Category: heavy psych

New Audio: Permanent Records and RidingEasy Records Releases a Power Chord Fueled Boogie Woogie off “Brown Acid: The Tenth Trip”

Brown Acid, Permanent Records’ and RidingEasy Records‘ collaboration on their ongoing series of proto-metal and pre-stoner rock compilations from the 60s and 70s have become a regularly occurring biannual feature throughout this site’s almost decade history. Each individual edition of the series is based around RidingEasy Records’ founder Daniel Hall’s and Permanent Records co-owner Lance Barresi’s extensive, painstaking research and curation — with Hall and Barresi spending a great deal of time tracking down songs’ creators, most often bands that haven’t written, played or recorded together in 30+ years or more, and then encouraging them to take part in the compilation process. As Permanent Records’ Barresi has explained in press notes for previous editions of the compilation, “All of (these songs) could’ve been hits given the right circumstances. But for one reason or another most of these songs fell flat and were forgotten. However, time has been kind in my opinion and I think these songs are as good now or better than they ever were.”

Having the original artists participate as much as possible in the compilation can give the artists and their songs, a real second chance at the attention and success that they missed so long ago. Plus, these songs can help fill in the gaps within the larger picture of what was going on in and around regional and national underground music scenes during the 60s and 70s. Continuing the critical and commercial success of its first nine editions of the, RidingEasy Records and Permanent Records will be releasing Brown Acid: The Tenth Trip on April 20, 2020. (4/20 y’all!) And much like its predecessors, the tenth edition finds the duo of Barresi and Hall digging even deeper into the well of material sadly reduced to obscurity for a variety

Continuing upon the critical and commercial success of its first eight editions of the Brown Acid compilation, RidingEasy Records and Permanent will be releasing Brown Acid: The Ninth Trip on Halloween. And much like the preceding eight editions, the ninth edition finds Barressi and Hall digging even deeper into the well of obscure material written, recorded and released during the 60s and 70s. Interestingly, Brown Acid: The Tenth Trip’s latest single “Mr. Sun” is by a band that was previously featured on Brown Acid: The Third Edition — the Central Texas-based band First State Bank. Led by guitarist/vocalist Randy Nunnally, First State Bank only released three singles during 1970-1976, the first one being “Before You Leave.” “Mr. Sun” is the power chord-driven boogie woogie B-side to “Coming Home to You.” Sonically, the track sounds like a synthesis of Jimi Hendrix, Grand Funk Railroad and T. Rex –on acid.

New Audio: RidingEasy Records Releases Indianapolis-based Band’s Previously Unreleased Album 50 Years After Its Recording

Over the course of this site’s almost 10 year history — JOVM turns 10 in June — I’ve spilled quit a bit of virtual ink writing about RidingEasy Records’ and Permanent Records’ ongoing Brown Acid compilation series. The series’ 10th edition is slated for an April 20, 2020 release, and much like its predecessors, the forthcoming new edition will remind listeners that there’s a massive amount of incredible heavy psych, proto-metal and proto-stoner rocker that has seemingly been lost to the sands of time — but has been slowly rediscovered by RidingEasy Record and Permanent’s staff. 

During the late 1960s, Barry Crawford (vocals, keyboard), Jim Lee (lead vocals, bass), Mike Saligoe (drums), John Schaffer (lead guitar) and Richard Strange (rhythm guitar, vocals) started a band on Indianapolis’ West Side — and when they started the band they chose what they thought was the coolest name possible: ICE. The quintet quickly became one of the first emerging bands from their hometown to play a set of originals throughout the Midwest, performing at high schools, college campuses and venues. Building upon a growing profile, they eventually opened for national touring acts like Three Dog Night, SRC, Kenny Rogers & the First Edition, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and others in arenas and theaters. 

