Posts Tagged ‘Rocket Recordings’

OCH

Created out of the ashes of Rocket Recording faves Flowers Must Die, OCH picks up that band’s penchant for progressive grooves and repetition and pushes it further from the pop spectrum and closer to the heart of the cosmic cabal. Corralling rogue noise flares and all manner of psychic sonic creep, the band isn’t afraid to tumble headlong into the darkness. OCH embraces space rock as it was intended – a frictionless slide into the vacuum without a handle to pull yourself back in. There’s rhythm, of course, but it’s not a grounding force here, more like the constant pound of blood and bile threading through your system as you realize that there’s no returning from the vacuum once II is underway.

The band picks at a whole host of influences, from the motoik minded chaos of Guru Guru and the guitar melt of Richard Pinhas (oscillating between Heldon and Schizo). They pick through the bones of the Swedish psychedelic graveyards, using the blade of newcomers like Hills to dig back through Pärson Sound and Träd, Gräs Och Stenar bootleg brilliance. The record vibrates with a delirious energy, pulsing to infinity and slowly stripping away the layers of self as it throttles listeners into the dark recesses of quasar consciousness. The record is longform listening at its best – a corroded dystopia that loops over and over in waves, lapping at the listener with an incessant buzz and a deliriously delightful fry. Lock in and lookout.



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OCH – “NU:64”

Out of the ashes of Flowers Must Die springs OCH. Some (though not confirmed who or how many) members of the band have sprung forth under the new moniker and are working through the detritus of the German Progressive collapse. Locked to a groove that’s as insistent as a heartbeat, the band washes the rinds of their sound in synth tones that hearken to Harald Grosskopf playing homage to Cluster and Popul Vuh. While there’s a Kosmiche nature to “NU:64” its just smoke above the propulsive motor. The band’s album is hard to parse into pieces – winding up more of a soundbath that’s best experienced in the whole, but this nugget is a damn good entry point. Check out the video by Fredric Ilmarson above and begin to sink into the band’s primal ooze. The record lands 2/28 on Rocket Recordings.



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Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs – “Reducer”

Couldn’t be better news this morning than a new Pigs x 7 release on the way. Their breakout, King of Cowards commanded the turntable over here for quite some time. 2020 needs a little shake on the foundations and the thunder rumble of Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs is perhaps just what the universe ordered. They continue to give an inroad of accessibility to their sludge-huffer hammer throw, and while “Reducer” is bound to flatten a few to the floorboards, its also gonna get stuck in your head. The band’s long been exhuming the Monster Magnet x Sleep formula and this launches their stoner-sludge straight into space, lighting the way like a comet. The new LP lands at Rocket on April 3rd. Get prepped.



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Julie’s Haircut

Italian psych collective Julie’s Haircut have been operating under that name since the late ‘90s, but their sound is still evolving, rooted in the boundless cosmic expanse of psychedelia and the darkened recesses of the polyrhythmic groove. The band has collaborated with Sonic Boom and backed up Damo Suzuki, so they were bringing a fairly heavy resume to the table already when they jumped onto UK psych enclave Rocket Recordings’ roster last year. Their second LP for the label pushes their sound further into the recesses of rhythm-wracked psychedelic divination. In The Silence Electric pulsates with a seething intensity boiling beneath the skin. The band just barely contains the tension on tracks like “Emerald Kiss” or “Sorcerer“. When they do let the pulse lie, the album only feels like its pulled into the eerie call before a storm. “Lord Help Me Find The Way” emulsifies their groove into the kind of nebulous humid float that wraps the best Spiritualized tracks.

There’s something elemental about the record. It has a heartbeat hum, that the listener is either chasing down or being pursued by at any moment. Their vocals waft in on vapors that permeate ever inch of the brain, weaving between layers of gray matter while the rhythms work the body. There’s an air of incantation, a ceremonial throb to the record, especially on tracks like “Sorcerer” which embodies their mystic turbulence and spiritual calm. They lace the record with sax, but not in stabbing, bent harmonic hues (at least not until an explosion of violence in “Pharoah’s Dream”), rather it enters as another layer of creeping ambience slicing through the swirling sage. For a veteran band with almost 25 years under their belt, they’ve never sounded more bracing, or more alive. This is a crowning achievement in their catalog.



