Posts Tagged ‘UK Psych’

Wax Machine

Brighton’s Wax Machine pick up the yoke on a specific strain of psychedelia that seems to have gone into hibernation over the last couple of decades. With their sun-dappled, earthen approach they lock into the kind of Aquarian psych that’s doused in a permanent humidity — cut through with a quotient of languid jazz, a touch of limber lounge, and a heavy dose of lysergic headspace. The band leans into a microcosm of flute-psych that’s sprung up and, in my own personal opinion needs to dominate the next few years. As much as I appreciate a resurgence of liquid fire sax barreling into psychedelia, the flute feels like the right path to soothe the souls of the stricken in recent times. The band’s nearest tangential acquaintances come from Canada, and this pairs well with the last album and EP from the inimitable Badge Époque Ensemble.

Like their Toronto compatriots, the band finds solace in the experimental seance workshops of The United States of America and their brethren, San Francisco’s poet-pharmacists The Serpent Power. While a lot of publications have grasped at the tendrils of Broadcast in relation to this record, there’s only a bit of Keenan’s inimitable pallor in the vocals but, of course, their exists the same sort of dedication to the cosmic spirit. However, this whole record smacks of an older breed of psychedelic vision. It’s built on the seeds that Broadcast grew their vision quest from in the first place. The songs have a vibration to them that’s natural and beholden to a time of utopian ideals. It’s not a naive record, but it’s hopeful in its absorption of the most verdant valleys of the bygone days of the love, peace, and poetry.

There are flecks of Fifty Foot Hose, Harumi, Silver Apples (minus the triumphant march of technology), and Ultimate Spinach under their skin, and the band funnels their fluid psychedelics into a new dawning of Earthsong solstice rituals. While the band finds a few hooks among the ethers, they’re more about feel than anything else. The record feels fluid, fermented, and fragrant. It’s an ecosystem of psych that launches spores out into the atmosphere and infects everything around it with a feeling of warmth, whimsy, and contentment. This is an vortex of vibe, and you should lock in and sink deep.



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Wax Machine – “Birdsong”

A second peek behind the upcoming Wax Machine album dives deeper into the band’s lysergic depths, ferreting out their jazz impulses and melting them into the furthest reaches of acid psych. “Bird Song” is a damp, mossy cut that finds the band crawling from the coven of fuzz-ravaged West Coast psych into the arms of their own UK folk experimenters. With Joe Boyd’s specter casting a shadow over the track, the band creeps down the same caverns as Susan Christie or even Fairport Convention at their furtherst reaches of unconventional burn. The song stands as a highlight in their upcoming LP. As with like-minded souls such as Dungen before them, they aim to create a studied absorption of ‘60s eclecticism and give it life in a new era. The LP lands March 20th on Beyond Beyond is Beyond.




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Wax Machine – “Shade”

Been in love with the sounds of Brighton’s Wax Machine since I heard them last year and its great news that they’re about to kick out a new LP for Beyond Beyond is Beyond. The band shares a lot of psychedelic DNA with Canadian carousers Badge Époque Ensemble, bridging folk, jazz, and psychedelia like a band dropped out of time. “Shade” is one of their best, laying down a velveteen slink of a groove and lacing it with flutes before diving deep into the vortex of echoplex perfection. While the band has a pretty hard tether to the ‘60s, they’re pulling the countercultural kernel forward to melt the madness of 2020. The band is pure vibe, an aura of cold humidity begging the body to slow down and sink in. The record was produced by Go Kurasawa from Kikagaku Moyo, and the like-minded psych warrior helps bring that aura to full glow. The record rises from the mists at BBiB on 3/20. Saxophone psych is 2019 in the rearview, full steam flute-psych for 2020.

