Tag Archives: psych

Check Out the Phenomenal Debut from Brooklyn’s Rips

Rips, Rips (Faux Discx; Wharf Cat)

Rips is a four-piece based in Brooklyn.  According to their bio, they’ve developed quite the following through “virtuous melodies and sheer ferocity amidst an endless flurry of shows” (crikey!).

Not situated in the Tri-State area, I had not run across the band until hearing their self-titled debut, and was hooked from the off.  It’s fantastic, start to finish, showcasing a host of styles and incluences – the ‘artier’ end of the early CBGB days, post-punk, 70s power pop and rock, 60s via 80s jangle, 90s psych-slack – blended in such a way as to make them new again.  “Break” is like REM covering Tom Petty; “Malibu Entropy” a woozy elegy to a relationship; “Save Room” as instantly familiar as the proverbial open road.  The arrangements are sharp and taught, vocals recalling, to these ears, Love Battery’s underrated Ron Nine or Pete Doherty in their ability to seem both plaintive and beyond caring.

While much seems to have been made of the NYC/‘downtown’ feel of the band’s compositions, using as exhibit ‘a’ the involvement of Parquet Courts’ guitarist Austin Brown as producer, it rings too limiting.  For me, the funneling of disparate eras and sounds into something so cohesive and, frankly, catchy gives Rips the feel of one of those ‘lost classic’ platters missed by many and later held up as a landmark.  Let’s not wait.

Rips is out now, courtesy of Faux Discx (Wharf Cat handling distribution in the US).  Follow along with the band Rips on fbook and their site, where you can find their current slate of upcoming gigs.

Highlights include: “Malibu Entropy”, “Save Room”, “Vs”, “Psychics”.

Obnox Return with a Niggative Approach

Obnox, Niggative Approach (5/30/2017, 12XU)


Obnox is the musical alter ego of vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Lamont ‘Bim’ Thomas (pictured).  Having released five long-players under this moniker in the last 3 years, the word ‘prolific’ seems apt.  I must admit that new release, Niggative Approach, is the first one I’ve fully sat down with – and now I’m both damn glad I did and in a hurry to dig deeper into the earlier material.

The title might be a wink and a bow to Detroit hardcore godheads Negative Approach (whose singer, John Brannon, makes an appearance on the album’s intro and outro), but the album is far too diverse, dense and interesting to damn with the faint praise of a hyphenated ‘punk’ or other descriptor.  Frankly, there’s so much going on in this record, it can be giddily overwhelming.  Jazz, psych, garage, soul, blues, punk, funk, r&b, hip hop, Beastie Boys, Funkadelic, Rudy Ray Moore, Kid Congo, D’Angelo, Shabazz Palaces, Sun Ra, War, Curtis Mayfield, MF Doom, sky high riffs, heavy funk bass, kick drum grooves, eye of newt and a partridge in a motherfuckin’ pear tree – all this and more await across the album’s 14 tracks (excluding intro-/outro).

I found it best to just strap in, give in, and let it all wash over me, repeated listens bearing ever sweeter fruit.  The spy theme raga of “You”.  The hot, humid synth feel of “Hardcore Matinee”.  The wide lapel groove of “”Beauty Like the Night”.  The diamond amidst the rough of the beautiful “Carmen, I Love You”.  Exhale.

Niggative Approach is out now, on 12XU.  Monitor M. Thomas’ (social media) movements on fbook and the twitt.  No tour dates as yet, but here’s hoping.

Highlights include: “Audio Rot”; “Afro Muffin”; “Carmen, I Love You”; “You”; “Niggative Approach”; “Beauty Like the Night”.

Check Out the Debut EP from Boston’s Blau Blau

Blau Blau, S/T EP (self-released); “Glassy Eyes” (from Ladyfest Boston 2017 mixtape)

Blau Blau – a new four piece hailing from Boston, MA whose members have featured in bands such as Mini Dresses and New Highway Hymnal – released their hugely confident debut in January.

Short and sweet, it’s four tracks coming in with a runtime of ten minutes (give or take), it packs quite the ear punch.  Dream pop, indie jangle, psych, swirly shoegaze – deceptively simple melodies that will be jammed in your brain.  Opener, “No Heaven”, veritably gallops out of the gate – a rollicking jangly track that shows off both the band’s cohesion and the vocal range of singer Lira Mondal, who goes from whisper to wail and everywhere in between.  It’s hard to pick a favorite but, if forced, I’d have to go with the last two:  “Harm”, which has a bit of a kaleidoscopic, Banshees feel to it, and closer, “Kiss Kiss”, which comes off like a harder punching Sundays, all quiet rainy afternoon until the chorus crashes your reverie.  “Glassy Eyes”, the band’s contribution to a mixtape celebrating the Boston edition of Ladyfest, picks up where “Kiss” leaves off and is a wonderfully atmospheric track worth checking out.

