We’re up here in the north country. Three deer just ran across the frozen lake. Robbie Basho is playing on the stereo. Coffee and tea are brewing. Heading out to this place shortly.
For fans of American fingerpicking masters like Fahey and Kottke, you can delve further into Basho’s eastern-tinged melodies and old-time-y vocals with this excellent essay ‘Guitarist of the Other Shore: Robbie Basho in the 1960s’. It’s a very worthwhile read.
Another deer just ran across the lake. Let’s hope the wolves are still sleeping.
Anna Fox Ronchinski of Boston psych-folk band Quilt was kind enough to put together this Winter-themed mix for us. Quilt are releasing their excellent new album Held in Splendor next week on Mexican Summer and will be hitting the road in support shortly thereafter. Head to Mexican Summer to pre-order Held in Splendor and check out the full list of tour dates after the jump.
Our love for Woods should be no secret around these parts by now. With each year, the band ages like a fine wine—constantly refining their songwriting and studio material, while taking their live improvisations further and further toward the cosmos. On April 15, Woods returns with a new album titled With Light and With Love on their own Woodsist label. You can hear the first song from it, titled “Leaves Like Glass,” below.
On Saturday, January 25, Dog Gone Presents a night of ghostly folk featuring Weyes Blood and ANAMAI at Toronto’s Magpie Taproom. Having already performed one of our Brooklyn shows, we’re psyched to bring Weyes Blood north of the border for her debut appearance in Canada. The show will feature Toronto’s own ANAMAI (the solo project of Anna Mayberry from HSY), who’s debut cassette we’ve been obsessing over of late.
Come take part in a night of creep folk while enjoying a crafty brew or two. Tickets available at the door. Inquire about group rates and travel packages within.
Weyes Blood is the mysterious ghost folk project of Natalie Mering, (former member of Jackie-O Motherfucker, Axolotl). Weaving sound textures with delicate folk songs, Weyes Blood is truly bridge music, combining the sonic influences of tape experimentation with the ancient art of song. Her voice is singular and timeless, unadorned yet soulful and penetrating. She has provided her pipes on Ariel Pink’s new record Mature Themes, singing back up on the song Early Birds of Babylon. She also accompanied the haunted graffiti live on an east coast tour in Sept 2012. Aside from small run releases such as the self-released “Strange Chalices of Seeing” (2007), and a 7″ entitled Liquor Castle (Smoker’s Gifts, UK, 2008) Weyes Blood released her first full length in March 2011 on the Not Not Fun label entitled The Outside Room.
Anna Mayberry—of Toronto sludge-punk band HSY—released a solo, three track cassette under the name ANAMAI in late 2013. Stepping out from the murk of her other project, this new avenue finds Mayberry softly crooning over ghostly, psychedelic atmospheres–ones that would find themselves right at home alongside those of MV & EE and their extended family of bands.
Well folks, here we are again looking back on another year gone by. Fresh out of the frost, here’s the list of albums that received the most play around these parts in 2013. You’ll also find a mix containing some of our favorite songs from 2013 at the bottom.
The Entrance Band – Face The Sun
Four years on from the release of their previous full-length, LA psych juggernauts The Entrance Band returned with an album built upon the personal struggles and spiritual transformations experienced by all three band members during the extended period of gestation. Balancing both sides of the journey toward the light, Face the Sun finds The Entrance Band in a more transcendent, melodic space while maintaining a hauntingly beautiful darkness in its undercurrent. Songs like “The Crave” and “Year of the Dragon” depict the introspective journey through the tunnel of addiction and sorrow, while “Fine Flow” and “Fire Eyes” channel a more cosmic side with the interplay between guitarist Guy Blakeslee and bassist Paz Lenchantin at near subliminal levels. A journey to the depths of the darkness can be known to strip away the heart and soul of a band, but in the case of Face the Sun it seems as though the members have returned to the surface with a brighter and more inspired outlook than ever before.