In 1970, the members of the Indianapolis-based psych rock band recored 10 songs of original material at Chicago’s 8-Track Studios, only to break up shortly after the sessions. Two of the album’s tracks were eventually released as a 45 in 1972 — but confusingly under a different band name: Zukus! Interestingly, that 45 managed to receive regional airplay. The A-side of that single “Running High” was featured on Brown Acid: The Ninth Trip. While licensing “Running High” for the ninth edition of Brown Acid, the folks at RidingEasy Records discovered that ICE had recorded an entire album that had been languishing in obscurity, with the 2-inch master tapes had been shelved and forgotten until recently. RidingEasy Records then converted the analog tape tracks to digital files, remixed them to preserve the original vocals and instrumentation, packaging the material as The Ice Age. 

50 years after the initial recording sessions that produced the album will finally be released — and see the light of day. Sonically, the material reportedly features 10 songs of hard-edger rock with enormous, radio friendly pop hooks that recalls Grand Funk Railroad, The Guess Who, and The Move. Centered around fuzzy power chords, shimmering organ arpeggios, propulsive drumming, some dexterous guitar soloing and enormous, arena rock friendly hooks, The Ice Age’s first single “Run to Me” finds the band meshing trippy and ambient-like psychedelia with explosive riffage that manages to recall the aforementioned Grand Funk Railroad and The Guess Who, along with a subtly nod of Steppenwolf. Listening to the track, there’s a sense that ICE if history was a bit more fair, the Indianapolis-based act should have been much larger. 

The Ice Age is slated for a May 15, 2020 release. Be on the lookout. 

Rochester, NY-based metal/prog rock trio King Buffalo — Sean McVay (guitar, lead vocals), Dan Reynolds (bass) and Scott Donaldson (drums, vocals) — formed back in 2013, and with the release of demo, several split releases, a handful of one-off singles and an energetic live show, the members of King Buffalo quickly earned an international profile in the metal and prog rock scenes. And with their self-recorded and self-produced full-length debt Orion, King Buffalo firmly established a sound that meshed elements of heavy psych, stoner rock and the blues in a way that many critics compared to Tool and Pink Floyd among others.

2018’s Ben McLeod-produced sophomore album Longing To Be The Mountain found the band expanding upon the hard rock and stoner rock sound that own them attention — but while increasingly incorporating elements of expansive prog rock. Longing To Be The Mountain‘s highly-anticipated follow-up, the self-recorded and self-produced Dead Star EP reportedly finds the band pushing the psychedelia aspects of their sound into the cosmic ether with elements of ambient drone, space rock, prog rock, synths paired with the bluesy hard rock and early metal riffage of their earliest efforts.

“In the early stages of Dead Star, we made the decision to make a strong commitment to experimentation,” explains guitarist/vocalist Sean McVay. “From exploring different time signatures, tunings and textures, to tweaking the song writing processes themselves. We’re extremely proud of these recordings, and feel it’s some of our most ambitious work yet.” Adds the band’s Scott Donaldson, “These six songs deviate and expand on horizons that we as King Buffalo haven’t reached. It’s extremely exciting to make something familiar, but unlike anything we’ve previously done. I can’t wait for everyone to hear it.”

“Eta Carinae” Dead Star EP‘s latest single is an expansive and hypnotic, prog rock-inspired take on their sound. Clocking in at a little over eight minutes, the track is centered around a chugging and forceful Black Sabbath and Rush-like riffage, thunderous syncopation, rapid fire tempo changes and some ambient and shimmering synth bursts and paired with dystopian sci-fi lyrics and imagery that feel much like our own fucked up world.
The members of King Buffalo will be embarking on a tour to support Dead Star EP and it includes a March 21, 2020 stop at Mercury Lounge. Check out the tour dates below.

Tour Dates 

Mar 19 – Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground
Mar 20 – Boston, MA @ Great Scott
Mar 21 – New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge
Mar 26 – Lansing, MI @ Mac’s Bar
Mar 27 – Milwaukee, WI @ Colectivo
Mar 28 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th St. Entry
Mar 29 – Winnipeg, MB @ Park Theatre
Mar 31 – Calgary, AB @ Palomino
Apr 2 – Vancouver, BC @ Fox Cabaret
Apr 3 – Seattle, WA @ Barboza
Apr 5 – Portland, OR @ Lola’s Room
Apr 7 – San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill
Apr 8 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo
Apr 10 – Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge
Apr 11 – Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge
Apr 13 – Kansas City, MO @ Riot Room
Apr 14 – St Louis, MO @ Duck Room
Apr 15 – Louisville, KY @ Zanzabar
Apr 16 – Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom
Apr 17 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Club Café
Apr 18 – Syracuse, NY @ Funk N Waffles

