Posts Tagged ‘Psych’

Ty Segall & Freedom Band

As January rolls around each year, it seems that it’s becoming an expected event for Ty Segall to roll out a full length that’s wrapped in his latest personal stamp. The rest of the year is packed with personal projects, side endeavors, producing, and guest spots, but January is where the big statements get laid down. Last year he teamed up with Steve Albini for a record that tempered the fire for some true pop moments. The year prior he’d burnt down all pop notions for a record that embraced the squirm under the skin. This year he unfolds his double-size gonzo gatefold vision of rock history and it’s supremely satisfying.

Freedom’s Goblin not only culls from Segall’s own personal rock alters, with Bolan boogie butting heads with ten tons of pelvis shakin’ riffs, it acts as a bit of a celebration of rock’s excess and endurance in general. The album does its best to let glam stomp rest easy alongside the AOR country of The Band. It repurposes the disco-funk of Hot Chocolate as a companion piece to Contortions-style skronk. It swaths punk’s pummel in the chirping headspins of psychedelia, breaking down the nugget of rock ‘n roll into heavy-panting visions of fret board mayhem doused the hot house sweat of soul-worn horns.

The core of Freedoms Goblin is that it embraces the notion of making a big record. Not that Ty hasn’t made a proper, heavy studio affair in the past, there’s no denying that fact – but what defines this record is its vastness, its heaviness, its excess, and its embrace of those qualities. That’s not to call this a bloated record, on the contrary, it’s stuffed but not waddling from its own indulgences. Instead FG is a house party with a curatorial ear on the DJ, building out a record that unfolds like someone relishing their ability to collect the skattered pieces of recorded history and reinvest those sounds in new songs.

There’s a cracked glee to the record that feels like Segall may never have had this much fun cobbling together an album. In a year that also boasts a record from rock’s own anointed king, Jack White, I think that Ty might have just gone and stole fire for Olympus with this one. He’s proved he’s not only worth mentioning in the same breath as the established court of “rock’s saviors” he’s worthy of topping the list.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Ilyas Ahmed

Always nice to see a familiar name waft up in the release schedule, especially one from an artist that’s been carving out his nice for more than a decade. Ahmed’s been entrancing the world with his foggy take on psych-folk since 2005’s great Between Two Skies. In the time between that debut and now he’s made time on Digitalis, Immune, Time-Lag, and Root Strata – not a bad little resume, if you ask me. His latest finds the artist landing at UK label MIE, and as expected, it’s full of sunset-hewed folk that’s wound loosely with a netting of gauzy, amp-buzzed production. Ahmed’s in no hurry, never has been, and the yarns on this album unravel with a stately grace that finds some common ground between American Primitive and the hushed 90’s indie of Low or Bedhead.

The record is mostly Ahmed alone, and it feels that way, lonesome and isolated. It’s a recurring feeling in the artist’s discography. He’s born out of a psych-folk aughts school that lionized the tortured troubadour holed up in a cabin with a 4-track by his or her side. Here he enlists at least a little help though, with Jonathan Sielaff of Golden Retriever adding some solemn sax to “Zero for Below.” Closer To Stranger finds Ahmed wrestling, as most do, with strange times and an increasing feeling of isolation in modern society. It grapples with the notion of self and, ultimately finds some sort of a resolve. As he moves further from the static of his early work and into a bit of clarity, Ahmed’s brand of burnt folk ages well and acts as a nice respite from the murky waters of social upheaval.



Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Beautify Junkyards – “Aquarius”

Coming off a solid 7″ entry to Ghost Box’s Other Voices series, the Lisbon band is now embarking on a full length for the label. The first taste is this sparkling, polyrhythmic treat, “Aquarius,” along with a suibtably psyhchedelic companion video. The band melds chugging beats with a veil of sun-squinted haze for a track that’s sniffing at similar territory blazed by Broadcast and Stereolab before them. The band now counts Helena Espvall, formerly of RSTB fave Espers in the mix and that pushes the anticpation up quite a bit from their single. Espvall’s folk work was singularly entrancing and she casts a similar spell here. The track’s got repeat appeal for sure and serves to whet the appetite for a full platter of similarly minded psych-pop. At this point I’m always intrigued as to what’s coming down the Ghost Box pike and rarely have I been disappointed. Great way to start off the year!



Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

CB3

CB3, or less succinctly Charlottas Burnin’ Trio, hail from Stockholm and in the grand tradition of Swedish psych, they echo the the past smoke curls of prog while stoking the fire for a new generation of psych stormers. Heavy, but not dense, the record lays the rhythm section into a black hole pocket and lets the guitars sketch arcs across the listener’s conciousness. They find a balance between their clear pet loves for metal and jazz without wading into the kind of wankery that often bubbles up with bands who fancy themselves scholars of both classes.

Bookended by serene eddies, the band’s tape for UK psych outpost Eggs In Aspic aspires for a prog/space rock permanence and for the most part succeeds, though they could probably push the needle heavier and still retain their sense of agility. That phased pocket that they often suck the bass into could stand a little loosening, letting the rhythm chug whle the storm of drums and guitar unfold. Mid-point highlight “Beware The Wolf” is the band touching the specter of Space Rock with the firmest grasp and the look suits them, though they soon return to the noodling knots that mark their forte. The record shows promise and obvious skill, but also a little greenness that should only ripen on further releases.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard

Well, look at that, just in under the wire if you’re counting. Two digital albums with physical release dates in 2018 are on the docks but all in all the tally’s come in with the Gizz ringing in the new year five albums richer. Their latest is more of a mop up of sorts than an album with any prevailing theme, at least along the level that the band often maintains. It’s proof that they don’t have any true stumbles in their batch, but there’s definitely a sort of clearinghouse feeling to this one, like they might have had some bits that were kicking around waiting for a home. That’s actually self-admitted, with the band’s Stu McKenzie claiming that the album was more “song-oriented” than “album oriented,” which hasn’t really been the case for the prog-psych think tank since 2014’s Oddments.

Like that album, Gumboot Soup feels loose and without restriction. The songs are free to swerve through the band’s own psych swamp, touching on jazz-flecks and fuzz-cakes in equal measure. Sketches of Brunswick East aside, this is actually some of the lightest fare the band have approached this year, which is always kind of fun in my book. I’ve long been a fan of the band’s waterlogged take on psychedelia – swampy, cold, and clammy but without a match light in sight. They’ve spent several albums looking for the spark that would burn down this world and its nice to feel them lean back into their squirming weirdness for a spell.

Gumboot sees the band get slinky, with Ambrose’s flute snaking as a through line for some true gems here. Song-wise there are some great downbeat moments here. They kick things the opposite direction as well, though, with “The Great Chain of Being” acting as one of the band’s most outright metal offerings, feeling like they might have something much heavier in the books at some future point. Tell you what, if the winds bid a Sleep/King Gizzard collaboration I’m all for it, and this might be the foothold to that reality. Similarly “All Is Known” is straight out of the Nonagon playbook, pulling off their usual tricks amiably. The record, for all its inconsistencies, houses no lack of essentials for the collector and curator of King Gizz’ house of psychedelic oddities. If you’re already in the clubhouse then this should feel like eleven new pieces of a puzzle that’s constantly unfolding in real time. Can’t wait to see what this year holds. Though maybe they should sleep.



Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Plankton Wat

Sometimes there’s so much noise floating around the gutter of reviews that a gem from a favorite just quietly slips past the locks. Dewey Mahood has always made the most of his solo endeavor as Plankton Wat, and though it never quite achieves the prominence that his work in Eternal Tapestry has, his lonesome universe is definitely a psych-folk monster on the sly. His latest is a tape for the consistently thick catalog of Skylantern Records. Creeping out of the forest with a dank moss hangover, Mahood is quick to dive into the scorched and smoldering territory of deep vein psych.

For Hidden Path he eschews the vocal route entirely, delving deep into dirge territory and fleshing it out his most touching and at turns, incendiary works. Mahood’s gone far into the burrow of psychedelia for an album that’s caustic and tender, bittersweet and effervescent. There are moments of true joy built into Hidden Path, making this Plankton Wat at its pinnacle. The project has often had a mark of a solo indulgence built in as an write off, but with this, Mahood proves that Plankton Wat is quite the serious endeavor, and one to be reckoned with.






Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Gary War – “Windows and Walls”

Some of the early tape and 7″ slingers that populated RSTB have found themselves slowing in the recent years, so it’s always a bit of a relief that a favorite project still has wheels. Gary War popped up on Sacred Bones, Captured Tracks, Spectrum Spools and Upset The Rhythm at one time or another and now he calls another luminary label home with a new LP coming up on Feeding Tube. The new track shakes off the crust of some of his past psychedelic trappings and breathes a bit of color into the cheeks of his psych-pop palette. “Windows and Walls” is a sunny strummer with just the right amount of faded Kodachrome oiling at the edges. Feeling like after an unhurried hiatus, he’s got something good in store for sure.


Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

F/i – “Space Mantra”

I’m always game to expand my catalog of records that fall under the Space Rock tag and this reissue from Wisconsin’s F/i is a long undersung piece of the genre’s puzzle. The band started with a focus on noise, jumping off from Throbbing Gristle’s innovations and beginning to move towards guitars by the time they recorded a celebrated split with their brother band Boy Dirt Car in 1986. They’d full cement the sound as they embarked on their 1988 album Space Mantra, which would serve as their breakout, and become heralded as a lost classic in psych and noise for years.

Now the record is getting a proper issue on Sorcerer records, cut to the same specs as the RRRecords original. The record is swathed in noise, chugging industrial storms that swirl around, nodding heavily to their earlier work. They take those storms and pin them under the sway of groove and that’s where the record gets interesting – finding a nice mesh of Hawkwind, Neu, Popul Vuh and the aforementioned Gristle. They wind up in similar territory to fellow travelers Loop and its easy to see a long, lingering influence in bands like Moon Duo and Föllakzoid. The band continued on through the early ’00s with several augmentations to their lineup, but this album still remains a high water mark for both the group and the genre.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Lars Finberg

Remember how a certain T. Segall has been dropping some coarse post-punk nuggets, with a heaping helping of Mikal Cronin squalling on the sax? Seems like perhaps those choice moments might have found some incubation in Segall’s collaboration and production of Lars Finberg’s new LP. The first solo outing from Finberg comes late into a career as a noise-pop and garage go-to – holding down time in The Intelligence, A-Frames, Wounded Lion and Thee Oh Sees. However, he seems perfectly at home with his name above the marquee and hunkered down with his cadre of collaborators. The LP isn’t wholly absent from the space that The Intelligence has occupied, but Moon Over Bakersfield certainly hits its own marks, spreading roots into alien punk and acerbic post-punk with equal zeal.

Finberg feels like he’s sinking into a comfortable relationship with discomfort here, doing his best to unseat pop’s stranglehold on indie as often as possible. The record revels in acid-washed sax, dissociated vocal effects and claustrophobic atmospheres, but it also locks down a serious addiction to groove. Finberg rides the bass like a guiding light, peddling rhythm grunged by a heaping helping of distortion as a daily fix. He’s peeling back the skin on his past and letting the sulfur burn away at the tissues of 2017 in a way that’s as addicting as it is unsettling. If you’ve only met Finberg tangentially prior, it’s time to hit him head on.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Jon Porras

Been a while since Jon Porras has been in all our lives, but fear not, he’s making up the lost time with a new solo outing for Geographic North. Over the years, whether solo or with Barn Owl, Porras has found a way to shape atmosphere into hardened glass and to sublimate tones straight to a gaseous torrent of sound that swirls like a storm with teeth. This album, a treatise on algorithmic vs improvised music sees him steadily eroding the staunch mechanics of preset rhythms into a fine powder set loose on the the winds.

He opens the album with a breath of positivity, burbling with synths and a minimal crispness. By the time the next two tracks hit there’s no sign of any sunny demeanor, only the kind of long-faced dread that’s fed by drought and drunk on death. He lifts the veil somewhat as he progresses (especially on “22/7”) but that nagging seed of dread is present and peeling the paint on your resolve through the end of the album. Porras remains, as ever, the master of stark seances that seem to breathe life into mechanical objects. It’s clear that he’s working within the realm of electronic music here but as the tracks breathe and howl, it’s easy to forget the circuits and let the drones weave with your sinews.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments