For the better part of 15 years, Pete Nolan has been creating home-fi psych music under his Spectre Folk alias. After spending time in noise-rock outfit Magik Markers and then later as a member of GHQ, Nolan made his name a fixture on the Brooklyn DIY music scene. He’s appeared on the last two Woods records—2009′s Songs of Shame features the epic 9min kraut-jam entitled “September with Pete“—and was later picked up by Woodsist to release his first Blackest Medicine EP.
In March, Nolan put out his second EP, The Blackest Medicine II, on Woodsist where he expands the group to include Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley, Tall Firs guitarist/vocalist and Sonic Youth sound engineer Aaron Mullan on bass and NY Times cookbook author Peter Meehan on guitar. The group churns out warm, feel-good psych pop with hazy vocal lines and ghostly folk melodies, making them a perfect fit alongside their label mates. Jams often slip into fuzzed out Krautrock territory, revealing Shelleys and Mullans recent stint as the rhythm section for the revived Neu!. You can stream or download the EP’s lead track, “The Blackest Medicine” below (a sped up version from the first EP), or order yourself some wax over at Woodsist records. Turntableless entities can purchase the album via iTunes.
MP3: “The Blackest Medicine“
It was two years ago today that I launched this blog. To celebrate, I’ve assembled a playlist featuring some jams that I’ve been listening to lately. Thanks to everyone for reading and supporting the blog!
2. The Slip – Broke the Promised Land (7.14.11)
3. Phish – Tweezer (6.29.94)
4. Grateful Dead – Playin’ in the Band [excerpt] (5.13.73)
5. Woods – To Have in the Home (6.17.11)
6. Phish – Storage Jam [excerpt] (7.2.11)
7. Phish – Piper (10.2.99)
8. Grateful Dead – Mountains of the Moon > Dark Star (2.22.69)
[Psych art by Max Capacity]
On Thursday night, Real Estate bassist Alex Bleeker performed at The Glasslands with a new band of Freaks. The group jammed heavily and debuted several new songs, including the one called “Our Song” featured in the video below. The song sounds more Real Estate-y than most of Bleeker’s solo material, but still has his trademark Crazy Horse/jamband feel to it. Bleeker and the Freaks recently signed to Domino records and will be hitting the road next month on their first national tour. Check out the full list of tour dates below.
Head over to Jambands.com to read my interview with the Phish-loving bassist.
Alex Bleeker & the Freaks’ August Tour
August 8 Brooklyn, NY—Monster Island Basement
August 9 Philadelphia, PA—Danger Danger Gallery
August 10 Washington, DC—Subterranean A
August 11 Charlottesville, VA—Venue TBA
August 12 Durham, NC—The Layabout
August 13 Atlanta, GA—529
August 14 Athens, GA—Farm 255
August 15 Oxford, MS—Cats Purring Dude Ranch
August 16 Nashville, TN—Grimey’s Records Instore
August 18 Baltimore, MD—Venue TBA
August 20 North Hampton, NH—Runnymede Farm
As a big fan of San Francisco’s Fresh & Onlys, I was psyched to hear news of frontman Tim Cohen’s latest full-length solo effort, The Glad Birth of Love. While Cohen’s solo material has always departed from the Onlys’ sound, nothing has veered as far off course as this one. To make that clear, Cohen even drops his own name for his band’s Magic Trick psuedonym. The album features four, free-flowing compositions that venture deeply into the world of proggy psychedelia. Reminiscent of Genesis at times, Cohen and co. layer the songs with dreamy lyrics and stretched out Floyd-like instrumentation. A local cast of San Fran psychies including John Dwyer (Thee Oh Sees), Grace Cooper, (The Sandwitches), Diego Gonzalez (The Dry Spells, Citay) appear on the album, which comes out August 23 on Empty Cellar. You can stream or download “Daylight Moon,” a seven minute astral excursion that shows Cohen’s continued progression as one of the most promising songwriters of today. Click here to pre-order the LP. MP3: “Daylight Moon“
As a big fan of San Francisco’s Fresh & Onlys, I was psyched to hear news of frontman Tim Cohen’s latest full-length solo effort, The Glad Birth of Love. While Cohen’s solo material has always departed from the Onlys’ sound, nothing has veered as far off course as this one. To make that clear, Cohen even drops his own name for his band’s Magic Trick psuedonym.
