New Electric Ride hail from Sunderland, a metropolitan borough of Tyne and Wear, in North East England, situated at the mouth of the River Wear. It was here that these lads came to form their shared love of “tampuras, leslie speakers and making sounds,” and, more recently, recorded their debut self-titled EP. Sounding more like early West Coast bands than the music of their fellow countrymen, New Electric Ride recall a more refined Jeffertitti’s Nile and would bed nicely with Dead Meadow and their contemporaries. Stream “Lovers” below or visit their Bandcamp page to hear all five songs.
The Entrance Band have unveiled their a new video for their new French tune “Le Manque,” featured on their forthcoming album album, Dans La Tempete, set for release in June. Film by Paz Lenchantin, collages by Guy Blakeslee.
Read our recent interview with The Entrance Band’s Guy Blakeslee here.
Popol Vuh seems to be like the Skull & Bones of the krautrock world—once you’ve succeeded in passing a series of entry level tests, you are suddenly granted access to this magical well of musical greatness. Their name, taken from the Popol Vuh (a manuscript containing the mythology of the Post-Classic Quiché Maya people of highland Guatemala and south east Mexico) coincidentially translates to “meeting place.” Understandably, as a measure of protecting this divine secret, Popol Vuh is one of those bands you really don’t hear much about. But bring up their name to an individual who is properly enlightened and it will elicit a response similar to a holy man hearing the lord’s true name. Formed in ’69, the group released albums up until the early aughts touching on all sorts of genres from space rock to world to electronic avant-garde. In 1976, they released their most rock-aligned album, Letzte Tage – Letzte Nächte, which presents a cosmic journey from start to finish highlighted by Daniel Fischlescher’s soaring lead guitar. Discovering this band and this album was like a lifelong search coming to an end. I hope to offer the same experience to some of you.
The following songs come from Popol Vuh’s 1976 album Letzte Tage – Letzte Nächte.
Poster by Curtis Godino
Each year there’s a handful of albums that provide a soundtrack to a specific time period. Perhaps its a relocation to a new city or a new relationship, a particularly joyful time or a time of hardship—whatever it is, in many of these cases we are often reminded that music will always be our friend, and that friendship becomes an ingrained part of our memories surrounding the time period. For this writer, Pure X‘s Pleasure played accompaniment to a specific and highly reflective time during my days in New York. Putting it on brings me right back to the summer months of 2011 when I was spending a great deal of time by myself, writing in my Lower East Side apartment, strolling aimlessly through the nearby East Village.
So with that said, we’re very psyched to be hosting Pure X at Mercury Lounge next Tuesday as they celebrate the release of their follow-up album, Crawling Up the Stairs (out May 14 via Merok/Acéphale). Former Titus Andronicus guitarist Andrew Cedermark, who has a new album coming out on Underwater Peoples, will be providing support. Follow us on twitter (@doggoneblog) and keep an eye out for a chance to win tickets to the show. Hear a track from Pure X’s new album below and be sure to grab a copy next week.
Purchase tickets to the show here.
Shaking Through is a documentary series about the Birth of a Song. Each year 10 independent musicians are presented with the challenge to record one song in two days (first take to final mix). This year, one of the musicians selected for the project is our dear friend Jared Samuel (Superhuman Happiness, Minerva Lions, Yoko Ono)—also known as Invisible Familiars—who brought along a band of his fellow Brooklyn session folk to record the song “Disturbing Wildlife.”
As Mr. Samuel tells us about Weathervane Music, the good people behind Shaking Through: “It’s a non-profit dedicated to helping the unknown, the known and the about-to-hopefully-be-more-well-known-than-they-sorta-are. They do great work, selflessly. They help develop an artist the way record labels used to, in fabled yesteryears.”
Watch the episode below and head over to Shaking Through‘s website for the full story on the recording process.
Tomorrow we embark on the great journey to Austin Psych Fest where we will be surrounded by many of our favorite bands, including upcoming Chilean psych rockers The Holydrug Couple. The band played our show at Mercury Lounge with Follakzoid last month and all reports, and some guy named Harold, heralded them as one of the best new acts on the scene. They’ve just put out a cover of the French pop classic “Je t’aime Non Plus,” which means “I Love You No More.” The cover comes off the Sacred Bones compilation Todo Muere Volume 3. See ya’ll in Texas.
