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.
Laura Polkinghome, Marsha Jo Temmer and sisters Joan and Alexandra Sliwin were a group of women who hailed from Detroit and grew up amid the ’60s Motown scene that was happening at the time in their hometown. After performing in a series of local groups, they packed up and moved to LA to escape the ’67 Detroit riots and pursue a career in music. It was here that they met psychedelic cowboy Lee Hazlewood, who went on to record and produce the group’s only record, which was released in 1968 and sold very few copies. In recent years, the record could be found regularly fetching upwards of $2,000. However, thanks to the good folks at Light in the Attic, the album has been reissued from its original mono recordings for the first time ever and can now be purchased in a number of formats.
Purchase Honey Ltd. via Light in the Attic.
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…
From Canada’s prairie region hail Calgary, Albert’s Devionian Gardens—the latest addition to the already-stacked Beyond Beyond is Beyond roster. Formerly named Deadhorse, the group exudes a powerfully eclectic interplay between its members including hoodoo guitar master Danny Vescarelli, hand instrument mage Jennifer Crighton, paisley child Marie Sulkowski, tonal shaman Ryan Bourne and rarified pattern master Melissa McWilliams. Like their label brethren, Devonian show many faces throughout the album as they traverse through West Coast inspired psych-folk, raved-up blues rock and arena-size psych jams that venture into deep space–sometimes within a single song (“Night Beams”). For their forthcoming album, Solar Shifting, the group ventured to the secluded forests of Nova Scotia where they recorded along with analog wizard Jay Crocker. Solar Shifting, the second full-length album by Devonian Gardens, comes out October 1st via Beyond Beyond is Beyond.
As many of you know, Dog Gone Presents moved headquarters from New York to Toronto earlier this year. Having been here for several months now, we’ve had a good amount of time to survey the local music scene and one of our greatest discoveries is a local psych rock band called Milk Lines.
Interestingly enough, it was actually in New York that we were first introduced to the band’s guitarist/vocalist Jeff Clarke, who was on tour with Acid Baby Jesus at the time leading his other Montreal-based group Hell Shovel (he also formerly played in Montreal’s Demonclaws). After that show, I was so impressed with Hell Shovel that I decided to reach out to try and connect when we both made it back to the other side of the border. When I finally got in touch with Jeff several months later, he told me to come check out a new band band he had formed now that he was living in Toronto. My first impression was that this band is good. Really good—like Toronto’s answer to White Fence. My second was that Jeff has monster hands that seem to claw at the guitar ala Neil Young. They’ve (the band, not the hands) got the garage-y rawness of Hell Shovel with the added female vocal edge of Emily Frances that recalls a less polished, slightly darker Quilt. Throw it all together with a bit of country twang and you have Milk Lines. Listen to their only recording, taped live at one of their recent shows, below.
Stay tuned for a Dog Gone Presents announcement bearing their name in the coming days!
Last winter, in what seemed like one of those 40-tab deep internet surfing sessions, I stumbled across the music of Bay Area garage rockers The Spyrals. I then wrote about them and enjoyed the album for several months. They kindly thanked us, and that was that. Over a year later (a few weeks ago), they once again made contact to tell us about a new, related project called Jesus Sons. The story is still the same—we know almost nothing about these guys. They come to us like riders in the night, delivering messages containing bluesy garage nuggets that will please fans of the Night Beats, early Stones, 13th Floor Elevators and so on. Below, hear a track and watch their new video. More via their Soundcloud page.
Here’s a new video from Brooklyn psych voyagers Cut Keys. A little story behind the video:
We travelled down to Atlanta over the weekend for 3 sleepless nights of cigarettes, dead squirrels, and music video shooting. Everyone got a bit delirious in the wee hours, and the paint gently burned our faces (see above photo).
Sink into this soaring guitar jammer from these Bushwick friends.
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.
Poster art by Curtis Godino.
Our next show will be an evening of Chilean psych rock, when Föllakzoid and The Holydrug Couple grace us with their presence at Mercury Lounge on March 21. Drippy Eye will be providing visuals. Come out and catch two of the best bands from the ever growing Chilean psychedelic underground scene with a side of liquid light. RSVP.
Tickets are $10 adv or $12 at the door. We’ll be giving away tickets to the show so stay tuned for details.
Purchase tickets HERE.
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.
Three years after Matt Lajoie began Herbcraft as a bedroom recording project, the Portland, Maine-based band has evolved into a more collaborative project and will release its third long player, The Astral Body Electric, on March 5 via Woodsist. The album was recorded direct to tape by Doug Tuttle (Mmoss) in an 18th-century New England barn and “aurally massaged” into the 4th dimension by Matt “MV” Valentine with his signature “Spectrasound” mastering technique. Hear the first track, “No Land,” a psychy stew of Lajoe’s shimmering guitar, Dawn Aquarius’ wah’ed organ riffs and jungle flutes, below.
After a lengthy period of gestation, Montreal-based cosmic voyagers The Besnard Lakes return with a new album, titled Until in Excess, Imperceptiple UFO , on April 2 via Jagjaguwar. The album comes as the follow-up to one of our favorite albums from a few years back, The Besnard Lakes are the Roaring Night which was preceded by the similarly great …Dark Horses. Listen below as new song “People of the Sticks” transports us right back into the trademark narcotic embrace of The Besnard Lakes.
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.”
In the mid-to-late 1960s, guitarist Lenny Kaye (Patti Smith Group) and Jac Holzman (founder of Elektra Records) assembled the groundbreaking compilation Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era—a double album containing a collection of pioneering psychdelic sounds and liner notes that included one of the first uses of the term “punk rock.” In honor of its 40th anniversary, Kaye has teamed up with journalist David Fricke to compile Nuggets: Antipodean Interpolations, which features the latest generation of Aussie bands paying tribute with covers of the original Nuggets tracks. In addition, the original collection is being re-released along with a couple of local compilations, featuring Australian artists from the same era and with a similar attitude as what was on the original Nuggets.
The collection of covers features contributions from the likes of Pond, Straight Arrows, Gooch Palms, King Gizzard & the Wizard Lizard, Frowning Clouds, Laurels and Eagle & The Worm. Check out one of our favorites, Baptism of Uzi’s “Baby Please Don’t Go” along with Pond’s cover of “Hey Joe.”
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.
As we prepare to venture to the great northern lands of Sweden in just one week’s time, we’ve decided to share this astral journey by Swedish prog rock band Kaipa. “Inget Nytt Under Solen” is the title track of the band’s 1976 sophomore album, which translates to “Nothing New Under the Sun,” from the much-quoted bible verse “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”
(will upload downloadable mp3 shortly)
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.
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.
Tim Kuhl is one of the finest drummers/percussionists I’ve had the pleasure of knowing during my time in New York. Part of the extended family of musicians that includes Superhuman Happiness, the band formerly known as Minerva Lions (of which he was/is the drummer), Thought, Beyondo, Knights on Earth and so on, Tim has plucked a group of these immensely talented musicians for his own self-titled project. The group features Mr. Kuhl on drums, Jared Samuel on double bass, Grey McMurray on guitar, Rick Parker on trombone, Joshua Valleau on accordion, and Philip Sterk on dobro.
On a late August weekend, these fine musicians made their way down to the Far Rockaway area of New York to film a video for their new song “Indigo Blue.” Just two short months later, the area was completely devastated by hurricane Sandy, leaving many people who live in the Rockaways in dire need of immediate help. Watch the video and read how you can help those in need below.
Pick up Tim’s new album St Helena via Bandcamp.
For an idea of the devastation caused by Sandy in Far Rockaway have a look at these images:
Here are some links to ways to help:
Be sure to earmark the funds for Rockaway Hurricane Relief
Both St. Francis de Sales Church and the Rockaway Beach Surf Club are volunteer hubs:
The Surf Club
302 beach 87th Street
Visit this link for more info and info on rideshare: gowanusstudio.org/relief/rideshare.html
St. Francis de Sales
219 Beach 129th Street
For those in need of help text SANDY to 69866 and for those who want to volunteer text MUTUAL AID to 69866.
Following 2011′s release on Burger Records, New Hampshire-based psych band MMOSS have returned with a new album, titled Only Children, released earlier this week on Trouble in Mind. Only Children is a more cohesive sampling of the talents of these woodland folk and their lengthy kraut-inspired sound quests, filled with shimmering vocal harmonies and astral excursions. Below you can hear the lead track “Spoiled Sun” or check out the full album on Bandcamp.
Order Only Children from Trouble in Mind.
The debut full length from The UFO Club, a collaboration between The Black Angels’ Christian Bland and Nights Beats’ Lee Blackwell, is one of our favorite releases to come out of 2012. Re-imagining 50s pop through the prism of 60s psych, the pair pay homage to the legendary UFO Club of Pink Floyd-era 1960s London. Watch the video for the song “Wolfman” off their new LP below.
You can stream / listen to and buy the album in the format of your choice on the Austin Psych Fest website.
These days, you won’t find too many bands outside the jam scene uploading their shows to archive.org. But count Philadelphia’s War on Drugs as one of the few exceptions. While not a traditional “jamband,” The War on Drugs rely hugely on improvisation—not only in the live setting, but in the song creation process as well. As frontman Adam Granduciel told me in a recent interview, the majority of the lyrics on the new album Slave Ambient were written while improvising and many of the songs slip into extended jam territory, especially in the live setting. On stage, it’s amazing to see the band working around pre-programmed samples which, more often than not, unfold into Neu!-inspired space-rock adventures. The Drugs currently have three shows up on their archive.org page, but expect more to appear following the current tour. Below, listen to one of the song’s from the Drugs’ recent show at Kings Barcade in Raleigh, NC and download the heady recording, if you so desire.
MP3: “Your Love Is Calling My Name” (4/7/11)
Download link: The War On Drugs Kings Barcade, Raleigh, NC 11/10/11