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays Blackwater Holylight Release a Shimmering, Shoegazer Take on Heavy Psych

Led by founding member Allison “Sunny” Faris (vocals, bass), the acclaimed Portland, OR-based heavy psych act Blackwater Holylight was formed after Faris’ previous band broke up as a way to begin experimenting with what her own version of “heavy” should and could be both sonically and emotionally — while celebrating vulnerability in all of its forms. The primary idea for the project was to have vulnerability be in the driver’s seat when it came to the creative process. And secondly, Faris, who was often the only female in many of her bands, desperately wanted to see how it was to work exclusively with women. 

Blackwater Holylight released their critically applauded self-titled, full-length debut last year, and as a result of extensive touring to support it, the band has managed to hone their sound and identity — with their sound evolving to the point that their live show has become about the slow build.  And as a heavy band, the members of the Portland-based JOVM mainstays sonically and structurally do something unlike their peers: their songs aren’t anchored to riffs, but rather riffs come and go in rippling and undulating waves that surface through material that’s generally meditative and entrancing. Additionally, the band focuses on building tension and intrigue through the song and its structure. 

Now, as you may recall, the band’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Veils of Winter is slated for an October 11, 2019 release through RidingEasy Records. The album finds the band with a different lineup — Faris (bass, vocals), Laura Hopkins (guitar/vocals) and Sarah McKenna (synths) along with the band’s newest members Mikayla Mayhew (guitar) Eliese Dorsay (drums) and perhaps as a result of their new lineup, their sound and writing process has changed quite a bit. “The process of this album was vastly different from our first record,” says Faris. “One, because we recorded it over the course of a few weeks, whereas the first record was over the course of about a year. And two, this album was a true collaboration between the five of us. Each of us had extremely equal parts in writing and producing, we all bounced ideas off each together, and we all had a say in what was going on during every part of the process.”

“One of our favorite things about this album is that because it was so collaborative, we didn’t compartmentalize ourselves into one vibe.” She continues. “It’s heavy, psychedelic, pop, shoegaze, doom, grunge, melodic and more. The whole process was extremely organic and natural for us, we were just being ourselves.”

While album single “Motorcycle”  featured fuzzy power chords, gorgeous melodies and a motorik groove and found the band crafting a song that was one part doom metal and one part shoegaze, the album’s latest single “Death Realms” is a decidedly straightforward, shoegazey affair centered around shimmering guitars, twinkling synths, propulsive drumming, ethereal vocals and a soaring hook. But the thing that “Death Realms” shares with its predecessor is that it’s an incredible nuanced song that you can sway and headband along to. 

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays Blackwater Holylight Release a Trippy Headbanger

The acclaimed Portland, OR-based heavy psych act Blackwater Holylight was formed by founding member Allison “Sunny” Faris (vocals, bass) after her previous band broke up, as a way to begin experimenting with what her own version of “heavy” should and could be both sonically and emotionally — while celebrating vulnerability in all of its form. In fact, the primary idea for the project was to have vulnerability be in the driver’s seat when it came to the creative process. Throughout most of her musical career, Faris was often the only female in many of her bands and she desperately wanted to see how it was to work exclusively with women. 

The band released their critically applauded self-titled full-length debut last year. And after extensive touring to support the album, the members of the JOVM mainstay act honed their sound and identity, with their live set being about the slow build, as their sound has evolved a bit 

The band released their critically applauded self-titled full-length debut last year and after extensive touring to support the album, they’ve honed their sound and identity — with their live set being about the slow build, as their sound has evolved a bit. In fact, as a heavy band they do something unique: their songs aren’t anchored to riffs, but rather riffs come in and go in rippling waves that surface throughout material that’s generally meditative and entrancing. But they also focus on building tension and intrigue throughout the song. 

