Posts Tagged ‘Psych-pop’

Hollow Ship – “We Came Too Late”

Gotthenburg’s Hollow Ship have been spiking the punch of psych-pop for a little while yet, and the sound of it comes through in their latest single “We Came Too Late.” With a mix more suited to the crisp snap of pop and R&B than the murky waters of psych, the band adds a rhythmic kick to their swirling guitars and low-end growl. The band crosses the threshold bit more than the rest of the album here, pining for Tame Impala territory before the band was full enmeshed as festival headliners and seated into the high end of the radio dials pop charts. The ambition to dance sweats its way through the cut’s funk simmered core, and they actually land a lot closer to recent Aussie exports Psychedelic Porn Crumpets (man, that name) mixing the liquid lightshow swirl with the neon glow of glam. This one’s coming a little early in the year (April 3rd from PNKSLM) but maybe the summer sweat will help bring on a premature thaw.


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Joe Ghatt

This one’s been lingering on the fringes of haze for a while now, surfacing as a limited cassette on Third Eye Stimuli back in the first half of 2019 and now resurfacing from Six Tonnes de Chair on LP. Ghatt’s a vibe channeler in the modern tradition, soaking his sound in the sepia tones and dust scratch aesthetics of the ‘60s, but keeping a modern touch of breezy songwriting in tow. As such Banana Sludge employs fuzz guitars with wild abandon and seats them into velour lounge settings full of hazed memories. He’s adept a letting his hooks grow around the brain and there’s often the feeling of sinking into the rug around you as the sounds grow muffled, the incessant creep of shag carpeting pairing with mushroom tea to pleasing and perplexing effect. That’s what makes Ghatt’s vision of nostalgia-vision work. Its not a clear representation of the past, more often it’s the feelings coming back in blurry shapes and hung on repeated phrases.

Midway swinger “Mammon” might exhibit this the best with an instrumental incessantness that’s flanked by voices calling from beyond the periphery. By the time the song is over it’s hard to remember where it started, and by then Ghatt’s back into the hammock and strumming a white linen lounger that drips with brass and a humid dose of echo. Over the run of Banana Sludge, Ghatt transmits through the temporal plane – his voice breathing down the grating of a ribbon in the room, but the backing band emanating from the ether, following his every move from beyond time. Sure, it’s all facsimile, but, hey they give awards to the designers that can copy period pieces with gleeful frequency every year. Why not applaud the effort? Ghatt’s found the threads that hang tightest and pulled them around us all on this one.



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ROY – “Is It You (Sky Brother)”

New goodness out of Canada’s Idée Fixe Records this week and its draped in glittering psych-pop that’s hard to resist. Under the name of ROY, the rather anonymous Canadian collective weaves a tale of celestial beings that descend with a message of peace and love, omniscient objects, and government coverups. “Is It You (Sky Brother)” is drenched in a slippery echo that bounces off of chiming guitars and cozy vocals. The tone is harmonious, baroque euphoria, and the band wields the feeling well. Presumably the songs grow darker as they wind down the nefarious paths of dark forces intervening in their harmonic bliss, but on this early taste of the tales of Sky Brother and Sky Sister, the band is thrumming on a divine frequency. The album is out April 17th.




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Mr. Elevator – “Sylvia”

Been slowly sinking into the environs of Mr. Elevator’s latest batch of psych-pop and its finally taking hold. The band, anchored by Oh Sees’ Tomas Dolas, swims in the same magenta-hued waters that float recent releases by Morgan Delt, Jacco Gardner, or The Paperhead. Organs obscure the folds of “Sylvia,” filling the song with shimmer and shine that’s locked to a propulsive beat. There are underlying elements are ripped from the kind of Library Music burbles that filtered through the end of the ’60s and they work nicely with the intrigue-laden video for “Sylvia.” Dolas gives some insight to the track / vid below.

“Without giving too much away “Sylvia” was inspired by a book I put off too long to finally read. It was also one of the songs on the record that I was thinking about cutting because it just didn’t feel right. We ended up keeping just the drums and taking a different approach to it redoing everything else around it. It was the last song to make it before turning everything in to get mastered. The intro that happens now is the tail end of a portion of a drum fill from the intro that ended up getting scrapped. The video was done by Logan Feser, a video artist who recently moved to LA who also did a video for us on our last record. We were back and forth on ideas and I proposed a sort of short film idea and he came back with a whole script and cast/props and all that he put together!“ The band’s on a West Coast tour now. You can catch ‘em at the following dates.

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Peel Dream Magazine – “Pill”

Without fully emerging from their haze, Peel Dream Magazine’s sound comes into focus on their second LP for Slumberland. Following an EP that began the process of finding clarity from the shoegaze soup, the band edges closer to a sound that they’ve been hinting at – mixing the murk of Chapterhouse and Adorable with the propulsive charms of Stereolab. The video accompanying “Pill” is a mash of purples and oranges rendered under hypnotic distortion. The visual is a perfect pairing for the song’s subtle crush of fuzz, a sound that creeps up from the feet and is on top of the listener before they can slow its hold. Lock into the band’s pillowy riffs and somnambulant cool in the video above.

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Hollow Ship – “We Were Kings”

Swedish psych-pop unit Hollow Ship roll out the video for the A-side from their upcoming PNKSLM single “We Were Kings,” a kaleidoscopic collage animated by Freddy Wallin. “We Were Kings” sets the band into a the cradle of psych occupied by Goat, Flamingods, or Khruangbin, bands that find something new while rifling through the overlapping detritus of the past. The song is anchored by rhythm, owing to a studio suggestion to keep the drums high in the mix. The chugging beats keep a heartbeat bop that lays a bedrock for the swirling synths, flutes and funk-laced guitars. The video is as eclectic as the song itself – swirling with cut n’ past aesthetics that play well with the band’s all-inclusive approach.

