Posts Tagged ‘rstb 13’

Garcia Peoples

I’ve already broken down both halves of this LP as track posts, but this one’s a true 2019 crusher so it deserves proper credit in the long rundown. To echo the label, two tracks doesn’t make this release an EP, so don’t do it the disservice of calling it one. One Step Behind embraces the Garcias’ prowess for improvisation (as best observed in the live setting ) and amplifies it with ventures into psychedelic jazz and slow-burn downer epics alike. The title track gets most of the focus, which seems warranted given it’s the most ambitious recording the band has ventured in the studio to date. Recorded with Jason Meagher at Black Dirt, the track times in over the half-hour mark and the band doesn’t waste a minute of it, taking the listener on a multi-part journey and employing guitarist Tom Malach’s father Bob on Saxophone to drive this one through the Cherry/Sun Ra cosmic curtain.

The band builds the beginning into a circular riff, sliding off of the jam/psych axis for a while and into a minimalist float that locks somewhere between Terry Riley and Steve Hillage’s Rainbow Dome Musick. When Mallach Sr. hits the speakers he brings the full force and nuance of his years locked in sessions with everyone from Stevie Wonder to Arto Lindsay and his sax proves dexterous and devastating in equal measures. The band exits the psych-jazz rumble with a powerslide into their expected, but always welcome vision of Cosmic Americana and it’s just as drenched in sunshine curls and verdant strums as any of their works. The track tears into its second half with a twin guitar attack but the band makes it feel like they’ve hardly broken a sweat. The song is a proper showcase of all that makes the Peoples tick – technical skill, boundless enthusiasm for elevating guitar rock, and grooves that can’t and won’t be denied. The band’s played extended and abridged versions of the track live lately and both work incredibly well, a further flex of their arranging skills.

After all that, they still have the energy for an eight-minute closer that channels the broken and beautiful excess of Gene Clark’s No Other, albeit with a good deal less cocaine dusting the edges. With a swap in songwriting duties, the band shifts bassist Derek Spaldo to the piano and new permanent keys player (and man of many instruments) Pat Gubler to flute for a late night, whiskey-soaked comedown dedicated to lost love. It’s one of the more tender moments in the Garcia Peoples songbook, and it’s good to see them shading in their edges beyond expectations. The whole record leaves the listener twisted and torn, lifted and lowered. I can’t predict where the band goes from here, but standing on the precipice of this release I can only imagine they’re going to completely tear down what it means to be a jam/psych/choogle/rock band in 2019 and rebuild it in their own image.




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Garcia Peoples – “Heart and Soul”

The other half of this new Garcia Peoples platter found its way out yesterday and it’s a damn fine shade on them. Unmoored from the band’s usual groove, the flip to their epic One Step Behind finds the band whiskeyed down in the pre-dawn light, feeling out the bottom of the soul under the flickering bare bulb of yearning. Putting Derek Spaldo’s keys front and center, the song takes the band through country-scarred territory they’ve only hinted at before. The song dives into the large statement sadness of No Other-era Gene Clark in a way that most contemporary artists could only hope to scratch. While the band has cemented their status as kings of the stage — no matter how big or small — with this record they’re proving that the studio is just as much a home, and a place to carve out ecstatic highs and crushing lows that forever reverberate in their two-inch loop around the soul. If this one isn’t already on your wishlist for 2019, this damn well better seal the spot.



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Garcia Peoples “One Step Behind (Single Edit)”

It would be disingenuous to say that Garcia Peoples rise over the past year has been anything short of impressive. Following their sophomore LP for Beyond Beyond is Beyond in February they’ve become staples of the live circuit in NYC (a quick dig through Archive.org or NYC Taper will confirm their prowess in the room). They’ve opened a slew of dates with Chris Forsyth and Kurt Vile, fleshed out their sound with the help of new permanent member Pat Gubler (Wet Tuna, P.G. Six), cut a lightning crack studio session with Hans Chew, and now they’re onto their second album of the year. Some might think the second helping would leave the band wanting for material, but it’s a goddamned smorgasbord at the Garcia’s house and we’re all invited. Taking their improvisational prowess from the stage to the reels, the band is issuing a 32-minute epoch of a title track that brings Guitarist Tom Malach’s father, Bob on board for a deep dive through space jazz that upends everything you’d expect going into a new Peoples record.

Diving deeper into the mercurial depths than they ever have before, the band eschews their usual groove to get lost in a bit of the cosmic wilds for a patch. Malach, the elder, used to knock down sessions with everyone from Miles Davis to Arto Lindsay to Stevie Wonder so this is no nepotism knockout, this is a familial team-up for the ages. Ah-ah, but you’re gonna have to wait until the full platter’s out of the oven to hear Bob’s double overdubbed sax goodness. Right here is the radio edit, a line closer to what they’ve been playing live for the track. Heard this the other night when they opened for KV and it hit just as hard — the band workin’ up their own “Playing in the Band’ alchemy. They sync up in full symbiosis, playing off of one another with the veracity of players with twice as many trips ‘round the sun and its a delight to watch.

