Hell Shovel, the project led by Jeff Clarke of Montreal’s Demon’s Claws, swung through town on Friday night and proved how they’re one of the best garage psych acts on the scene right now. They sound a bit like Ty Segall, but on significantly more acid. As their description reads, Hell Shovel “is the sound of Johnny Cash drowning in a pool of cough syrup.” Since its inception, the group has released a few albums in limited runs through labels such as the German based Sound Of Cobra Records and toured through the US and Europe with acts like Acid Baby Jesus. And just last year, the group released their debut LP, Hated By The Sun, which you can stream below or purchase via Bandcamp. Watch out for Hell Shovel!
Two forest travelers from the land of Chile joined together a number of years back and began exploring lengthy spiritual jam sessions, eventually forming the basis of The Holydrug Couple. Their loose, bluesy psych sound nods to classic references like Crazy Horse while also channeling Indian raga and the “hidden arts.” Part of the rapidly growing Chilean underground psych scene that includes bands like Follakzoid, The Holydrug Couple released their new album, Noctuary, last month on Sacred Bones and will be making their way to the US for a tour this year. We just might have a part in it. Listen to “Ancient Land” below.
Purchase Noctuary via Sacred Bones.
Here’s a pair of tunes from West Coast lo-fi psych group Tashaki Miyaki, featured on a 7″ that came out last summer. The songs have a mellow 60s vibe and sound a bit like a sunnier version of the Velvets with a hint of shoegaze. Let Tashaki Miyaki transport you to that far gone summer day in the back of your mind.
Föllakzoid hail from Santiago, Chile where the group began as a “product of a trance experience between friends, sort of a soul abduction in which they’ve been living since 2008.” Fans of the kraut genre will delight in the Zoid’s lengthy sound explorations, often channeling pioneers like Amon Düül and Ash Ra Temple along with contemporaries like Camera and the Lumerians. Listen to “Rio” off their new album, II, available now via Sacred Bones.
If you’re into the whimsy throwback sounds of bands like Foxygen, then your ears will likely bask in the the oft-similar, lo fi psych of the Happy Jawbone Family Band. Ramshackle rock I guess you could call it. It’s like if fuckin’ Mick had been more like fuckin’ Keith, you know? Rock solid fuckers these here fellas are. Here’s “Fistful of Butter” off their new album Tastes the Broom, out January 29th on Mexican Summer.
Portland via Chicago transplant Jeff Walls will release his first full length LP, titled Tomorrow, Tomorrow, under the Campfires moniker on February 19 via Fire Talk. For fans of the the slapped together melancholy pop of The Kinks, or of contemporary bands like Woods and White Fence, this collection of lo fi janglers is likely for you. Check out “Fortune Teller” along with the title track below.
Pre-order the record here.
As Scandinavia continues to emerge as one of today’s most fertile psychedelic breeding grounds, here we have the first single off Helsinki-based outfit Kiki Pau‘s forthcoming album on Beyond Beyond is Beyond records. Pines, the group’s third album, was mixed by Dungen’s Gustav Ejstes and comes out Feburary 5. Hear the 9+ minute “Tomte Mars” below.
Imagine the ideal soundtrack to one of those retro 70s surf films shot on an old Super 8. What you conjure up will likely sound something like Austin-based psych band Holy Wave. Just listen to the jam “Albuquerque Freakout”, which takes on that classic wobbly Texas psych sound with layers of surf riffs, tambourines and howling echoes beneath the stoney vocal lines. This imagery carries throughout Holy Wave’s Evil Hits, out now on Burger Records, with vinyl coming February 2013 in conjunction with the Reverberation Appreciation Society. The release compiles 5 tracks from their 2011 release Knife Hits with 5 tracks from this year’s The Evil Has Landed EP. Picture those gnarly waves and tune in.
Holy Wave – “Albuquerque Freakout”
Also check out the song in the recent trailer for the 2012 Austin Psych Fest concert film below.
Since 2001, Los Angeles-based musicians Sir Psych and L.A AL have been making and recording 60s-inspired psych and garage rock. Originally part the five member group The Clerk Two Project, the duo’s collaborations continued over the past 11 years, eventually forming what is now The Smoking Trees. Reminiscent of 60s acts like the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band and some of their contemporaries, The Smoking Trees take us on a day-glo trip back to that era with their new album, Acetates, now available via Colour Tree Records. Watch the video for album track “In Another Land” and then head over to Bandcamp to stream or purchase the album in full.