(originally published in Relix Magazine)
White Fence – Cyclops Reap
Once again, in 2013, the ever-prolific Tim Presley released an album loaded with lo fi, garage-rock nuggets that sound like they could have been released over 40 years ago. Recorded during a 4 ½ year span and largely inspired by the loss of his father, Cyclops Reap strips away some of Presley’s trademark punk murk, making way for a more spacious, folk-inspired sound. Surely one of the finest to come out of the White Fence cannon.
Foxygen – We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic
These two young California sons managed to meld the ideas they’d been crafting while separately away at college into a beautiful piece of ‘60s inspired paisley psych-pop. As history often shows, combine two unique songwriters, especially one who possesses a highly volatile personality, and magic is bound to happen. However, tragedy and conflict are often bound to follow.
Endless Boogie – Long Island
There aren’t too many bands that still embody the old New York spirit the way Endless Boogie has for the past decade. Long Island, the band’s third proper release for No Quarter, unapologetically churns and tunnels its way through the group’s signature, riff-caked groove, tugging at their namesake for 80 minutes of stoned-out bliss. You either love ‘em or you don’t. They certainly don’t give a shit.
Steve Gunn – Time Off
For nearly 15 years, New York-based guitarist and songwriter Steve Gunn has existed on the periphery of the contemporary avant-folk scene, acting as a solo artist and touring member in Kurt Vile’s Violators, as well as one-half of the Gunn-Truscinki Duo. But on Time Off, Gunn’s immense talent comes into full view as he leads a trio of old pals through a series of six extended folk journeys that touch on everything from Pentangle to Fahey to Indian Ragas to the Grateful Dead. Gunn’s soft, slightly haggard voice is showcased on songs like the heady acoustic jam “Lurker,” while the guitar interplay on “New Decline” would have Bert Jansch and John Renbourne singing praises. The title, Time Off, perhaps is not so much a suggestion that these songs were recorded during a particular downtime, but rather a nod to the music’s timelessness—where time can simply be switched off leaving music as the only dimension in which events may take place.
(originally published in Relix Magazine)
Wooden Shjips – Back To Land
For Back to Land, the new album by West Coast Psych amblers Wooden Shjips, leadmen Ripley Johnson and Omar Ahsanuddin packed up and moved to Oregon to record their first set of tracks outside of the Bay Area. With the lush climate and natural surroundings inspiring their musical direction, the pair tapped into a more grounded, organic sound without diverting the course of their modernist space-psych core. Throughout each the album’s eight tracks, a distinctly brighter flag flies atop the Shjip, as melodies step out into the forefront, washing away much of the sledge-y murk that cloud their previous recordings.
(originally published in Relix Magazine)
Night Beats – Sonic Bloom
Recorded in a Tacoma, WA warehouse, Sonic Bloom album perfectly captures the Beats at their drugged-fueled, raved-up best.
California’s garage rock son turns in his electric and fuzz pedals for a simple acoustic on the emotionally-charged, introspective Sleeper LP. Recorded following the loss of his father, Sleeper showcases the unadulterated beauty of Segall’s knack for melodious songwriting.
Kevin Morby – Harlem River
Harlem River is the debut solo album from Woods bassist/Babies guitarist Kevin Morby. Aided by a stellar cast of backing musicians, along with the help of Rob Barbato’s (Darker My Love) impressive production work, Morby delivers an intimate collection of songs that touch on the loneliness, addiction and hardships of a touring musician. Having joined Woods before he was legally allowed to drink in bars, Morby’s tale rings with the wisdom and experience of a man who’s spent the better part of his life on the road.
Fuzz – S/T
For the past several years, Ty Segall has largely existed as a solo artist. But with Fuzz, his latest project formed together with high school friend and Ty Segall Band guitarist Charles Moothart, it seems the lone wolf has finally found a pack in which to roam. Heavy psych of the highest order.