One of the bands we’re most excited to check out at this year’s Austin Psych Fest is the ever mysterious Swedish group Goat, who perform as the final group in the Elevation Amphiteatre on Sunday night. The band exploded onto the scene last year with the release of their debut album, World Music, on Rocket Recordings and are known to adorn animal masks on stage. Does anyone remember “mystique?”
Listen to title track “Dreambuilding” off a new 7″ out June 4 via Sub Pop.
Goat – “Dreambuilding”
Watch Yellowbirds perform a few tracks at off their forthcoming album, Songs from the Vanished Frontier, out May 28 on Royal Potato Family. Thanks to the good folks at BreakThru Radio for the viddy.
The sound of the sitar is one of the defining sonic traits of the original psychedelic era. While some harder edged psych proponents like the 13th Floor Elevators, The Seeds, and others coming from the garage school of the early ’60s can’t be said to share this trait, it’s hard to argue with the fact that many elements of Indian and other Eastern cultures were benevolently co-opted by Western psychedelic culture, beginning in the Beat era.
The story of the sitar in Western pop/rock is one where the ending, or perhaps “climax”, is well known: George Harrison’s interest in Indian music and culture brought his teacher, Ravi Shankar, to the attention of the world, and these sounds and cultural elements became huge in 1960′s popular culture and beyond, especially in 1967 when a major sitar fad went down. The Coral “electric sitar” was even created around this time to help players add this flavour without learning a new instrument (yes, the one from that tune!). The most interesting, and possibly lesser known part of the story, is the beginning. The sitar had appeared on Western jazz recordings as early as the late ’50s, and an important working relationship between violinist Yehudi Menuhin and Ravi Shankar began as early as 1952, but the audience for these was decidedly ‘niche’.
The first Western pop tune to be heard featuring this instrument was The Beatles’ “Norwegian Wood”. Some pundits, however, will point you to The Kinks’ “See My Friends” as the first Western pop tune to have an Indian vibe, and they are absolutely correct. According to Jonathan Bellman’s book The Exotic In Western Music, Eastern experimentation was “in the air” in the London rock scene in 1965, including the Yardbirds doing a quickly abandoned sitar overdub on “Heartful Of Soul”, which, had it worked out and been released, would have beaten “Norwegian Wood” as the first. The Kinks’ Ray Davies had actually been to Bombay, on a stopover on the way to Australia on an early 1965 tour, and was melodically inspired by an approaching troupe of fishermen, who were singing what, judging from the end result, seems like something from the Khammaj family of ragas. Without a single “exotic” instrument on the recording, “See My Friends” is based around a drone, while not confined by it entirely, and succeeds in creating a vibe that may indeed have influenced Harrison’s (and pop/rock’s) first genuine attempt at full blown Indian fusion, “Love You To”.
Interestingly and ironically, a movie script written by Marc Behm (Charade, Lady Chatterley’s Lover) would be the catalyst for the sitar explosion of 1967, via, of course, Harrison. This xenophobic script cast an unfavourable light on Indian culture, albeit in a playful way that was a subtle satire of James Bond films, and within the tradition of British comedy. The script was for the 1965 film, Help, and the storyline found Ringo being chased by a crazed, sacrifice-performing Indian cult. To be fair, this Kali-worshipping “cult” did have some basis in reality, but having a sitar flourish sounding nearly every time these villains appear on screen is akin to a Bollywood soundtrack triggering a Mozart riff for a “Western” villain. The set of Help is where Harrison first encountered and tried out a sitar, played by some musicians in one of the film’s scenes. Forces beyond the Beatles (in the form of film composer Ken Thorne) provided several instances of Indian Classical instruments playing early Fab Four tunes on this film’s soundtrack, plus a sitar cameo in the James Bond quote at the top of the album’s title track. Although outside of the Beatles’ artistic control, this film is what began a long-standing association of The Beatles with Indian culture and sounds. Both Help (the film) and the Kinks’ “See My Friends” were released a day apart in July, 1965.
On a break from their 1965 North American tour in late August of that year, The Beatles had some down time in LA and rented a house in Benedict Canyon, where they held what quickly turned into an LSD party (it was still legal at the time) that was attended by Peter Fonda, who brought along the Byrds, including David Crosby. This evening is the one where Fonda’s conversation with Lennon became fodder for “She Said She Said”, but more significant was the after-party hang that went down with the two bands. Crosby had been introduced to the music of Ravi Shankar some time prior to this by producer Jim Dickson, who had Crosby sit in on the recording sessions for Shankar’s 1964 album “Portrait Of Genius”. This had made an Indian music ‘convert’ out of Crosby, who insisted that Harrison (who still hadn’t done much genuine exploring of Indian Classical music) check out Shankar’s work. The seed that had been planted in Harrison on the set of Help now found a focus – to seek out the great sitar player’s music. Within a month of this encounter, the Beatle purchased a sitar at Indiacraft on Oxford Street, London. Within another month, in October of 1965, he recorded with this new instrument on “Norwegian Wood”.
