Posts Tagged ‘psych-folk’

The Ivytree – A Pillar of Clouds

It’s been an embarrassment of riches this year from the Ivytree camp. Following the excellent, if not to say essential, collection that Glenn put together for Recital earlier in the year covering unreleased recordings from 2001-2004, Tall Texan has a new collection going even further back into the archives. The extremely limited offering covers Donaldson’s works as Ivytree from 1999-2004, picking up some overlooked covers like “Blind River,” which appeared on a Tom Rapp tribute compilation put together by Jeff Alexander of Dire Wolves. The cover appears there under the name shift The Olivetree, though it’s unmistakably an Ivytree treatment at heart. It slots alongside nicely with a (sadly) timely Ivytree cover of the Hunter/Garcia track “Rosemary” from Aoxomoxoa.

There’s an alternate cut from the split with Chris Smith, but the rest of this material remains pretty much unheard and, as with the last collection, it’s nice to tumble down the rabbit hole of Glenn’s long simmering minidisc archives to slip back into the early aughts fog of psychedelic folk that enveloped The Ivytree. Repeated listens endear these tracks as deeply as early gems from Glenn, and if you’re looking to paint the full picture of The Ivytree/birdtree songbook then this one should already feel essential. As mentioned before, this one is even more limited than the previous collection (ltd. 100 on blue vinyl) so probably best not to mull the pickup too long on this. The cool temps are coming, and despite its West Coast birth, this is perfect for the smoke-curled hours that lie ahead.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE (DIG) or HERE (LP).

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Wet Tuna

When Wet Tuna first unspooled their debut last year, they tapped into a primitive blues soup dipped strait from the swamp. It’s a humid, boiled record that folds one song into another with barely time to swipe the sweat before each groove subsumes the next. The band was built on the stage and they brought the deep zone groove nexus into the studio with surprising success. On the follow-up they still keep the cosmic tapestry intact, but they’ve begun to thread a few new strands into the tattered tap as well. The record is still living on midnight fuel, formed from their own admitted tendency to let the substances settle for a few hours until the balance is right and the clock slips past the uprights into the pre-dawn hours.

They channel this time-slip pseudo-seance onto a two-inch proof of purchase – a haunted haven of dank grooves to get lost in and vaporized boogie that cures the soul. Matt and Pat have boundless roots in the psychedelic pantheon, but collectively this is probably one of their most pure and primal discs. Water Weird is the cosmos captured, the burnt mind made good and projected through three layers of psychic meniscus into the ever after. Water Weird is the night made manifest and given flight over the horizon of infinite ink. There’s something ineffable, intangible, and alchemical about Wet Tuna and it all comes to a head with Water Weird. If this isn’t sitting atop your year end, then I’ve got some serious questions about priorities to discuss with you.

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Prana Crafter’s Will Sol on Terry Riley, Don Cherry, Karl Berger ‎– Live In Köln 23.2.1975

Last year Prana Crafter’s Will Sol released two vital parch-folk LPs for Beyond Beyond is Beyond and Sunrise Ocean Bender, both showcasing his mossy, forest-folk prowess mixed with a tenancy to scratch that wooded habit with the key to the cosmos. He’s pushed the cosmic tendencies even further this year with a split with Tarotplane that uses one side of a 12” to wind his folk into kosmiche delights. It seemed only natural, then to ask Will to contribute a pick to the Hidden Gems series and see what’s driven his sound. Will’s picked a ’75 collaboration from Terry Riley and Don Cherry that picks at a peirod that pushed both artists catalogs to in new and interesting directions. Check out how this came into Will’s live and what impact it’s had on his music.

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Big Blood

Another one from the ranks of Raven’s past, Big Blood has been a bit of a fixture here (and on the old Blogspot) since back in ’08 when The Grove grace my ears. The band’s continued with a rather enviable output over the years. Following their work with Cerberus Shoal and the always underrated Fire On Fire, the couple has kept a stead stream of records and CD-rs coming out on their own Don’t Trust The Ruin, Time-Lag, Blackest Rainbow and Feeding Tube. The latter lands as the home to their latest, The Daughter’s Union. The album was actually recorded prior to their last Feeding Tube outing, Operate Spaceship Earth Properly, which came out last year, but with the band’s dense catalog it’s sometimes hard to keep track. The title likely alludes to the fact that this is the first album that fully features the couple’s daughter Quinnisa, and her contributions, as on its companion from last year, give the band a harder edge.

While the sound is a bit toughened at the edges, that doesn’t mean the band has lost their folk hearts. Transitioning from their early, wooded sound into more Fairport/Josephine Foster territory that gives rock a place at the folk table, they let the new heaviness seem in organically. Colleen and Quinnasa meld their vocals into shaky, aching harmonies while underneath there’s a renewed sense of rhythm and riot. The band tackles some unlikely sources for covers (The Troggs, Silver Apples) and they fit the album together into a psych-soaked vision of ‘70s-indebted rock that’s floating somewhere between the Laurel Valley and the Eastern mountain ranges. The record is another solid endorsement of Big Blood’s prowess – a veteran band that only seems to steep their sound further in their influences, interpolating them and weaving folk and rock into an inviting wicker warmer. If you’re not already coveting each new Big Blood release, it might be time to start.