Steve Gunn, having already secured a pair of spots on our year’s best of list with his Golden Gunn LP and the solo effort Time Off, makes a run at a hat trick with a third release this year recorded together with Pelt‘s Mike Gangloff. The album was recorded in the spring months of this year at the remote farmhouse of noted roots-music engineer Joseph Dejarnette (Carolina Chocolate Drops, Bruce Greene, Curtis Eller). There, in the tiny community of Topeka set in the countryside of Floyd County, Virginia, Gunn and Gangloff spent an entire night improvising with six-and 12-string guitars, a banjo, along with traditional Indian instruments like gongs, tanpura, singing bowls, and a shruti box. The result was an intense night of improvisation captured on the forthcoming release Melodies for a Savage Fix. You can hear one of the tracks, titled “Worry Past Worry,” below.
Purchase Melodies for a Savage Fix on regular or red vinyl from the good folks at Important Records.
Boston psych-folk trio Quilt have unveiled the second tune off their forthcoming album, Held In Splendor, out January 28 via Mexican Summer. Hear the raved-up “Tired & Buttered” below and be sure to check out their upcoming tour dates as well.
Quilt have released the first video off their forthcoming album Held In Spendlor, which comes out January 28, 2014 on Mexican Summer. Since the release of their debut album in the winter months of 2011, the band has gone through bit of a lineup change with the departure of founding member Taylor McVey, along with the addition of drummer John Andrews and, more recently, bassist Keven Lareau (The Migs, MMOSS). These changes seem to have led the band from it’s folksky origins toward a fuller, more energetic sound that remains decidedly Quilt-y. Watch the video below and be sure to check the band out on their current East Coast tour with labelmates Happy Jawbone Family Band (see below for dates).
Pre-order Held In Splendor via Mexican Summer.
Download or stream the Part II of the Dog Gone Presents Autumn Folkways Mix below. You’ll notice that the mix is ideally tailored for weekend listening, so enjoy this selection of autumnal tunes before the first frost hits. If you missed Part I, you can check it out here.
01. Devendra Banhart – Hey Mama Wolf
02. The Range of Light Wilderness – Through The Leaves
03. Vetiver – I Know No Pardon
04. Rodriguez – Jane S Piddy
05. Ty Segall – Crazy
06. Chet Atkins – Canned Heat
07. Bill Fay – Doris Comes Today
08. Bert Jansch – Veronica
09. Brad Barr – Maria La O
10. Appletree Theatre – Saturday Morning
11. The Velvet Underground & Nico – Sunday Morning
12. Amps For Christ – Lord Bateman (Child #53)
13. Popol Vuh – Tanz Der Chassidim
14. Comus – The Herald
15. Dino Valenti – Let’s Get Together
16. Bob Dylan – Talkin’ New York
Fall is one of my favourite times of the year, and so, as usual I got a bit carried away putting together this year’s seasonal mix. Take the first half with you on a drive and watch the changing colours of the leaves. Over an hour and a half of prime autumnal tunes await…
The latest video from Olden Yolk, the solo project of Shane Butler from Quilt, finds scenes from Pascal Auber’s “La Champignonne” providing a near-perfect accompaniment to the ambling psych-folk of “Burr Oak.” You can purchase a digital copy of ”Burr Oak” / “Violet Vagaries” via Olden Yolk’s Bandcamp page
The story of Sunforest begins in 1969, when three American friends–Terry Tucker, Erika Eigen and Freya Hogue–set course for London in hopes of becoming pop singers. Almost immediately after their arrival, they were spotted drinking tea in a local cafe by legendary U.K. producer Vic Coppersmith-Heaven and were ushered into a studio to record a demo that very night. Just weeks later, they recorded their first and only album, Sound of Sunforest, a collection of psych-folk songs released on Decca Records that same year. The record sold very few copies and, not long after its release, the group permanently disbanded. An interesting factoid about this album, however, is that while working on A Clockwork Orange, director Stanley Kubrick heard the album and asked the band to re-record two songs, “Overture to the Sun” and “I Want to Marry a Lighthouse Keeper,” for the soundtrack.