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Bonnacons of Doom – “Esus”

Liverpool heavies Bonnacons of Doom return to the fold with a new EP that reworks previuos tracks from their debut, with edits by JD Twitch, Liars and, Capac. Also included is a new track, “Esus,” that proves once again why the band is such a stunner in Rocket’s roster. Making good on their name, the track gathers clouds of doom under a megaton blast of guitar and the soaring incantations of Kate Smith. Her vocals push the track towards oblivion as the track growls behind her. The band’s debut was a welcome surprise last year and they’ve apparently been working up some devastating live shows, more of which are on the way. The band embarks on a short UK tour starting on the 30th of August. The EP is out September 13th digital and on limited cassette.



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Djinn

Formed by members of Hills and Goat, and adopting the latter’s proclivity for obscuring identities, Djinn inhabits a style that’s no less psychedelic than its member’s usual haunts, but winds up more experimental than either. Djinn’s debut embraces the free jazz pyrotechnics of Albert Ayler and Don Cherry while also finding solace in the more meditative and serene end of the freeform universe – echoing the haunted ashram of Alice Coltrane and the metaphysical forces of Sun Ra. The band is named after mythical beings – not quite angels, not quite devils – but rather forces of mystery that confuse the senses and play upon the mystical nature of reality. This gives the spirits a bit more agency than their one-dimensional counterparts with qualities that can work towards evil or good. Its as apt a moniker as any for a band that’s cloaked in mystery and seeking to work through noise and nature alike.

The pair weaves through this blend of abrasion and bliss without finding the poles at odds with one another. They achieve a groove that approaches infectious on “My Bankaccount,” then burn down the buoyancy with the following five minutes of improv float and free-associated mumbling of “Rertrand Bussels.” If anything, that track name might be indicative of the only real downside here, the cheeky nature of the titles is sometimes distracting from the disquieting din. Then again, taking oneself too seriously has just the same off-putting effect, so why not slap “Djinn and Djuice” on the title of a song built on sax skronk, a menacing piano totter, and skittering percussion? The record works well in the abstract styles the band seeks to emulate, and while not necessarily coming close to the masters themselves, it serves as more than just mere distraction from the players’ full-time tenures. I’m hoping this isn’t just a passion piece one-off, because it feels like there’s more to grow on here. For now, fans of the freer end of the psychedelic spectra have something to dig into all the same.



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Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation

On their third album Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation embrace wider scope of psychedelia, pushing their lush sound into swirls of hypnotic repetition, languid guitar bliss, silken slow jams, lock-top blues grooves, and a psych-pop shimmer. Having relocated from Stockholm to London, Öhrn and her writing partner in the band Fredrik have teamed up with a cadre of locals to fill out the sound and the new direction is even more polished than their previous incarnation. There’s still a haze hanging over them, but now they’ve added a certain color-saturated oblivion that occasionally feels more comfortable on a towering club sound system than it would from the stage. While this tangent starts out with a pocket full of of Moon Duo, Spacemen 3 galactic dust, they push much further into festival fodder than occasionally benefits their sound. This shift is most readily apparent on “I Can Feel It” and “Desire,” which might have worked better as a 12” pairing, chafing slightly, but still manage to hang on without completely pushing the record off the rails.

Thankfully they pull back the throttle and suck a little serotonin out of the room for cuts that are more about floating in the ether than about transcendence through dance. The sustained tones and spiritual lilt to “Only Lovers” is right out of the Spiritualized playbook and Öhrn pulls off the J Spaceman gravitas with grace. They follow that with another groover that’s a touch more lysergic than your average big budget blues workout, finding room to choogle through the cosmos on “Baby Come On.” Öhrn’s ability to hang her voice on the air like cloud cover is one of her greatest assets and she drapes the dew over much of the second half of the album. She slides out of the euphoric mania of the beginning of the LP for an extended comedown that’s gorgeous, lush, and radiating a shimmer that’s become their signature sound.

