Posts Tagged ‘Psych’

Farmer Dave and the Wizards of West

Been a good year for the return of Farmer Dave Scher. The Beachwood Sparks / All Night Radio alum has never left the sphere for too long, playing with Kurt Vile, Jenny Lewis, Elvis Costello, Will Oldham, and The Skiffle Players, but he returned with a solo EP release last year that explored new territory and now the debut from Farmer Dave and the Wizards of West surfaces. The new venture marks his first full length in ten years, breaking some new ground, while leaving Dave’s penchant for nebulous psychedelia in tact. More sun-baked than his works with All Night Radio, who always hit a slid more into the charming chimes of Byrds territory, if the band had found themselves enamored with the Echoplex, the new record finds itself tossed in the froth and reveling in the weightlessness.

On this eponymous debut Scher and his assembled players push heavier than he ever really has in the past, not to the point of distortion, but the jangles are replaced with stadium-sized organs, and the cosmic waves of guitar that get lost deep in the prog puddled waters of the early ‘70s. Though, to be fair, he manages to eschew the genre’s density, still finding his songs lifted through the smoke and above the assembled crowds in psychedelic glee. The Wizards of West feel like they’re enjoying the float as well, surfing the strange magic between psych, surf, and prog with little care to where they land. Yet, the record sticks its ground, feeling like an extension of where Scher left of a decade ago and where Curation seems headed as a new outpost of cosmic refuge in the modern age.



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The Mickey Finn – “The Mickey Finn 1964/1967”

Seems like The Mickey Finn always surfaces on garage comps when the gaze switches to the UK. From Nuggets to Chocolate Soup For Diabetics, the band’s psych single “The Garden of My Mind” finds its way into the ranks and adds a nice edge of psych-tipped R&B. The band never recorded an album proper, but their singles output is fairly solid over the years preceding their most famous single and this proper roundup from Munster does a bit better at giving an overview than previously culled comps, with the latest being a mostly European centered release from about 6 years back that’s a bit hard to find these days. The Mickey Finn 1964/1967 keeps the scope on their harder blues crossover singles, a period that often finds them as notable trivia fodder for the fact that the band’s friend Jimmy Page would sit in with them on tracks — adding harmonica to a trio of covers from Jimmy Reed, Chuck Berry, and Bo Diddley.

As the band pushed further on, they connected with producer Shel Talmy (The Kinks, The Who) and began to expand their sound from straight blues runners to songs that built more menace and space into the mix. “Night Comes Down” is probably the most prominent of the Talmy singles, with spaced organs and acerbic guitars entering the fray. This collection, while not boasting a complete overview of the band, does cut through any excess to deliver the band’s best works, while bringing them to a full LP release for the first time. Something here for the garage heads and British blues fans alike, but in rounding up the band’s singles, Munster has created a proper album for the band that proves they were more than just a bit of Zeppelin-adjacent trivia.



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Writhing Squares – “Rogue Moon”

Brutal new kicker out this week from Writhing Squares. The duo announces their next album with the 11+ minute chug n’ skronk fever scream of “Roque Moon.” The Philly pair have hinted at something this gnashed and gashed in the past, but it seems with the third LP on the horizon they’ve decided to dig into the wound and let the blood be their guide. The song jumps out of the speakers with an instant edge to it, grappling with a Suicide influence that’s sweating through the seams, but they don’t let things just lie in the shadows of Vega for too long, stretching into the midsection with a spaced float that jettison’s the early angst and watches it burn away in the atmosphere below. The mix of progressive burble, No Wave scratch, and Kosmiche weightlessness make this one a nice pitch for the need to get Chart The Solution on your radar. The new LP arrives via Trouble in Mind on March 22nd.