Quilt’s new video for the song “Open Eyes” was shot and filmed on 16mm B&W film by producers/directors Kim and Luis Arnias. Watch it below and pick up The New Hampshire Freaks split with MMOSS via Beyond Beyond is Beyond Records.
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.
As San Francisco folkie Jessica Pratt told me in a recent interview, her young life was largely one of isolation and alienated musical study. Deep inside her own world, Pratt developed her own songwriting style that channels the styles of folkies like Karen Dalton or Linda Perhacs atop delicately plucked nylon string guitar. Combined with some American Grafitti-esque imagery, Pratt’s music truly sounds like some long lost set of recordings from the 60s. Here’s a video for the song “Her Strange Melody,” which is not included on her debut album for Birth Records.
Purchase the album here.
I recently stumbled across the incredible 1974 album by Turkish psych-folk duo Mazhar & Fuat, titled Türküz Türkü Çağırırız (which translates to “We are Turks, we sing Turkish folk songs”). The duo, formed in 1973, released this one album before joining up with bass guitar player Özkan Uğur to become the famous pop trio MFÖ. But before their foray into the world of Turkish pop, these fine musicians left behind what is considered to be one of the crown jewels of the Turkish psych era. The album, sung almost entirely in Turkish (as you may have gathered from the title), blends various ’60s rock and folk influences with flowing Eastern melodies referencing the traditional music of Arabia, India and beyond. The song chosen for you today is titled “Adimiz Miskindir Bizim,” which translates loosely to “Our Mix of Step.”
Since 2006, guitarist Emmet Kelley and a roving band of musicians have been creating some of the more interesting contemporary folk music as The Cairo Gang (a name taken from a group of slain anti-IRA British spies). Best known as a collaborator, Kelley has worked with artists such as Beth Orton and, most notably, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, with whom he made the 2010 album, The Wonder Show of the World. Following last year’s largely overlooked 7″, Kelley and the Gang returned with a new album, titled The Corner Man, last month on Empty Cellar, and, as the saying goes, it may just be their finest to date. Listen to album track “Now You Are One Of Us” below.
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.
Last night I had the great pleasure of catching Los Angeles-via-Michigan group Lord Huron’s return to NYC. Celebrating the release of their debut LP, Lonesome Dreams, the band performed their stunning new material infront of dimly lit silhouette of a mountainscape and proved why they’re one of the best emerging indie-folk acts on the scene today. Lord Huron’s new album is a dream-like journey, recalling contemporaries like the Fleet Foxes, while harkening back to the days of yore with tales of growing up on the lake, river crossings, undying loves and stories of the American heartland. It’s an album for autumn. Listen to album tracks “Ends of the Earth” and “Time to Run” below and then head over to IAMSOUND to purchase the record.
Following the release of their highly impressive new album, Bend Beyond, Woods have dropped the B-side to the sun-soaked album single “Cali in a Cup.” While much of the new album offers a more accessible, brighter side of Woods, “Give Your Light Off” turns toward the dark with a spiritual hymn that recalls early Wailers, while coasting atop a haunting undercurrent of tape effects, heavy-handed acoustic guitar strums and Peter Tosh-style wah licks. Another impressive nugget from the prolific Brooklyn outfit.
Purchase Bend Beyond via Woodsist.
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.
Boston-based psych folk band Quilt have a new video for the song “Young Gold. The song comes off their criminally good self titled LP out now on Mexican Summer, which was one of our favorite albums of 2011. Look out for a DGB exclusive Quilt-related announcement in the coming days!
[via Beyond Beyond is Beyond]
Local North Carolina taper Dan Schram recently caught our ear when we stumbled across his War on Drugs recordings up on archive.org. To add to that, Mr. Schram posted another one of our favs earlier today with when he shared his excellent recording of Megafaun’s performance at the Cats Cradle in Carrboro, NC from September 22. This hometown show for the band comes off their recent tour in support of their new self-titled release out now on Hometapes. Below, listen to “Real Slow” or download the entire show via archive.org. Also, be sure to check out Dan’s archive page for lots more great recordings.
MP3: “Real Slow” (9/22/11)