Category: Psych Rock

New Video: JJUUJJUU Shares Trippy “Nowhere”

Phil Pirrone is a Los Angeles-based musician and co-founder of Desert Daze. In 2011, after spending ten years as a touring bassist, Pirrone borrowed an SG and DL4 and began his exploration of recording looped based music with JJUUJJUU. Pirrone’s JJUUJJUU debut, 2013’s FRST EP and the follow-up standalone single “Bleck” helped build up buzz about the project. Throughout that period, the lineup and instrumentation of the JJUUJJUU moved in step with the project’s ethos of ephemera and flux with the project touring in several different configurations with Pirrone at the center, sharing stages with The Claypool Lennon Delirium, Tortoise, Allah-Lahs, Temples, Tinariwen and others.

Pirrone spent the next few years recording material in various spaces around California. Those sessions included collaborations with Vinyl Williams, members of Lumerians, Dahga Bloom and others. That material eventually comprised Pirrone’s JJUUJJUU full-length debut, 2018’s Zionic Mud. The albums release was accompanied by alternate versions of the tracks remixed or reimagined by many of the band’s most notable fans and supporters, including J. Mascis, Warpaint‘s jennylee, Liars, METZ, and Autolux. JJUUJJUU supported the album by opening for Primus, Mastodon, Kikagaku Moyo, and Earhtless, as well as festival sets at Pickathon, Nelsonville, M3F and others.

Pirrone and his collaborators went on to record two follow-up efforts to Zionic Mud during the height of the pandemic. With extra time on his hands, Pirrone taught himself how to record material, and then sent tracks to longtime band members Ian Gibbs and Joseph Assef. The tracks were then sent around to Boogarins, METZ’s Alex Adkins and a collection of friends that will be revealed in the future. When it was safe to do so, the band wound up at Rancho De La Luna with Dave Catching and Jon Russo and put finishing touches on the material.

In the meantime, the act shares its first single of the year, “Nowhere.” Featuring a relentless motorik pulse, rolling drum beats, bursts of feedback and distortion paired with wailing vocals buried in the mix, “Nowhere” brings Connect the Dots-era Toy, Deleters-era Holy Fuck and others to my mind.

The accompanying video for the track was created for Micah Buzan, who has worked on videos for Adult Swim and for a variety of bands including Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Flaming Lips, and The Claypool Lennon Delirium. Fittingly the video employs the use of psychedelic imagery and hand-drawn animation that undulates in time with the song.

New Audio: Chicago’s Daydream Review Shares Ethereal and Painterly “Have You Found What You’re Looking For?”

Elijah Montez is a Chicago-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, frontman, and creative mastermind behind Daydream Review. After relocating from Austin to Chicago, Montez and Daydream Review began catching the attention of Chicago’s leading tastemakers and beyond with the release of 2020’s “Blossom” and 2021’s retro-tinged, self-titled debut EP.


Last summer, the Chicago-based artist released two tracks, an A-side “Sensory Deprivation” and a B-side “Dream Sequence #29,” as a palette cleanser after his self-titled debut EP and a teaser of new material. Along with the release of material that quickly established Montez as one of Chicago’s most buzz-worthy artists, he has spent plenty of time on the road with his backing band featuring Kaitlyn Murphy (backing vocals and auxiliary percussion) and a rotating group of friends.

Montez’s Daydream Review debut, the 13-song Leisure is slated for an April 7, 2023 release through Side Hustle Records. The album reportedly sees the Chicago-based artist aiming to expand upon the layered sonic world he has created — and continuing to push the boundaries of modern psych pop with dynamic production and reflective, existential lyricism. “Leisure is about the ever-present tension between the desire for free time, for personal enjoyment and leisure, and the demands that capitalistic society places on those desires, and how it restricts the ability to enjoy that free time,” Montez explains. ” Your job and work, to me, seem to be consistent specters that haunt your ability to enjoy your free time, knowing that those demands are always awaiting you when your free time comes to an end.”

That uneasy balancing act between work and free time informed much of the album’s creation and its themes. “Leisure,” Montez adds “as a concept, became something almost otherworldly and that much more desirable, something you dream about when you have so much time funneled into work, and the repetitive act of balancing those two ends up being something almost hypnotic, and I tried to channel all of that into the sonic qualities of the album.”

