Back when granddad was still alive (miss you Altered Zones, flowers on your grave), I had the privilege of introducing you to AXIS:SOVA, who released a crisp yet fractured 7" of nasty beach psych. Now Mr. Brett Sova has dropped his full-length statement, Weight of a Color, and the world is better for it.
Sova has dubbed the incandescent lead single "Caustic Plume" as "oceancore," and that's with tongue planted firmly in cheek. Eerie and beautiful, dark and buoyant, the song is a serious demonstration of songwriting maturity, posessing a different sense of sonic adventurousness since he made his first splash with last year's I Feel Like (Laying Low). "Caustic Plume" comes replete with soaring cosmic synths a la later Spaceman 3, an urgent urban decay crunch via Suicide, and Tower Recordings-evocative modal guitar noodling. It's unequivocally more trippy than watching Clint Eastwood argue with a chair or the comment left on the aforementioned AZ post, please believe. (via Distonal)
Weight of a Color is available now on analog via the good doctors at Kill Shaman.
I'm not sure if the use of cut-up photographs in the cinematography for "Burned Body" has a proper name, such as the Ken Burns effect, but if not, enjoy the heretofore known Naomi Punk effect. Assembled lovingly by Robin Stein, Margaret Jones, and Jesse Brown, the fast-paced, chopped-up, kaleidoscopic animation offers up a head trip as bountiful as the cosmic fuzz the band dredged out on their latest, The Spell. "Burned Body" lives up to both the band's namesake and the rich ambitious punk history of their native Olympia, while launching their power chords past the Curiosity Rover and toward the edge of our solar system. Fans of Ty Segall and The Oh Sees should take a listen, take a toke, and let this video cut your mind into shards sharper than the video's rapid-fire collage blitzkreig. (via Distonal)
Evil stuff, this.
Put the kibosh on your Twin Shadow-listenin' numbskullery and get weird with Cross, a Lexington, KY-based collection of heads who boil a sludgy amalgam of proto-metal, West Coast psychedelia, fuzz-punk, and goth into instantly hummable anthems juxtaposed against shadowy, abyss-staring exercises. The project is spearheaded by visual artist R. Clint Colburn and Ma Turner, who you may recall from the Troubleman-signed bizarros Warmer Milks. Cross' rounded-out cast of bodacious cohorts possess a crystalline artistic vision, propelling a thundrous, well-oiled form of sonic alchemy that trascends "scenes" (ugh). Like, can death rock be jangly? Turns out, fuck yes. Cross figured that out with panache in their subterranean laboratory for their forthcoming debut effort, Die Forever.
The Coleman Guyon-directed video for the first single, "Inhuman Nature," imagines what activites Cross partakes in on a typical day-- skateboarding, liquoring it up, going for hikes in a strobe light-laden forbidden forest, and some light and fancy-free self drowning-- which provides a visual apropos to the full length's title.
If our Dark Lord is a hating one, Cross will become a sleeper hit, and Sophomore Lounge, who release Die Forever September 25th on digital and vinyl, will make billions of dollars to the sound of the gravy train whistle. Make it happen by pre-ordering this joint right now. (via Distonal)
The descriptor "cultish" tends to attach itself to myriad second and third wave psychedelic artists, from the NPR-safe Edward Sharpe to perennial blog favorite Prince Rama to the aptly-titled Brian Jonestown Massacre (Miranda Lee Richards even said as much about the latter). But no artist feels more like a cult, one that possesses the power to bend young minds no less, than Acid Mothers Temple. Many of founding guitarist Kawabata Makoto's followers resemble some sort of Far East version of wizards and sorcerers-- to the point where it's rather unforgivable Acid Mothers Temple has not become a feverish role playing card game yet. Even the band's website closely resembles that of Heaven's Gate.
North Texas lies just on the edge of the great American southwest's mystic aura - the milieu in which totems, bizarre phenomena, and strange lights feed sustenance to the third eye and allow for a particularly spiritual approach to psychedelia. Dallas' one-man anthropological electro-alchemist Treasure Hunt, the moniker of Myles Dunhill, takes full advantage of this energy. On "Matters," Dunhill mutates away for a five-and-a-half minute tribal collage meets acid jazz groove spectacle. Unlike his noisier contemporaries, however, Treasure Hunt cultivates a highly cinematic vibe, perfect for ominous late-night desert misadventures. Highly recommended for fans of No Neck Blues Band, Sunroof, Sun Araw, and super early Animal Collective. (via Distonal)
"Matters" can be found on Seatec Astronomy, available on Treasure Hunt's Bandcamp for whatever price you'd like to pay.
Save for a quick 7" one-off, husband and wife space rock power duo Landing has remained radio silent for almost six years. And in the interim, it appears Landing discovered trace amounts of caffeine, or ginseng, or perhaps 5 Hour Energy and/or PCP. If you're not yet familiar with Landing, I encourage you to fill up the peace pipe and figure it the fuck out. If you're on the Landing tip though, it's recommended that you make like Samuel L. Jackson in Jurassic Park and "hold on to your butts."