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Kikagaku Moyo

Last year was a banner year for live recordings (check out the list of favorites here) and it’s good to see that the folks over at Reverberation Appreciation Society are starting things off right this year as well. While the label has been releasing some great live sets in their Levitation Sessions series of lockdown live performances — roping in everyone from Osees to Ringo Deathstar and Frankie & The Witchfingers — now they’re beginning a new LP series of bands captured live at their Levitation festivals over the years. While there are a few meccas for live psych each year, it’s pretty safe to say that Levitation boasts one of the most stacked lineages of lineups over its tenure. The first entry in the series pairs up two monumental performances from Kikagaku Moyo, with the A-side capturing the band’s debut at the festival back in 2014 and the flip representing their return in 2019.

In 2014 the band was hardly on the US map, just beginning to release some US versions of their LPs through Beyond Beyond is Beyond before Guruguru Brain would become more of household name. They don’t waste any time introducing themselves with a blistering jam before tearing into inspired versions of songs from Forest of Lost Children and their eponymous LP. The b-side / 2019 performance culls entirely from Masana Temples so, sadly there’s no live burndowns from House In The Tall Grass here, but the live takes on Masana favorites “Dripping Sun,” “Gatherings” and a final cooldown into a luxurious “Nazo Nazo” are certainly worth the wax they’re pressed in. Sadly, the colored vinyl versions are now spent, and I’m not entirely certain if a standard black edition is on the way. Hoping a few of you picked this up when I first discussed it in November. Digital edition will give you a way to experience the sets as well, so however you get into it, this is peak Kikagaku Moyo that needs to be heard. Keep your heads up for the second entry from Black Angels as well in March.




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Beautify Junkyards

The fourth album from Lisbon’s Beautify Junkyards is a dazzling, dense work that recalls Broadcast, Os Mutantes, and labelmates Soundcarriers at their best. Cosmorama immediately vaults the listener through the looking glass, and straight into a liquid light show of colors and permeable realities. With a hook into folk and another in pscyhedelic jazz, the record is pastoral at its heart. The vocals of guests Nina Miranda and Alison Bryce move from whispered wisdoms to mournful sighs and ultimately pose as ghostly invitations. As the layers build around them, though, the progressive spirit of the band swings away from the simple folk setup and lets the lysergic lens coat the record in colors that are hard to pin down.

The works of Beautify Junkyards have always had a bit of a ‘through the hedge’ quality to them — a feeling of entering a lush, verdant world just hidden behind our own. The synths lay down opalescent mists. The guitars are mossy and wet like cut leaves, seeping through the songs with mystery that’s burdened with sadness. As with the last album, Espers’ Helena Espvall remains a key to the band’s psychedelic sway. Touches of Flute, cello, and zither give the album and otherworldly quality that plunges the listener further down the hidden paths. It’s hard to come up for air after the last notes of Cosmorama fade from speakers, but like being roused from a waking dream, the album lingers in the synapses even after it exits the ether. Fans of Ghost Box should know that the label’s a particular seal of quality these days, and Beautify Junkyards live up to the stable’s reputation nicely. Wrapped as all things at the Box are, in gorgeous Julian House artwork that tips this into collection fodder as well.



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Mt. Mountain – “Peregrination”

“Peregrination“ is latest cut from the new LP on the way from Aussies Mt. Mountain. The song expands the band’s blend of powerful, heady post-rock into an icy, slinking psych-jazz odyssey. With shivers of flute raining down on the opening, the piece opens into damp guitars and washes of organ that flutter above the tumult laid down by the rhythm section. The band has long been a jewel in the Aussie psych scene, but this is pushing them out front and feeling like it shares a lot of heaspace with the works going on halfway around the world at El Paraiso in Copenhagan. The new LP, Centre is out February 26th from Fuzz Club. While the video for “Peregrination” is certainly no frills, it shows the band clearly in their element pushing sound through the barriers of bliss with enviable prowess.