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Mighty Baby – At A Point Between Fate and Destiny

I’ve talked about UK garage-soul band The Action and their fairly essential slab Rolled Gold here before, but up until now there haven’t been a lot of movements in the reissue of post-Action material by the always entrancing and sorely overlooked Mighty Baby. Sundazed has some fairly straight-forward issues of their two LPs and there have been a couple of live boots and unofficial runs here and there, but this attempt by Cherry Red to gather the complete recordings may well be the most ambitious yet, not in the least because it finally gives a fair look into the band’s scrapped third album Day of the Soup, which would see the band move even further from pop song structure and into the kind of live-driven, fluid psychedelia that loomed large on the American West Coast. They may be the most accomplished British band hooked into the style and they’ve long been overlooked by fans of the genre.

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Gun – Gun

Real Gone have put Gun’s eponymous debut LP back on vinyl for the first time in three decades and its good to have it home on wax. The record’s been subjected to CD reissues several times and remains a solid slice of the UK hard rock canon. The band is most notable for being started by Adrian and Paul Gurvitz, a pair of brothers who’d wind their way through plenty of heavy hitters – going on work with Ginger Baker and Buddy Miles in later years, while also popping up in UK nuggets Rupert’s People and The Knack (“Time Waits for No One,” rockers, not “My Sharona”). For a short time Gun also counted YES’ John Anderson among the ranks, which might go some length to explain how the record also served as Roger Dean’s entry to cover art. The band’s sound embraced a towering post-psych, pre-prog aesthetic that drew in symphonics, dripping blues solos and a power-pounded rhythm section that keeps the energy pushed to the cliff.

The band released a follow-up, Gunsight, in 1969, but the album failed to capture audiences as they did with the often-covered single “Race With the Devil.” The band were branded as counterculturists by their label, CBS, but often found themselves at odds with that pitch, even working in a slightly anti-acid song on Gunsight. When the second album sunk, it pushed them away from the Gun name. The brothers formed Three Man Army, which would eventually become Ginger Baker’s Three Man Army after a few albums. This debut Gun album still stands as the pinnacle of their works, though. Tough, almost theatrically over the top in places, and willing to experiment with horn arrangements that weren’t necessarily the norm at the time. The label’s packed it up in a dedicated reproduction of the cover art and some limited red vinyl. There have been boots out there over the years, but this one’s sounding better than any unauthorized issue ever could. Its a grand reminder of when rock had no need to edit itself or even thing about reigning it in.



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Flamingods – “Marigold”

Picking up more than a few similarities to indie’s pervasive and over-the-top psych-pop personalities – throwing Animal Collective, Thee Oh Sees, Temples and Tame Impala in a Vitamix and scrambling ‘til smooth, the London quartet Flamingods seem on the edge of household familiarity with their latest single. The UK via Bahrain band is widening their scope of influence even further on the upcoming Levitation, scooping up inspiration from Mid-East and South Asian funk, psych and disco from the ‘70s. While first single “Marigold” doesn’t quite sound like a lost trinket from the South Asian delta, it’s a pretty blistering bit of excess splattered pop that puts the band on par with Psychedelic Porn Crumpets in terms of welding guitar volume to heady shakedowns for a pretty fun ride. Naturally, this one caught my eye (as with Shana Cleveland) due to artwork from RSTB fave designer Ardneks. Moshi Moshi’s got the album arriving on May 3rd. Can’t wait to hear more from this one.



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The Dandelion – “Every Other Day”

Sydney psych-pop acolytes The Dandelion pick up plenty of cues from Broadcast and Sterolab, but there’s also a glam element that comes away sounding like Vashti Bunyan working through a repertoire of T. Rex covers. The band came bubbling to the surface on the roster of last year’s GizzFest (King Gizz’ own hometown hoedown picking out the best of Aussie psych) and they’re prepping for an upcoming LP soon. The band’s interim, three track offering on French label Six Tonnes De Chair ably displays the Krautrock ripples of repetition, the good ol’ fashioned garage rock getdown and the flowers-in-their-hair throwback qualities that makes the band so endearing.

