Posts Tagged ‘Psych’

Oblivion Reptilian – “Draconian”

After Blown Out and Comacozer released a joint LP last year, guitarist Mike Vest (Blown Out, BONG, Melting Hand) and drummer Andrew Panagopoulos (Comacozer) decided the only proper idea was to take the collaboration further and create their own band. Despite living on opposite sides of the globe a new spark was lit under the name Oblivion Reptilian. Seemingly taking the conspiracy nonsense of a Reptilian Agenda as the base for the new band, the duo kicks off with “Draconian,” an 8+ minute space shredder that sews the seams shut between Acid Mother’s Temple, High Rise, Earthless, and Helios Creed. The band’s set to lay out five huge instrumental wormholes over the rest of the album, and if they’re half as heavy as this first offering, the record threatens to sink into the Earth like a doomed and damned artifact of civilizations that spit in the eyes of gods.



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The Coathangers’ Julia Kugel on Howlin’ Wolf – The Howlin’ Wolf Album

This year has been stuffed with great Hidden Gems and the latest continues the trend. After the release of one of their best album’s to date, The Coathangers’ Julia Kugel has passed along some wisdom from her own record shelves. If you’re unfamiliar with the band (which, frankly seems unlikely) their latest is a great place to start, boiling down their punk, post-punk, and garage impulses to a sound that’s serrated and sawing yet damnably hooky. The band is blessed with three strong songwriters, each bringing their own particular burn to the band and its great to get a look at what’s behind that burn, even just a bit. Julia chooses a conflicted blues classic for her entry. Check out her take on Howlin’ Wolf’s psychedelic period below.

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Josefin Ohrn + The Liberation – “Feel The Sun”

A new single seeps out today from Swedish psych slinkers Joesfin Öhrn + The Liberation. The second single off of her upcoming Sacred Dreams is a hazy bubbler, teeming with rhythmic burble, swirls of echo, and despite the title’s focus on the sun, a darkness that creeps up the spine. Öhrn has long been propping up the more shadowy and less showy end of the psych-pop spectrum, opting for humid atmospheres and an oil painted presence rather than the dayglo colors and high-octane moves of so many riding the psychedelic throttle through pop’s waters. The new record lands April 22nd on her usual stomping grounds at Rocket. Slip into this seether below.



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Lucille Furs

Chicago’s beat/psych revivalists Lucille Furs send their ’60-dripped pop on export for their latest album, getting a release from French Magazine and boutique label Requiem Pour Un Twister. The pairing seems like a perfect fit. While Chicago’s got a thriving garage scene, there’s something about their lush, starry-eyed pop that seems like it must come from somewhere other than the heartland. The exact mix here shifts like a kaleidoscope and remains a bit hard to pin, but it seems like they might have tripped through London on their way to meet up label heads in Paris. Other than the strong twinge of British Invasion kicking through, the band rifles through a half-stack of your favorite psych-pop touchpoints – swooning over Blossom Toes, Billy Nicholls, and The Pretty Things with some more high-minded harmonies that dip into Nuggets fodder like The World of Oz, Mortimer, and anything connected to Curt Boettcher.

Yet the strongest wafts seem to come from their penchant for dragging all these bits through the silken brambles of Jacques Dutronc and Serge Gainsbourg. These overtones make the Francophile connection all the more understandable. They share both artists’ love for the deeper blades of grass, wrapping their pop in swirls of sound that envelop in verdant tones. That doesn’t leave them swimming in symphonics though, like Dutronc, they know when to swing and when to swoon and they tend towards the former over the bulk of Another Land. The band’s definitely grinding up the past to mix their paint, but rather than recontextualizing it like Temples or Morgan Delt, they’re often painting masters in shifted hues. That’s not to say that their referential tendencies haven’t produced an album that’s a fun ride all the way through. There’s a lot of tip-of-the-tongue, back-of-the-mind moments but the band’s accomplished enough to make their pastiche play perfectly.




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L’Eclair – “Endless Dave”

Got a brand-new cut today from Swiss progressives L’Eclair. Their previous LP found a home on US psych enclave Beyond Beyond is Beyond last year and the band continues their psychedelic journey with the label on the upcoming Sauropoda out May 24th. The first peek behind the curtain at that lock-grooved wonder is the organ-drenched dripper “Endless Dave.” The track (and album to be quite honest) is buffed to a super-mod sheen, applying a lounge exotica lacquer to their bevy of Krautrock and Kosmiche twinges. The cut in question’s a 12+ minute cruiser of back-trunk funk that reigns it in cool and casual. The band keeps the bubbles simmering just below a full boil, spreading an air of karmic calm through the body like a heat wave. On their way out the door they plug into the cosmic end of the spectrum, tacking a few quasar-buffer burbles to their heady throb. “Endless Dave” serves as the focal point of the album and its as good an intro to the Swiss swingers’ modus operandi as any. Lock down on this one for now, but be prepared to dive even deeper come May.




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Elkhorn – “To See Darkness”

For the past couple of years psych-folk duo Elkhorn has been amassing a catalog of burnt-cinder and toasted molasses guitar gems on labels like Beyond Beyond is Beyond, Debacle, and Eiderdown. Now they stand ready to stun with a two LP set on the way from Feeding Tube that’s packed with their best burners yet. I’m happy to premiere the video for one of the set’s absolute standouts, “To See Darkness.” The track’s steeped in soul-scarred smolder, carrying weight of apocalyptic magnitude in its wounded fuzz leads. The duo’s interplay of fingerpicked runs and high-plains sonic pestilence is peaked and prowling on this track. Should the gods of the small screen ever get around to working out a cinematic vision of Jonathan Hickman’s East of West a wise seeker should tap the duo to soundtrack the menace of Death spreading across the salted plain.

