Category: Psych Rock

Over the past month, you may have come across a couple of posts featuring the  Stockholm, Sweden-based psych rock band Marble Mammoth. Featuring members, who have played in The Unisex, and have collaborated with  The MC5s Mike Davis and The Hellacopters‘ and Imperial State Electric’s Nicke Anderson, the band quickly developed a reputation across their native Sweden for a sound that meshes the bluesy power chords of Led Zeppelin with the dreamy, psychedelia of the likes of Tame Impala — although “Wrecked Ship” reminded me of JOVM mainstays Goat and Black Sabbath, thanks to some blistering guitar pyrotechnics paired with soaring organ chords and rousingly anthemic hooks.

The act followed “Wrecked Ship,” with the gritty and anthemic prog rock-like single “Glitter Amongst Gravel,” which featured some incredible guitar pyrotechnics and an expansive and ambitious song structure, complete with twisting and turning organ chords. However, their latest single “Girl of a 1000 Thrills” while drawing from similar sources as their preceding singles is a bit of a sonic left turn for the Swedish psych rockers as it sounds as though it were influenced by Deep Purple and Steppenwolf but with a subtly modern twist reminiscent of the RidingEasy Records roster.

 

 

New Audio: Here Lies Man Releases a Psych Rock Cover of Fela Kuti’s “Sorrow Tears and Blood”

With the release of their self-titled full-length debut earlier this year, the Los Angeles, CA-based act Here Lies Man founded by Marcos Garcia, who was a member of renowned Afrobeat act Antibalas and featuring fellow Antibalas bandmates Chico Mann (guitar, vocals) and Geoff Mann (drums), along with Rich Panta (percussion), JP Maramba (bass) and Kris Casto (organ), have developed a reputation for a sound that seamlessly bridges classic, Fela Kuti-era Afrobeat with classic, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin-era rock. 

Building upon a growing national profile, the band will be releasing a 12 inch EP Animal Noises, which is slated for release on Friday through RidingEasy Records, and the EP’s first single is a psych rock cover of Fela Kuti’s “Sorrow, Tears and Blood” that manages to retain the song’s melody and furious outrage while turning into an blistering, arena rock-friendly jam. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard Release Trippy Retro-futuristic VHS-like Visuals for One of Their Most Expansive and Unusual Singles to Date

Throughout the past 12-15 months or so, the Melbourne, Australia-based psych rock sextet King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard have quickly become JOVM mainstays over that same period, and as you may recall the Melbourne-based sextet, comprised of Stu Mackenzie (vocals, guitar, and flute), Ambrose Kenny Smith (synths, harmonica), Cook Craig (guitar), Joey Walker (guitar), Lucas Skinner (bass), Eric Moore (drums) and Michael Cavanagh (drums) have firmly cemented their long-held reputation for being incredibly prolific; in fact, the members of the Australian psych rock sextet have released four full-length albums this year, including their recently released album Pollygodwanaland, an effort that the band has encouraged everyone to download that includes instructions on how to convert and format the files to CD or vinyl.

Of course throughout their time together, the band has revealed a restlessly experimental tendency throughout their work, and while their earliest albums found the band blending elements of 60s surf rock, beach rock garage rock and psych rock with their later albums featured the band blending elements of film scores, prog rock, folk and soul with their two previously released albums — Flying Microtonal Banana and Murder of the Universe pushing their thematic concerns and sound in new, and darkly trippy directions.

“Crumbling Castle,” Pollygodwanaland’s first single will further cement the Australian psych rock outfit’s long-held reputation for expansive and unusual song structures; in fact, repeated listens reveal some of the most nuanced guitar playing I’ve heard in some time paired with a sinuous bass line, some ominous and menacing layers of arpeggiated synths, ethereal flute, complex polyrhythms — and while nodding at Thee Oh Sees, Rush and others, the track may arguably be one of their most expansive and experimental, as the song consists of several different time signatures and disparate sections twisting and turning over each other, in a hallucinogenic fashion. 