The EP is available now, via Blau Blau’s bandcamp site.  The fantastic Ladyfest Boston 2017 mixtape can be purchased here – proceeds go to benefit Boston-area charities, so it’s good and good for you (read more about it here).

Follow the band on fbook for tour dates and to see how many times they can copy/paste the words “blau blau” ad infinitum, Jack Torrance stylee.

Brooch (Members of Ought and Yung) Find Delicate Beauty on “Blood Spitting/Broken Glass”

Brooch, “Blood Spitting”/“Broken Glass” 7” (Tough Love Recordings)

Brooch is a musical collaboration featuring Ben Stidworthy (Ought) and Mikkel Holm Silkjær (Yung), born of a relationship between the two musicians forged while on tour with their main bands.  They’ve released a double a-side single, “Blood Spitting/Broken Glass,” each taking turns handling vocal duties.

Each track has a weary, intimate quality juxtaposed against stately 3/4 time.  Personal fave, “Blood Spitting”, feels reminiscent of Elliott Smith, a beautifully delicate melody like fissures in bone china or imperfections in a piece of amber, fading out in a melancholic drift of what sounds like a melodeon or concertina.  “Broken Glass” is a bit rougher, but no less lovely, its droning organ, bending guitar and tremulous falsetto bringing the feel of an endless twirl.

The single is out now, courtesy of Tough Love – order here.  You can find more about Brooch on fbook and the twitt.

Check Out The Orielles’ Debut Single for Heavenly, “Sugar Tastes Like Salt”

The Orielles, ‘Sugar Tastes Like Salt’ (Heavenly)

Photo by Neelam Khan Vela

Halifax, England (not Nova Scotia).  Fun facts about Halifax (from ultimate lazy bastard encyclopedia, wikipedia): (1) it’s been a textile manufacturing hub since the 15th century – which is kinda cool; and (2) it’s the home of Rolo candy – which is extremely awesome.

What’s also extremely awesome, has six thumbs and currently hails from Halifax (and Liverpool)?  The Orielles, a trio comprising sisters Esme Dee (bass, vocals) and Sidonie Hand-Halford (drums) and Henry Carlyle Wade (guitars).  After self-releasing a few singles, and putting out last year’s fantastic Jobim EP via Art Is Hard, “Sugar Tastes Like Salt” (from a line in the movie Death Proof, per this great write up on the band in The Guardian) is the band’s first single for the mighty Heavenly Recordings.  Starting, innocently enough, with a ride down the neck of a swirling, arpeggiated psych melody, it turns out to be a trip down the rabbit hole.  The track bobs and weaves its way through a smorgasbord of styles (jittering rock steady, Blondie or Factory Records’ style post-punk disco, a sprawling Floyd-like interlude, straight-up Troggs’ garage, some space truckin’) without coming off overcooked.  And despite a modern day attention span straining length of 8 minutes and change, “Sugar” fixes your attention throughout, like some kind of goddamn Medusa.  Brilliant.

“Sugar Tastes Like Salt” is out now, on Heavenly.  You can follow The Orielles’ adventures on fbook, the twitt and instagram.  They’re also on tour in the UK – dates here.

Glitter Veils Share “Gossamer Folds” and “Soft Touch” from Forthcoming Figures in Sight.

Glitter Veils, “Gossamer Folds”; “Soft Touch” (Flexible)

Photo credit: Savvy Creative.

 

Australian duo Luke Zahnleiter and Michael Whitney make music as Glitter Veils.  Their album, Figures in Sight, is due this Friday (2/10) from Flexible Records (an imprint of Terrible), who have been kind enough to provide teasers in the form of “Gossamer Folds” and “Soft Touch”.

A pleasantly disorienting, almost vertiginous, feel wafts from these tracks.  Like a liquid motion toy’s suspended, colored drops fusing, detaching, and reforming in slightly different ways, familiar threads – the Guthrie-esque guitar wash in ‘Gossamer Folds’; the early industrial heft to the programmed beats underpinning the peyote-fueled western glitter ball of ‘Soft Touch’; a dream pop feel here, a bit of JAMC menace there; whispered, droning vocals reminiscent of Spacemen 3 or Massive Attack – blend, separate and reconvene in novel ways.  “Gossamer” is my personal favorite, its bent guitar lines, slightly ooky fun house-style synths and lurching beat tracing lazy arcs in the sky.  Definitely looking forward to hearing the rest.

You can find (a bit) more things Glitter Veils on soundcloud and fbook.  Figures in Sight can be pre-ordered now on Flexible’s bandcamp page.  Tune in, drop &etc.