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Vapour Theories – “Breaking Down (The Portals of Hell)”

The end of the year got dense, to say the least and I definiely missed out on this when it was announced, but it still hits like a corroded kick to the carotid. Vapour Theories, the Bardo Pond side project of John and Michael Gibbons, have risen once more with a new album out in February on Fire Records. The album was chopped out of hours of improvisational recordings that traverse a familarly scorched and shrouded landscape that both VT and The Pond have traversed in the past. The record digs deep into undulating fuzz and ambience that won’t let itself be shoved into the background. The brothers even tackle an Eno classic in the form of “The Big Ship,” but on “Breaking Down (The Portals of Hell)” the band enlists a groundswell of growl that would befit such a title. The song vibrates with a barren ache that can be felt to the last dying moments. The record is out February 26th from Fire Records and it feels like a necessary part of the Bardo extended fam.



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Sunburned Hand of the Man – “Flex”

There may be few freer flowing catalogs than that of Sunburned Hand of the Man. The longstanding Northeast collective have long kept the candle burning on free psych in the new age, letting out a steady stream of CDrs, cassettes, and limited digital ephemera in the name of digging into the deep scatological burn of psychedelic fallout that lives and dies in the room. The band breathes a noxious exhalation of groove battered funk, jazz-wrenched psych, and noise scuttled concrete. The lucky takes find their way imprinted onto tape for preservation on the shelves of those who’ve already felt the call of the cosmic and are keeping tabs. They are totems that aren’t often easy to come by. Last year the band pulled out of a longtime vinyl drought to slip out an excellent LP for Cardinal Fuzz. Headless hit like a second coming, hammering in everything that kept the band vital over the years and packed it onto a platter that was woefully here and gone before too many hands could feel the heat. It was their first LP since 2010’s A on the long shuttered, but much missed Ecstatic Peace, but this time they don’t make the wanting wait too long between records. The band announces a follow-up today as part of Three Lobed’s 20th anniversary series.

Pick A Day To Die leads off with the slinking kosmiche coil of “Flex,” finding the band cleaning up their corners with a tightly wound flash of liquid-skinned guitar propelled by a groove that owes its blood to a few German Progressive forefathers. Shot through with a mercury-melted pulse, the song sets out some high expectations for the next round of Sunburned singe. The band is ever elusive on the details that birthed this batch, but the band’s Ron Schneiderman sets it up with an ominous air. –

“Sources say: you need to get the fuck in a car and drive.
Like, get way gone. Crime-solving spree style.
Did we tell you about the time everything changed?
We will not even pretend that things are okay.
Ride with this hope and welcome the collapse.”

Pick A Day To Die is out March 12th from Three Lobed. Nab one of the limited LPs below as part of their essential new anniversary series.


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Bobby Lee – “Impregnated By Drops of Rainbow”

Just around the corner from his excellent album Shakedown in Slabtown UK purveyor of cosmic country calm Bobby Lee is back with a new EP packed with eight more kosmiche oases to fold into your consciousness. Skimming down his runtimes a bit for this short-format mind massage, the first couple of cuts out of the gate amble slow but stick to the soul with a thick sonic porridge of Ashra and Steve Hillage’s Rainbow Dome Music left to bake in the Southern California sun to soak up some twang. The new EP is out as limited cassette (ltd to 30) or download on March 5th. Highly recommended for fine tuning your senses today.



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Plankton Wat – “Nightfall”

Finally got a burner off of this new Plankton Wat out today. Thrill Jockey announced this one a couple of weeks back but today “Nightfall” graces the speakers and its another lysergic dose of float from Dewey Mahood (Eternal Tapestry, Gärden Söund). The Wat has always been a more meditative side of Dewey’s music and “Nightfall” embraces the elegiac strain that’s rippled through his works in the past. Guitars sparkle with a dampness in places before the heat-rippled fuzz takes hold of the track. There’s a West Coast air to this cut, sun glinting off of the water and head swimming in the lat August heat before the soft call of brass and brimstone wash away the calm. The new album is out February 26th from Thrill Jockey.





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