The album features four, free-flowing compositions that venture deeply into the world of proggy psychedelia. Reminiscent of Genesis at times, Cohen and co. layer the songs with dreamy lyrics and stretched out Floyd-like instrumentation. A local cast of San Fran psychies including John Dwyer (Thee Oh Sees), Grace Cooper, (The Sandwitches), Diego Gonzalez (The Dry Spells, Citay) appear on the album, which comes out August 23 on Empty Cellar. You can stream or download “Daylight Moon,” a seven minute astral excursion that shows Cohen’s continued progression as one of the most promising songwriters of today. Click here to pre-order the LP.
MP3: “Daylight Moon“
Austin psych trio Pure X has a new video for the hazy summer jam “Easy.” The song comes off the group’s stunning debut LP Pleasure, released July 5th on Acephale Records. The ultra-trippy video is directed by Austin’s Malcom Elijah.
Phish’s festival soundchecks have, over time, become something of lore. Starting back in ’96 at The Clifford Ball, the band used these coveted soundcheck slots as somewhat of a primer for the following days’ musical happenings. Free to explore, Phish is able to stretch out as they would have in the endless days and nights spent practicing above Languedoc’s garage in Winooski, VT. With ample time to set dials and knobs to their suited positions, they become more like extended jam sessions displaying Phish’s sound and direction-du-jour. In short, Phish gets to be Phish. And we get to listen.
So when the quartet took to the stage to test their equipment on Thursday afternoon at Watkins Glen, fans quickly gathered around radios and nearby fences surrounding the concert grounds. Situated on the very site of the Grateful Dead’s legendary 1973 soundcheck, the music carried an added significance, especially for your humble narrator. And adding to the excitement was the not so distant memory of Phish’s soundcheck at Festival 8—arguably one of the finest pieces of music since the band’s return. All factors combined, this was a special moment and Phish rose to the occasion.
Many wonder why the band chooses not to stretch out as often in the live setting as they used to. It’s an issue Mike Gordon recently addressed in one of his hotline messages, and one that has followed the band ever since the first shows of 3.0 were played at Hampton in ’09. But during the soundcheck, Phish opened the doors to its current sound, or direction—or whatever you want to call it—and for a short time, we heard what it was like for the band to simply…jam. What followed were two of the most prolonged and transcendent pieces of music in recent history.
The first segment opened the soundcheck, growing out of a section of spacey noodling before giving way to a groove that could have come straight off the rarely mentioned Victor Disc. This jam opened the eye on Phish’s recently explored psych-jazz sound—Trey taking more of a rhythmic role, Page’s organ way up in the mix, Mike digging in on a near-walking bass line (Jon was already a jazz drummer)—and for over 10 minutes, they grooved on this sound exploring its tunnels and arroyos.
“Soundcheck Jam I” (6.30.11)
But the true magic came after the quartet had warmed up, tested their instruments and ran through a few typical soundcheck numbers. Perhaps in preparation for Saturday night’s secret set, Phish shot straight for the cosmos, treating us to the special soundcheck we had all hoped and wished for (some of us maybe have even dreamt of it).
Channeling the energy from the Dead’s soundcheck “jam,” Phish patiently brought us into their world showing that nothing is missing from the band in this day and age. No lack of drugs, no lack of intent, no lack of ideas. Comparable to previous festival soundchecks, albeit different, this was a section of music that—and I hate to call it this—was purely 3.0.
The jam breaks into several sections over the course of 20 minutes, each exploring a distinctly different sound. The first starts as a gentle, melodic section with Trey playing some outside, phrygian patterns (avec whale-call). It noodles around, eventually flowing into a dark, Krautrock-like jam with Page hammering it out on Rhodes and Trey looping and reversing drones atop. Several measures of ambient space follow, before the second, Fishman-led, segment emerges.
