Posts Tagged ‘Space Rock’

Frankie and the Witch Fingers – “Cavehead”

Always excited when new nuggets roll out of the Frankie and the Witch Fingers cabal, and they don’t pull any punches with “Cavehead.” The song pounces on their smoke-choked psych end of the spectrum while adding in a delightful dose of playful rhythm. The guitars push far past the Hawkwind-huffer end of the bag of tricks — a leviathan letdown of face-melting space that tears through the wormhole at irresponsible speeds. The embrace of woodblock rhythms push the band as close to post-punk as they’ve ever been, but they’re not going angular just yet. There’s a dance in the DNA here but along with the psilocybin-induced visions of the video this one’s aiming for a higher echelon of disjointed shake. The build lulls the listener into the arms of trance before the Witch Fingers pop the accelerator and fuel their burn with a half-ton payload of amp-fried fury.

The band’s Dylan Sizemore sums up “Cavehead” for the curious “For us, the intention behind this song was to whittle down a 30-minute pattern we had been vamping into something a little more digestible and succinct. The pattern had a neat polyrhythmic nature to it that we really wanted to explore deeper to give it a lively (David) Bryne kind of World Music feel. While we were in the studio listening back to the main tracks, Shaughnessy [Star] and Josh [Menashe] started messing around with these Thai wooden blocks and playing a sort of call and response pattern in this perfect little tight pocket. We were all so excited to add that last little finishing touch that really brought it all home! 

Lyrically the idea behind this song is about everyone being a process rather than a person or persona. You’re not Martha, you’re Martha-ing. With the right type of entrancing groove, sometimes you can get sucked into the essence of what Martha-ing is all about.” The 7” is the band’s first release split between their familiar harbor at Greenway Records and Austin’s Reverberation Appreciation Society.



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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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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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Dhidalah

Back in 2017 Tokyo power trio Dhidalah signed up with GuruGuru Brain and cut a crusher of an EP. Two sides, one song per side and each one a heavy amalgam of space rock and psych with some German Progressive overtones. It was a perfect little pocket universe that dangled the promise of more to come. The band and label seemed a perfect fit and it lit the fuse of expectation. Two years later, seemingly out of thin air the band touches down their debut LP with a whiff of ozone and engine oil. The record, like that EP is packed with lengthy cuts, fleshing this out to four heatseekers, besting the EP’s pervious two side-long kickers. The feelings remain the same from those early days with the air around the record is dense and acrid, swirling with noxious gases like something out of a mockup from ‘70s sci-fi pulp covers. The band eases into the scene with the cosmic creep of “Neuer Typ” before kicking the afterburners into high through the scorch-skidded “Adamski.”

They toggle back and forth between the creosote char of amplifier fry and the Zen of sensory deprivation hallucinations. While the heady excursions into the ether bring solace, their sunburn blasts are lethal and might just take the edge for the band’s more welcome face forward. Sons of Hawkwind that they are, though, there’s no constant crush. The band explodes into atomic particles and bounces signals between them in cooling winds before amazing strength once again. They’ve cracked the code on earthquake DNA and brought seismic rumble to each new terra firma they touch down upon. This kind of release snagging a late-November slot is exactly why the rush to year-end judgment should be avoided. You never know when an album’s going to shake the moorings this hard, and when it does, reverence is owed.




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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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Ecstatic Vision – “Grasping The Void”

Philadelphia space rock rounders Ecstatic Vision have been searching for the connective tissue between Düül, Hawkwind, and the infinite for the past few years. They found themselves in metal’s arms at Relapse but seem equally on easy terms at Italian enclave Heavy Psych Sounds for their latest album. It’s a scrubbed, but still sonically expansive vision that pushes their German Progressive and Swedish psych soundboard to the forefront and adds some nice embellishments of flute to the vortex of sound. First cut “Grasping The Void” pounds the pulse and aims to blast a Monster Magnet-sized hole in the old guard’s umbrella of motorik churn and echoplex ecstasy. The song’s a dizzying dive down the quasar causeway, searching for some ineffable mind expansion among the grind and gauze of the best Space has to offer. If the rest of this beast is half as heavy as this cut, then we’re in for the best the band’s had to offer yet.


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Plastic Crimewave Syndicate

Its been a little while since a Plastic Crimewave project barreled down the halls of Raven, but Krakow and co. were always instrumental in the development of the site. Back when Steve was rolling with Plastic Crimewave Sound, the band contributed to the site’s first compilation. Now the Sound has crumbled and the Syndicate has risen, but the same thread of acid-scratched psychedelia remains. Massacre of the Celestials opens with a yowl of guitar and a veneer of fuzz caked on so thick its hard to wade through the wreckage. Those guitars find their way through though, streaking sickness all over the inflammatory opener “Bound to Seek.’ From there the band dives into the murk, digging their sound deep into a puddle of sludge-psych that’s heavy, leaden and loud as hell.

