Posts Tagged ‘Psych’

BALL

The bounty of 2020 is only getting fuller by the day. While the rest of the world slides into chaos, the music of the moment is as potent as ever. To that whit, the sophomore LP from Ball is just the pelvic thrust of power that August has been waiting for. The Swedish group has long been posing as lascivious fuzz freaks pulled straight from the primordial ooze and this album does little to dissuade the audience from that impression. Built on the power trio tumult of the ‘70s, not to mention the sex, drugs, and damnation ethos, the band is a leather codpiece come to life. Like You Are…I Once Was…Like I Am – You Will Never Be finds the band lusting after a Satanic priestess that leads them down corridors of corroded bass rumble, through hovels heated with brimstone guitar and into fields filled with a war drum pound that’s as funk-bridled as it is refreshingly frenetic.

While on a larger world stage Ball is not anywhere near approaching the accolades they deserve, there seem to be plenty of bands looking to light a spark this bright. Fuzz in particular is sniffing up this same ‘70s power pummel and, while they’re packing a force to be reckoned with, Ball often edges them, pairing a looseness with a certain chaos that feels like they might just break apart at the seams at any moment. Hard rock has unfortunately been taking itself too seriously of late and the hormonal wink at the heart of Ball, paired with a proficiency that careens without collapsing is a formula that I hope to see more of in the future. Lock it up in an album cover that’s straight out of the Heavy Metal film scraps and this is hard to resist. Its a bit sparser in the states, but worth nabbing when you find it.




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Prana Crafter – “Rebirth In The Mosslands”

I’ve got a brand new one from Northwest psychedelic soaker Prana Crafter today and it’s just a small scrape of his upcoming release. Fresh off of two lengthy side-long splits with ragenap and Tarotplane, Will’s next release is essentially an album-long composition broken up into movements. The first section, “Rebirth In The Mosslands” walks in slow, with a touch of dread in its blood. Steady, progressive plucks give way to a Kosmiche grind that puts this squarely in the pocket of Popul Vuh fans. It’s the opening salvo to an album that tumbles through cosmic impulses — heady and nebulous — and acts as a proper continuation of what Sol was working on with his Symbiose split. There’s tension and trepidation at play here, and Sol wields both with a fine edge that never cuts too deep for discomfort. It’s been great to see him weave between psych folk and more atmospheric ephemera, as he lends a scholar’s ear to both genres. The record lands September 18th as a split release between Cardinal Fuzz and Feeding Tube and you’re gonna want to get a hold of this one.



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Frankie and the Witch Fingers – “Sweet Freak”

Another mind bender vid from Frankie and the Witch Fingers is out today and the accompanying Spaghetti Jesus video is taking your childhood memories of claymation and running them through a Dario Argento filter. Aduction, dissection and uncertainty all build to a fear that I haven’t felt since Clay Fighter hit the Sega Genesis back when I was a kid.Themes of altered states and dimensional slip find good company as the band also lets on that the single accompanies announcement of their reality shattering cycle of psychedelia, Monsters Eating People Eating Monsters… (repeated infinitely). Having taken the trip I can assert that the LP flings open the folds of reality, and this here is just the beginning. The new LP is out October 2nd from Greenway and Reverberation Appreciation Society.


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Garcia Peoples – “One At A Time”

I’m not sure if it’s the most pressing issue of lockdown lifestyle, but the absence of Garcia Peoples’ shows has been felt fairly hard around here. The band’s built for the stage. It’s where they thrive, where they evolve, where they commune with the room sweat to create the next symbiotic stretch of cosmic comedown. That said, the band has become, increasingly, creatures of the studio in the past few years. With the release of One Step Behind they’ve crossed over into creating epics of tape transference that extend the alchemy on stage to the studio setting. They keep the momentum in motion with Night Cap At Wit’s End. The new record was recorded over nine months with Jeff Ziegler (Chris Forsyth, The War on Drugs) and the first whiff of the album, “One At A Time” finds the band shutting out some of their sunnier impulses in exchange for the reclusive, edgy, drug-induced lockjaw of the mid ‘70s.