They note of the Wallin’ led clip, ”In an animated reality, not to different from our own, we are invited to follow a vessel on it’s intergalactic trip through the universe. Along the way we experience colorful encounters with extraterrestrial beings and heavenly bodies. A journey into the unknown making it possible for the traveler to finally find itself” The 7” arrives this Friday from the Swedish outpost and speaks well to what’s on the horizon for the band as we enter 2020.



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The Babe Rainbow

There’s something about Aussie band The Babe Rainbow that exudes a particular ease. From their countenance on down the band look and sound like they’ve never really had a bad day, or at least a day that they couldn’t turn around with a little surfing and barbecue. Those vibes permeate every inch of Today the band’s third, and most solid album. In the past they’ve embodied much of the same spirit, but the results have been hit or miss. They’ve wandered over the psych-pop map looking to pick at ‘60s sparkle, forest folk and lounge but the mixture was always just a touch wobbly. They came pretty close on last year’s Supermoon, an album that captured their wave of gauzy love but also took a few detours into spacey instrumentals that could meander the course of the record off track. The Babes hit on the head trip they were looking to spark but we sometimes got lost in the clouds along the way.

This time they tighten up the seams, still locked into the pocket of faded folk and grooved lounge psych, but playing up the pop half of their dynamic and fleshing it out with a West Coast downtempo spirit that belies their Aussie roots. The album seems like it might have taken a page out of the music direction for recent sleeper series Lodge 49 capturing it’s “melancholy on the bright side” ideals of aimless surf culture that the show distilled into something a bit more meaningful. Today embodies some of the same feelings — unscarred skies that stretch for miles, wonder and weirdness — given life through a constant roil of ‘60s strums and thickly plumed flutes. The band has been working to nail their niche and it seems that with this one they’ve finally begun to harden their grip on the board and ride right into the heart of the curl. The summer might be winding down for those of us up here, but this one still has a bit of solar bake to lay on the listener.






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Triptides – “See Her Light”

A shot of sunshine from L.A. psych-pop group Triptides lands via a new single on Greenway Records. The psych vets have been carving out their fuzz-pop niche for years and their songs always blow in on a breeze of gooey nostalgia and easy vibes. “See Her Light” kicks in initially as a hard driver until the midway point when it kicks into a baroque bridge and then just lays back into the surf to let the sun wash all over us. The accompanying video is stacked with beachside home video that leans right into the song’s Kodachrome kitsch. Not a bad way to enjoy the door to autumn as the weekend ekes open.



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Rain Parade – Emergency Third Rail Power Trip

A long running Paisley Underground classic gets a second life via Real Gone this week. The Rain Parade fully embraced the jangled and jeweled psych sounds that predated them by a good two decades, falling out of fashion for the times, but winding up timeless as a result. The band’s debut on Enigma Records is the long discussed and often influential Emergency Third Rail Power Trip, a complete oddity in 1983, but also a conduit from the soft-psych and Byrdsian janglers through to the next wave of Elephant 6-ers and beyond. The band’s true genus lay in wrapping those jangles around a more modern hum – a soft pink fuzz wave that came crashing through in earnest reverberations that would setup the next generation to push the sounds even further past the gauzy glow already forming around a bygone era. In their early years, the band never pretended to be anything other than a psych-pop act and that influence-on-their-sleeve aesthetic probably makes them one of the most enduring Paisley bands.

The band would follow this up with the arguably great sophomore LP Explosions in the Glass Palace, which leaned a bit further into the College Rock impulses springing up in 1984, but it still stands apart as an essentially Paisley platter. They’d issue the live record Beyond The Sunset and sign to a major (Island) for 1986’s Crashing Dream but neither would live up to any sort of reputation that those first two releases have garnered. Guitarist David Roback went on to play in Mazzy Star, keeping the hazed psychedelic vein flowing and the band would reassemble (as all bands seem to do) in 2012 and 2013 for a tour. There’s even a new record on Yep Roc this year. Third Rail (despite Ryley Walker’s assertion that Glass Palace is the true masterpiece) remains probably the most essential Paisley release of the short-lived movement. Though, labels notwithstanding, it’s just a great pop record to have on the shelf, and now, after 30-years, you can nab one again.

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The Gerbils – Are You Sleepy

There’s no better news than hearing that psych-pop wellspring Elephant 6 is revving the engines back up once again. With the announcement of an in-house reissue of The Gerbils’ 1998 debut, Are You Sleepy, the label sets the wheels in motion to get more than a few missing LPs back on the shelves. The original version of the band’s debut was widely available on CD, but only issued in a scant run of vinyl from the UK label Earworm Records, with an alternate cover. It’s quite likely that this missed the shelves of hundreds of fans and now the label’s back to right the wrongs. The Gerbils included members Scott Spillane and Jeremy Barnes, both of whom would go on to find their way into the ranks of Neutral Milk Hotel.

The record is on the scrappier end of the E6 catalog, still firmly rooted in the 60’s spun pop leanings but also shot through with fuzz, crackle, and hiss —letting its four-track treads shine through in the mix. The band would go on to refine their sound with 2001’s The Battle of Electricity which bolstered their buzz with a bit of concept rock. Aside from this news, which is great on its own, the label hints that a few more offerings and even some new stuff might be on the way. Or, in their own words, “In 2019, the slumber is over as the E6 label imprint relaunches with a series of reissues, new albums, and some first-time-ever-released-to-the-public releases from the deep archives.” Get excited!



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