There’s power in that porridge of sound still and the Plastic Crimewave that barrels out of it crests and demolishes all that stands in its path. Add in a squirm of sax, some spaced-phasing that knocks the mind into astral projection, and the record chomps down some Hawkwind vitamins with the best of ‘em. What I’ve always loved about Krakow’s brand of psychedelic soup is that he’s never even thought twice about pushing it too far. Effects? Double down until you can barely see the light from the haze. Guitar scorch? Make it hurt. Make it third degree. The songs tie together under a banner of excess, but in general its like wading through a surrealist stew that’s sticky, mossy, murky, and humid enough to bring on a fevered froth. Whether you’ve been following the choose-your-own psychedelic adventure with Krakow from the beginning, lapsed and returned, or just toeing in now Massacre is as good as any a place to start. Jump in an swim in the deep end of delirium with them and don’t just try not to think as the temporal shift hits its stride.



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The Cosmic Range

Its such a packed year, that as we enter the mid-point its time to go back and sweep out some of the great releases that got lost in the cavalcade. That includes the sorely under-appreciated sophomore LP from Canada’s Cosmic Range. The band, much like their close contemporaries in Badge Epoque Ensemble, is comprised largely of players who found themselves in and around the backing band from last year’s U.S. Girls release. Featuring the likes of Matthew ‘Doc” Dunn and Maximillian (Slim Twig) Turnbull, the record scratches a familiar itch that claws at the crux of jazz, psych, and funk. The band is dipped and doused in the hash den Ashram of ‘70s Miles Davis on his run between the Brew and the Corner. They’re beset with the same shakes that lit up the nerves on Nation Time and they’re weeding out the same calm collective gardens that Alice Coltrane tended.

There’s more than a little hazed quasar space rock floating in the froth as well and the band pulls the throttle way back for the disquieting loneliness of “Eyes for Rivers” before they spark back up for the double barrel burn of “The Observer.” Rhythm is a constant throughout the album, whether tapping out a tender cosmic sendoff or bringing the punishing pound of a polyrhythmic puzzle. The band’s clearly comprised of seasoned vets bouncing their highest beta wave wobble among the collective consciousness. The record is a heady hit, blown through with psychedelic sax n’ wah fried guitar grooves that’ll sate the most ardent heads out there. If you’ve heard the tangential works that the players have cropped up on, then it should come as little surprise that the alchemy is strong among this bunch. Highly recommended that you lock in and let this one wash over you.




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Oblivion Reptilian – “Draconian”

After Blown Out and Comacozer released a joint LP last year, guitarist Mike Vest (Blown Out, BONG, Melting Hand) and drummer Andrew Panagopoulos (Comacozer) decided the only proper idea was to take the collaboration further and create their own band. Despite living on opposite sides of the globe a new spark was lit under the name Oblivion Reptilian. Seemingly taking the conspiracy nonsense of a Reptilian Agenda as the base for the new band, the duo kicks off with “Draconian,” an 8+ minute space shredder that sews the seams shut between Acid Mother’s Temple, High Rise, Earthless, and Helios Creed. The band’s set to lay out five huge instrumental wormholes over the rest of the album, and if they’re half as heavy as this first offering, the record threatens to sink into the Earth like a doomed and damned artifact of civilizations that spit in the eyes of gods.



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Frankie and the Witch Fingers

Frankie and the Witch Fingers have long found a home here at Raven Sings the Blues. From the garage gutwrench of Heavy Rollers to last year’s psych-soul shakedown, Brain Telephone, the band has been burning more ozone than most and I can’t get enough. Impressively, after that synapse-singer from last year, they’re back and burning on a bigger scale with a double LP for new home Greenway Records. The band doesn’t take a break it seems, and that urgency finds its way into the work. In fact, ZAM’s entire ethos is breathless in nature, boiling their fuzz-dipped licks into a psychedelic steam that’s born to singe.

Taking a few cues from fellow lysergic warlocks Oh Sees, the band is melting down details from Krautrock, funk, soul, psych, and space then ladling them into the loving cup atop the alter of Hawkwind. They’re irradiating the populace with enough high-beam hijinks and amplifier fry to bring on bouts of fuzz-fed hysteria and truth be told; the band has rarely felt more in their element. Barreling down Main like a Tarkus tripped out with half-stacks, rippin’ cracks in the pavement, ZAM is the maelstrom made flesh and set to scorch. This LP certainly isn’t made for mediation, so it’s best to buckle in. ZAM is made for mayhem and motion – grinding out grey matter melters with deadly precision on every track.

While the bulk of the album sees the band in full-form freakout, they do take things down every now and then, just to air out the fallout and survey the damage. The all too brief respites roll the record in a sultry scent of electric sex, slipping into the husk of rock n’ roll’s promise and pulling the straps tight. Thing is, ever time the band turns down the burner, you know they’re only waiting to grab the electrodes, double-charge the groove and send it tearing into town like an acid-fried golem. After an hour or so of psychedelic chaos, they slip off into oblivion and never look back. This is a record built on excesses and its all the better for never reigning in its scope. If you’re prepared to unlock a third, fourth and fifth eye and huff in the fever sweat of the soul, then look no further.




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