Slated for an October 11, 2019 release through RidingEasy Records, Blackwater Holylight’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Veils of Winter finds the band with a different lineup — Faris (bass, vocals), Laura Hopkins (guitar/vocals) and Sarah McKenna (synths) along with the band’s newest members Mikayla Mayhew (guitar) Eliese Dorsay (drums). And perhaps a result of the new lineup, the band’s sound and writing process have changed quite a bit. “The process of this album was vastly different from our first record,” says Faris. “One, because we recorded it over the course of a few weeks, whereas the first record was over the course of about a year. And two, this album was a true collaboration between the five of us. Each of us had extremely equal parts in writing and producing, we all bounced ideas off each together, and we all had a say in what was going on during every part of the process.”

“One of our favorite things about this album is that because it was so collaborative, we didn’t compartmentalize ourselves into one vibe.” She continues. “It’s heavy, psychedelic, pop, shoegaze, doom, grunge, melodic and more. The whole process was extremely organic and natural for us, we were just being ourselves.”

 “Motorcycle” Veils of Winter’s finds the band balancing fuzzy, power chords, gorgeous melodicism and a motorik groove to create a unique take on heavy music that’s one part doom metal, one part shoegaze that manages to reveal subtle nuances on multiple listeners while being headbang worthy. 

New Video: Black Mountain’s Trippy Lo-Fi Visuals for Sultry “Boogie Lover”

Stephen McBean is a Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who can trace the origins of his music career to when he became involved in the Victoria, British Columbia music scene, forming his first band Jerk Ward in 1981. In 1984, the band recorded a demo that was re-released in 2009 as Too Young to Thrash. Jerk Ward evolved into Mission of Christ (MOC), who recorded a split 7 inch in 1987 — but two years later, the band broke up and McBean relocated to Vancouver, where he started Gus, a band that released two singles, a split EP and a full-length album, 1995’s The Progressive Science Of Breeding Idiots For A Dumber Society, which lead to McBean’s first experience with extensive touring.

In 1996 McBean asked Radio Berlin’s Joshua Wells to join his new band Ex Dead Teenager. Much like his first band Jerk Ward, Ex Dead Teenager eventually morphed into Jerk With a Bomb. Signing with Scratch Records and Jagjaguwar, the band released three albums — 1999’s Death To False Metal, 2001’s The Old Noise and 2003’s Pyrokinesis, which featured Dream on Dreary’s Amber Webber contributing vocals.

While McBean and Wells were still writing, recording and performing as Jerk With a Bomb in 2003, McBean started to demo material that included “Black Mountain” and by the following year, the duo began working on demos under the name Black Mountain with contributions from Webber, Matt Camirand (bass) and Jeremy Schmidt (keys). Those early demos eventually led to their self-titled debut album and a split 7 inch with Destroyer that featured “Bicycle Man,” and was released by Scratch Records and Jagjaguwar Records.

Building upon a growing profile, Black Mountain toured across North America and Europe and by the following June, the band released the 12″ single “Druganuat”/”Buffalo Swan” in the US. In August 2005, the band opened for Coldplay during their Twisted Logic Tour.

2008 was a huge year for the band, their sophomore album In The Future was a finalist for the 2008 Polaris Music Prize, and the album received a Juno Award nomination for Best Alternative Album. Additionally, “Stay Free” was featured on the Spiderman 3 soundtrack.

By 2010, McBean relocated to Los Angeles, where they wrote and recorded their Randall Dunn and Dave Sardy-co-produced third album, 2011’s Wilderness Heart, an album that was long listed for that year’s Polaris Music Prize and appeared on !earshot’s Top 50 chart.

2016 saw the release of their fourth album, the aptly titled IV. Since then the band has gone through a series of lineup changes and now features McBean along with Arjan Miranda, Rachel Fannan, Adam Bulgasem and Jermey Schmidt. Interestingly, during that same period McBean got his first proper driver’s license — and for him, it was as though he essentially became a teenager again, discovering a new sense of personal independence and freedom.