The Exotic In Western Music – Jonathan Bellman
The Dawn of Indian Music in the West – Peter Lavezzoli
Behind a nondescript East Williamsburg tenement at 229 Bushwick Avenue in Brooklyn, NY lies Woods‘ home, recording studio, creative refuge and beloved shithole–Rear House. But after 10 long years the band will say farewell to the former live-in practice space turned ramshackle recording studio, which has also housed bands like Real Estate, Ducktails, The Babies and other members of the Woodsist family. To mark the occasion, Woods are releasing a new single on July 9 featuring a cover of The Kinks’ tune “Gods’ Children,” along with a re-recorded version of “Be All Easy.” “God’s Children” comes from the soundtrack to the 1971 British film Percy, while “Be All Be Easy,” originally from 2011′s Sun and Shade, was re-recorded to capture the live form the song has taken since it’s original release. Both are the first to feature new drummer, Aaron Neveu, formerly of Mmoss.
Woods hits the road next month for a tour that includes stops with Parquet Courts and Alex Bleeker & the Freaks. Full dates below.
Boston musician Glenn Jones is a longtime student of the so-called American Primitive school of acoustic steel guitarists, one that includes artists such as John Fahey, Robbie Basho and so on. Playing guitar since the age of 14, Jones formed his first psych-rock band, Cul de Sac, in 1989 and went on to perform with the group for 20 years with artists including Can’s Damo Suzuki and Fahey himself. In 2004, he released his first album of acoustic guitar instrumentals, titled This Is the Wind That Blows It Out, and established himself as a solo artist on tour alongside the late Jack Rose. Following two more solo releases of mostly acoustic material, Jones will release his third album in that vein, My Garden State, on Thrill Jockey next month. Written in the New Jersey home where Jones’ family moved in 1966, while he was caring for his mother who suffers from Alzheimer’s, the gentle finger-picked songs carry the emotional weight of this time through a collection of reflective instrumental stories.
Pre-order My Garden State via Thrill Jockey.
Several months ago, one of Brooklyn’s greatest music haunts shuttered its doors after serving, for over nine years, as a home and meeting place for up-and-coming experimental artists. Countless bands will tell you they wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for Zebulon, but as gentrification goes, so did a musical landmark that will not soon be forgotten. Thanks to this new video from Brooklyn psych rockers Woodsman, which pairs audio from a show at the venue with some psychedelic visuals, you can step back inside the doors, grab an ale, and relive the magic that took place nightly on Zebulon’s stage.
Woodsman hit the road next week for a string of dates where there’ll be hawking a reissued version of their album Collages (originally released on Mexican Summer in 2009) both digitally and as a tour-only cassette. Full list of dates here.
The Auras hail from the suburban areas of Toronto where they exist as part of the expansive family of bands who wave the Optical Sounds flag. Steeped in the shoegazy side of the psych world, The Auras recall a brighter MBV meets BJM meets Spacemen 3 kind of a sound. Call it what you will. These guys are one of Toronto’s most exciting acts right now and they’ve just recently released an EP which you can pick up via Bandcamp. Listen to album track “Desert Dream (Nothing Is Real)” below.
There’s certain names that seem to appear in nearly every walk of music, and one of those names is Howard Wales. Best known as a collaborator of Jerry Garcia, Wales backed a range of acts including Ronnie Hawkins, the Four Tops, James Brown, as well as an extended stint performing alongside guitarist Harvey Mandel. In 1970, Wales contributed parts to several songs on the Dead’s American Beauty LP and went on to perform a regular Monday night jam sesssion with Garcia at The Matrix in San Francisco. The following year, the duo recorded and released a fusion album titled Hooteroll? featuring a cover art by painting by Abdul Mati Klarwein, known for his famous work that adorns the cover of Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew.
