Category: Psych Rock

Live Footage: The Telescopes Perform “You Can’t Reach What You Hunger” and “Something In My Brain” at Tapetown Studios

Currently comprised of founding member Stephen Lawrie and featuring members of One Unique Signal as the live performing band, the Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, UK-based psych rock/noise rock band The Telescopes originally formed back in 1987 and while inspired by the likes of Suicide, The Velvet Underground and 13th Floor Elevators — and over the course of a number of singles and nine full-length albums, including 1989’s Taste, 1992’s self-tiled album, 2002’s Third Wave, 2005’s #4, 2006’s Hungry Audio Tapes, 2008’s Infinite Suns, 2013’s HARM, 2015’s Hidden Fields and this year’s As Light Returns, the British band has developed a reputation for being arguably one of the more influential noise rock/psych rock bands of their era, seemingly influencing the work of the likes of A Place to Bury Strangers with whom they released a split 7 inch released through Fuzz Club Records, Chain of Flowers, Bambara and others. 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past few months, you’d recall that the Aarhus, Denmark-based recording studio  Tapetown Studios  along with Sound of Aarhus have developed a live video series in which they invite national, regional and internationally recognized touring bands to come into their studio during their free time to record a live session. Over the past year, Tapetown Studios and Sound of Aarhus have invited British indie rockers Ulrika Spacek, Gothenburg, Sweden-based trio Pale Honey, and the Bay Area-based JOVM mainstay Tim Cohen and his primary project The Fresh & Onlys. Stephen Lawrie and the members of the touring band were invited to Tapetown to record a session that featured the slow-burning, murky, feedback driven dirge “You Can’t Reach What You Hunger” a song that builds upon a tightly restrained tension until its scorching conclusion; and the forceful and stormy “Something In My Brain.” 

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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 Istanbul Is Sleepy EP 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…”.

Directed by frequent collaborator Aurelian Richter, the recently released video features the members of The Limiñanas, along with Emmanuelle Seigner, Renaud Picard, and Foulke de Boixo, who made a prominent appearance in the “Istanbul Is Sleepy” video. Shot in and around The Limiñanas’ Cabestany, France, Christmas-light strewn studio, the video manages to consist of a dichotomy between brilliant, summery light and murky shadow — with footage of Emmanuelle Seigner alternating between Super 8 color film-like sequences in a field and sultry, film noir-like sequences of Seigner strutting and grooving to the song, while Picard in night googles in set in the dark with the band. Naturally, the song continues the band’s reputation for pairing their material with bold and hazily lysergic visuals; but interestingly enough, the video comes on the heels of the duo announcing that their forthcoming full-length effort, Twisting the Shadow People is slated for a January 19, 2018 release through Because Music — and of course, the album will include “Shadow People,” from which the album derives its title.

 

 

 

Comprised of Xanthous Papanikolaou (vocals, guitar), Bill Tzelepis (guitar), John Vulgaris (drums), Panos Papanikolaou (keys) and Aris Rammos (bass), the Athens, Greece-based garage rock/psych rock act Bazooka initially formed in Volos, Greece back in 2008. As the story goes, within their first year together, they relocated to Athens to pick up live gigs, and while the country and its capital city were in the midst of one of the most severe economic downturns in recent memory, the members of Bazooka, along with acts like Acid Baby Jesus, Gay Anniversary and A Victim of Society became pioneers of a burgeoning, attention grabbing DIY scene that played in squats across the city. But interestingly enough, Bazooka had set themselves apart for being one of the more primal and savage of the entire Athens scene.

Their 2013 full-length debut was released through Slovenly Records, and the Greek garage psych rockers followed that up with two 7 inch EPs — Shame my Brain and I Want To Fuck All The Girls In My School, and their 2016 sophomore, full-length effort Useless Generation. And adding to a growing international profile, the band has toured throughout the European Union and the US.

Their latest effort, the 12 inch EP Zougla (Jungle) was recently released through Inner Ear Records, and the effort finds the band expanding upon their sound while retaining the power and impetuosity of their sound — and emphasizing Greek verse. The EP’s first single and title track features blistering guitar, propulsive polyrhythm, complete with congas and cowbell, wild animal noises and howled vocals to create a primal and furious song that nods at Thee Oh Sees, Fela Kuti and Here Lies Man, complete with a driving and forceful groove; but they manage to pair that with a fuzzy, lysergic vibe that makes their sound and approach incredibly nuanced and wildly anachronistic as though it could have been released in 1963 or — well, last week.