The recently released video continues the band’s ongoing collaboration with Jason Galea, who has created trippy, retro-futuristic, VHS-like visuals that seem to undulate with the music. 

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays HEATERS Return with Cinematic Visuals for Their Most Textured and Nuanced Songs to Date

Over the bulk of this site’s almost eight year history — yes, eight! — I’ve personally written quite a bit about the Grand Rapids, MI-based psych rock quartet and JOVM mainstays HEATERS. And as you may recall, the band, which formed back in 2014 quickly received a growing national and international profile with their attention grabbing appearance on Stolen Body‘s Vegetarian Meat psych rock compilation. The Grand Rapids, MI-based quartet quickly followed up with the Solstice EP, released through Dizzybird Records and the  “Mean Green” 7 inch.  Renowned, Brooklyn-based indie label Beyond Beyond Is Beyond Records released their full-length debut Holy Water Pool to critical applause throughout the blogosphere back in 2015. And with each successive recorded effort, the band began to firmly cement a reputation for crafting a spacey, motorik-like take on West Coast, 60s psych rock and garage rock.

After the release of their critically applauded sophomore effort Baptistina the band went through a massive lineup change in which the band’s founding members Nolan Krebs and Joshua Korf are currently paired with newest members Ryan Hagan and Ben Taber, who joined the band to write and record the band’s third, full-length effort, Matterhorn, which was released earlier this year.  And with the release of album singles “Seance,” “Thanksgiving II” and “Kingsday,” the band managed to retain the gorgeously shimmering guitar lines, propulsive motorik grooves and enveloping sound that first caught the attention of this site and the rest of the blogosphere — but there’s a noticeably different energy to the proceedings, with the band crafting some of the most ambitious and expansive songwriting to date. Unsurprisingly, the album’s fourth and latest single “Black Bolt” continues in a similar vein as its predecessor, as the song possesses a swaggering, self-assuredness but it may also have some of the most textured and nuanced guitar work of its predecessor. 

Shot in an enviably lush and cinematic black and white, the recently released video by Josh Skinner, Jaimie Skriba and Heaters features a mischievously French New Wave-inspired concept in which the members of the band play in a dance studio while dancers do 60s styled dance moves, footage of people riding bikes down suburban streets and so on — but with a wide screen and continuous pan and a shit ton of subtle split screens and the like to create a trippy vibe. 

New Video: Ron Gallo Looks Back on a Dysfunctional Romantic Relationship in New Visuals for Album Single “Put The Kids To Bed”

Ron Gallo is a Nashville, TN-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who is perhaps best known for his eight-year stint as the frontman of Philadelphia-based indie band Toy Soldiers, an act that initially began as a guitar and drum duo that at one point evolved into a massive 12 member collective, before settling into a quintet when the band split up in 2014. Gallo’s full-length effort Heavy Meta was released earlier this, and the album was primarily written while Gallo was still in Philadelphia, and while he was involved in a lengthy romantic relationship with a woman, who had a number of personal and emotional issues. As the story goes, when that relationship end, Gallo relocated to Nashville and finished writing the album during a period in which may arguably have been among the most transformative periods of his life, a period that he had felt was a personal reawakening and a musical rebirth.

At the time Gallo wrote and recorded songs in small batches without the intention of making a full-length album and initially without the support of a label. As Gallo explained in press notes “Coming out on the other side, I now look at my past as a hazy dream where I did not know myself or the world at all. I still don’t know anything, but I’m closer than before. There is so much to learn outside of your comfort zone.” The album’s material reportedly touches upon several themes including Gallo’s personal ideology on abstaining from drugs and alcohol, self-empowerment, domestication, dead love, not knowing yourself, mental illness and more — and although Gallo expresses a frustration with humanity and civilization, the material is balanced with an underlying hopefulness. Says Gallo, “this record comes from my frustration with humanity and myself, and from my wanting to shake us all. At my core, I’m compassionate for humanity and the sickness that we all live with, and from that comes something more constructive.” He ends by saying “Party is over — this is the beginning of true personal responsibility for ourselves and our world and so we must LIVE truth, be freaks, be fearless, be light, love and be our best selves.”