“Have You Found What You’re Looking For,” Leisure‘s first single is a mellowm and ethereal slow-burn centered around painterly, shoegazy textures: glistening, delay and reverb pedaled guitar, fluttering synth arpeggios and a trippy groove are paired with Montez’s equally ethereal and plaintive delivery. At its core, the song sees its narrator asking himself — and in turn, his listener — if they’ve found what they’ve been looking for, with the tacit understanding that they may never actually find it anyway.

One of the last songs written for the album, Montez explains, “I had written roughly the first half of the song and was unsure where to take it, and I remember trying different things, and talking to myself saying, “Have you figured it out? Have you found it?” Montez adds the theme of the track spoke to the broader themes of the project as a whole, “The overarching theme of the song fits quite well in the context of the album–being dissatisfied with work, dissatisfied with the state of the world, and dissatisfied with capitalism at large, and searching for something that can fill in the void that all that dissatisfaction leaves.” 

Speaking to the production and cyclical pattern of its rhythm, Montez says, “I think that’s reflected in the sonic quality of the song, this repetition and cycling through your thoughts and having that “a-ha” moment, where you realize you’re looking for something that may not come.”

New Video: Montréal’s Atsuko Chiba Shares Brooding and Hypnotic “Shook (I’m Often)”

With the release of a couple of EPs and two albums, Montréal-based psych outfit Atusko Chiba — Karim Lakhdar (guitar, vocals, synthesizer), Kevin McDonald (guitar, synthesizer), David Palumbo (bass guitar, vocals), Anthony Piazza (drums) and Erik Schafhauser (guitar, synthesizer) — have developed a reputation for crafting a cohesive and hypnotic blend of post-rock, prog rock and krautrock paired with offbeat, subversive songwriting. 

For their live shows, the Canadian psych outfit pair their unique brand of experimental rock with video and light installations trigged in real time by the band, creating an immersive multimedia, multi-sensorial environment. Over the past few years, the band has toured across Canada, the States and Europe, sharing stages with  . . . And You Will Know Us By The Trail of DeadBig BusinessDuchess SaysKing Buffalo, and others. 

The band’s highly-anticipated third album, Water, It Feels Like It’s Growing officially dropped today. Recorded at Room 11, the band’s studio, alongside their sixth member, engineer Matthew Cerantola, the album stems from months of experimentation, as well as conceptual dichotomies informed by some rather strange times, and sees the band crafting an album’s worth of genre-defying, drone driven material that may draw comparisons to the likes of The Mars VoltaBeak>and Spirit of the Beehive among others. 

“As opposed to our last album, which was about introspection, spacetime and the personal journey, the themes explored on this new album are related to our environment and our reaction to it,” the members of Atsuko Chiba explain. “Though not meant to be strictly political, our references stem from highly politicized movements and ideas. Division and group ideology are heavily explored. A prime example is the weaponization of vocabulary used to distract, displace and alienate us, forcing us to pick sides on every front. Our lyrics also strongly denote our innate love for all living things, encompassing a hopeful, if somewhat violent, plea for change.

We were also influenced by musical genres that tend to be more repetitive such as electronic or drone music. We discussed topics such as drones, ragas, hypnotic rhythms, minimalism, spatial awareness, musicality through overall patience, trying a less-is-more approach, etcetera. This led to us five playing as an ensemble rather than as musicians with defined roles; we were all responsible for pushing forward the main idea.”

In the lead-up to the album’s release, I’ve written about two of the album’s previously released singles:

  • The expansive, slow-burning A Storm in Heaven-meets-Dark Side of the Moon-like “Seeds.” Clocking in at 7:45, the track is centered around lush, glistening synths, swirling guitar riffs, tweeter and woofer rattling boom bap-like drumming paired with heavily distorted vocal harmonies. The single also features a gorgeous contribution from Montreal-based string quartet Quatuor Esca, who perform an arrangement by Gabriel Desjardins. While possessing a sprawling, widescreen atmosphere, “Seeds” evokes a creeping sense of impending uncertainty and doom but with the tacit understanding that perhaps not all is lost — at least not yet. 
  • Link,” a track rooted in a chugging and aggressive rhythm section, scorching and blaring alarm-like synths, buzzing poly harmonic guitar lines paired with booming vocals. While sounding a bit like it could have been recorded during the Trace sessions, “Link” is an urgent, mosh pit friendly ripper — with a widescreen, cinematic quality. “’Link’ is about judgement; how we often tend to judge and belittle others to prop up our own self worth,” the members of Atsuko Chiba explain. “It’s about the lengths we go through to destroy others, while not taking the time to look inside.