Without hesitation, Mike immediately latches onto one of Fish’s trademark odd-time signatures and, before long, a new song, somewhat reminiscent of a blusier “Ghost,” comes to life. This second jam, which could have been plucked from an fusion-era Little Feat groove, would be considered, by most, to be more of a “Type I” jam with Trey soloing above a chord progression. But without a song to depart from, it was simply Phish showing one of its many faces, and one that they seem to enjoy wearing more frequently at this stage in their career. For the next portion of the jam, it was a literal bliss-out with Trey soaring above the ultra-tight groove until it came to a somewhat abrupt finish.
For many of us (Deadheads), the moment the Watkins Glen rumor came on the Phish radar, our minds immediately turned to the soundcheck. While it may not have counted for “stats purposes” we were able to sit as the band openly improvised without any limitations or restraints. The festival soundchecks are the full moon to Phish’s inner wolf, and each time they rise to the calling. This time around, it was no different.
“Soundcheck Jam II” (6.30.11)
Download the Watkins Glen Soundcheck via the Phish Spreadsheet here.
[Psych art via Max Capacity. Click the picture for full effect]
For those who missed it, Mr. Kurt Vile performed a soul-stirring set with his Violators at this weekend’s Pitchfork Festival in Chicago. Vile’s sun-soaked guitar melodies and matter-of-fact vocal delivery offered the perfect soundtrack under the hot summer sun. For some time now I have been a big fan of Vile’s genuine authenticity and unique sound. To put it plainly, this dude is real. You can stream most of the set from yesterday’s performance below.
Also, the second video off Vile’s stunning 2011 release Smoke Ring for My Halo appeared a week or so ago. Check out the video for the album’s lead track “Baby’s Arms” shot entirely on a Windows Phone.
Last night, The Slip performed the first show of a two show run at NYC’s Brooklyn Bowl. The setlist featured a mix of old and new songs, including two debuts with Sam Cohen of Yellowbirds/Apollo Sunshine on second guitar. Cohen also sat in on “Motherwolf” and rejoined the band again for the first encore, “Get Me With Fuji.” The band has the night off before they play The Met in Pawtucket, RI tomorrow night.
Here’s last night’s setlist via SlipLive.
1: Broke the Promised Land, The Soft Machine, Take the Bus, Airplane/Primitive, Sometimes True to Nothing, Motherwolf*, new tune 1*, new tune 2*, Wolof, True Love Ain’t Enough, Weight of Solomon, Reddish Moon**, Children of December
e: Get Me With Fuji*, If One of Us Should Fall
* with Sam Cohen (Apollo Sunshine, Yellowbirds) on guitar. ** new arrangement
Download the show here [via @artistmixtapes]
Just months after dropping what is arguably the album of the year, Brooklyn psych rock quartet Woods will release a new 7″ on July 19 via Sacred Bones. I’ve been sitting on one of the two tracks, “Find Them Empty,” for a week or so and I’m sorry for not sharing it sooner. The heady mix of jangley lo fi fuzz and cool sun bleached harmonies are the signature sounds we’ve come to know and love from this band. You can check out the song below, and if you haven’t already I suggest you pick up their new LP Sun & Shade.
It’s been some time since the last Slip show. But starting tonight, the avant-garde rock trio returns to the road for a pair of shows in their native Northeast. The trio will make their debut appearance at New York’s Brooklyn Bowl later this evening, followed by a performance at The Met in Pawtucket, RI on Saturday.
To celebrate The Slip’s return, I’ve turned the tables on my good friend Lucas Samuels from The Artist Mixtapes. Generally, Lucas has bands and artists curate an 8 song playlist for an ‘Artist Mixtape.’ But for today, I asked Lucas (my Slip mentor) to select some of his favorite Slip jams to share with DGB readers. Clocking in at just over an hour, this playlist will help those less familiar become familiar, and allow us die-hard fans to hold out until tonight. Thanks, Lucas! Be sure to head over to his blog where he is constantly discovering promising new acts from all walks of music.
Hope to see many of you at the show tonight!