Last week I was reminded of this amazing album by none other than my good pal Buddy Miles, who mentioned the Wales/Garcia collabs as his favorite work by Jerry. Featuring several members that would later become the Legion of Mary, Jerry steps out of his element into a space that many say went on to influence the direction the Dead would take in subsequent years. That’s a discussion for another day, but for now dig Jerry’s funked out playing on “South Side Strut.”
Adding pedal steel to a track almost always makes things sound better. This track is no exception. “Leave on the Light” is Bleeker & co.’ first true foray into alt-country domain, although they’ve beat around the metaphorical bush for quite some time, and it’s a doozy. As Bleeker tells us, “the name is sort of a pun, a tribute to Levon Helm.”
The song comes from their new LP “How Far Away” out May 28, 2013 on Woodsist.
“I have cyclops vision now. But I’m not a giant. I changed my name and body only, and stabbed my social nous in the right ear. I still read fear but there are no police this year. I can repeat the same dream. I can let birds talk to me. I’m in jail. I have love and a whistle. I lay where the lotus lay and then spring the frozen flowers on any giving day. I apologize to those put in the trees, but I was gathering the Cyclops reap.
In the span of 4 1/2 years. I’ve lived in two different apartments and have used three different rooms during this time. All in Echo Park, Los Angeles, CA, only a couple miles from one another. After the death of my father in 2008 I started writing and recording non-stop in these rooms. I can’t say it was directly because of that trauma, but I think deep down it might have much to do about it. This record was initially going to be a collection of the many songs trapped between the 4 White Fence LP’s. As i was putting that together, there were more coming. a better crop. i couldn’t stop. So, instead of a retrospective i said “Fuck It”. might as well use the most current songs of the bunch. For the exception of “Make Them Dinner At Our Shoes” which is from 2009.”
- Tim Presley
Listen to the B-Side from the ”Pink Gorilla” 7″ single on Castleface below. The new LP from White Fence, <em>Cyclops Reap</em>, comes out April 9 on Thee Oh Sees’ new Castleface label.
One of the more inspiring figures you’ll come across these days is Guy Blakeslee, guitarist and vocalist for West Coast psych juggernauts The Entrance Band. While known for his onstage energy, offstage Guy is a deeply spiritual individual who radiates with genuine kindness. Having recently released a collection of solo recordings paired with a series of custom handmade collages, Guy spoke at length with us about his music outside of Entrance Band, collage art, meditation and his newly discovered love for the sober side of life. He also tells us that The Entrance Band will release their new album, Face the Sun, later this year.
Listen to/purchase Guy’s Third Eye Memories: Volume 1 here.
Tell us about this new collage/music package you’ve just put out. What is contained within it and what was the creation process like?
I have been exploring my archives of unreleased and home recorded music for the past year, in addition to recording new music.. Having recently learned how to use the computer to do editing and mixing, I started digitizing all of my old four track cassette recordings from the past 10+ years. I have also been making a lot of collage art in the past year, in a more focused way than in the past. SO I decided to create a special mail-order package where each person receives a small handmade collage that is the one-of-a-kind original version, and a handmade CD of the music along with a high-quality instant download.
There is one album that features 13 songs from the “Entrance” project dating from 2002-2006, before the official formation of The Entrance Band, and there is another that is a 5 song compilation of home recordings I have done in the past few years, 4 of the 5 were done on the cassette four track and edited in the computer, and one was recorded on my Iphone! With both albums, the emphasis is much more on the spirit and the energy of a moment in time captured and frozen for transmission, than on the fidelity or perfection-ism that usually crops up in a more “official” recording.
Some of the collages are already made and then chosen for a particular person, and some of them are made specifically to fill the order. With each collage I try to read a little bit of the person’s energy at a distance and give them something that they will connect with and cherish. The impetus for this project was partially to earn some money, and to do so in a way that is an extension of what I am already doing. That is, rather than get a minimum wage job, I found that I could apply some discipline to the things I was already making and increase the time I spend making art and experimenting with my home recordings… It’s a very interesting life that I have been living all these years as a self-employed musician and I am just now learning to have a little more focus when it comes to treating this work like my full-time job and being creative with my time and energy.. It’s certainly a gift to be able to pursue my creative dreams as a way of surviving in the world, however uncertain things may seem at times,, it has always paid to remain in trust and faith that everything is as it is meant to be and keep working harder at what I love to do , going deeper into the possibilities even when I feel discouraged.