Water, It Feels Like It’s Growing‘s third and latest single “Shook (I’m Often)” may arguably be the most raga-like of the album’s released singles: Featuring layers of droning guitars, a relentless motorik groove paired with Lakdar’s plaintive crooning, the album’s latest single is a sprawling soundscape that’s simultaneously brooding and trippy. But underneath the trippy vibes is a song that evokes an uneasy stasis.

The accompanying video features fittingly hallucinogenic imagery animated by the band’s Anthony Piazza.

New Audio: Oakland’s Orchestra Gold Shares a Lysergic Single

Oakland-based psych outfit Orchestra Gold is rooted in the decade plus-long collaboration between Malian-born vocalist Mariam Diakite and Oakland-based guitarist Erich Huffaker. The duo first met in Bamako, Mali back in 2006. At the time, Huffaker was very busy: he was working for a nonprofit, studying djembe and dunun (drums) and immersing himself in the city’s burgeoning music scene when he had met and befriended Diakite. The duo recognized a deep and profound musical connection, which led to Diakite relocating to the States to start a band — Orchestra Gold.

Since then, the Oakland-based psych outfit specializes in a kaleidoscopic sound that meshes Malian folk with psych rock and elements of Afrobeat and soul: Diakite delivers heartfelt and thought-provoking lyrics in her native Bambara language over a trippy and funky soundscape featuring swinging rhythms, funky brass and scorching guitar riffs. The outfit’s goal is to transcend national and musical borders while being a healing force.

Orchestra Gold’s third album Medicine is slated for a January 20, 2023 release. The album reportedly sees the band firmly continuing their pursuit of spreading and healing and community through music. Medicine‘s latest single “Koniya (No Benefit to Envy)” features shuffling rhythms, scorching feedback and distortion-driven riffs serving as a lysergic and sinuous bed Diakite’s gorgeous vocal. The end result is a song that arches upward towards the cosmos while rooted in earthly matters.

New Video: Los Bitchos Share a Joyous and Seasonal Visual for “Los Chrismos”

London-based instrumental outfit Los Bitchos — Australian-born, Serra Petale (guitar); Uruguayan-born Agustina Ruiz (keytar); Swedish-born, Josefine Jonsson (bass) and London-born and-based Nic Crawshaw (drums) — can trace their origins to meeting at various late-night parties and through mutual friends. Inspired by their individual members’ different upbringings and backgrounds, Los Bitchos have developed a unique, genre-blurring and retro-futuristic sound blends elements of Peruvian chicha, Argentine cumbia, Turkish psych and surf rock, as well the music each individual member grew up with: 

  • The Uruguayan-born Ruiz had a Latin-American music collection that the members of the band fell in love with. 
  • The Swedish-born Jonsson “brings a touch of out of control pop,” her bandmates often joke. 
  • Aussie-born Serra Petale is deeply inspired by her mother’s 70s Anatolian rock records. 
  • And the London-born Crawshaw played in a number of local punk bands before joining Los Bitchos.

“Coming from all these different places,” Los Bitchos’ Serra Petale says, “it means we’re not stuck in one genre and we can rip up the rulebook a bit when it comes to our influences.”

Los Bitchos’ Alex Kapranos-produced full-length debut,  Let The Festivities Begin! was released earlier this year. Recorded at Gallery Studios, Let The Festivities Begin! sees the London-based instrumental outfit further establishing their reputation for crafting maximalist and trippy, Technicolor, instrumental party starting jams — with a cinematic quality. 

The album’s celebratory title is something you might say while toasting dear friends, families and even strangers at a gathering — and hopefully at the of this horrible period of despair and uncertainty, as a way to usher in a period of carefree debauchery. “It’s about being together and having a really good time,” Los Bitchos say in press notes.

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the course of this year, you might recall that I managed to write about four of the album’s singles:

  • Las Panteras” a funky, mind-bending jam featuring shimmering synths bongos, cowbell, cabasa and wiry post punk meets Nile Rodgers and surf rock-like guitars and a sinuous bass line. 
  • Good to Go,” another mind-bending, genre-blurring composition that begins with a decidedly Western intro with shimmering and reverb-drenched guitar twang before quickly morphing into a a trippy yet chilled out Latin funk meets Turkish psych affair with glistening synths, handclaps and a blazing guitar solo. 
  • Pista (Fresh Start),” a slick and trippy synthesis of chicha, cumbia and psych rock featuring looping guitars and dance floor friendly Latin rhythms. 
  • The Link Is About To Die,” a trippy party friendly groove featuring looping and glistening guitars, twinkling synths and shuffling rhythms.