Now, as you may recall, I wrote about album single “Please Yourself,” a fuzzy and aggressive garage punk rock song consisting of fuzzy and distorted power chords, a propulsive backbeat and Gallo’s howled vocals expressing a wild urgency and frustration, as though the song’s narrator wants to violently shake everyone around him while screaming at them “Pay attention, you goddamn idiots! Stop fucking around and do something to make it right!” The album’s latest single “Put The Kids To Bed” finds Gallo and his backing band meshing jangling garage rock and psych rock while detailing the push and pull of  a hopelessly dysfunctional romantic relationship — and while rooted in an unvarnished and unflinching honesty, the song will further cement Gallo’s growing reputation for crafting incredibly hook driven rock. 

The recently released video for “Put The Kids To Bed” continues Gallo’s ongoing collaboration with director Joshua Shoemaker, and the visuals follow a dream-like logic, following Gallo as he heads to bed. Eventually a woman joins him and they place paper bags over their heads, symbolically trying to make their best face, despite a simmering hate between them. Whoa. 

New Audio: The Limiñanas Return with a Slow Burning and Meditative New Single

The Limiñanas are a Perpignan, France-based duo, who have developed a reputation as one of France’s most renowned psych rock acts — and for a sound that comfortably straddles the boundaries of psych rock, shoegaze and and yé-yé, as their songs typically feature arrangements rooted around fuzzy, distorted power chords, reverb heavy hooks and effortlessly cool vocals. And while clearly being indebted to 60s guitar pop and psych rock, the duo manage to capture something quintessentially French. 

Now, as you may recall, the duo’s soon-to-be released effort Istanbul Is Sleepy was initially recorded at the duo’s home studio and finished at Anton Newcombe’s Berlin-based studio, and unsurprisingly, the EP’s title track and first single “Istanbul Is Sleepy” found the French duo collaborating with the The Brian Jonestown Massacre founder and frontman, who contributed both his imitable vocals and guitar to a scuzzy, garage rock-like track with the sort of underlying menace reminiscent of The Black Angels — although interestingly enough, Newcombe was reportedly inspired by Rain-era The Cult.
As the members of The Limiñanas recall in press notes, the collaboration can trace its origins to last year, when Mojo Magazine asked them to contribute a track to a Kinks tribute compilation. “We chose ‘Two Sisters,’” Lionel explains in press notes. “Marie and I were thinking for the vocal part, it would be great to approach Anton Newcombe, having opened for The Brian Jonestown Massacre at Le Trianon in Paris. The work began like that. We had an album to record and we decided to finish it with him. During the Christmas week we took our demos, flew to Berlin and recorded at Anton’s studio. Six days later we had a finished album.”

The French psych rock duo’s latest single “Shadow People” is a jangling, slow-burning and almost meditative track with a hazy and dreamy hook that features a guest spot from French actress Emmanuelle Seigner. As Lionel explains in press notes, “The shadow people are an American myth, they are described as furtive apparitions, comparable to ghosts observable from the corner of the eye. These ‘spirits’ accompany throughout your all life, a sort of paranormal glue stuck to you . . . Emmanuelle came to visit us in the South of France, and we asked her to sing ‘Shadow People’ with Renaud Picard, the singer from Hair and the Iotas. We recorded it in just a few minutes over an afternoon…”. 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of years, you may have come across a post or two featuring Brooklyn-based psych rock/indie rock trio Sunflower Bean.  The trio which is comprised of Julia Cumming (bass, lead vocals) and founding duo Nick Kivlen (guitar, vocals) and Jacob Faber (drums) can trace their origins back to 20123 when Kivlen and Faber were members of Turnip King, and at the time, Kivlen and Faber had been spending a great deal of time practicing and jamming together, and decided that it was time to go out on their own. Cumming, who was then a member of of Supercute! with Rachel Trachtenburg, was recruited by Kivlen, who had known her through mutual friends. 

