Posts Tagged ‘Psych’

Tim Presley’s White Fence

The most striking thing about the new White Fence is that its now come packaged as Tim Presley’s White Fence. Its an odd move for a band that’s essentially one guy. While the multi-bandmember marketing move of branding a band with a “presents” banner brings to mind infighting and egos, a la Eric Burdon and The Animals or Rod Torfulson’s Armada, here it seems to strike a connective tissue between Tim’s recent solo records, numerous collabs and his old standby White Fence. Tim’s on again, off again relationship with the name is, to say the least, confusing. Where does the Fence end and Presley begin? Is White Fence an affectation, or is it just a familiar branded beanie that allows him to bloom outside of the singer-songwriter context?

The answers are not necessarily forthcoming here, but a bigger picture does take shape. The beginning of the record dips into the piano-man ballads that Tim’s been slinging on the side. Then he douses it with a bit of the warble-wonk weirdness that he’s found with Drinks (his collab with Cate Le Bon). Before long though, its back to the ’60s strummers of yore. “Lorelei” wrestles with Presley’s inner Kevin Ayers, but its “Neighborhood Light” that’s the standout here. It’s the most proper answer to what White Fence really is – loose, jaunty, swingers that pick at the bones of John Cale, Arthur Brown, Ayers, Skip Spence and yeah the ol’ specter of Syd. More than just emulating though, Tim’s finding the webbing between the outsiders, and that makes White Fence an enduring prospect. Most of the names on that list, bar Cale, would burn out well before any sense of longevity would set in. Tim gives reason to believe that there was far more gas in any of their tanks that we, as a listening public, got to explore.

I Have To Feed Larry’s Hawk is a further tumble down Tim’s costume box, breathing in the essence of the guitar freak grasping to translate fractals into fingerpicks without dropping down the acid-casualty escape hatch. Perhaps the best example here is “Until You Walk,” a crumpled tin tango that’s breezy and beatific – if the breeze was pulling downwind from a massive gas leak. Its hard not to find something refreshing in Tim’s insistence on not only coloring outside of the singer-songwriter lines, but adding several layers of touch-up to the coloring book in fanciful curlicue while he’s at it. Everything in White Fence’s world is applied n colors that can’t be ignored and refuse to blend in, and Larry’s is one of the most fully realized examples of that ethos yet.



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The Murlocs – “Comfort Zone”

Well if its a slow year for King Gizz (and it damn well should be, take a well-deserved break) then it seems time for the tangents to get back in the swing. The Murlocs’ last saw them on solid ground, steadily taking their place next to Gizz proper as more than just a side project. On “Comfort Zone,” though, Ambrose Kenny proves that he’s set to push this next album even further. With a vibe that’s definitely channeling ’70s Elton, the song stumbles and staggers through broken-soul motions with a deep well of heart and hurt. The accompanying video on the other hand posits some real Johnny Got His Gun feelings paired up with slasher/revenge fantasy fic. Not sure the two seem to correlate, but the song’s one of the locs’ best, giving some real heft to the anticipation for the upcoming LP on Flightless.

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Flamingods – “Marigold”

Picking up more than a few similarities to indie’s pervasive and over-the-top psych-pop personalities – throwing Animal Collective, Thee Oh Sees, Temples and Tame Impala in a Vitamix and scrambling ‘til smooth, the London quartet Flamingods seem on the edge of household familiarity with their latest single. The UK via Bahrain band is widening their scope of influence even further on the upcoming Levitation, scooping up inspiration from Mid-East and South Asian funk, psych and disco from the ‘70s. While first single “Marigold” doesn’t quite sound like a lost trinket from the South Asian delta, it’s a pretty blistering bit of excess splattered pop that puts the band on par with Psychedelic Porn Crumpets in terms of welding guitar volume to heady shakedowns for a pretty fun ride. Naturally, this one caught my eye (as with Shana Cleveland) due to artwork from RSTB fave designer Ardneks. Moshi Moshi’s got the album arriving on May 3rd. Can’t wait to hear more from this one.