All in, the record’s a nice progression from their early echoplex embryo, and it doesn’t let itself stagnate on a sound too long. While a bit of the pop impulses are interesting, too much looses her sense of bliss. When the band’s carving out decadent dreams made of sound, they’re unmatched as far as most of their psych-pop contemporaries are concerned. This feels like a watershed moment for the band before they carve over into the territory earmarked for the Tame Impala, Hookworms, or Temples. Feel free to get to know ‘em now.



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Centrum

Hooked into the drone consciousness of decades of Swedish psychedelia, avant-rock rumblings from across the Atlantic, and progressive nodes from the cosmic German gardens of the ‘70s, Centrum delivers their debut in thrall of the thrum. With members of Hills and Weary Nous in their ranks the duo starts with a solid pedigree. The pair turns För Meditation into an album of deep tissue drop-out that slots alongside contemporaries Myrrors as much as it hooks into the free-psych pastoral history of International Harvester or Träd, Gras och Stenar. Winky umlaut aside, the title’s not just for show here, this is some serious altered state psychedelia, built on a bedrock of harmonic rumble that the band uses to explore molten fuzz guitar runs, mystic organ rituals, and strings that run through Eastern waters.

There’s certainly a meditative state at work here, but the band doesn’t shy away from burning down their temples as well. Tracks saw into the psyche with an insistent OM, but blossom into doom-draped visions of slow-motion destruction by album’s end. The record is fittingly nestled among the lysergic legions of Rocket Recordings, contending nicely with their lineup of higher burning trip makers of late. För Meditation winds up more than its advertised price of inner peace and metronomic pulse, the album is a proper heir to the Swedish sects of psilocybin truth seekers and sweat lodge assassins.



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Paisiel

Released in short supply as a cassette on Portuguese label Lovers & Lollypops last year, Rocket Recordings is giving new life to the eponymous album by Paisiel, the duo of João Pais Filipe and Julius Gabriel. The album’s three tracks are dark sojourns through psychedelic jazz – wrestling with rhythms and running sax down the skin with the menace of a freshly sharpened knife. The pair coax one another constantly throughout the LP, challenging the other to make a step too far, to pierce the psychedelic barrier and scar the psyche beyond repair. On opener “Satellite” the drums pound in the brain with an anxious insistence – skittering in an endless tumult before the foreboding gnash of gongs makes it clear that something transcendental and otherworldly is afoot.

The space rock shivers continue to torment the onset of “Limousine in the Desert,” bandying echo and dust about in a sandstorm of sound that’s only hushed by a return to the polyrhythmic clatter of drums and the lonesome moan of the sax once again. Moans turn to squeals, squeals to squals as the band pounds out ritualistic furor that catches in the throat. The album is drenched in panic sweat, feeling every bit the soundtrack to imminent danger from all directions – the sky, the earth, the mind. There’s a feeling of ayahuasca and adrenaline in the veins and a teeth-clenched sudden realization that maybe there’s no danger at all. By that time the band rolls into the shortest and surest track in their album’s cycle. The panic calms, the dust clears and the earth crystalizes beneath the feet once again. They let the listener go with a grey trickle of rain that nourishes and numbs the psychic wounds inflicted over the past thirty minutes, but the scars remain.




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Josefin Ohrn + The Liberation – “Feel The Sun”

A new single seeps out today from Swedish psych slinkers Joesfin Öhrn + The Liberation. The second single off of her upcoming Sacred Dreams is a hazy bubbler, teeming with rhythmic burble, swirls of echo, and despite the title’s focus on the sun, a darkness that creeps up the spine. Öhrn has long been propping up the more shadowy and less showy end of the psych-pop spectrum, opting for humid atmospheres and an oil painted presence rather than the dayglo colors and high-octane moves of so many riding the psychedelic throttle through pop’s waters. The new record lands April 22nd on her usual stomping grounds at Rocket. Slip into this seether below.



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