The band’s Danny Arakaki peels back the curtain on One Step Behind’s origins. “We had a great time recording this track,” grins Arakaki. “Many highlights involved. One being, Tom’s dad, Bob Malach, coming to the studio to lay down the sax tracks (which you’ll hear later on the full-length album version of the song) and after killing it, casually saying, “fooled em’ again.” Great to see Tom and his dad work together. Every time we make the trip out to Black Dirt Studio we end up finding new sounds too. That has everything to do with the way Jason (Meagher) works with us. Positive vibes all around. Enjoy the changes and ride the tune.” The record lands October 18th on Beyond Beyond is Beyond. Best be ready.

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Jefferey Alexander

Its already been a pretty impressive year from Jeffrey Alexander. The recently released Dire Wolves album is fresh in RSTB’s best of the year and he’s got a solo jaunt on the way from Feeding Tube. This time the maelstrom that marked Grow Towards The Light is tempered. Instead, the album explores solo sojourns through the dark, favoring instrumentals that scrape at the corner debris of psychedelia and churn the subconscious a turn or two while they’re at it. Alexander’s pieces creep through the echo, delicate and dewy with hope in some spots (“Rewinding”) but more often creeping with eerie unease. There’s a dusting of crackle and hiss, not unlike The Caretaker’s most recent explorations into the trauma and trials of dementia, only here the forlorn linger of jazz halls is replaced with a lost echo of bittersweet psych-folk. The memories crumble on like a found hurdy gurdy left to rot in the woods, revived by the ghosts of an intangible past.

Wedged between these pieces, Alexander also places two top-shelf psych stunners that don’t go the instrumental route. Traveling down a bit of the Golden Road, he divines the midnight, pre-dawn shivers that would wear well on any release on Child of Microtones. Both songs are haunted and hushed, driven by firelight and solitude. Its a nice companion for recent releases by Ash & Herb and Wet Tuna, among others – a mountain pass primer of nocturnal psychedelic bliss. As usual, both Alexander and Feeding Tube don’t disappoint.



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Dire Wolves – “Spacetime Rider”

Dire Wolves are back in the feed today with a video for what’s probably my favorite cut off of their upcoming LP, Grow Towards The Light. “Spacetime Rider” melds their psychedelic folk with, naturally, a cosmic dosage of Space Rock. The underbelly courses with a throbbing wave of groove causing the head to nod almost unconsciously, but atop the metronomic pulse Georgia Carbone’s vocals weave a hypnotic spell, moaning incantations, mantras, and meditations in a haze of humid heat. Jeffrey Alexander’s guitar threads the needle with slippery perfection while Arjun Mendiratta’s violin saws and swings through the track in wind-whipped gusts. Aside from live tracks, which often find the band sinking deep into the psychedelic haze, this is probably one of the best distillations of the band’s sound- a heady vortex that’s as delightful as it is disorienting. Check out the natural splendor of the band’s video above.

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Garcia Peoples

It seems like just a few months ago that Jersey’s young gun guitar greats Garcia Peoples graced us with their debut, Cosmic Cash. That record, born out of the cutout bin clamor for a resurgence of ‘70s denim draped sounds, was the soundtrack to summer haze in 2018. The band made a strong case for a return to the karmic well, divining the spaces between The Dead, Hot Tuna, Mountain Bus, Mighty Baby, and FAT. Yet, despite the band’s Arakaki brothers barely even scratching this temporal plane of existence when the tape trades swapped to file transfers, the band evokes quite convincingly a headier era, when the way to peace lie in between the woven lines of interlocked guitars soaking up the sun.

They, along with a few other keepers of the Cosmic Cloth who’ve stepped out of the smoke in the last couple of years, have been warding off the sour taste left behind by frat bros soaked in spilled vape liquid and sweat who can’t stop telling you how much better Widespread is in the pocket. Instead they foster an environment of bucolic guitar nirvana that’s a bit sunnier and a touch smarter, zeroing in on the positivity and playfulness one would expect from a band with such a pointed moniker. The new album straddles finely the line of grass between the edge of the city and the beginning of the country. Natural Facts is a still full of the cool breezes that blow as you tumble down that Black Mountainside (see: “Weathered Mountains”) but they’ve added a touch of toughness into the formula this time around. The city seeps up through the cracks in the soles of their shoes, giving the guitars a bigger bite that also soaks the record in a greater sense of relief when the band loses themselves in the roiling waves of dual guitar euphoria that can only be amplified when they’re fleshed out on stage.

Speaking of the stage, the band has already built themselves quite a live reputation, which often makes a hard transition to the record. For any band whose live sets read > like > an > expression > of > equation rather than a bulleted list, compartmentalizing the flow to two sides of wax can prove a challenge. The band escapes for the most part unscathed, eschewing the suite method they’d employed on their last album and giving the tracks on Natural Facts a cap around the five-minute mark. They manage to engross still within these truncated lengths, while making the album flow with the ease of a band used to sewing their songs into an aural tapestry. Short order, if you were on board the train last album, then you won’t be disappointed here. If you’re just now buying the ticket, then Natural Facts will drop you at the edge of the psychedelic veil just as gently.



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