaps those choice moments might have found some incubation in Segall’s collaboration and production of Lars Finberg’s new LP. The first solo outing from Finberg comes late into a career as a noise-pop and garage go-to – holding down time in The Intelligence, A-Frames, Wounded Lion and Thee Oh Sees. However, he seems perfectly at home with his name above the marquee and hunkered down with his cadre of collaborators. The LP isn’t wholly absent from the space that The Intelligence has occupied, but Moon Over Bakersfield certainly hits its own marks, spreading roots into alien punk and acerbic post-punk with equal zeal.

Finberg feels like he’s sinking into a comfortable relationship with discomfort here, doing his best to unseat pop’s stranglehold on indie as often as possible. The record revels in acid-washed sax, dissociated vocal effects and claustrophobic atmospheres, but it also locks down a serious addiction to groove. Finberg rides the bass like a guiding light, peddling rhythm grunged by a heaping helping of distortion as a daily fix. He’s peeling back the skin on his past and letting the sulfur burn away at the tissues of 2017 in a way that’s as addicting as it is unsettling. If you’ve only met Finberg tangentially prior, it’s time to hit him head on.




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CFM

Forever intertwined with the careers of Ty Segall and Mikal Cronin via his rotating stages of collaboration with both, Charles Moothart strikes out with his second solo album, a delightful chunk of fuzz and rumble that echoes the best bits of both those artists. A stride away from the heavy stoner antics of his most well-known turn in Fuzz, Dichotomy Desaturated tumbles through the fields of Sabbath, then touches up the riffs with a faded photo memory of glam left in the sun. Moothart has certainly been picking his way through Ty’s T. Rex collection, and he adds a touch of that acoustic nuance over the top of these garage-psych gems, but it’s clear that his tenure in Fuzz is no incidental brush with the gods of ’70s proto-metal. He’s picking through the full gamut of sludge lords here, from Flower Travelin’ Band to Blue Cheer and on through Leaf Hound.

He’s at his best, though, on the mid-tempo slow jams, reveling in a slower pace and perhaps a catch of breath from the frantic energy he’s so often embroiled in. On “Voyeurs” he takes the tempo down to a simmer, but finds plenty to chew on in the song’s leathered swagger and smoke curl cool. Elsewhere “Desaturated” floats through an intoxicated haze, stumbling charmingly with a cocked smile and an air of late night isolation. In the end though, Moothart’s ability to stuff a fuzzed riff full of catchy catharsis seems to win out. He shows off his amp-fried freakouts over the majority of Dichotomy’s red-lined territory and he’s an admirable wall shaker, as usual. Something tells me though that Moothart could be the one to crack onto the perfect distillation of Sabbath’s softer side. I’ve always felt that someone needs to make a record that splits the “Planet Caravan”/”Solitude” axis and then just runs it down both sides. The seeds are here, and that’s enough to keep me listening.


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Power – “Slimy’s Chains”

Aussie punks Power get down to the nut of it on “Slimy’s Chains,” a hard-knuckled pumper that begs comparisons to the proto punk knock of ’76-’77, harnessing hard rock’s slip towards leaner territory. The band built up a reputation in their homeland as ferocoius live bashers and they’d harnessed at least a portion of that sweat and energy here. The set snuck out at the tail of ’16 in Australia but finds its way Stateside via In The Red next month. Plenty of pockets still pushing out quality rockers from Oz and Power feel like they’ve got a tap into the divine boogie beast.



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