New Video: The Psychedelic Visuals and Jangling Sounds of Up-and-Coming London-based Act Tempesst

Comprised of siblings Toma Banjanin (vocals, guitar) and Andy Banjanin (drums), along with Eric Weber (guitar) and Kane Reynolds (keys), the Australian-born, London-based members of Tempesst have had what may be a breakthrough year: they’ve made appearances at some of the UK’s most renowned showcases, including The Great Escape, NME Awards, Live at Leeds; several festivals, including Bushstock, Southsea Fest and Hackney Wonderland; as well as opening sets for Mystery Jets, The Veils, Albert Hammond, Jr., GUM and The Temper Trap. And with a growing profile, the band released their debut EP Adult Wonderland to critical applause from Noisey, DIY, NME, Drowned in Sound, The Line of Best Fit, Clash Magazine and airplay from Lauren Laverne’s BBC Radio 6 show and Maz Tappuni’s Radio X show, Communion Presents. 

And from Adult Wonderland’s latest single “Feel Better,” the up-and-coming London-based band specialize in a jangling, 70s AM radio-inspired psych folk with enormous, and anthemic hooks and some impressive guitar work that’s reminiscent of Tame Impala and Drakkar Nowhere, complete with a deceptively easy-going breeziness that belies the material’s craft. Interestingly enough, the song bristles with an underlying bitter frustration.  As the band’s Toma Benjamin explains in press notes, “I wrote ‘Feel Better’ about the mindless rhythm of working all week and then partying all weekend. A lot of my friends and I have done it for years. Each month just blurs into a series of highs and lows. I guess I wrote this song about realising the monotony of it all. It’s actually a bit sad when you think about it.” 

Directed by the band’s Andy Banjanin, the recently released video for “Feel Better” follows the band members through a kaleidoscopic and almost Biblical journey of self-discovery in which they eat some forbidden fruit, descend and ascend from a metaphorical hell and metaphorical heaven. And fitting with the overall aesthetic, the video is hot in a fashion that nods at movies from the early 70s. 

Live Footage: The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Anton Newcombe Leads Pure Ensemble 6 at Space Fest 2016

Created by Nasiono Association, Space Fest is annual Gdansk, Poland-based festival of shoegaze, space-rock and alternative rock that features the prerequisite live music, but much like CMJ, Mondo.NYC, Northside Festival and others also features meet-and-greets with legendary and renowned artists, workshops for Polish and other internationally-based musicians, a battle of the bands-like competition for young, up-and-coming bands and more. As an annual celebration of all things psych rock and space rock-inspired, Space Fest in his almost seven year history has gradually become a scrappy yet internationally recognized festival with an increasingly diverse lineup of bands from across the European Union, Poland, the US, Canada and elsewhere. 

One of the festival’s standout highlights over the course of its history is the Pure Phase Ensemble, a collaborative collective that features one permanent member, Karol Schwarz (KSAS), who also manages Nasiono Records, and every year Schwartz is joined by a rotating cast of local musicians and at least one internationally recognized musician, who acts as a guest musical director, mentor and collaborator through a series of workshops and joint songwriting that culminates with the group performing their new material during the final night of the festival. 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting JOVM over the past couple of years, you may recall that during the course of the Festival’s history, they’ve invited the likes of  Spiritualized’s Ray Dickaty, Stereolab’s Laetitia Sadier, Placebo’s Steve Hewitt, Marion’s Jamie Harding, Six by Seven’s Chris Olley, The Bad Seeds and The True Spirit’s Hugo Race and RIDE’s Mark Gardener. Last year, The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s legendary frontman and founding member Anton Newcombe led Pure Phase Ensemble 6 with Serena Maneesh’s Emil Nikolaisen, and the collective managed to impress festivalgoers with a live set that included “God Drugs” a menacing, droning, and murky dirge, consisting of layers fuzzy and distorted power chords, thundering drumming and an almost mosh pit-friendly hook over which Newcombe laconically delivers his lyrics. While forceful, the song manages a lysergic haze. 

Also, every year the organizers create a documentary of the festival and the documentary features brief interviews and live footage with festival organizers, Anton Newcombe, who says that his appearance at last year’s Space Fest was a way to convince and entice establish artists that it’s a serious and growing festival; the UK’s MDME SPKR, Italy’s Be Forest, Germany’s Camera, the Icelandic-German act The Third Sound, Poland’s Wild Books, Lonker See, The Fruitcakes, Rosa Vertov and The Czech Republic’s DIV I DED. Additionally, the video features impromptu interviews with thrilled festivalgoers and more. The documentary offers a glimpse of a rarely seen Gdansk, a city with a burgeoning music, arts and nightlife scene, full of hungry, young creatives  — a marked departure from the city’s long-held reputation as a grim Soviet satellite city. 

Interestingly, the videos serve as a teaser for this year’s Space Fest, which take place the weekend of December 1 – December 2 and will feature Maciej Cieslak of renowned Polish shoegazers Scianka, leading Pure Phase Ensemble 7, Italy’s New Candys, Portugal’s 10,000 Russos, Mugstar, Switzerland’s Blind Butcher, Germany’s Odd Couple, Mexico’s Tajak, the UK’s Dead Rabbits and up-and-coming local acts 30 kilo slonca, and Wilcze Jagondy. 

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.