Posts Tagged ‘Los Angeles’

Mapache

L.A. duo Mapache are probably a bit late on their particular sound a couple of times over, but that’s kind of the charm of it. The band is evoking the vibes that ran through the country-tinged revival that pushed bands Beachwood Sparks and The Tyde into the modern lexicon – their own sound itself just a reflection of The Flying Burritos, solo Gram, Gene Clark and The Byrds before them. The connection to those ’90s psych stalwarts is no chance happening, though. The band’s Clay Finch is a cousin to Beachwood’s Chris Gunst, who has championed the youngbloods along with The Tyde’s Brent Rademaker. Both have stepped up to push the young duo to their place among L.A.’s live set.

With that kind of endorsement and lineage you’re either coasting on the fumes of nepotism or you had better be able to back it up. The eponymous debut from the duo boasts more of the latter thankfully. It breaks with the widescreen, panoramic production of their mentors, instead opting for spare arrangements that focus on the pairs’ voices, often all tangled up in one another. Their simple country-folk songs evoke evening light and the feel of sunburn tightening on the skin. Often boasting simple setups that put slide and strum in sway with an amber-hued croon, their songs aren’t overwrought, but it’s easy to see how they could sink a crown into the bliss of permanent summer.

There’s an eternal quality to the songs, a feeling that they’ve just been around bouncing from bar band to bar band in the neighborhoods of L.A. for the last 50-odd years and Mapache has just now put these public domain yarns to wax. That’s certainly what they’re stretching for and more often than not, they hit that vibe effortlessly on the head. Some bands try damn hard to feel like they just showed up and strummed out a weary, road-dusted classic. Seems like Mapache have found a way to breezily harness eleven of them, each one sinking into the horizon with a deeper orange, kicking up the crickets as they fade away.




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Premiere: Frankie & The Witch Fingers – “Sunshine Earthquake”

As they head out on tour L.A.’s Frankie & The Witch Fingers offer up a peek into the psych-soul revival that threads its way throughout their fizzing new album, Brain Telephone. The band has always had a knack for the video format, from the LSD Alice in Wonderland of “Get Down” to the psychedelic noir of “Merry Go Round” and the latest clip just piles on the exploded neon psych vibes that have kept them runnin’ all these years. If you haven’t gotten a chance to check the album, give it a spin and if they’re landing near you, be sure to go get a breath of the real thing. The stage is where they truly shine.

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Full tour dates below:

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The World – “Hot Shopper”

The World’s solidly slung EP from a short stretch back was full of taut post-punk nugs that cracked the window to their new full length for Upset The Rhythm. First single “Hot Shopper” is a spring-loaded knuckle-popper full of rubber band bass and staccato horn stabs that bring to mind Maximum Joy and A Certain Ratio. Its got a scrubbed up fidelity from the short format predecessor and bodes well for an album crackling full of the certain kind of dancefloor ozone that lived in the underground of the ’70s. If this Oakland band is missing from your radar, adjust, and quick.

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Frankie & The Witch Fingers

Rolling like heat lightning across the plains, the caravan of Frankie & the Witch Fingers approaches. The mood is calm but practically fizzing with the electricity of anticipation and the promise of a connection to the cosmic crack in the sky that’s always layin’ just out of reach. The band, Shaman and Sidemen alike, is in touch with the soul-soaked vein of psychedelic rock that took lesser men in her arms and bent them past breaking. They don’t look shaken though – far from it, in fact. They’re steel eyed and poised for when the amps tap into the fragrant heat of divine rock n’ roll. Moreover, they’re ready to act as conduits for those willing to submit to the vibrations and open their brain to the next plateau.

The Witch Fingers’ latest is about connection, vibration, ephemeral truths. They’ve tapped into something primal and concrete that’s found its way foaming into the edges of psychedelic communities from Kesey’s barrel of Owsley augmented truth to the very last convulsion of the ayahuasca shakes. Brain Telephone is the key to the fifth dimension, an acid bath for the soul delivered in pulsating waves via fuzz guitar. It’s the band’s own I Ching for those who’d rather find their way through the keyhole via organ-laced sweat revival than in the spines of traditional text. Think of Frankie as your psilocybin Sherpas, your six-string snake healers, your sonic Ouija to the other side. They’ve peered around the corner and just want you to take their hand. You could do worse than to leap without looking. Rock n’ Roll is a cheap thrill born over a hundred times, but at least in this iteration its working to break free.