Support the artist. Buy it HERE (dig) or HERE (LP).

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Mosses Release Microdose Cassette for Black Dirt

More psychedelic goodness out of the eternal wellspring of Black Dirt Studios this month. Aside from the Natch studio sessions, which have given us great works from Wednesday Knudsen & Willie Lane and Hans Chew with Garcia Peoples, the studio’s Microdose tape series has been killing it lately. First Sunburned Hand of the Man released a scant edition for Intentions, of one of their best to date, and now we’re all being treated to the first new music from Ryan Jewell’s Mosses in quite some time. Chances are if you’ve seen a psych band in the last couple of years you’ve seen Ryan on the drums. He’s just finished up a run with Chris Forsyth at Nublu in NYC and is barely taking a breath before he heads out with Olden Yolk on a tour with Luna next month.

With this cassette, though, his duo Mosses offers up a hell of an entry to Microdose called Speaking Mountain. The set, like all in the series, seems to move between poles. The band eases in with electric ripples and organ swells. The tablas set in and the tone goes drone as they get deeper into the verdant hills of “Herbal Wash.” The set pits Danette Bordenkircher’s keys against the groove of his drums, moonlit flutes filter in against fingerpicked purity. Bordenkircher’s haunting synths permeate the release setting it aloft on the ether, and she stuns wit the aching 12 string ripples on standout “Fever Dream Vacation.” For those who only know Jewell behind the beat of the psychedelic pantheon, Mosses is an opportunity to see him shine in a different light – full spectrum sound and glowing with a crystalline shimmer that’s a joy to behold. As with the rest of Black Dirt’s doses, the physical copies of these are in short supply, but you’re gonna want to get this in whatever format you can.



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Sunburned Hand of the Man

Trying to keep up with the output if Massachusetts psych collective Sunburned Hand of the Man is almost a futile gesture. I’m willing to bet there might be releases they don’t own. However, especially now that the band’s Bandcamp is a thriving archive of all things Burned in and their orbit its worth paying attention as older releases filter in and newer one’s quietly slip alongside them. Case in point, the band just lobbed up a real gem in their latter output this week, Intentions a micro-release that was recorded in 2017 at Black Dirt with Jason Meagher and intended for a larger release. It wound up instead as an edition of 20 cassettes in Meagher’s microdose series from the studio. Odds are, then, that this one has eluded your grasp.

The vibes here are decidedly less noisy than some of the practice space / small run issues that have been bleeding out of the Burn lately. Possibly closest in scope to their Burnieleaks 3 CD-r from a while back, the band is screwed down into some tighter woven webs of psych-folk and German Progressive psych. They’re picking up plenty of Duul nods and picking at the more capital P – Prog leanings of the great Swedish Silence label. What’s nice is the restraint here. The band doesn’t go as far out as they can and it gives this one a layer of polish that can sometimes get lost in the onslaught of releases. That’s not to say that this is a buttoned-down skimmer – It is still a Sunburned Hand of the Man release, after all.

They open the beast up with a smooth shot of sunset psych-folk, acoustic strums pulling at the ennui centers of the heart. On standout, “The Great Hope,” the band trades a grooverider rhythm with space-slicked synth spears and burnt-ends guitar scorch. They follow it with a “Coffee & Cheese” which sounds like an instrumental breakdown in a ’70-71 Groundhogs live set, on the edge of breaking into “Rich Man, Poor Man” at any moment. They blow further into spaced synths territory elsewhere, hanging some cosmic clouds on the set that pair nicely with the downed-sun guitar runs. “Agitation Cycle” might be as far out as the band swing here, but there’s still a kite-string pulling the band away from the paper shredder noise brigade they can get mixed up with on a typical moment’s notice. The set slides away on the loping grooves of the disorienting “Framework” and it clocks in as one of their best in a quite a while. Highly recommended!



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Ash & Herb

Flower Room, the resident home of Matt LaJoie and Ash Brooks’ musical musings, often boasts a treasure trove of small press releases that are of the blink and you’ll miss ‘em variety. In between larger statements the pair populate the label’s Bandcamp with live documents and offshoots in every direction under the Ash & Herb, Starbirthed, ML Wah monikers, among many. One of the latest gems arrives via live recordings from Ash & Herb’s Spring 2018 tour, and makes up the third installment of their live “In Now Time” series. While it’s not a full-on psych-folk boogie breaker in the mold of their outstanding “Salt Lick” single from February, it does capture the band’s narcotic float quite nicely. The set was recorded in a living room in Columbus, OH, but the sounds feel like they could have filled up a void twice that size.