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The Dandelion – “Every Other Day”

Sydney psych-pop acolytes The Dandelion pick up plenty of cues from Broadcast and Sterolab, but there’s also a glam element that comes away sounding like Vashti Bunyan working through a repertoire of T. Rex covers. The band came bubbling to the surface on the roster of last year’s GizzFest (King Gizz’ own hometown hoedown picking out the best of Aussie psych) and they’re prepping for an upcoming LP soon. The band’s interim, three track offering on French label Six Tonnes De Chair ably displays the Krautrock ripples of repetition, the good ol’ fashioned garage rock getdown and the flowers-in-their-hair throwback qualities that makes the band so endearing.

The title track is the most indebted to the ghost of Trish Keenan, though the band are definitely working on a less technical and more from-the-hip angle than Broadcast. Organs bubble through the headphones in cellophane-wrapped lysergic colors while Natalie de Silver’s voice whispers from some forgotten plane of existence. “Lucifer and the Knife” brings that Bolan boogie to the forefront, shimmying along the edges of astral projection. They actually hit on a lot of the same vibes that Meg Remy and U.S. Girls were simmering in during their Gems period. Then the band closes out the record with the instrumental killer “Malkaus,” shaking down enough crystal-funk spine shivers to keep the listener baking in bliss all the way home.

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Sunwatchers – “Greeneyed Pigmen (Get The Blade)”

There’s no better moment in time than for a band like Sunwatchers to exist than at the apex of culture and confusion that is 2019. The band’s sociopolitical leanings and egalitarian ethics welded to a psych-punk soul are only more confounded by the band’s dual love for free jazz tumult. Without an ounce of reservation they rain down fire on an audience that needs a good shot in the ribs every now and then to stay on task, because if Sunwatchers are anything, it’s hard to ignore. The second offering from their upcoming Illegal Moves barrels out of the gate with a getaway gusto, scattering scraps of Hawkwind LPs along the roadside and fueling the tank on the fumes of Mnehiro Narita and Kawabata Mokoto guitar solos. “Greeneyed Pigmen (Get The Blade)” is as cutting as anything the band have rattling around their catalog, and as usual the lightning strike of Jeff Tobias’ sax finishes the listener with precision panache. Gonna want to pick this one up in all its furious glory when it drops on Feb. 22nd.



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Lorelle Meets The Obsolete

Mexican shoegazers Lorelle Meets The Obsolete have been something of a fixture on RSTB for some time, so it was great news when I got wind the band had knocked down much of their past writing habits, built an album largely around synths and started up their own imprint to release it. De Facto‘s a biting bit of tongue in cheek, given that this is anything but a stock Lorelle album. While it shares the band’s love of obfuscation and crackling walls of sound, the album is at once more experimental and more pop than they’ve ever let on before. The band broke away from the pervasiveness of a screaming guitar build and buried vocals on 2016’s Balance, but that still bore a pretty heavy footprint of where they’d been. De Facto cracks open the door slowly, with “Ana” creeping in on almost nothing at all, just a skeletal pulse and Lorena Quintanilla’s silken vocals. The track is a bit of a red herring, as the band immediately jettisons the restraint by the next track, pinning their dreampop to a pulsing beat and a sweaty pop pound before winding their way through stylistic nooks over the next seven tracks.

While they’ve long included their native tongue in their works, De Facto is also notable for being their first album to feature no trace of English and it feels like the band embracing themselves like never before. This is the unfiltered Obsolete, not afraid to walk away from the corner they’ve been painted into by years of expectation. There’s often been a squirm of discomfort in their songs, even when easing into the ether, but here it feels like they’re finally letting the tension melt and with it letting the listener melt along with them. The album pools in gossamer puddles that swell to flooded fields once the band flips the switch to deluge. Their unparalleled ease only makes the fuzzed payoffs more satisfying once they finally loosen the hatches here. With each listen, De Facto opens itself to more shimmering moments shoegaze/dreampop perfection. Both genres have long been maligned by a generation of half-assed accolytes, but Lorelle Meets the Obsolete prove that there’s still juice in the tank when its done without reservations.