The rapidly rising JOVM mainstays will cap off a momentous year with two singles “Los Chrismos,” their first-ever Christmas themed composition and “Tipp Tapp,” both which were released digitally and physically earlier this month on a flexi disc bundled with a red vinyl re-press of their debut album. Co-produced, by the band’s Serra Petal and Javier Weyler, the two new tracks were recorded at 5db. 

The first single of the batch, the Christmas-themed “Los Chismos,” is a celebratory party, starting romp with cheers and shouts, centered around a dexterous and looping guitar line, atmospheric synths that’s one-part cumbia, one-part psych rock and 100% unadulterated joy. Considering the continued strange and uneasy state of our world over the past couple of years, “Los Chrismos” is a much-needed joy and hope bomb.

“‘Los Chrismos’ is our ‘80s nostalgic Christmas dreamland. Shoop-shooping down the slopes into a cosy chalet strewn with fairy lights, join us for a glass of bubbly and a cosy Christmas party full of festivities!” The band shares. “We can’t wait to get dressed up and play this song on our Chrismos tour.” 

Directed, shot and edited by Tom Mitchell, the accompanying video continues the 80s vibes of the song: We the women of Los Bitchos skiing down the slopes before meeting up for a meal and bubbly in a cozy, chalet complete with fireplace, seasonal lights — and the exchanging of gifts. If you’re a child of the 80s as I am, the video is a playful and nostalgia-inducing walk down memory lane.

New Video: Atsuko Chiba Shares a Cinematic, Mosh Pit Friendly Ripper

With the release of two albums and a couple of EPs, Montreal-based psych outfit Atusko Chiba — Karim Lakhdar (guitar, vocals, synthesizer), Kevin McDonald (guitar, synthesizer), David Palumbo (bass guitar, vocals), Anthony Piazza (drums) and Erik Schafhauser (guitar, synthesizer) — have developed and honed a reputation for crafting a cohesive and hypnotic blend of post-rock, prog rock and krautrock paired with offbeat, subversive songwriting. 

The members of Atsuko Chiba pair their unique brand of experimental rock with video and light installations trigged in real time by the band, creating an immersive multimedia, multi-sensorial environment. Over the past few years, the band has toured across Canada, the States and Europe, sharing stages with  . . . And You Will Know Us By The Trail of DeadBig BusinessDuchess SaysKing Buffalo, and others. 

Atsuko Chiba’s highly-anticipated third album, Water, It Feels Like It’s Growing is slated for a January 20, 2023 release through Montreal-based purveyors of all things psychedelia, Mothland. The album reportedly finds the Canadian quintet crafting a collection of drone-driven yet bombastic material that may draw comparisons to the likes of The Mars VoltaBeak>and Spirit of the Beehive among others. 

“As opposed to our last album, which was about introspection, spacetime and the personal journey, the themes explored on this new album are related to our environment and our reaction to it,” the members of Atsuko Chiba explain. “Though not meant to be strictly political, our references stem from highly politicized movements and ideas. Division and group ideology are heavily explored. A prime example is the weaponization of vocabulary used to distract, displace and alienate us, forcing us to pick sides on every front. Our lyrics also strongly denote our innate love for all living things, encompassing a hopeful, if somewhat violent, plea for change.”

Earlier this year, I wrote about the album’s expansive, slow-burning A Storm in Heaven-meets-Dark Side of the Moon-like “Seeds.” Clocking in at 7:45, the track is centered around lush, glistening synths, swirling guitar riffs, tweeter and woofer rattling boom bap-like drumming paired with heavily distorted vocal harmonies. The single also features a gorgeous contribution from Montreal-based string quartet Quatuor Esca, who perform an arrangement by Gabriel Desjardins. While possessing a sprawling, widescreen atmosphere, “Seeds” evokes a creeping sense of impending uncertainty and doom but with the tacit understanding that perhaps not all is lost — at least not yet. 

Water, It Feels Like It’s Growing‘s second and latest single “Link” is rooted in a chugging and aggressive rhythm section, scorching and blaring alarm-like synths, buzzing poly harmonic guitar lines paired with booming vocals. While sounding a bit like it could have been recorded during the Trace sessions, “Link” is an urgent, mosh pit friendly ripper — with a widescreen, cinematic quality.

“’Link’ is about judgement; how we often tend to judge and belittle others to prop up our own self worth,” the members of Atsuko Chiba explain. “It’s about the lengths we go through to destroy others, while not taking the time to look inside.

