Montreal-based, Polaris Music Prize-nominated, JOVM mainstays Elephant Stone is led by its creative mastermind Rishi Dhir (vocals, bass, sitar) and nature’s longtime collaborators Miles Dupire (drums) and Gab Lambert (guitar) — and since their formation back in 2009, the band has released five critically applauded full-length albums and have toured extensively across North America and Europe. The Canadian psych rock act has also received airplay on US college and non-commercial radio, as well as Canadian commercial radio. During that same time, the band has developed a reputation for a unique sound that meshes elements of classic psych rock. Hindustani classic music and pop.
2009’s Jace Lasek-produced debut The Seven Seas received a Polaris Music Prize nod and quickly established their boundary-blurring sound. 2010’s follow-up, The Glass Box further expanded upon the sound of The Seven Seas — and building upon a growing profile, the band went on their first North American tour opening for The Brian Jonestown Massacre.
2013’s third, self-titled album received praise from NPR, BrooklynVegan, Consequence of Sound and a number of other outlets across the blogosphere. Building upon a growing profile, the band toured across Europe and North America as a headliner and as an opener for The Zombies and The Black Angels and a list of others. They also played across the national and international festival circuit, making appearances at Levitation, Best Kept Secret and several more.
2014’s The Three Poisons was a lyrical exploration of Buddhist themes, largely inspired by The Tibetan Book of the Dead. The album was followed by The Three Poisons remix album, 2015’s ES3PRMX, which featured remixes by The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Anton Newcombe, The Horrors’ Tom Furse, The Black Angels’ Alex Maas, The Dandy Warhols’ Peter Holstrom and others,
2016’s Marcus Paquin-produced Ship of Fools was released through Burger Records and the band’s Elephants on Parade Records. The album continued a run of critically applauded material and featured two singles that landed on the Canadian commercial radio charts — “Andromeda” and “Manipulator.”
Over the past couple of years, Elephant Stone was on an informal hiatus as Dhir went on to further cement his own reputation as a highly-regarded and highly sought-after bassist and guitarist, who has collaborated with an impressive and eclectic array of artists and projects including Beck, the aforementioned Brian Jonestown Massacre. He’s also a member of Acid House Ragas and the psych rock super-group MIEN, which features members of The Horrors and The Black Angels. Additionally, Dhir has worked on remixes of work by The Dream Syndicate, Tahiti 80 and others.
Interestingly, the Montreal-based JOVM mainstays emerged from their hiatus earlier this year with the release of “Land of Dead,” arguably one of the heaviest songs of their growing catalog. The band’s latest single “Hollow World” is a shimmering return to form of sorts. Indebted to 60s psych rock, the track is centered around shimmering guitars, a sinuous and propulsive bass line. However, Dhir’s vocals are fed through a gentle amount of vocoder and distortion, which is subtle futuristic nod that gives the song a mischievous bit of anachronism. But at its core, is a yearning for something that feels just out of reach.
“I’m sure I’m not alone in this sentiment. If social media has taught us anything, it’s that there are a lot of unhappy people out there who are trying to find a way out,” Dhir says in press notes. “They are looking for meaning and something to believe in . . . or nothing to believe in. . . We all want the same thing, but are trying to achieve it in different ways. With this in mind, we wrote and recorded our 6th full-length, Hollow. I set forth writing a song-suite telling of a world of unhappy souls who have lost connection with each other. The storyline touches upon the plundering/poisoning of their home, the elite, demagogues, false idols, the truth as seen by children, and, ultimately, the fight for the survival of their species. “Hollow World” is where it all begins.
“The soul of mankind is dying. We have lost connection with each other and follow the false ego,” the band explains in a statement. “It is a truly hollow existence. We fill this emptiness with more emptiness that the powers that be feed us. We are destroying the planet without thought of how the next generation will have to pay for our crimes… Then… it all ends. A catastrophic event/moment decimates the earth. We go into panic mode…. Goodbye sunshine, hello dark skies, so long clean air, do you care? To be continued…”
The recently released video by Danica Olders is a hallucinogenic and mind-bending animated visual featuring a disembodied and painfully sad face that eventually takes over the world.