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Ash & Herb – “Salt Lick”

Notch another win for the constant creep of Cosmic Americana and East Coast freak psych, Ash & Herb are back and things are woollier than ever. After a solid offering from MV&EE house label Child of Microtones, the duo have a new 7″ on the way from Maine label Flower Room and the A-side’ll knock you sideways. The band is gearing up for album #2, titled Dome Cookbook (channeling Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic vibes, eh) but before they go that route the band is kicking out a double shot single. “Salt Lick” ropes in a previously unfelt funk to the mix, pinning a chooglin’ beat to spacey keys and reverbed marinated vocals for a track that’s keeping pace with their circle of contempos in Wet Tuna, MV & EE, and Mountain Movers, while also feeling like a force all their own. The band’s debut owed a lot to the shrouded school of forest folk, but its clear with the release of “Salt Lick” that they have no intention of blending into the bushes by the time that second LP rolls around. This is a stacked high bonfire party track that’s begging to be blasted to the top canopy of any camp out. Too bad its January, but keep this on file for the coming spring thaw.



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Garcia Peoples – “Feel So Great”

Less than a year on from their debut this past summer, Brooklyn’s Garcia Peoples are back at the helm with another burner on the docket. Opener “Feel So Great” lightly pushes aside their penchant for Cosmic Americana to go for the psychedelic burn proper, driving a low-slung riff with the prowess of vets twice their age. The harder edge doesn’t keep the ebullience away – the song opens up to a steam-bath cooldown in the middle before hitching the groove back up for a ride out of town. Yet this is definitely a different side of the band from what was on display on Cosmic Cash. Less of the Dead at play here, replaced by shades of Neil Young’s oft-maligned (and wrongly so) ’90s output, though the band claims that The Who’s sweat-soaked live shows were the inspiration for the song. Still working overtime to make believers out of a generation of jam deniers, Garcia Peoples show no sign of flagging, slumping of sagging on their sophomore outing.


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Khana Bierbood

For their latest, Guru Guru Brain reaches outside of their bubble in the belly of Japanese psych to pick up newcomers from Thailand, Khana Bierbood. Their debut album, produced by Kikagaku Moyo’s Go Kurosawa, takes its cues from the faded aesthetics of scavenged record finds from the ‘60s and ‘70s. The band mixes lite splashes of psychedelia with traditional Thai nods and packs them up with a healthy dose of surf – spreading barrel roll twang all over this record in liberal helpings. They’re able to wield the beach vibes at speeds of simmer and sweat. On “Starshine” the twang just delicately licks at the feet of the song, giving a bit of motion to soft ocean breezes and the baked in comfort of the sun. As the needle clicks to the next track, though, they’re bending the strings for maximum surf mania, feeling like the song dives into the heart of the curl and leaves the listener to soak in the adrenaline of human vs. nature.

Like the rest of the Guru Guru roster, the band’s amping up Western psych pastiche, adding a new layer of interest via an injection of traditional rhythms and textures from their own past. Though, the band (and producer) seem to embrace the past wholesale here, giving not only the cover a touch of the ‘60s aesthetic, but running the whole thing through a layer of adhesive and dirt to give put that faraway sound on top of the band’s psych. Occasionally the grist filter can distract from the band’s crispy surf splatter. The effect could maybe be used on an intro and outro base to give the platter the same time-shifted sense. Still, Khana Bierbood prove to be consummate purveyors of fuzz-toasted twang regardless of how crisp it lands. The record is a worthy addition to GGB’s spotless roster.



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Masaki Batoh – “Tower of The Silence”

Though he’s long popped up on contemporaries’ records, and issued a clutch of essentials along with The Silence, Masaki Batoh’s solo records have often leaned into a more experimental approach rather than bring to mind his days in Ghost (the one and only, imo), which, makes his upcoming LP, Nowhere so exciting. The album digs into the same haunted well that wrought so many lonesome, ominous essentials from his former band. “Tower of The Silence” is built on a tangle of fingerpicked guitar that buoys alternating moments of reverential silence and impending doom. Even counting in The Silence’s catalog, its one of the best pieces to emerge from Batoh’s catalog in quite some time, feeling like it must already exist within the harbinger hollows of Ghost’s psychedelic dioramas. If the piece is any inkling as to how the rest of Nowhere will play out, then fans are in for something of an essential. Check out the bone-dry video above and look out for the new album in February.



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