1. Airplane/Primitive (Daytrotter Session 2007)
2. Children of December (Valentines Day Candy ’04)
3. Cut from the Cloth (2004.8.7)
4. Get Me With Fuji (2007.5.19)
5. My Room (2002.7.13)
6. Reddish Moon (2009.6.27)
7. Spice Groove (2006.3.31)*
8. You’ll Find a Home (2005.2.11)
For those unfamiliar with The Slip, read up on the band in a previous Listening Station post or check out a playlist from ’04 shows here. You can also read my interview with Brad and Andrew Barr over at Jambands.com.
In advance of its Oct. 18 sophomore album release, Real Estate is offering up a new single off Days called “It’s Real.” You can stream the track below or head over to Domino Records where you can download it for free in exchange for your e-mail address(click here for the link). The 7″ officially hits stores on September 27 with the “Blue Lebaron” instrumental as the B-Side.
On Saturday, Real Estate hit the road on a tour alongside Dent May that will see them travel through the U.S. and Canada for the remainder of the month. The band will also appear at Brooklyn’s Prospect Park alongside The Feelies on July 23 as well as at The Woodsist Festival in Big Sur, CA on July 31. Check out the full list of dates, along with the Days tracklisting below.
2. Green Aisles
3. It’s Real
4. Kinder Blumen
5. Out of Tune
7. Wonder Years
8. Three Blocks
9. Younger Than Yesterday
10. All The Same
Real Estate 2011 Tour Dates:
July 12 – Atlanta, GA @ The Earl w/ Dent May
July 13 – Oxford, MS @ Proud Larry’s w/ Dent May
July 14 – Nashville, TN @ Hard Rock Cafe/ Sounds Like Summer w/ Dent May
July 17 – Chicago, IL @ Subterranean w/ Dent May
July 18 – Detroit, MI @ Magic Stick w/ Dent May
July 19 – Toronto, ON @ The Garrison w/ Dent May
July 20 – Montreal, QC @ Il Motore w/ Dent May
July 23 – Brooklyn, NY @ Prospect Park Bandshell/Celebrate Brooklyn w/ The Feelies and Times New Viking
July 24 – Hoboken, NJ @ Maxwell’s w/ Dent May
July 31 – Big Sur, CA @ Henry Miller Library / Woodsist Festival w/ Thee Oh Sees, Fresh & Onlys, Woods, Sic Alps, Sun Araw, White Fence
August 2 – San Francisco, CA @ The Independent w/ Dominant Legs & Melted Toys
Pulling into Watkins Glen last Thursday, our car went into deep silence when the sounds of some unknown band graced our ears over The Bunny’s airwaves. The Ducktails-like guitar tone combined with the spacey psych effects sounded to us like the work of Matt Mondanile—but actually turned out to be a late ’90s group from Vermont. Before DJ Rubes could identify the song, Phish took to the stage for their soundcheck and all we heard was “I’m fading out…I’m fading out…Phish is soundchecking.” Determined to find the source of this music I had heard, I went to the Bunny Radio’s facebook page and discovered it to be “Summersong” by a group called Wide Wail. The song comes off an album called Like It Never Was, released in ’98, but now seems to have fallen into relative obscurity. Numerous searches later and all I can find is this single song, which I ripped from the Bunny broadcasts. Wide Wail – “Summersong” If you have any Wide Wail in your collection, or know more about them, please share! I am eager to know more about this band.
Pulling into Watkins Glen last Thursday, our car went into deep silence when the sounds of some unknown band graced our ears over The Bunny’s airwaves. The Ducktails-like guitar tone combined with the spacey psych effects sounded to us like the work of Matt Mondanile—but actually turned out to be a late ’90s group from Vermont. Before DJ Rubes could identify the song, Phish took to the stage for their soundcheck and all we heard was “I’m fading out…I’m fading out…Phish is soundchecking.”
Determined to find the source of this music I had heard, I went to the Bunny Radio’s facebook page and discovered it to be “Summersong” by a group called Wide Wail. The song comes off an album called Like It Never Was, released in ’98, but now seems to have fallen into relative obscurity. Numerous searches later and all I can find is this single song, which I ripped from the Bunny broadcasts.
Wide Wail – “Summersong”
If you have any Wide Wail in your collection, or know more about them, please share! I am eager to know more about this band.