Posts Tagged ‘Psych’

Joe Wong – “Nite Creatures”

I’ve been letting the Joe Wong (Parts & Labor) cut sink into the skin this morning and its starting to take root. The songwriter and composer might be more well known today for his work with television scoring these days (Russian Doll, The Midnight Gospel, Master of None, etc) but it seems that he’s still got an itch for psychedelic rock, albeit of a much lusher nature these days. His new album for Decca is earmarked with just about as many blissful psych touchstones you can cram in — produced by Mary Timony and mixed in the studio by Dave Fridman, the album brings together Mary Lattimore, Anna Waronker, Steve Drozd, and quite a few others to help Wong drape a bit of velvet over every track. “Nite Creatures” makes great use of Lattimore’s harp as Wong makes a play for Lee Hazlewood spun round in the rotoscope under gelled lights. I know that Wong leans more towards scoring, but from a psych-pop standpoint I hope that after the Lynx Lodge has closed for good, that Tom Patterson can find another mercurial psychedelic show in which to place this one. The Fred Armisen-directed video does little to dissuade that feeling, going for a hidden worlds feel while Wong wanders a Moroccan dressed mansion. The song is from his new LP, out now.



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Fuzz

A new edition of Fuzz is upon us and it’s not long after the album begins before we’re swept under the atomic crush of the band’s monolithic riffs. This time around they make a natural choice in employing Steve Albini to man the boards and his crisp, unfettered approach only hooks a deeper bite into the listener. The band continues to flourish in the power trio posture — letting the space between them seethe and sweat with a fevered pulse. The interplay between guitar and bass is symbiotic, growl met with growl soaked in the electric sweat of elder gods crumbling into ozone and creosote. Ty’s drums spring and tangle, locking into a swing that’s brief before the next power surge suplex from the strings kicks in. Lurking in the background, Albini’s there to capture it all to fresh tape, a fly on the wall watching a band heat the seams of the room to molten magnitudes.

The songs themselves are, for the most part, lean and hungry. They occasionally indulge in extending their fission fry into the six and seven minute marks, but they don’t tend to jam, and under no circumstances do Fuzz noodle. Blue Cheer carved the altar and Fuzz let the blood drip down upon it. The energy in the room is soaked into the tape and beamed through the speakers with a heat that could bake a tan into the listener. It’s hard not to feel the band being excited about what they’re creating, even if its not breaking the mold. They’re more than open about this being an album enthralled with guitar rock and not seeking to move the needle forward, though. They revel in the tumult of noise and the body high bruise of a triple-stack storm of good ol’ face melters. On pretty much all levels I couldn’t agree more. There are times when I need a band to work up an alchemical shift on the old guard, but there are also days, and might I say after this one, even years, when a sonic reducer to the skull is plenty welcomed. Fuzz shake us all to the bones and I’m not the least bit mad about it.


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Dylan Sizemore on Bruce Haack – The Electric Lucifer

I’ve had the new Frankie and the Witch Fingers on the deck for a while now and it only gets better and deeper with each spin. The record is an interconnected odyssey of psychedelic excess that lifts the listener from this temporal plane and into a parallel dimension of glowing psychosis and psilocybin-induced evolution. The colors in the mind match the visual barrage of Will Sweeney’s saturated cover art and the band has never sounded hungry to cross the time-space rift than now. I snagged Witch Fingers’ driving force Dylan Sizemore to dig deep for a pick in the Hidden Gems series and he obliged with a psychedelic odyssey of his own. Check out Dylan’s take on Bruce Haack’s electronic epic The Electric Lucifer below.

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The Silence – “Electric Meditations”

Masaki Batoh isn’t wasting any time these days, cranking out excellent solo records and new material from The Silence at a dazzling clip. The latter is back on the heels of their heavy hitter from last year and from the sounds of the nearly eight minute title track, “Electric Meditations,” it’s going to be just as ferocious. The song crawls in on a stomping riff before the band lays in with fat bleats of sax and Batoh laying down a faraway lyric over the top. It burns straight through — growling, groaning, and letting the listener get a nice sear on ‘em between the grit on that guitar and the bulbous sax blasts that permeate the song. The Silence has proven to be some of the ex-Ghost songwriter’s most intense material over the years and from the sounds of this one, that reputation isn’t going anywhere soon. The new record is out November 6th from Drag City.



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Triptides – “Hole In Your Mind”

Got another ripper of a single from Triptides this week. Tapping into their fuzz-soaked psych with a nods to garage days gone past, the song was written together in quarantine and the video was shot at a shuttered Zebulon in L.A. Stomping riffs give way to jangles and reverb-laced lyrics. A lounged bridge cools the waters, but only temporarily, and then the band jumps back in with all the force of rave up rippers who’ve long found their place among the new generation of psych-pop acolytes. The band has been especially potent of late in the single format, and this track seems to be yet another stand-alone nugget of heady bliss. While it’s not heralding a new album, it’s more than enough fun to pop on repeat for a few runs around their kaleidoscopic roller-coaster.

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Tambourinen – “Wooden Flower”

More good news out of the Centripetal Force and Cardinal Fuzz camps today. The labels are teaming up to issue Tambourinen’s Wooden Flower cassette from earlier in the year on LP. The band work of Grant Beyschau from Myrrors and its as heady as anything he’s put out with his mainstays. The title track is a monster of riff and groove, powering through a half ton fuzztone blast and settling into a swirl of German Progressive head throb. Guitars slice from speaker to speaker and a bubble of flute courses up from behind the fray. As the song winds down Beyschau transitions to a more sparkling vision of Kosmiche but the damage of “Wooden Flower” isn’t quite washed away by the glittering release of the final moments. The tape was gone in a flash, so this is a great second life for the release and a deserving shift to 12” with some space to spread out. The new edition is out November 13th.