The song sees the band begin to leave the obvious touchstones of their sound behind and merge their natural ability to find groove and explode it onstage with with the living organism of the studio environment. Acoustics play a bigger part here, injecting a bit of JJ Cale sweat, but that’s not where this one ends up, not by a long shot. Gubler’s keys are beginning to play a bigger part as well, so the fertile stench of prog rears its head, but that’s not where this leaves us either. Instead, “One At A Time” is as constantly shifting as anything the band has done, while feeling more surefooted than they’ve ever been. Its we, the listener, who rotate around them in flux, in thrall to the sound and where it goes. The band’s stirring the cloud cover and we’re just dodging the drops. If, somehow, Garcia Peoples escaped your view before now, this is the time to lock in. The record lands October 9th on Beyond Beyond is Beyond. Check out the excellent video created by labelmate Kendra Amalie above.



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Kanaan

With an album already on the books for 2020, Oslo’s Kanaan prove ever prolific with a second LP close on its heels, dubbed Double Sun. The record pushes back to structured psychedelia swerving slightly away from their last outing of improvisations with label head Jonas Munk in the mix. Like their debut Windbourne this is an exercise in building monolithic structures of heavy psych rooted to the ground by fifteen tons of solid groove. The band doesn’t waste too much time setting things back on the widescreen path, pushing past the opener into the far flung expanses of “Mountain.” The 12+ minute crusher shows the band at their best — rhythm section churning like an angry ocean and guitars diving straight into the glare of the sun. While the riff-ready dynamic remains their bedrock, this time the band lets loose from the earthen confines, exploring cosmic impulses through exploratory keys that scrape the upper atmosphere.

The Odense Sessions pushed the band out of their niche a bit and it’s clear that they felt the impact of their time in the studio with Munk. The songs here, while not nearly as loose as the improvisational LP, still retain a sense of movement — a dreamlike quality that lets the listener float through the cosmic reaches of the album in embryonic bliss. Though while the listener remains nestled in a cocoon that can’t be cracked, outside the core, there’s the chaos of the cosmos, the burn of re-entry, and the mountain of debris they kick up once they return to Earth. Where Scandinavian psych prevails, El Paraiso is there to catch ‘em and as they settle Kanaan into the catalog deeper each year, the band proves exactly how they got there.



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Design Inspiration: Bailey Elder

Been a little while since I’ve had a Design Inspiration, but not for lack of trying. Designers prove to be just as busy as ever, but its worth the wait to see behind the veil of some of my favorites when they get a chance to lay down the influences on some of their best designs. Chances are if you’ve ordered a record off of Mexican Summer in the last few years you’re familiar with Bailey Elder. Her work graces the covers and layouts of a good swath of the label’s current output. Likewise if you frequent certain corners of music and wellness, upstate beers, and even national parks. Her work inhabits an earthen quality that fits forms that seem like they spring from nature itself. The lines aren’t bound by perfection, but somehow they seem preordained. Her work has graced works from Ariel Pink and Weyes Blood to Garcia Peoples. Yet as much as Bailey’s cover work is enviable, she’s a master of the inner cover and the back cover, letting the intricate details of the full package shine through instead of focusing just on the first impression image. She’s given us few covers that have inspired her over the years and a little insight into how they’ve affected her work. Check out Bailey’s picks below.