In fact, the band’s forthcoming album, Destroyer, which derives its name from the discontinued single-run 1985 Dodge Destroyer muscle car, reportedly is imbued with the wild freedom and newfound agency, anxiety and fear that comes from one’s first time behind the wheel. Interestingly, the album’s latest single is the serpentine, slow-burning, whiskey fueled- boogie strut “Boogie Lover,” a track meant to evoke cruising down the Sunset Strip. Clocking in at a little over 6 minutes and centered by wah wah pedaled guitar, thumping drumming, sizzling synths, the track manages to draw from space rock, doom metal and stoner rock simultaneously — all while being incredibly sultry and apocalyptic.

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays The Budos Band Release a Forceful and Funky New Track

Over the past handful of years, I’ve written about and photographed the acclaimed Staten Island-based instrumental act and JOVM mainstays The Budos Band a number of times. And as you may recall, the act, which is comprised of Jared Tankel (baritone sax), Tom Brenneck (guitar), John Carbonella (congas, drums), Mike Deller (organ), Daniel Folder (bass), Andrew Greene (trumpet), Rob Lombardo (bongos, congas), Brian Profilio (drums) and Dame Rodriguez (percussion) initially developed a reputation for a sound that they described as “Afro Soul,” which draws from Ethiopian music, classic soul and funk; however, with the most band’s most recent releases, their sound has evolved towards what they’ve referred to as “70s Psychedelic Instrumental Music.”Now, as you may recall, the acclaimed Staten Island-based act’s fifth full-length album, the aptly titled V is slated for release next week through their longtime label home Daptone Records, and as the band’s Tom Brenneck says in press notes, the band’s forthcoming album feels like the truest sonic representation of the band as the material possesses the rock ‘n’ roll/heavy metal elements off of 2014’s Burnt Offering, as well as songs that could have easily been found on their first three albums.  The album’s first single “Arcane Rambler” featured a composition that nodded at hip-hop, 70s fuck, Afro funk and psych rock — and in a way that found them at arguably their loosest and trippiest.  V‘s second single was the Ennio Morricone-like “Veil of Shadows,” a composition that’s centered around reverb-drenched guitar, shimmering and soaring organs and a big Western/Mexican-like horn arrangement — and as a result, the track possesses a cinematic quality; in fact, to my ears, it sounds as though it should have been part of the soundtrack for Kill Bill.Just before their two night NYC area run — April 5, 2019 at the Bowery Ballroom and April 6, 2019 at Music Hall of Williamsburg — the Staten Island-based JOVM mainstays released V’s third and latest single, the menacing “Maelstrom” brings several disparate things to mind — the Fela meets Black Sabbath power chord-based arrangements of Here Lies Man, a lysergic-tinged Morricone meets Quentin Tarantino Western.  The expansive composition features their imitable and explosive horn line, reverb-drenched guitar and a propulsive rhythm section, giving the track a forceful yet funky muscle.  

New Audio: Permanent Records and RidingEasy Records Release a Gritty and Funky Track from Eight Edition of Brown Acid Compilation

I’ve written a lot about Permanent Records’ and RidingEasy Records ongoing collaboration on their increasingly expansive series of proto-metal and pre-stoner rock compilations Brown Acid over the past few years. And as you may recall, each individual edition is based around RidingEasy Records’ founder Daniel Hall’s and Permanent Records co-owner Lance Barresi’s extensive, painstaking research and curation — with Hall and Barresi spending a great deal of time tracking down songs’ creators, most often bands that haven’t written, played or recored together in 30 or 40 years, and then encouraging them to take part in the compilation process. As Permanent Records’ Barresi has explained in press notes for each of previous editions of the compilation, “All of (these songs) could’ve been hits given the right circumstances. But for one reason or another most of these songs fell flat and were forgotten. However, time has been kind in my opinion and I think these songs are as good now or better than they ever were.”