Hark! The Black Angels Return With New Track, “Currency”, from Forthcoming New Album, Death Song.

The Black Angela, “Currency” (Partisan)

“currency/carry me/everyone is held hostage…
one day it’ll all be over/one day it’ll all be gone”

A welcome return from Austin’s The Black Angels, whose new record (and first in four years), Death Song (which appears to be a riff on the band’s name and the Velvet Underground song from whence it came – meta!), is due for release April 21 (pre-order here) on Partisan Records.  Lead single, “Currency”, finds the band as tight as ever.  Singer Alex Mass’ voice is the linchpin and dead center in the mix – carrying more than a hint of menace on past tracks, here singing in almost plaintive tones of the social quicksand of a consumerist society.  The song, several times, threatens to go full-on freak-out – a sliding, fuzzed bass repeatedly sounding a clarion’s call – before showing restraint and a slow burn.  If this is anytnig to go by, the new album should be a good one.

The Black Angels will also tour behind Death Song – dates here (with A Place to Bury Strangers).

Experience the Waking Dream of Penelope Isles’ “Cut Your Hair”

Penelope Isles, “Cut Your Hair” (Art Is Hard)

Art Is Hard records’ 2017 singles club aims to provide listeners with a “monthly postcard” from the label’s artists.  The first such missive comes from “Brighton via Cornwall”’s Penelope Isles, who share the beguiling “Cut Your Hair”.  The track sets off on a confrontational tone – short/sharp/stabs of guitar, drum and bass strut, bob and weave, as lyrics describe a decision to settle into a corporate life (after, natch, the titular clip) – before slowly lifting the veil on a crushingly beautiful chorus of arpeggioed upper register and swelling vocals asking, “did you laugh?”.

“Cut Your Hair” is available now, from Art Is Hard.  Discover more of Penelope Isles by queuing up (calmly) and following, on:  fbook, the twittsoundcloud and/or bandcamp.  The band also have a few shows upcoming in the UK (dates below).

2/2 Woodlane Social Club, Falmouth
2/3 Unit 23, Totnes
2/4 The Green Door Store, Brighton
2/7 The Olde Blue Last, London
2/20 The Prince Albert, Brighton

John Dwyer Returns as Damaged Bug with New Track, “Bog Dash”, and New Album, “Bunker Funk”

Damaged Bug, “Bog Dash” (Castle Face)

Damaged Bug, the solo alter ego of Thee Oh Sees’ front man John Dwyer, returns with the the wigged-out funk of “Bog Dash”.  It’s a dialogue over analog:  b-movie aliens setting their laser blasters to ‘stun’ as ‘devoidoffunk’ backup yelps are devoured in a haze of dial-up modem blurps, a ‘last splash’ bassline and funky drummer drum loops.  In the middle of it all, Dwyer’s voice slinks lascivious, spitting enigmatic couplets as the aliens form a Soul Train line.  This is surely the tune running through James Brown’s mind as he sped down that lonely highway (reference for the kids).

“Bog Dash” is taken from the forthcoming Damaged Bug release, “Bunker Funk”, due March 10 from Castle Face.  Check for more on fbook.

Aquarian Blood Tease Forthcoming Goner Debut with Amplified Madness of “Heaven Is In My Head”; “Won’t Forget to Die” and “Asshole In the Castle”

Members of Aquarian Blood, whose new album is due February 10 on Goner Records.

Aquarian Blood features husband/wife duo JB (Ex-Cult) and Laurel Horrell (formerly of NOTS).  What began (according to the band’s bio) as a home recording project has turned into a full-blown one, and they’ve offered the world a three-act tease of their forthcoming debut, “Last Nite In Paradise”: “Heaven Is In My Head”; “Won’t Forget to Die” and “Asshole In the Castle”.

Fans of each spouse’s other projects will find much to like here.  “Heaven Is In My Head” is full-on, raging synth-punk.  Announcing itself with a Tron-summoning synth line, the band throw it all into the red: vocals yelp and rail, guitars squall and synths tase – like being spun around, blindfolded, to pin the tail on the donkey…for almost two minutes.  “Won’t Forget to Die” (which, as the lyrics remind us, “no one ever does”), slows things wayyyy down the rabbit hole, a hazy raga psych drone wraiths around a Joy Division-y bassline, the gypsy strings towards the end adding to the fug.  Last (in track order), “Asshole In the Castle” – its title sadly fitting in these days and times – is more of a straightforward punk record, albeit with layered vocals and an off-kilter guitar hook.  Together, the songs make for a thrilling joyride.  Can’t wait to hear the rest.

But wait we must, if but only for a bit longer:  “Last Nite In Paradise” is due February 10 from the always in vogue Goner.  Check the Aquarian Blood bandcamp page for (slightly) more info.