The band quickly rose to national attention after playing 8 critically applauded sets over the course of 4 days during 2014’s CMJ Festival, along with a series of shows across town; however, the act started to receive both national and international attention with the release of 2014’s Rock & Roll Heathen EP and 2015’s Show Me Your Seven Secrets EP, an EP that featured the critically applauded singles “Tame Impala” and “2013.” Adding to a growing profile, the Brooklyn-based trio toured the US and the UK as a headliner and as an opener for Wolf AliceBest Coast and The Vaccines. The Brooklyn-based trio then followed it up with their Matthew Molnar-produced debut effort Human Ceremony, which was released last year to critical praise.

After spending the better part of 2016 touring to support Human Ceremony, which included an impressive Burger Records Beach Bash 2 set, the trio have released their first new single in some time “I Was A Fool.” And while closely hewing to the period that has most influenced their sound and aesthetic — late 60s psych rock and 70s classic rock — the Brooklyn trio’s latest single not only finds them at their loosest and most self-assured, it finds them gently pushing their sound in the direction of breezy yet deliberately crafted 70s AM rock, with their latest track sounding as though it were influenced by Fleetwood Mac.  But underneath the song’s breeziness, the trio capture something that my colleagues, who have written about the song have missed — that while all-consuming love can be swooning and urgent, it can also be deeply ambivalent, if not profoundly helpless; after all, love is arguably one of the ridiculous, inexplicable, frustrating, and most wonderful things we’ll ever really know.

Interestingly as the band’s Nick Kivlen explains in press notes, “‘I Was A Fool’ is one of those songs that seemingly crept up from nowhere and into our practice space. it was a special moment between the three of us, Julia and I both improvised the lyrics. It feels far longer but it’s been nearly two years since ‘we’ve put new music into the world. I think this song is a good example of how we’ve grown as a band, while still staying true to the band that first played together back in high school.”

With the release of the new single, the band also announced that they signed to renowned indie label Mom + Pop Music, and they will be embarking on a lengthy UK tour before playing a series of North American tour dates, including a November 30 stop at Brooklyn’s newest venue Elsewhere. Check out the tour dates below.

 

Tour dates – North American shows in BOLD

11/08 – Bristol, UK @ 02 Bristol *
11/09 – Manchester, UK @ 02 Apollo *
11/11 – Glasgow, SCT @ Barrowlands *
11/12 – Glasgow, SCT @ Barrowlands *
11/13 – Newcastle, UK @ 02 Academy *
11/15 – Nottingham, UK @ Rock City *
11/16 – Birmingham, UK @ 02 Academy *
11/17 – Norwich, UK @ UEA *
11/18 – Leeds, UK @ 01 Academy *
11/20 – Brighton, UK @ Dome *
11/21 – Southampton, UK @ 02 Guildhall *
11/24 – London, UK @ Alexandra Palace *
11/27 – Belfast, North Ireland @ Ulster Hall *
11/28 – Dublin, Ireland @ Olympia *
11/30 – Brooklyn, NY @ Elsewhere

1/26 – Philadelphia, PA @ Everybody Hits
1/31 – Chicago, IL @ Metro ^
2/01 – Nashville, TN @ The Basement East ^
2/03 – Austin, TX @ Mohawk ^
2/05 – San Antonio, TX @ Paper Tiger ^
2/06 – Dallas, TX @ Granada ^
2/07 – Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall (Inside Downstairs) ^
2/09 – New Orleans, LA @ Republic New Orleans ^
2/10 – Athens, GA  @ 40 Watt ^
2/11 – Raleigh, NC @ Lincoln Theatre ^
2/14 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club ^
3/01 – Los Angeles, CA @ Moroccan Lounge
3/02 – San Francisco, CA @  Rickshaw Stop