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Tim Presley – Under the Banner of Concern

Just because it’s mainly music around here doesn’t mean I don’t have time for a little book love, especially when the book is from site mainstay Tim Presley. I’ve been revisiting some of Tim’s earlier works lately and this news item couldn’t come at a better time. Presley’s pairing up with Mexican Summer’s archival and print arm Anthology Editions to produce a book of drawings, paintings, and poetry that should feel familiar to anyone who’s been absorbing some of his album covers over the years. The aesthetic here pays particular attention to his work as Drinks with Cate LeBon. Under the Banner of Concern features art that was previously part of Tim’s shows in Chicago and L.A., showing at Soccer Club Club and The Pit respectively. Any fans of the site know that just a touch under the music obsession lies an obsession with album art and artists, so this one hits quite nicely. The book is out August 25th and follows his previous collections You Don’t Have Your Eyes Yet  (2010) and Mush (2016).

Preview the book here and check out some pages below.



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The Heads – Reverberations Vol. 2

Cardinal Fuzz has gone deep into the archives of scorch from Bristol’s merry mindbenders The Heads. Makes sense, the label boasts its roots in the catalog of The Heads, taking the name from a Heads track of the same name. Seems witnessing the first rehearsal in this series acted as impetus to form a label in the first place. As for The Heads, for the unfamiliar, the band’s been clawing at the creosote since ’95, laying down massive slabs of primordial rock that’s built on relentless groove and above all else, a domineering layer of fuzz n’ rumble that threatens to consume us all. The band’s studio albums often try to capture the force that they unleash stage-side, but fall short of capturing the charred ozone and sweat syncopation that occurs once the band is fully locked in. The second in a set of live and rehearsal recordings, vol. 2 certainly attempts to right that wrong.

The set is taken from the band’s set at The Gnostic Bash: A Tribute to Kenneth Anger. The festival was a fundraiser for Anger’s longtime goal to make a film of Aleister Crowley’s Gnostic Mass along with a documentary about Anger himself. The band’s played to a partial recreation of Anger’s ‘Equinox of the Gods’ — a live film of The Magick Powerhouse Of Oz band that featured Bobby Beausoleil (of Manson Family notoriety). With the film as backdrop the band launches into a breathless version of their live fave “K.R.T.” letting the song flesh out to over thirty minutes before lighting the rafters with “Split Riff.” They don’t let up or let down between the songs and by the time the whole set ends both the band and listener feel ready to collapse to the floor. You can listen to the set in its entirety, available on vinyl August 28th for the first time along with plenty of other Heads curios and necessities that the label has culled over the years. Better give this one some volume and space, it needs room to ravage your listening zone.



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Osees – “Dreary Nonsense”

What kind of year would it be if there wasn’t a new Oh Sees (now it’s Osees, I guess) on the horizon? I wouldn’t know what to do. The tides would be off. At the very least, the axis would slip a few degrees on the ball of dirt and water we ride through the cosmos. The band’s latest, Protean Threat is preceded by the short, but cratered track “Dreary Nonsense.” The cut bursts out of the barrel with a full force blow of guitar and a squirm of keys that’s constantly crushed into new and more uncomfortable positions over the course of the track’s brief tenure on your speakers. It shies away from light, bears its fangs and leaves a light laceration before retreating into the walls of weird once more. From the sounds of things the new LP is bound to let even more blood than they do here. Check out a rehearsal for the LP captured live at Zebulon in March. Protean Threat is out September 18th, naturally from Castleface.




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Fuzz – “Returning”

Ty Segall pairs up with Steve Albini yet again, this time with power trio Fuzz for the band’s third LP (dubbed III, what else?). The first taste of the album is undeniably grit-riddled, twelve-feet tall and barreling down at the listener with a white-sun intensity that’s to be expected of Fuzz at this point. While Segall doesn’t shy from heavier moorings in his solo work, he does seem to save the most substantial metal shavings and sonic fury for Fuzz when it counts. “Returning” focuses on the power of the individual, a towering rally cry to the rabble and a focus point for meditation through the blaze of guitars that frame its features. The band’s last outing was a double-wide gatefold tumble into psychedelic shred headspace looking forever to light the wick and explode Fuzz’ impact with as much force as possible. From the sounds of things, they aren’t flagging in intensity, maybe just sharpening the finer points until they draw blood.





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