Asteroid No. 4’s band name is both a nod to Vesta, the largest and brightest asteroid in our solar system, floating in the asteroid belt, and a nod to an old Spaceman 3 song. And when the band formed in Philadelphia, they were originally a quartet; however, by the time the band relocated to Northern California they had become a quintet, which naturally adds a different level of nuance and depth to their sound.
Over the band’s 15 years of existence, the band has recorded and released eight full-length albums, made over a dozen compilation appearances, several digital-only rarity releases and multiple single releases. And during their existence, the band has developed a reputation for a sound that meshes with and plays with genres often closely associated with psychedelia — krautrock, shoegaze, folk, and others. However, as much as they’ve been known to clearly point out their various influences, they’ve also developed a reputation for experimentalism, often a key component of psychedelia.
The previous single from their soon-to-be released, self-titled debut effort, “Back of Your Mind” was a buzzing, hypnotic track, which seemed as though it could easily evoke a trance-like state thanks to a tight, motorik-styled groove, flute ethereally floating about in the background and peals of guitar pyrotechnics. That song managed to be trippy and yet propulsive in a way that reminded me a lot of TOY’s Join the Dots — in particular, that album’s opening track “Conductor.”
However, the album’s latest single “The River” is a stripped down, folksy and twangy tune that bears a resemblance to Neil Young, Creedence Clearwater Revival and The Grateful Dead but under the influence of hallucinogens as it manages to manages maintain an easy-going psychedelia. And interestingly, the experience that’s described in the song evokes a sense of mysticism and revelation in something very small – swimming in a cold, clear river.