Directed by Laurine Jousserand, the accompanying, animated video for “Link” is mind-bending and trippy visual that sees the protagonist become their own enemy. “We wanted to create an evolving picture based on implicit concepts; a metaphorical narrative through contemplative representation,” Jousserand explains. “The challenge became addressing themes such as sterile conflict or false pretense from an internal point of view while using minimal movement. Lyrics and visual elements immerse us within an accusatory monologue, the enemy taking on the form of the narrator, though their identity bears no importance. Nature becomes increasingly uncomfortable, eventually engulfing the subject, stripping them of their humanity until they are quasi-vegetal and ultimately linked to their doubles. These ghost-like twins are hostile yet passive, mimicking their every movement. The final scene takes the rhetoric out of its intimate and personal confines, giving it different identities, expressing a general state of being, a shared reality.”

New Video: Death Valley Girls Share Anthemic “What Are The Odds”

For the better part of the past decade, Los Angeles-based JOVM mainstays Death Valley Girls — currently Bonnie Bloomgarden (vocals, guitar), Rikki Styxx (drums), Larry Schemel (guitar) and Sammy Westervelt (vocals, guitar) — have used their music as a means of tapping into a communal cosmic energy. 2016’s Glow in The Dark, 2018’s Darkness Rains and 2020’s Under the Spell of Joy saw the band openly challenging the soul-crushing banality of modern society and celebrating “true magical infinite potential” through scorching proto-punk influenced riffage, earworm melodies, trippy lyrics and lysergic auxiliary instrumentation.

Slated for a February 24, 2023 through their longtime label home Suicide Squeeze Records, the Los Angeles-based JOVM mainstays newest album, Islands in the Sky reportedly sees Death Valley Girls’ primary songwriter Bonnie Bloomgarden turning inward and using the band’s anthemic revelries as a guidebook to spiritual healing and a roadmap for future incarnations of the self.

Islands in the Sky‘s material can trace its origins back to when Bloomgarden was bedridden with a mysterious illness from November 2022 to March 2021. “When I was sick I had to sleep most of the day,” Bloomgarden recalls. “I kept waking up every few hours with an intense message to take care of the island, feed the island…I have no idea why, but making music for the island kept coming up.”

Before her illness, Bloomgarden’s primary focus was writing songs to help others deal with their own suffering. But something within her shifted, and she began to turn her focus inward. “When I was sick I started to wonder if it would be possible to write a record with messages of love to my future self. This was really the first time that I consciously thought about my own suffering and what future me might need to hear to heal,” says Bloomgarden. “I struggled so much in my life with mental health, abuse, PTSD, and feeling like I didn’t belong anywhere. And I don’t want anyone—including my future self—to suffer ever again. I realized that if we are all part of one cosmic consciousness, as we [Death Valley Girls] believe, then Islands in the Sky could serve not only as a message of love and acceptance to myself, but also from every self to every self, because we are all one!”

The bulk of the album was channeled into being when Bloomgarden and Styxx went out to a cabin in the California woods on New Year’s Day 2022 to hunker down and write. Schemel and the band’s newest member Westverlt joined the band at Station House Studio to further flesh out the material. And while being some of the most ambitious aims for the band to date, the material may arguably be among their most raucous, danceable, and celebratory

Islands in the Sky‘s first single “What Are The Odds” is a scuzzy, garage pop anthem centered around distorted and fuzzy guitars, a raucous, shout-along worthy chorus, a scorching guitar solo and a relentless motorik-like groove paired with a thunderous backbeat. Superficially, the song is a classic, Death Valley Girls party starting ripper — but the song ponders the existence of parallel universes, the multidimensional space time and the multiverse.  

“When we wrote ‘I’m a Man Too’ we were trying to revisit No Doubt’s ‘I’m Just a Girl‘ but through a new lens. ‘What Are the Odds’ is in the same way an investigation /revisitation of Madonna’s ‘Material Girl’ but with a DVG spin, Death Valley Girls’ Bloomgarden says. “We love to think about consciousness, and existence, and we very much believe in some type of reincarnation, but also that this experience isn’t linear, there isn’t a past and future, there’s something else going on! What is it? Is it a simulation, are we simulated girls??!”

Directed by the band’s Sammy Westervelt, the video follows the band on an sunny Los Angeles afternoon but somehow their alternate universe selves in red beehive wigs keep subtly interacting with them in weird ways — until they finally meet each other. Who’s real? Who’s not? Maybe they’re all simulations?