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Sky Furrows – “36 Ways of Looking at a Memory ”

Capturing a vibe halfway between Patti Smith and Sonic Youth, Albany’s Sky Furrows bring together poet/writer Karen Schoemer and members of psych rock unit Burnt Hills. The latest taste of the album winds in crouched, its surfaces calloused — a song pent up and pacing around the streets looking for an outlet. The first sip of the album, “Alyosha” started tense but burst into serrated shards of guitar, but here the relief never comes, the song strapped with tension to the last moments. That palpable tension works well. The guitars are still pulled taut, tripwires in waiting, tiny traps without prey. The narrative spins — drudgery or dream, its hard to tell. Sky Furrows have a way of capturing the ‘90s burn that skirted experimental while seeping into the mainstream as labels scrambled to get their alternative ducks in a row. For casual listeners something like “36 Ways of Looking at a Memory” was a head scratcher between the more explosive moments on a favorite album, but for those with the right kind of ears, it’s the bound confusion we were looking for all along. The eponymous record is out October 15th.

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Design Inspiration: Brian Blomerth

Checking in here with another round of Design Inspiration, and this time its from a longtime favorite. Brian Blomerth has popped up in a lot of familiar corners with his idiosyncratic psychedelic style, rooted in his “Adult Contemporary Dog-Face” characters with a proclivity for lush color surroundings. His work has dotted tour posters, comics, and album covers alike, working early on with artists like Videohippos before gracing Anthology compilations and Ryley Walker LPs. Last year he penned an ambitious graphic novel that depicts a historical account of the events of April 19, 1943, when Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann ingested an experimental dose of a new compound known as lysergic acid diethylamide. He’s also, incidentally, the designer of the North Americans’ cover from the review earlier this morning. While his style is a feast for the eyes, its inherent psychedelism makes its perfect for the album cover and I’d asked him to pick five favorite covers of all time for the Design Inspiration column. Check out Brian’s picks below and if you get a chance to pick up any of his work outside of his albums and books I’d highly recommend it. Keep an eye on Pups In Trouble to snag limited run shirts in lush tye-die that are nothing less than amazing.

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Garcia Peoples

Four albums on Garcia Peoples still sound like they’re tapping into the main nerve driving guitar rock in an era of subdivision and split-hair genres. While Nightcap at Wit’s End lands more refined and textural than their first couple of LPs, it retains the essential spirit that imbued their catalog with life in the first place. With Pat Gubler firmly entrenched in the band and not just a touring player, the Garcias bound off the experience of creating the massive “One Step Behind” to embark on an album that’s more than a gift to the jam — an all encompassing journey between the edges of the platter. Acoustic touches find greater import, letting the band slip past the phalanx of three-pronged guitar whirl laid down by Arakaki/Malach/Spaldo. Flutes bring the mists, organs swell with sinister purpose. The album is decidedly darker and more complex than their shaggy choogle of yore, seeing the band embrace an earnest vision of prog as it might find footing in 2020. Though they’d likely skirt the term, there’s some bones of the Düül and a touch of the Crimson finding its way into the complexity here. As the album wears on, though, some surprising new names enter the fray as well — bearing claw marks of Agitation Free, Roy Harper, and even solo David Crosby.

The first half of the LP sets out to absorb a wider array of cosmic rays, flung wide through their and hurtling out beyond mere stage-born grooves. From the full bore guitar growl that opens “Gliding Through” to the folk touches that seep through the sifter on “Painting A Vision That Carries,” this is Garcia Peoples at their most adventurous. The latter track sees the band marry a touch of Fairport / Trees fingerpick and freakout to their already stuffed basket of influences and it feels good to let in a little softness. Yet if the first side embraces a spin through various progressive heartthrobs of the ‘70s, the second half clinches it.

Flip the record and we find them constructing a suite of songs that lets vision win out over the instinct to set a song to riff. Here they swab the strains of several of the aforementioned ‘70s forbears to create a huge, mercurial set that bleeds one song into the next. The last album took us all on an epic ride, but here they’re building something even more solid. If “One Step Beyond” embraces their drive, then “Our Life Could Be Your Van” has to be something of a core mantra. Which begs the point — I truly regret that our current circumstances mean that its going to be a while before I get to witness these songs taking flight on the stage, but for now this is a hell of a lot to pick through and parse at home.




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Leon III – “Fly Migrator”

A new single slips out under the radar from Houston’s Leon III and the band embraces extended lengths on the winding, almost ten minute “Fly Migrator.” Again produced by Mark Nevers (Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Silver Jews) as was their debut LP, the cut boasts William Tyler on guitar among the nebulous, dawn-light mists. The band rises slow setting into a sauntered grooved before wide vistas of vocal harmonies, misted synths, and shuffling beat. The band never loses cool and while the song feels like it might want to break into fiery guitar, the band keep things simmering just below the boiling point. It’s a nice opening salvo, and I’m interested to see how it might tie into any other new material. No word if this is a standalone offering or if there’s a new LP on the way, but for now, this is a decent amount to chew on.




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