Posts Tagged ‘Psychic Ills’

Psychic Ills – “Never Learn Not To Love”

Over the tenure of this blog Psychic Ills seem like such a load-bearing staple that its hard to believe that songwriter Tres Warren has passed. The band evolved through myriad incarnations — mutating lineups and sounds through the psychedelic swamp. Their early record were nerve-bitten and bracing when others were looking to hang onto more of a pop life raft. Then Warren and his compatriots worked their way to a sort of psychedelic ebullience on their final album, Inner Journey Out, a poison-tipped country-psych ramble that stood as one of their best. While its bittersweet to know that there was yet another album in the making that may never reach our ears, this double sided ode to the relationship between Dennis Wilson and Charles Manson is a lovely curio of remembrance. The band tackles both The Beach Boys’ “Never Learn Not To Love,” the song that was based on Manson’s “Cease To Exist” and part of his rift with Wilson over changes made to the final version. The version here is lush and hazy, wrapped in the same sort of beautiful grace that marked their last album.

On the flip they tackle Manson’s original and give it a much starker treatment, letting the two versions stand in contrast to one another — the former a comforting shoulder and the other a cold rebuke. Both versions are quite worth your time, and wind up an essential pickup for any longtime fans of the band’s catalog. Warren will certainly be missed and reworks like this only prove why that’s true.




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Psychic Ills – “Baby”

I’ve sung plenty of praises on both Psychic Ills’ new album, Inner Journey Out and standout country psych jammer “Baby,” but pairing a perfectly hazy song with a faded, ’70s Urban Cowboy treatment warrants repeating how worth your time this one is. Jason Evans sums up the sweaty summer vibes and pent up “Gimme Shelter” simmer that the band have created on the song. He’s created characters that feel sympathetic and real, balancing their hope against the songs deep burn. Apparently this is only the first half as the video’s credits tease a part two to come. If you are still standing there, not owning this Ills record then I don’t know what else I can do to sway ya.

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RSTB Best of 2016 (so far)

Ok, so deep down I know that the half-year best-of rundown is becoming an expected bit of mid-year clickbait listicle self-love. It’s a totem that’s somewhat unnecessary, seeing how at the end of the year votes get tallied and the same releases get pondered. But since I also have the nagging gnaw that a culture of collective consciousness music press will result in plenty of homogeneous diatribes about what’s been considered the cream of ’16, I figure that it’s worth it to shine some light on a few deserving entities that are gonna to be left out of the party.

Some outlets have gone so far as to tell the world that 2016 has been super stressful for them, what with all the surprise albums needing their immediate attention. Sleepless nights in the review mines, I’m sure. Caffeinated burns through the wee hours that are called upon because absorption of albums over time is heresy these days. No time to listen deep because those other sites are stealin’ your views, siphoning clicks, and by next week those cuts will be far too stale to talk about anyhow. RSTB’s always there to let you know that sometimes its OK to let an album fester under your skin a while. Review it late, review it early, but maybe listen long enough to learn how it impacts you—or at least how it sounds in the car vs. the speakers vs. the headphones.

I’m starting to think that sometimes best should be more relative and less quantitative, and maybe it might be fun if there were a few more outlets with a true voice. But, so went the airwaves, so go the reviews, eh? Ah, maybe I’m just old fashioned. Anyhow, here are the picks. Remember RSTB is never content (n.), and never content (adj.).

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Psychic Ills

Psychic Ills have spent a career playing to their particular whims and tacking them to the same name so kudos to not necessarily feeling that a new direction warrants a new band outright. People evolve and change and the band’s let the Ills name tag along through their phases. True there’s a part of me that has a hard time believing that the sunburnt country on display on Inner Journey Out – dappled with the buttery slide of steel pedal and fuzzed ever so slightly with strums – is the same band I saw sweltering in the July heat at the old McCarren pool in BK with a handful of faithful stragglers. But though the noise of those days is gone, baked off and smoothed into an excellently world-weary sigh, they’re still the same psychic troubadours at heart. The songs are ringed with smoke that languidly curls in effortless rings. The album has the feeling of having seen the world and finding yourself older, but not mellowed, just more accepting of the fact that the din (or Dins as it may be) isn’t the only way to kick up dust.

One Track Mind hinted at the shift in tone, but even then there weren’t the orange and cream tones that seem to color the bulk of Inner Journey Out. This is an album steeped in motel balcony nights, when the air is warm and thick… desert nights. There’s little about the album that feels tied to the city, or the East Coast for that matter. Its dusted with the squint of sun through dried palms and the heat warbled tilt of orange as it dips below the horizon. The band’s spent a long time getting to this point but, to be honest, wearied experience looks good on them. This is the sounds of a band playing with texture and writing what feels honest, even if its not tied to what’s expected. The album is psychedelic without putting your face in it. Like a trick of the light, its got more than one side that shows at any given time. Blink and it changes in a blur.



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Psychic Ills – “Baby”

Had you told me back in 2006 that the dark clatter of Dins would eventually beget a country album that features Hope Sandoval, I’d probably have laughed. Didn’t really seem the fit for Psychic Ills, who were playing basement shows that made the walls sweat with psychedelic ooze. Cut to a decade later and the band has followed their wits through a range of styles and psych country seems a good fit for them. “Baby” has a soft lilt that leans well and warbles ever so slightly in the summer air. Its a song that the band seems to make sound effortless, though its clear this is probably the most polished they’ve ever been. By the time the pedal steel seeps its way into the room, marbled and smooth, the track’s been cemented as a top earner in their catalog. With the first couple of dips into Inner Journey Out hanging around, I can’t wait to let this hit the table and soundtrack pretty much any weekend afternoon.




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