Their latest eponymous effort ropes in the flying, hypnotic ambience that made the Connecticut-based slow-core outfit adored amongst those tuned in to the otherverse over a significantly higher BPM count. The lead single, "Heart Finds the Beat," offers up lessons in jet propulsion coupled with ancient healing powers. It's a celestial pop masterpiece worthy of transmitting over the SETI system, antennas pointed toward possible intelligent life in the universe. Hell, I could even label this song, unironically, a salient club banger. More importantly, "Heart Finds the Beat" bolsters a cathartic, soaring chorus gorgeous enough to use as a spiritual litmus test. Landing is a surprising, satisfying listening experience throughout, providing a benchmark example of how a veteran space/post rock band can stay fresh and inventive throughout their career. (via Distonal)
Landing just dropped via Geographic North, and it's limited to 500 LPs, so don't sleep.
Meet Virginia-bred and currently Philadelphia-based cosmic picker Daniel Bachman. At one time, Bachman recorded and performed under the moniker Sacred Harp, but now he bears all and embraces his Christian name. That's the editorial "Christian," of course. I have no idea what his faith is, though he seems to come from whatever sacred body reared the likes of the father Jack Rose, the son Ben Chasny, and the holy ghost The Incredible String Band. Since he started recording his latest full-length Oh Be Joyful, Bachman's been keeping his spear sharp, supporting Amen Dunes, recording some live sessions on taste-arbiter WFMU, and generally controlling the weather with the HAARP technology attached to his acoustic axe. Bachman's engrossing, complex, cavernous guitar modalities convince you that your home is larger on the inside than out. It's altered states-ready psychedelic folk blessed by medicine men and mystic healers alike. On a cool evening, venture out to the country, windows rolled down, and cruise on high with the pastrol expansiveness of "The Bridge of Flowers."
Oh Be Joyful is out now on One Kind Favor, and it's spiritual as all get out.
As far as the psych revivalism camp is concerned, Plastic Crimewave, the nom-de-plume of Chicago-based illustrator and musician Steven Krakow, is a one-man, multi-faceted governing body. Of his many projects is the beloved psych-rock bible Galactic Zoo Dossier, established in 1995 and published by Drag City since 2001. Much like Plastic Crimewave's preferred method of sonic propulsion, the GZD is analog in style; the entire publication is hand-drawn, replete with swirling, psychedelic comic art, interviews with the fringiest of the fringe, and trading cards! You can also grip a sampler of mind-melting, premium rare cuts from the past and present with the zine.
Galactic Zoo Dossier #9 is no exception, with Sons of Gutbucket offering space travel solutions from the likes of Mainliner, Thule, The Revelation, and the under-celebrated godfather of damaged pastoral acid folk, Mark Fry. The English songwriter's 1972 debut Dreaming With Alice is considered a cult masterpiece among weird folk enthusiasts, yet regretfully remained under the radar for decades. Fry wouldn't release his sophomore effort for 36 years, and with such a small catalog, Plastic Crimewave's discovery of an unreleased live recording is nothing short of incredible. We're stoked to share it below. (Distonal co-premiere)
Galactic Zoo Dossier #9, with the 23-track Sons of Gutbucket sampler CD, comes out June 19th, and is available for pre-order now at Drag City. This is a must-have for all stoner rock and psych folk devotees.
You can keep Austin as weird as you want, but the fact is that Chicago has always reigned in the weirdness department. A cow burned down the city. The city's PBS affiliate became the victim of one the most bizarre and notorious TV pirating pranks of all time. The Weird Chicago tour has great reviews on Yelp! And the city's music scene has spawned some bizarre forms of generally rigid music, whether it's jazz, rock, or movements in electronic.
Made up of members of Chicago art-rock powerhouses Icy Demons and Michael Columbia, Chandeliers embraces all of this heritage fondly. Their forthcoming debut Founding Fathers explores galactic pop, krautrock retrofuturism, incandescent jazz aesthetics, and acid house so acidic, Timothy Leary wouldn't even fuck with it. When you're ready to nosh on a bowl of Fruity Pebbles topped with psilocybin mushrooms at the club, album opener "New Times" has you covered. While their space funk grooves might feel familiar, closer listens reveal a visceral alienness that's hard to properly relate, which is always the mark of a novel approach. Hey, come to think of it, "New Times" also has a sort of Max Headroom vibe, yes?
Founding Fathers drops June 19th via Captcha Records.
To take advantage of a food analogy, because food rules, Tortoise is much like the hearty, passed-down-through-the-generations dish your mom or grandmother makes for the holidays. You don't think about, like, that green bean casserole often throughout the year, but then when you wolf it down you end up kicking yourself for forgetting how it's the best thing ever. Tortoise doesn't seem to appear in our daily musical discussion nearly as often as they should. They've released some of the most important albums of the past 20 years (including 2004's It's All Around You, you haters). As well, the band and their respective members keep recording and putting out forward-thinking material.
Enter the latest project of Tortoise's Douglas McCombs as he teams up with Rhys Chatham/Fennesz/Thurston Moore collaborator and experimental guitarist David Daniell for Versions. The double LP formulates a rather novel take on the concept of improvisation. The first album is a menagerie of aquatic and cosmic explorations culled from the seven hour improv McCombs and Daniell originally recorded for their debut, Sycamore. The tapes in full were then passed off to ex-Tortoise Ken Brown to resample, rearrange, deconstruct, and wholly redefine the sonic trajectory of their original torrent of creative sparks to concoct an entirely different effort. It's trippy and tasty. The second LP offers two improvised live performances from Knoxville and Montreal, aiming to highlight the difference of riding dark grooves to the edge of the astral plane in both recording studio and live on the stage.
David Daniell and Douglas McCombs' Versions is out May 15th, priced-to-own, via Thrill Jockey. Check out the amazing Trapper Keeper-esque video for "30265."