Farmer Dave & The Wizards of West


If ever there was a spirit of the West Coast, it might well be Farmer Dave Scher. Toss a stone during any moment of psych, country, Americana, or pop set in the California sun since the late ‘90s, and chances are Scher’s got a part to play in there somewhere. More often than not, its his lap steel soaks into songs with an auburn glow. From Beachwood Sparks and All Night Radio, to studio work with Vetiver, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Kurt Vile, Cass McCombs, Mapache, and Pearl Charles. Scher’s often been an integral part, but not always the face of a record. After his 2009 solo record for Mexican Summer he slipped into the studio for quite a while until The Wizards of West began fermenting. Last year saw the band’s proper debut, a record that was brimming with ideas but needing a bit of shaving and shaping to keep it from getting lost on the winds.

With Dave Schools (Widespread Panic) behind the boards this time, The Wizards of West push their sound further, while hammering in a few tethers. A pop element pokes through, giving the record a driving rhythm and towering vocal harmonies. The cosmic moments stretch, headswum and sun-drunk, but Schools helps the band always pull the break and swing back to that ripple of rhythm and hint of hook that makes this more psych-pop standout than jam-centric burndown. The summer sun doesn’t bleach the bones of the album, despite the West Coast feeling. Second Summer indulges in a humid, hazed production that slips the rhythms, harmonies, and hues into a dry ice and sativa plume that swirls beneath the stage lights. Scher’s solo works have been building to a high like this, and now that he and the Wizards have found their footing, here’s hoping this is just the beginning of his next wave.

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