Check back in the coming days to read an extended conversation with The Smoking Trees.
We first came across the name Tjutjuna when they released their split tour cassette with Woodsman in the spring of 2011. But for unexplainable reasons, the challenging name slipped our minds and may have fallen into the abyss were it not for the keen ears of DGB contributor Johanna Andersson and our good pal Marc “Mike” Norman “Newman.” The group charts a similar neo-kraut course as labelmates Woodsman, with droning, transportive sound odysseys, totemic drum circles and shimmering guitars. Earlier this week, they released their new cassingle, “Desert Song” b/w “Schulze and Shaffner” on Fire Talk and you can now hear/download both tracks below. Also be sure to check out Tjutjuna’s recent Beyond Beyond is Beyond session on East Village Radio.
Purchase the cassette single via Fire Talk.
With the arrival of each autumn season, it seems natural for one’s musical taste to migrate towards a folkier sound. And so the release of San Francisco singer/songwriter Jessica Pratt’s debut self-titled LP comes at a most perfect time for those of us who abide by this seasonal ritual. Pratt’s music is steeped in the sounds of 1960s folk, recalling the vocal styles of iconic figures such as Anne Briggs and Sandy Denny with poetic, finger-picked tunes that could have been included on the Gather in the Mushrooms compilation. Fellow San Franciscan Tim Presley (White Fence, Darker My Love) launched his own imprint, Birth Records, solely to release Pratt’s debut LP, which he describes as sounding like “Stevie Nicks singing over David Crosby demos, with the intimacy of a Sibylle Baier.” Listen to album track “Night Faces” below and check out a couple additional songs here.
Order the album via Birth Records.
For those of you living in New York City, one of the groups you will certainly want to check out during this week’s CMJ festivities is Cleveland band Gap Dream. The lo-fi rockers put out their debut album on Burger Records earlier this year, a collection of droning, 60s paisley pop tunes that recalls contemporaries like Woods and Ducktails. A couple weeks back, they released a follow-up single on Suicide Squeeze, “Generator” b/w “A Little Past Midnight.” Stream “Generator” along with the debut self-titled album below.
Gap Dream plays the Panache showcase at Public Assembly on October 19 with Twerps, Turbo Fruits, Violent Bullshit, Xray Eyeballs, Levek, Dent May, Dignan Porch, Mac Demarco, and Vockah Redu as well as at Big Snow on October 20 with MV & EE, Paperhead, Herbcraft.
In recent years, an increasing number of bands have begun waving the neo-krautrock flag, attempting to recreate and build upon the sounds of the genre’s forefathers like Neu!, Can, Amon Duul, Faust and so on. But few, if any, have actually received praise from said forefathers, aside from Berlin-based trio Camera who have recently been championed by Michael Rother of Neu! Formed by Franz Bargman (guitar) Timm Brockmann (synth) and Michael Drummer (drums), Camera have been dubbed the “Krautrock Guerillas” for their spontaneous concerts in public spaces like subway stations, public bathrooms and even a gatecrashing stunt at the German Film Prize after show party. They’ve shared the stage with Rother and his old comrade Dieter Moebius (Cluster, Harmonia), and just this past summer released their debut LP, Radiate, on Bureau-B Records. Download/stream album track “Ausland”—the latest “Hallogallo” tribute (yet one with a seal of approval!)—and view its official video below.
The UFO Club is a group led by The Black Angels’ Christian Bland and Night Beats’ Lee Blackwell that takes a note from each of the aforementioned groups and twists it through a hazy lens of 50s pop and 60s psychedelia. Earlier this year, they released their debut 10″ on Austin Psych Fest’s in house label in June and it sold out before it could even hit shelves. They’ve now followed up that 10″ with a proper self-titled full length that pays homage to the British psych scene of the 1960s, much of which passed through the legendary London haunt from which the group takes its name. Reverb swamped feedback and hazy Barrett-style rants soaked in mushroom tea mesh with tinny garage anthems on this 11 track masterpiece. Stream album track “July” below, realize how good it is, then buy the album here.
With all of the recent press surrounding Russian feminist punk-rock group Pussy Riot (and the subsequent cultish orgy photos), it seems like Russian music is on a major rise. Right? Well, maybe not. But listening to Mother-Russian psych band The Karovas Milkshake, one would certainly be justified in believing so.