White Hills will release their fifth album later this year, but in the meantime Immune Recordings has released the burner ”Eye to Eye,” along with a selection of previously recorded tracks, on vinyl for the very first time. Abstractions & Mutations was originally released in 2007 as a tour only CD-r for a UK tour White Hills did with Spiritualized guitarist Tony “Døggen” Foster’s solo band DØGNTANK. The album contains both studio and rehearsal recordings from the very inception of this full band version of White Hills. Most tracks were recorded in one take and no overdubs were used. Order Abstractions & Mutations via Immune Recordings.
Here’s a new video by Chilean psych band The Holdydrug Couple, off their new album Noctuary out now on Sacred Bones. They play our show tonight at Mercury Lounge alongside fellow countrymen Follakzoid and Brooklyn’s La Big Vic. Watch the video for the Tame Impala-esque jammer “Follow Your Way” below.
For those who want to take part in this year’s Canadian Music Week, we’ve handpicked a selection of shows to help you navigate through all the indie soot. If you’re willing to do a bit of traveling, there’s plenty to offer in the way of psych and garage. Here are this year’s nominees.
Ragga sitar psych
Thursday — The Garrison 1030PM
Wednesday — The Garrison 11PM (Crunchy Frog Showcase)
Thursday — Brooklynn 9PM
Japanese Americana folk
Wednesday — Clinton’s @ 8PM (Japan Nite)
Montreal space voyagers
Friday — Lee’s Palace 1230AM
Montreal-based minimalist, experimental, sound collage duo
Friday — Silver Dollar 9PM
The BB Guns
Bubble-gum Toronto garage pop produced by Fucked Up’s Brian Borcherdt
Friday — Silver Dollar 2AM
Throwback ’60s inspired instrumental surf rock
Friday — Supermarket 2AM
Castle If & Cell Memory
New age-y Canadian Kraut
Saturday — Comfort Zone 10PM
East Coast garage rock
Saturday — Parts & Labour 1230AM
New wave steeped in hollow, jangling synths
Thursday — Silver Dollar 12AM
Friday — Silver Dollar 1AM
Saturday — Silver Dollar 12AM
Toronto space rockers on Optical Sounds
Saturday — Silver Dollar 2AM
’60s garage psych
Sunday — Annex Live 11PM
Deep Space Cowboys
Dark, experimental psych
Sunday — Annex Live 11PM
Henry Tree were a band from the land of Cleveland, Ohio who released a single album, titled Electric Holy Man, in 1969. Consisting of Leroy Markish on guitar and lead vocals, Carmen Castaldi on drums, Charles McLauughlin on bass, the group also featured an un-credited, jazz wizard guitarist named Bill DeArango. Combining Traffic style bluesy numbers and fuzzed out jams with DeArango’s jazz guided odysseys, this is a highly impressive psych LP with terrific guitar work.
Tomorrow night we will be hosting Toronto avant-jazz group the Blue Modules at The Rex Jazz and Blues Bar in Toronto. The evening will be a record release party celebrating the group’s self-titled studio album. Come watch as some of the most talented players on the scene today usher in a new era for jazz music at one of the most legendary venues in all of Toronto. Show kicks off at 9PM. $10.
Since 2003, New York’s Psychic Ills have gone from an electronic-centered home recording project to one of today’s premiere stoner psych acts. Last month, the group released their most defined collection of hazy, sunburnt jammers, titled One Track Mind, on Sacred Bones. The album features collaborations with and some production by Neil Michael Hagerty of Royal Trux/The Howling Hex and artwork by former 13th Floor Elevators songwriter and artist Powell St. John. Tonight, they return to Toronto at the Shop at Parts and Labour alongside U.S. Girls and Tess Parks & The Good People. Listen to new song “Might Take A While” below.
When Can wasn’t on the road, the legendary krautrock pioneers spent their time tirelessly experimenting away in their studio, Inner Space, located in a a century old German castle (and later in a converted cinema). Unlimited Edition, released in 1976 as an expanded version of 1974′s Limited Edition, culls unreleased songs and instrumental jams recorded at the coveted studio spaces between the years 1968-1976 featuring both of the group’s main singers (Damo Suzuki and Malcolm Mooney). Among the odds and ends, of particular interest are the early 1969 tracks recorded with Malcolm Mooney as vocalist—thought to be unreleased cuts from the Monster Movie sessions—”The Empress and the Ukraine King,” “Mother Upduff,” “Connection,” and “Fall of Another Year.” Just imagine how these tracks would have sounded in place of some of the lengthier cuts that wound up on the group’s debut.