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.
In many ways, taper culture these days resembles the situation the Samurai found themselves in following the fall of feudal Japan. Having formerly played an essential role as the military nobility of medieval and early-modern Japan, the decline began in the late 1800s when Emperor Meiji stripped the Samurai of their right to wear the katana in public and replaced them with a more modern, western-style, conscripted army. Many of the once-great Samurai warriors became lost souls, wandering towns in search of work, unsure of their future in modern Japan.
Lots of cities these days have one or two local tapers that resemble these lost Samurai. Many have come from the Grateful Dead or Phish scenes and now carry on their once fanatical passion by taping the odd show for fun. These individuals are a lot like local musical archivists who capture some of their city’s live happenings and share the recordings on their websites. The sound quality is generally good, not great—it’s more about capturing the moment. These tapers aren’t smuggling pieces of taping rigs into shows and seeking out the ideal positions to achieve maximum sound quality like the Bob Menke and Louis Falanga team. No, these tapers are merely continuing a hobby that they love.
Having grown up a major Deadhead, I always felt I would somehow find my way back to that scene in some other form. There’s been signs along the way, but perhaps the biggest one came earlier this year when I saw a Woods tape being offered “for trade only” by someone from the Sacred Bones family flying under the name of Grateful Bones. Then, just a few weeks back I received word of a new series of releases titled Live in San Francisco being put out by Castle Face Records. The first installment in that series captures one of the best live bands on the scene, White Fence, over two nights at the Bay Area’s Amnesia, while the second catches new stoner-psych band Fuzz tearing down the walls on their drummer Ty Segall’s recent birthday. Both of these recordings were taped on a Tascam 388 and engineered by Chris Woodhouse, Eric Bauer, Bob Marshall, and Castle Face’s John Dwyer. You can hear cuts from both shows below.
White Fence Live in San Francisco is available on cd and vinyl with the option of a special lenticular cover, which creates magical movement through print-wizardry. Purchase it via Castle Face.
[Art by Sean Metcalf]
Greetings friends and fellow travelers. As the year comes to a close, we find ourselves looking back on all the great music that came out of 2012. This year offered much hope for the future, including the emergence of folk singer-songwriter Jessica Pratt; Swedish music collective GOAT; Southern England’s Beaulieu Porch; and new Brooklyn based label Beyond Beyond is Beyond, who brought us the debut album from Prince Rupert’s Drops. This was another exceptional year for new releases and we’re psyched to present to you our picks for the best albums of 2012. Tell us about your favorite albums of 2012 in the comments section below.
The amazingly prolific San Francisco garage rock wizard Ty Segall has released a video for the song “The Hill,” featured on his forthcoming album Twins (his third this year). Directed by Segall himself and featuring Thee Oh Sees’ Brigid Dawson, the video travels through a bad VHS acid trip laced with oversized stuffed bears and just plain weird shit. Twins comes out out on October 9th via Drag City.
Preorder the album here.
Greetings friends! It’s been a somewhat longer than planned time since new words and sounds have graced this page. But fear not, for this playlist holds many of the songs that have been circulating through the listening station of your humble editor of late. As some of you may know, we were graced with the opportunity to head down to Austin Psych Fest this year and discover lots of great new artists. Some of these acts are featured on this playlist including the woodland folk MMOSS, the Tuareg Jimi Hendrix Bombino along with the throwback Texas rockers The Golden Dawn. Lots of great stuff. Thanks to our friend Mike Newman from Beyond Beyond is Beyond for introducing us to the sounds of Foxygen and lots more. And lastly, thanks to the incredibly talented Johanna Andersson for providing this month’s art. Enjoy.
Download Link (right click, save as)
1. The Black Angels – Entrance Song (Rain Dance Version)
2. MMOSS – Kitty Sorrow
3. Bombino – Tar Hani
4. The Brian Jonestown Massacre – The Clouds Are Lies
5. Blues Control – Love’s A Rondo
6. Ween – Buckingham Green
7. Ty Segall & White Fence – Time
8. The Spyrals – Lonely Eyes
9. White Fence – Take Away Life’s Endless Take
10. Woods – Wind Was The Wine
11. MV & EE – Common Ground
12. Kensington Market – I Would Be The One
13. Richard Hell – I’m Your Man
14. Foxygen – Make It Known
15. We All Together – We Live Too Fast
16. The Golden Dawn – This Way Please
Here’s the latest video from Ty Segall & White Fence’s session at Room 205.
Hair, The forthcoming collaborative LP from Ty Segall and Tim Presley’s White Fence is one that has been receiving a great deal of play around here as of late. Combining two heroes of the contemporary garage rock world, the album transports us back in time with retro fuzzed guitar freak outs, muddy, distorted vocals, and catchy psych trips aplenty. The pair recently stopped by Room 205 to record live session and you can now check out two of the videos below. Hair comes out on April 26 via Drag City. You’ll want to pick up a copy of this one.
“I Am Not A Game”