Hailing from the Russian town of Ekaterinburg, The Karovas Milkshake take their name from the milk bar in the film Clockwork Orange, the Korova Milkbar. If that was all they had to offer, we would still like them. Even if the music sucked. But, thankfully, it doesn’t. Quite the contrary, rather. Their sound openly exposes its ties to vintage car-hold rock (some prefer garage rock), lifting elements from bands like The Kinks, The Velvet Underground, and The Sonics with little rebranding or refurbishment. Even the production sounds authentically 60s, and it seems the band members aren’t afraid of this. “It’s hard being an idealist nowadays. But we try…People back then believed in the future–and we believe in the past,” they told Russian press.
The Karovas Milkshake recently released a single, “Freak Out” b/w “Factory” via their own Kaleidoscope Eyes label. Check it out below and purchase it via their Bandcamp page for a mere $2.00. Also be sure to check out the previously released Lo-Cow Motion EP. Support the rise of Russian music.
Our good friends over at Beyond Beyond is Beyond have started their own independent record label, Beyond Beyond is Beyond Records. The Brooklyn-based label kicks off with the debut 12″, titled Run Slow, from the similarly geographically located psychedelic garage rock outfit Prince Rupert’s Drops this fall. “Pillar to Post,” the album’s first single, is a—to take a line from the label’s founder—cage-free burner with guitar lines that belong on the Dazed and Confused Soundtrack and hauntingly/delightfully distorted vocals from second guitarist/vocalist Leslie Stein. It’s a number for the road.
SHOW NOTICE: Prince Rupert’s Drops will be debuting tracks from their upcoming LP at a very special NYC show on August 16 at Glasslands with Buffalo Killers and the Velcro Lewis Group. Poster/details below.
Frequent readers of this blog will know that, over the past few months, we’ve been championing the band Quilt as one of our new favorite acts to emerge onto the East Coast psych scene. After delving further into their world, and through meetings and interviews the band, it has now come to our attention that some of the band members also have side-projects of their own. Today, we start with Olden Yolk–the solo project of Quilt singer/guitarist Shane Butler. As Shane tells us:
I have been writing and recording music on my own for as long as I have been playing tunes. I have always made releases under different names and played shows under various monikers: Olden Yolk is the most recent incarnation. Recording/playing solo is definitely a fun outlet cause it allows a totally different process of creation to take place. What I have been doing with Olden Yolk lately is starting songs with folk/acoustic/drone structures and looping and layering until it becomes super atmospheric drone-based folk.
Also, trying to make visual partners for all the jams (i.e. The film I put together for Violet Vagaries). There is really no concrete plan for it, I would love to build some sound installations soon that can place different elements of looping folk songs throughout a room so that you can be within the song more, having instruments surround you and stuff.
You can check out Olden Yolk’s only song ” Violet Vagaries” above.
Just over a year ago, I came across a series of demos by a band called Cranium Pie. Hailing from Wiltshire, England, the group has been putting out singles on various independent UK labels since 2006, until finally, they released their first full-length LP, Mechanisms Pt. 1 , in the fall of 2011 via Fruits De Mer. After every one of those LPs sold-out, it took me some time to acquire the music. But I’ve finally managed hear it, and I can report to all of you that this is an album you must seek out.
Recalling the likes of Barrett-era Floyd with a dose of Hawkwind, Cranium Pie travels the zoned-out side of the progressive psych rock realm. The band is a five piece, with membership consisting of Robe Appleton (keyboards, vocals), Tim Bray (vocals, theremin, electronics, percussion), Dan Herra (guitars, vocals), Steve Meadows (bass) and Julian Smith (drums). Throughout this concept album, the listener journeys through many zones on a far-reaching sound quest filled with tripped-out narratives, graceful acoustic fingerpicking, prog guitar riffs, extended organ solos and charging space rock.
You can check out album track “Rememberrr” below or head to Cranium Pie’s website where you can now download the album.
Spyrals, the debut self-titled full-length from San Francisco psych-rockers The Spyrals, is yet another impressive garage-y sounding record to come out of the Bay Area in the past year. Recorded at the band’s own studio on an eight-track reel to reel, the album shows two faces—one that recalls contemporaries The Fresh and Onlys or Women with a psych-pop sound, the other a heavier, droned out improvisational sound that ventures freely into the void. The nine reverb-drenched tracks offer up a mix of catchy guitar riffs and crashing percussion with a bluesy tinge added by the slide and harmonica work. Stream it below or purchase it from The Spyrals bandcamp site. You can also check out their video for album track “Trying To Please.”