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Ecstatic Union – “Illuminator”

L.A. psych rockers Ecstatic Union slipped a solid release out on Lollipop recently and their single “Illuminator” encapsulates the feel good summer vibes that soak the entire record. Huge pop hooks are doused in the kind of glowing ’60s pop that permeated the Elephant Six catalog, taken even bigger by graduates like Beulah and The Sunshine Fix. The video has fun with a rapscallion beach rat character that brings a smile to any viewer. The rest of the record is worth a run as well. Get down with some sunshine vibes before they’re all gone.



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Frankie and the Witch Fingers

L.A. psych swingers Frankie and the Witch Fingers are back and tapping into a dank sweat lodge brand of psychedelia that sows its seeds in the euphoric daze that drove Roky Erikson, The Remains and Rudy Martinez (aka the ephemeral Question Mark). They’re looking to find that heat lightning intangibility that crops up when the stars are aligned just right and the crowd is in full sway. “Lernings Of The Light” is a full-on, harp-pocked, blooze-psych blowout that rattles the rafters and picks up the mantle that so many of the class of ’68 left curled and waiting between the tubes of their battered amps. New one is out via Permanent in September.




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Flat Worms – “Motorbike”

Following up a couple of solid singles on Volar, L.A. trio Flat Worms jumpstart the anticipation for their album proper with “Motorbike,” a two-ton fuzz whollop of a track that’s fueled by adrenaline, squelch and rumble. Pounding the pulse as hard as any cross traffic lane zagging, the song is too much fun not to crank on repeat for a good 5 or six rounds. If the rest of the album is even half as ripped as this cut, then its another win in the Castle Face column for sure. Need more reason? Sure you do. Members have spent time as part of touring bands for Oh Sees, Ty Segall, Kevin Morby and Wet Illustrated.




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Saint Cecilia – “We Know Us”

A nice charmer to cap off the week, this cut from Saint Cecilia’s slept on record from the end of last year gets a new life through video. The song is pure girl group swoon, but the keys give it a tight new wave bent that drags it out of the garage ghetto and floats it above the fray. Cecilia Enriquez taps into a psych-pop that’s glittering without feeling frivolous. There’s a dark undercurrent that keeps this tethered and bites down for blood and its absolutely infectious. If you missed out on this last year, get into it now!

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Mikah Wilson – “Cassingle”

L.A. songwriter Mikah Wilson indulges in a brand of earnest ’70s pop that’s not removed from some prevailing winds (see Tennis, Weyes Blood, The Lemon Twigs, Tobias Jesso Jr.) but while he’s captured the crystal shimmer in the production, he’s also found a breezy simplicity that pushes him further from the Harry Nilson / Randy Newman / Joni Mitchell crossroads of ’70s FM. Perhaps that’s why the label is selling this as power pop and while there’s certainly a plainspoken appeal that hearkens to Big Star or Shake Some Action-era Flaming Groovies, it’s not saddled with the same lusty ambitions or tough/tender tension that either of those embody.

Instead Wilson is working from a sunshine soul that creeps into ’70s mainstream pop rock. Taking early Rick Springfield (talkin’ Mission Magic years here) on a lovelorn wander through the transistor wires, Wilson has created a vision of honest pop that’s echoing The Raspberries and Badfinger in the best ways. In every sense of the phrase, “they don’t make ’em like this anymore.” Wilson has wrestled mining the ’70s from the hands of hipsterdom, he’s gone feral in his wide-eyed sincerity. Both sides of this cassette are a genuine love-letter not only to those artists that laid their saccharine souls down all those years before, but to pop as a statement of purpose. On every level, I just want to hear more of this and soon.




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Mind Meld

L.A.’s Mind Meld follow up their tease of single, “The Viper,” with a full length that makes good on all the promises locked into that rock candy double-shot. The album shares a a few obsessions with the current crop of metal-dipped, space-rock altar worshipers, and they’re making a very worthy bid to be running in the same pack that Ty, Meatbodies and Aussie heavies like King Gizzard and Orb are heading up. The band knows their way around the yoke of heaviness, but for every Winnebago flattening riff they add a dose of catchy crunch topping and an air of spaciness that speaks to their love of ’70s wizards like Hawkwind or The Edgar Broughton Band. The latter, they even pay double down respects to here with a cover of the band’s Why Can’t Somebody Love Me”.

The eponymous album is pure hedonistic fury, amps on fire and tumbling down with pumice and ash. Though that almost tips a cap into doom territory, and while its obvious that the record shelves of Mind Meld members are not without a few Sabbath records, they actually keep the tone celebratory. Its heavy, but not evil. There’s more Blue Cheer in their growl than anything, frying out the West Coast vibes and feeling like they’re having a pretty good time doing it. Check out the band’s album in full below, dressed up in all is garage-psych glory. Recommended you tip the volume knob rightward here. Shake the windows.



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