* – w/ Wolf Alice
^ – w/ Sleigh Bells

New Video: Prettiest Eyes Return with a Scorching and Trippy Visuals for New Single “Don’t Call”

Comprised of San Juan, Puerto Rico-born, Los Angeles, CA-based Pachy (drums, vocals) and Marcos (bass) and the Ciudad Juarez, Mexico-born, Los Angeles, CA-based Paco, the members of synth punk/psych punk/psych rock trio Prettiest Eyes can trace their origins back to San Juan, where Pachy and Marcos played in a number of local bands before they all eventually relocated to Los Angeles to seriously pursue music. And within their first two years together, the trio realized two EPs  and their 2015 debut Looks, all of which featured sleazy, sludgy, psychedelic-tinged, garage punk rooted around throbbing bass chords, quick-paced drumming, buzzing keys and lyrics shouted and howled in Spanish and English — and while fitting comfortably among contemporary retro-styled, psych and garage rock bands like  Raccoon Fighter, The Yetis, The Black Angels and others, the band manages to set themselves apart, as a result of their material, which frequently possesses a sweaty, primal and downright dangerous urgency, with razor sharp hooks and a retro-futuristic vibe. 

Now, it’s been some time since I’ve personally written about them but as it turns out, the band recently released their sophomore effort Pools and from the album’s latest single “Don’t Call,” the San Juan, Puerto Rico-born, Los Angeles, CA-based trio will further cement their reputation for crafting sleazy, noisy, primal punk rock that throbs with a muscular insistence. It’s nasty and it’s weird as fuck but absolutely necessary and mosh pit worthy while mischievously nodding at John Dwyer’s impressively prolific work. 

Directed, shot and edited by Laura Sofia-Perez,  the recently released video for “Don’t Call” is equally as intense as the phone, further emphasizing it’s gritty psychedelia — in some way it feels like a wild and fucked up acid trip. 

New Video: The Psychedelic Grooves and Visuals of Boy Azooga’s “Face Behind Her Cigarette”

Coming from a rather musical family — with one of his grandfathers playing drums for the Royal Marines, his father, a violinist and his mom, a clarinetist, who both played and met in the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Davey Newington is a Cardiff, Wales, UK-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrument, who’s known as the creative mastermind of indie rock/psych rock act Boy Azooga, a solo recording project that derives its name from the 1994 major motion picture, The Little Rascals. Interestingly, Newington, who took up drums when he had turned 6 and played in a number of Welsh orchestral and jazz bands as a teenager. 

As the story goes, Newington had an art teacher, who sent the then-aspiring musician off to town to buy Can’s Ege Bamyasi but along with that, Newington cites the like of Sly & The Family Stone, Caribou, Black Sabbath, Outkast, Van McCoy and The Beastie Boys among others as influences on him and his own work. For live shows, Newington recruited friends Daf Davies, Dylan Morgan and Sam Barnes, and as a quartet the band can reportedly shift from psych rock, krautrock, and shoegaze within a turn of a phrase. In fact, their latest single “Face Behind Her Cigarette” to my ears manages to nod at the dance floor friendly, psych pop of In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy and the motorik grooves of Can but with a breezy, hook laden, almost dance floor friendly air; however, as Newington notes, the song nods to Hot Butter’s 1972 smash, synth pop album Popcorn and Nigerian funk legend William Onyeabor. “This song is basically just a celebration (rip off) of the late great William Onyeabor,” Newington explains. “I wanted the percussion to be purposefully a bit too loud, maybe by the usual standard. Loads of Onyeabor’s percussion is blaring in the mix, but it makes it sound so live and feely. I wanted to create that feeling of being in the room where the music is being played.”

The recently released music video features the band playing over some superimposed psychedelic and retro-futuristic imagery and effects — and in some way it possesses a delightfully cheesy DIY vibe.