For the past 13 years, percussionist Craig Myers has been exploring the world of West African music, venturing to places like Mali, Senegal, Guinea and The Ivory Coast in search of his sound. Performing on a traditional African West instrument called the Kamel N’goni, Myers plays with Afro-inspired Brooklyn band Rubblebucket, as well as in Phish bass player Mike Gordon’s solo group. But recently, the percussion virtuoso has also turned his attention to a new seven-piece ensemble called Barika (pronounced body-kah), hailing from Burlington, VT. Inspired by the sounds of Mali’s Wassoulou region, the groups churns out psychy poly-rhythmic afro-grooves driven by Myers playing on the Kamel N’goni. It is difficult to describe the otherworldly sounds Myers conjures from the traditional African harp, but, at times, it sounds as though he has an entire African tribe playing along with him. Remember, the group’s debut album and the result of two-years of experiments and recording sessions, is now available from their website.
[Original art by Sean Metcalf]
We post a great deal of new music on this site, as well as on our Twitter feed and especially our Facebook page. With all of this new music, it’s understandable if one or more of these artists my have evaded your ears. And so, as we approach the end of the year we’ve compiled a mix featuring some of our favorite songs posted over the last 12 months. Stream/download below.
01. Woodsman – View From The Vision Hand
02. White Fence – Growing Faith
03. Run DMT – Richard
04. Twerps – Dreamin’
05. Nightlands – Trouble (Lindsey Buckingham cover)
06. Julian Lynch – Terra
07. Minerva Lions – Megrims
08. The War On Drugs – It’s Your Destiny
09. Rangers – Conversations On The Jet Stream
10. Spectre Folk – The Blackest Medicine
11. Spectrals – Doing Time
12. Amen Dunes – Bedroom Drum
13. Pure X – Dry Ice
14. Jeffertitti’s Nile – Mountain Jam
15. The Paperhead – Back To Those Days
16. Quilt – Penobska Oakwalk
17. Pancho San – Kick The Fences Down
18. Silver Pines – Timefather
19. Alex Bleeker & The Freaks – Getting By
20. Magic Trick – Daylight Moon
21. Peaking Lights – Birds Of Paradise (Dub Version)
22. Superhuman Happiness – Human Happiness
Here’s one of the artists I’ve been meaning to write about for some time, but never got the chance to. CMJ, for the most part, was a major disappointment this year. But one of the high points for me, personally, was getting to finally see Damon McMahon’s Amen Dunes project. After hearing his debut 2009 release DIA, recorded in a remote cabin in the Catskill Mountains, and then this year’s Through Donkey Jaw, McMahon quickly established himself as one of my favorite stoner psych minimalists. Below, check out one of the year’s best unofficial videos for “Diane” off Amen Dunes’ Murder Dull Mind 12″ EP out on Sacred Bones. Also viddy the official video for “Bedroom Drum” off Through Donkey Jaw.
Upon first hearing the jangly guitars that lead off the Mexican Summer debut from Boston psych rock band Quilt, I knew I was going to like it. But after digging in further, I realized that I was hearing one of the best albums of the year. The group dabbles in a wide range of sounds that channel everyone from the Airplane and other west coast 60s psych acts to CSN to Raga to British folk influences like The Pentangle and all sorts of other heady shit. Songs “Rabid Love” and “The Silver Stairs of Ketchikan” even recall a less eerie Woods, taking on a similar minimalist freak folk approach led by the choir-like vocals of Anna Fox Rochinski. The album, produced and engineered by Apollo Sunshine’s Jesse Gallagher, is the result of a series of extended experimental jams and free form songwriting. Many of the songs take on mantra-like form, with repetitive chants and Eastern melodies that guide the listener through dreamy, transcendent sound quests. Quilt are one of the most exciting upcoming psych rock bands hailing from the East Coast, so be sure to catch their live show when it comes through town. You can purchase their debut LP on Mexican Summer or stream the entire album below.
This video for “Hall Ballet” is off of Sofa Pits’ debut cassette New Moments, out on Beer On The Rug sometime in the near future.