The pair rightly accompany the cut with an austere video of them live in the room with just a somber backdrop of blue to buoy the track’s sonic slash. Captured by Eric Silver (photography) and Josh Johnson (sound) the clip shifts the focus to the power of the music without looking to flood the viewer with anything except the awe and menace the song rightly inspires on its own. The album set, Sun Cycle + Elk Jam, recorded by Jason Meagher at Black Dirt, is out April 12th on Feeding Tube, I’d feel inclined to mention how necessary these are, but I feel like that video might have just made my case for me.



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The Spacious Mind

Long running Swedish psych unit The Spacious Mind are still mining the edges of lysergic consciousness after fifteen releases and counting. The band’s been scratching at the surface of the sun since 1993, and their latest on Essence Music sees the band working through longform pieces of aching dread. They rise out of the mists with “The Cinnamon Tree,” a haunted dirge of psych-folk that pairs mournful guitars with the scrape and scuttle of bells and percussion – feeling like Loren Connors rinsing his licks in Ash Ra Temple’s altar. The 13+ min opener builds to a peak of mossy graveyard aura, threatening to burst open with riffs that melt the stones and burn runes along the entry, but the band keeps their restraint, giving the song a tension of dread that lumps in your throat the whole way through.

They throw out form altogether for a mid-point track that amps the clatter up to a din – smacking sticks into a hectic racket – before flipping on the throb of guitar growl to push their pallor of daunting dread even darker than the opener. They resolve into gaunt, bitten guitar works with shades of Evan Caminiti strung throughout the skeletal second offering, before finally lighting that aforementioned torch on the album’s closer “Creekin’ At The Goose.” The band hurtles into the piece, amp-scratched and clawing at the cords. There’s a whiff of ozone and a metallic taste to the formless riffs that squelch from the speakers, before the band settles back into their haunted desert caravan, crawling towards death or transcendence or both. Clock this one alongside that Ulaan Passerine album from earlier in the month for album’s that weave guitar scorch with apocalyptic dread. If this is your first taste of The Spacious Mind, don’t make it the last. Dig deep, but start here.






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Black Mountain – “Future Shade”

News hits today that Black Mountain, the perennially prog vortex that swirls around Stephen McBean, has a new album on the way in May. Over the years the band has been whittled and reformed, but McBean’s brought on some heavy hitters for Destroyer including oft collaborators Kid Millions and Jeremy Schmidt along with members of Sleepy Sun, Flaming Lips, Dommengang and Swans. The first peek behind the curtain at the album is the fiery space epic “Future Shade”.

The track is slathered with Black Mountain hallmarks – organs that hew just shy of over-the-top, fuzz-metal leads, epic background vocals, and stakes that feel infinite in nature. Reportedly the album centers on the feeling of teenage freedom that comes from the unshackling of youth via a first car (the album itself is named after a Dodge Destroyer). In that respect, its easy to hear this cued up on the FM sandwiched between Black and White years BOC and Rush. There’s plenty of denim, delinquency and engine exhaust swirling through the veins of “Future Shade” that’s for sure. The album is out May 24th via Jagjaguwar.




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The Mystery Lights – “Someone Else Is In Control”

On their sophomore LP, The Mystery Lights scrape at several layers of the psychedelic onion. Lead single “Someone Else is in Control” locks a heavy chuggin’ beat to some Eastern sounds, feeling like Erkin Koray gone Krautrock. There’s more than a touch of menace in the slippery slides and hounding bass riffs that lock the track into place. Naturally the accompanying clip for the track is hazy and haunted, digging up all manner of psychedelic ephemera and throwing it at the lens. The new LP lands at Wick, which, while always overshadowed by the dank grooves of Daptone, is shaping itself up into a nice enclave of garage and power pop these days.



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WEEED

On the sixth LP from Portland’s WEEED, the band is again wrangling longform jams and pristine fingerpicks into a record of psychedelic transcendence. Given the name they hung on themselves, that’s probably not too great a shocker, but they’re still finding room to maneuver in the genres without wearing the fabric thin. The record eases into view with the gorgeous, opalescent strains of “Opening,” which finds itself in the band’s instrumental bag. The song is a welcome pre-dawn crack into WEEED’s worry-free soundscape and they dive off the precipice into knotted whorls of guitar and percussion interplay that’s clearly built to stretch out in the live setting.

WEEED seems like they might tender some crossover with the current wave of Cosmic Americana, and in the sense that they’re indebted to the freeform ‘70s school of letting the groove dictate the terms, they have plenty in common with the winding cascades of Garcia Peoples, One Eleven Heavy and Howlin’ Rain. They embrace a similar sunny-skied, bliss-blistered shakedown but they’re not hitting the Dead/Little Feat/Mighty Baby triangulation that’s been so prevalent of late. In fact, they wander into some of the creeping dread of King Gizz’ motorik mayhem on the album’s hinge point, “Open Door.” And the track has the effect of feeling like the trip might just turn bad – the blissful skies from the first couple of tracks grow grey streaked and threatening.

Its almost enough to pull the listener out of the pocket, but they don’t let it dive down to the inky depths for long, swerving back to a golden luster on “Carmelized,” which acts as a true highlight of the album. On the back half they find their element in a couple of 10+ heavy-hitters that exemplify the band’s want to let the mind and meter wander while also toughening their sound just up to the edge of heavier Stoner-Rock territory. The band had sidled up to Important record for their last album, but this finds them again at their outpost of Seattle’s Halfshell, perhaps feeling free to wander as they choose on familiar grounds. This hadn’t gotten a whole lot of shouts this year, but if you’ve been locked into the Cosmic-core I’d mentioned previously, then there’s plenty of zone to float in here.



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