Having the original artists participate as much as possible in the compilation can give the artists and their songs, a real second chance at the attention and success that they missed. Plus, these songs can help fill in the gaps within the larger picture of what was going on in and around regional and national underground music scenes during the 60s and 70s. Following the critical and commercial success of its first seven editions, RidingEasy Records and Permanent Records’ edition of 60s and 70s proto-metal and pre-stoner rock Brown Acid: The Eighth Trip is slated for release on April 20, 2019 (4/20 y’ll!) continuing what has become a bi-annual tradition for both labels — and this site. And much like its preceding editions, the eighth edition finds Barressi and Hall digging deeper and deeper into the well of hard rock, psych rock, proto-metal and pre-stoner rock primarily from the States — with the addition of a Canadian band. The album’s first single was from “School Daze,” a seamless synthesis of MC5, Jimi Hendrix and Grand Funk Railroad from Detroit‘s Attack — or more precisely St. Clair Shores.

Originally recorded in 1969, Memphis-based act Grump took on “Heartbreak Hotel,” popularized by a fellow Memphian that you may have heard of, by the name of Elvis Presley — and Grump’s rendition is a gritty and funky stomp that recalls Steppenwolf’s “Magic Carpet Ride,” and Grand Funk Railroad. 

New Audio: The Budos Band Return with an Ennio Morricone-like New Single

I’ve written and photographed the acclaimed Staten Island-based instrumental act The Budos Band a number of times over the years, and the act which is comprised of Jared Tankel (baritone sax), Tom Brenneck (guitar), John Carbonella (congas, drums), Mike Deller (organ), Daniel Folder (bass), Andrew Greene (trumpet), Rob Lombardo (bongos, congas), Brian Profilio (drums) and Dame Rodriguez (percussion) initially developed a reputation for a sound that they described as “Afro Soul,” which draws from Ethiopian music with a soul undercurrent, and some sound of the sounds of the 60s; however, with the most band’s most recent releases, their sound has evolved towards what they’ve referred to as “70s Psychedelic Instrumental Music.”

Now, as you may recall, the acclaimed Staten Island-based act’s fifth full-length album, the aptly titled V is slated for an April 12, 2019 release through their longtime label home Daptone Records, and as the band’s Tom Brenneck says in press notes, the band’s forthcoming album feels like the truest sonic representation of the band as the material possesses the rock ‘n’ roll/heavy metal elements off of 2014’s Burnt Offering, as well as songs that could have easily been found on their first three albums.  The album’s first single “Arcane Rambler” featured a composition that nodded at hip-hop, 70s fuck, Afro funk and psych rock — and in a way that found them at arguably their loosest and trippiest.  V’s latest single is the Ennio Morricone-like “Veil of Shadows,” a composition that’s centered around reverb-drenched guitar, shimmering and soaring organs and a big Western/Mexican-like horn arrangement — and as a result, the track possesses a cinematic quality; in fact, to my ears, it sounds as though it should have been part of the soundtrack for Kill Bill. 

New Audio: The Budos Band Release a Funky and Cinematic New Single

I’ve written and photographed the acclaimed Staten Island-based instrumental act The Budos Band a number of times over the years, and as you may recall the which is comprised of Jared Tankel (baritone sax), Tom Brenneck (guitar), John Carbonella (congas, drums), Mike Deller (organ), Daniel Folder (bass), Andrew Greene (trumpet), Rob Lombardo (bongos, congas), Brian Profilio (drums) and Dame Rodriguez (percussion) initially developed a reputation for a sound that they described as “Afro Soul,” which draws from Ethiopian music with a soul undercurrent, and some sound of the sounds of the 60s; however, with the band’s most recent releases, they’ve moved towards what they’ve referred to as “70s Psychedelic Instrumental Music.” 

The acclaimed instrumental act’s fifth album, aptly titled V is slated for an April 12, 2019 release through their longtime label home Daptone Records, and as the band’s Tom Brenneck says in press notes, the band’s forthcoming album feels like the truest sonic representation of the band as the material possesses the rock ‘n’ roll/heavy metal elements off of 2014’s Burnt Offering, as well as songs that could have easily been found on their first three albums.  The album’s latest single, the cinematic  “Arcane Rambler” is centered around a looping and whirring guitar line, boom bap-like percussion, an enormous horn line and a propulsive and incredibly tight groove — and interestingly enough, the composition, which nods at hip-hop, 70s funk and psych rock finds the members of the collective at arguably their loosest and trippiest.