The title track is the most indebted to the ghost of Trish Keenan, though the band are definitely working on a less technical and more from-the-hip angle than Broadcast. Organs bubble through the headphones in cellophane-wrapped lysergic colors while Natalie de Silver’s voice whispers from some forgotten plane of existence. “Lucifer and the Knife” brings that Bolan boogie to the forefront, shimmying along the edges of astral projection. They actually hit on a lot of the same vibes that Meg Remy and U.S. Girls were simmering in during their Gems period. Then the band closes out the record with the instrumental killer “Malkaus,” shaking down enough crystal-funk spine shivers to keep the listener baking in bliss all the way home.

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Snapped Ankles – “Drink and Glide”

UK rhythm-picked psych lobbers Snapped Ankles are back with a new album next March and its shaping up to kick just as hard as their last. The band has put forth a clip for lead single “Drink and Glide” that’s chafing the corporate mindfulness and self-care cavalcade. The song itself is built on their stew of hard-chugging rhythms, squelchin’ keys and anthemic vocals. Lotta psych bands utilizing the Echoplex vocal stab these days, but it takes a new tack to not make it sound like an Oh Sees rip. The band skirts the influence of their American compatriots, while crafting a sound that would slot in quite nicely next to them on any playlist. Feels like the second album is shaping up to be just as freakishly fun as the first. Check out the clip above and stay tuned as the album creeps closer.

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Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs

Newcastle’s Pigsx7 tear another hole in the fabric of reality with their sophomore LP for Rocket Recordings. The impossibly named band takes another swipe at their potent mix of Monster Magnet sludgelord psychosis bonded to the give no fucks, take no prisoners mentality of Motorhead. While that seems like a rather tall order to live up to, the band keeps pace here for six monstrous tracks that come on with the apocalyptic heat of a Mad Max location scouting. The songs on King of Cowards, based loosely on the idea of deadly sins and moral corruption, swing wild with a looser feel than those on their predecessor Feed The Rats. The band convened in the Italian countryside to commune with the dirt before laying down these tracks and the country air and lack of neighbors seems to have let them crank the throttle quite a bit and work out a sense of improvisation that licks the knife edge with a sense of danger.

The band brings ex-Gnod drummer Chris Morley into the fold this time around and his animalistic beat works to fuel the band’s appetite for action. While they keep those doom clouds rumblin’ they’re tethered much closer to to Terra Firma this time, scratching the pavement rather than rippling through the godheads themselves. Pigsx7 are still not ones for brevity, but they’re keeping it under the ten minute mark everytime, coming nowhere near Rats’ sidelong ozone-choker bookends. That sense of movement and change works well for the band. While they’re built for epics, its nice to see them tighten the belt on the record, no doubt saving some of the cosmos-scratching jams for the stage when they engage the longer numbers from KoC.

The relatively compact run times allow them to laser focus their brutality, hefting iron-ore riffs with ungodly strength and pummeling the listener until they wear away the rough ends into a numb shell. When Pigsx7 lay into your brain, they aim to knock at least a little something loose. Honestly, in this year, a little sonic lathe to tear off the top layer feels like a good idea. We’re all sinners in the Pigs’ eyes, and penance feels good.



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Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs – “Cake of Light”

UK sludgelords Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs return with a new album on the docket for Rocket. The band is still marrying the vocal intensity of Lemmy at his sharpest and most abrasive with the twenty-foot heat wave of Monster Magnet and the relentless char of Corrosion of Conformity. The record examines the impulses behind sin and guilt, jumping off from their moniker’s obsession with sevens to explore the most notorious association with the number. The first single, the amusingly named “Cake of Light” is anchored to a juggernaut of a riff, bashing the eardrums with the hammer of fuzz as wielded by the gods of rumble themselves. If the oppressive heat hadn’t knocked the wind out of you last week, then this track will surely do the week creeping into this week.


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