Apparently, their set for the tour was using a cassette backing track that they tossed for the night and untethering from the percussive yoke lets the band wander all over the inky night, swirling like smoke signals into the wanting sky above. Ash’s vocals zone out into wounded, wooded rites of passage, giving the set a heavier, darker turn for a spell, before they bloom into a two-part psilocybin sojourn. “Fruiting Bodies” sparkles to the point of shimmer and closer “Cap & Stem” settles the whole set into a steamed calm as it pits a bit of twang against the dominant drones. Ash & Herb have a huge catalog to contend with but its been great to keep track of the current modes with this live series and it’s highly recommended digging through vols. 1 and 2 as well. Pair this one up with a recent Starbirthed tape and the night’s set to transcend expectations.



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Pat ‘PG Six’ Gubler on Shide & Acorn – Under The Tree

I couldn’t be more excited that there’s a new Wet Tuna record on the horizon. The duo of Matt ‘MV’ Valentine and Pat ‘PG Six’ Gubler capture a particularly potent brand of psychedelic sweat and the new album’s a total killer as you’ll all soon see. As Matt’s already done a Gems piece for the site, the new release gives an opportunity to get Pat in on the action as well. A Psych vet for the better part of the last two decades, Gubler’s graced time in seminal psych-folk group Tower Recordings and is currently holding down slots in RSTB faves Garcia Peoples and Weeping Bong Band in addition to his time in Tuna. Seems only apt, then, that he should pick a lost folk gem from the short-lived Shide & Acorn (also briefly known as Foehammer or Peppermint Snuff of Wight along the way). Find out how their sole album, Under The Tree, came into Pat’s life below.

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Wet Tuna – “Goin'”

Couldn’t be more excited to have a new Wet Tuna up for grabs this morning. The last one hit hard, or it least it should have if you had the right kinda ears last year. This time the pairing of Matt (MV) Valentine and Pat (P.G. Six) Gubler is back to track your midnight ride into the subconscious, sub-dermal subject matter. The vibes are heady already as “Goin’” wafts into the room — the kind of molasses-milked twilight track that can hit just right when the brain’s in balance and the air is still. This is the core of Tuna — a humid seep of sound, a breath on the air that realigns the vibrations in the ether. “Goin” gets into the pores and never leaves.

Matt gives a little insight into how the track rose to the surface, “WET TUNA is wild & fun place for me. Pat & I have a language that seems to be unique to us…we don’t really talk about it and i reckon in many ways that’s what makes it cool. Anyway, that’s how it went down, via the jam, and how most of our music flows, we turn on the tubes and the tapes roll. I distinctly remember doing 3 “takes” of “goin’” — all with John Moloney on drums — he and i have been preserving it for a long time and the couch is flambeau comfy. He brought a pretty skeletal kit to the session, which was at my “Green Extension Studio B” in Vermont, and we left a lotta space. It’s a tight room. We tracked guitars live with drums and kept everything. Pat used a synth wah effect, I plugged in a Vox repeat percussion and Mutron. we used Gibson & Fender amps, did the vocals together in one or two takes. The lyrics came to me in a semina vision. Pat dubbed mellotron. it was around 4:20 in the afternoon, seriously, but it coulda been round midnight. Sunshine winter warmer…we had some Guinness in cans outside the window in a hanging pot from the night before, code name “water the plant” to grab a round. Pretty sure there were two left and we poured ‘em slow.”

New LP, Water Weird hits the shelves October 11th from the incontrovertible crew at Three Lobed.

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Hans Chew & Garcia Peoples

I’ve been remiss, I’m only now noticing that the great Black Dirt Studios has renewed their ‘Natch’ series of studio improvisations. The series has lain dormant since 2013, but the June and July entries are both stunners. Finding its way out yesterday is a set from RSTB faves Hans Chew (One Eleven Heavy, Hiss Golden Messanger, Jack Rose, D. Charles Speer) and Garcia Peoples. The band entered the studio for a set of five new songs lead by Chew’s ace piano playing and backed by the psych lightning of the Garcias and its nothing short of perfection. The group lays down five songs — four originals and one ace cover from Dave Mason’s debut LP, that’s brought to a vibrant new life by Chew and the boys. Like yesterday’s Suncharms retrospective its listed at the nice price but you should definitely support Jason’s studio with whatever you can. He’s laying down some of the most vibrant jams in the valley.

Which brings me to the second set that’s up in the studio’s series an instrumental set from Wednesday Knudson (Pigeons, Weeping Bong Band) and Willie Lane (MV & EE collaborator, Elkhorn). The set’s more understated than Chew’s but no less captivating. I highly recommend nabbing both of these and placing them on repeat for the next couple of days. I’m backing it with a no regrets guarantee.

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