Posts Tagged ‘Psych-pop’

Totally You – “One Step At A Time”

Izak Arida’s (of The Memories) new EP Smog City is full of scuzzy odes to L.A.’s grime and lo-fi rumples on hangovers, but underneath a bit of that scruffy exterior lies a solid strain of psych-pop that holds a lot of DNA in common with The Dandy Warhols, Primal Scream and Love and Rockets. Nowhere is this strain more evident than on standout track “One Step At A Time.” It breaks open with that kind of heard-it-before laid back riff that you can’t quite place, but can’t quite ignore either. Rather than feel like simply another plow through the ruts of drug laden pop froth, Arida gives the song a spark of life that catches hard, careening the riff like a teenage joyride through the speakers. Its bigger than most of the other tracks on Smog City, stacking vocals and harmonies into a creamy goodness that brings the West Coast sun and slacker pop saunter with just a dash of Brit-pop pomp. This track alone feels like the match that might touch off Totally You, given the right fuel.



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Allah-Las – “Famous Phone Figure”

Well gotta be summer now because there’s a new Allah-Las on the rise and that means good things for record players everywhere. Temperate days and clear skies just are just begging for a soundtrack from the L.A. stalwarts. The new track marks a bit of a departure from their usual jangle and jump sound that’s been rooted in the garage aesthetics and ushers in a move towards a more lush, and dreamy sound that plays off of swooning 60’s touchstones like Pet Sounds, JK & Co. or Tomorrow. Fittingly they’ve brought in a whole host of new instrumentation for the album – viola, harpsichord, Mellotron and theremin – proving this to be Allah-Las embracing their 60’s experimentation in full. They’ve been studying their 60’s trajectories well, so expect some paisley Nehru jackets on this tour, because things have gone full psych (not that I’m complaining). They’ve also made a move to Mex Summer for the record which pushes them away from their cozy home at Innovative Leisure. Definitely interested to hear more on this one and the moody black and white visuals give the track a nice stately background to luxuriate in. Summer just got a bit breezier.

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Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation – “Sunny Afternoon”

Good psych doesn’t have to peel your face every time and Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation are proof that the dark chug of drums and a building cloud of menace can be just as effective as amplifier screech. “Sunny Afternoon” appeared on The Liberation’s album from last winter and gets a new life as a single released this month with a proper b-side, “Lucid Sapphire.” For those that missed out on their album, Horse Dance, as it was slinking out last November this is a good intro. Josefin Öhrn culls a bit from the Bat For Lashes and Jane Weaver camps in equal measure, finding a motorik groove to fit her bewitching vocal delivery on this stomper of a single. The video knocks things up a level with some simple, but great psych effects coming off like a Marcus Keef album cover come alive. Its highly recommended you take a listen.


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Cloudland Canyon

Cloudland Canyon have been a longtime staple of RSTB and over the years they’ve changed and mutated into a few different versions; drone, krautrock, ethereal Kosmiche. Through it all the one constant has been Kip Ulhorn steering the ship through these new waters. He’s solo but not alone here, taking the band further into propulsive pop than ever before but with ample help from a cast of ringers from his surroundings in Memphis. It’s Cloudland at heart and by name, but this seems like a whole new band filling in their shoes. Partly this is because those filling the shoes have a diverse well to dip from and they pepper the album perfectly. Ross Johnson (Panther Burns, Alex Chilton), Lesa Alridge (Big Star) and Jody Stephens (Big Star) all play on the album while Ezra Buchla, M. Geddes Gengras, Kliph Scurlock (ex-Flaming Lips) and David Scott Stone (ex-LCD Soundsystem) add their own touches and contributions as well. And if you’re assembling a team with that kind of clout why not pull in some psych rock royalty for the production as well? Ulhorn enlisted Sonic Boom to co-produce the album and his signature space and weight are felt for sure.

The tracks themselves burst with a lightness that’s reared its head in sparkles on prior albums but now beams from the inside out like a beacon on An Arabesque. There’s that skitter and grind of Krautrock beats pushing the pedals but the top is soaring harmonies and crystalline synths that give everything a glow of sunset around the edges. A club element rears its head from time to time but its balanced out by the noise element that peeks in just as often. On the whole, this is Ulhorn’s strongest set yet and it puts Cloudland Canyon into a higher echelon of psych-pop that feels like a new beginning.




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Doug Tuttle – “A Place For You”

MMOSS’ Doug Tuttle is finding his way down the path of psych-pop apologist on his second album for Trouble in Mind. Much like fellow labelmates Morgan Delt and Paperhead, he’s dug squarely into the Paisley Underground, sounding like a modern upgrade of their 60’s pop worship, though that in no way diminishes his knack for a great hook and songs that pair well with wide sunny skies. In an effervescent new video for “A Place For You” the artist pairs balloons with projections for a fun, yet really simple idea. The track jangles its way through two and a quarter minutes of sun-dappled strums and that kind of faded Fuji-film nostalgia that takes you back every time. Tuttle’s latest LP It Calls On Me has plenty more in store for jangle freaks and its recommended that you dive in further.


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