Category: Psych Rock

Forming in 2014 and deriving their name from the fictional spice in Frank Herbert’s sci-fi saga Dune that makes intergalactic travel, telepathy and longevity possible, the Madrid, Spain-based psych rock quintet Melange, comprised of long-time friends Adrian Ceballos (drums and vocals), Daniel Fernandez (bass and vocals), Mario Zamora (keyboard and vocals), Sergio Ceballos (guitar and vocals), and Miguel Rosón (guitar and vocals) are among their hometown’s most accomplished and acclaimed musicians — with the band’s individual members having stints in locally renowned acts including Lüger, RIPKC, and Bucles and others.

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the summer, you may recall that the members of Melange brashly emerged into both Madrid’s and their home country’s music scenes with their self-released, double LP, which featured a highly conceptual narrative influenced by the diverse experiences of the bandmembers. Thematically, the material touched upon evolution, comprehension and transformation through music — all while sonically drawing from prog rock, psych rock and folk music, and as a result, the band received praise from  El Pais, Mondo Sonoro, Sol Musica, and Ruta 66 as well as airplay from Radio 3, and played at some of their homeland’s biggest and well-regarded festivals including Low Festival, Sonogram Festival, Sala Stereo Festival, Sala Planta Baja, Festival Noroeste, Festival Wos, Fueu Festival and others.

Building upon a breakthrough 2016, which included a busy touring schedule, the band spent their free-time writing and recording their h ighly-anticipated, Carlos Diaz-produced sophomore album Viento Bravo,  which live to tape at Gismo 7 Studios in Motril, Spain and Phantom Power in Madrid Spain. Reportedly, the album finds the band refining their sound — with the album’s breezy, tropicalia-like first single “Rio Revuelto” reminding me quite a bit of JOVM mainstays Boogarins, Junip , Jose Gonzales and The Yes Album-era Yes. The album’s second and latest single “Cotard” continues in a similar vein as its predecessor but with an even trippier song structure emphasized by arpeggiated organ chords and some impressive guitar world — but unlike its predecessor, it has a more direct psych rock and prog rock-based sound, seemingly nodding at The Doors‘ “Light My Fire,” Yes’ “Roundabout,” and “I’ve Seen All Good People” among others.

 

 

Renowned psych rock label Beyond Beyond is Beyond Recordswill be releasing Viento Bravo on November 17, 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

If you had been frequenting this site earlier this year, you would have come across a post on the Brooklyn-based psych rock/stoner rock act Weird Owl. And since their formation back in 2004, the band comprised of Trevor Tyrrell (guitar, vocals), Jon Rudd (guitar), Sean Reynolds (drums), Kenneth Cook (bass, keys, synths, backing vocals) and John Cassidy (keys, synths), have developed a reputation for a sound that’s been compared to Deep Purple, Hawkwind, Neil Young, Pink Floyd and Spirit, for releasing a steady stream of new music, which they’ve supported through several tours of the US and UK. (Interestingly enough, their first two albums 2009’s Ever the Silver Cord Be Loosed and 2011’s Build Your Beast a Fire, which were self-released managed to catch the attention of   The Brian Jonestown Massacre‘s Anton Newcombe, who released the band’s 2013 EP Healing and 2015’s Interstellar Skeletal through his A Recordings, Ltd. — and as a result, the Brooklyn-based psych rock received a growing international profile within psych rock circles.)

Now, as you may recall, the band’s sixth full-length Bubblegum Brainwaves is slated for release Friday, and the album thematically is influenced by our weird and terrifying age as it touches upon cognitive dissonance, darkness, uncertainty, war and a world crumbling towards a dysfunctional dystopia, while reportedly finding the band pushing their sound towards new directions; in fact, Bubblegum Brainwaves‘ first single
You (Sometimes Not You),” featured shimmering synths and a catchy Summer of Love meets retro-futuristic synth pop melody paired with a soaring hook. The album’s latest single “Invisibility Cloak” may arguably be one of the album’s anthemic and forceful tunes — but it manages to possess a dark, foreboding vibe, reminiscent of JOVM mainstays King Gizzard and Lizard Wizard.

Founded by production and songwriting duo Daniel Collas and Sean Marquand, along with a rotating cast of friends and collaborators that included Aurelio Valle, Carol C., Jaleel Bunton, Jon Spencer, Lady Tigra, Patrick Wood, Luke Riverside, Laura Martin, Bing Ji Ling, Pier Pappalardo and Joan Tick, the Brooklyn-based psych soul act The Phenomenal Handclap Band formed in 2009 and received attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere with the release of 2012’s sophomore effort, Form and Control.

Now, it’s been some time since I’ve written about Phenomenal Handclap band, as Collas with Morgen Phalen and members of Stockholm, Sweden-based bands Dungen and The Amazing formed the cosmic jazz, jazz fusion, prog rock and psych pop-inspired act Drakkar Nowhere, who caught my attention with the release of their gorgeous, self-titled full-length debut last year. And in this iteration of The Phenomenal Handclap Band, the project’s founding member Collas is collaborating with vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Juliet Swango, who’s perhaps best known as a member of teen band The Rondelles on the double A side single “Traveler’s Prayer”/”Stepped Into the Light,” which Daptone Records imprint Magnifreeq released today — and unsurprisingly, “Traveler’s Prayer” will further cement Callas long-held reputation for a sound that draws from psych pop, psych rock, Northern soul, prog rock and krautrock, and while clearly sounding as though it were released during the era of 70s AM rock, it possesses a clean, hyper modern production sheen and a breezy, disco-like vibe.

 

 

 

 

 

Currently comprised of founding member Alex Tebeleff (vocals, synth, guitar) and newest members Matt Dowling (vocals, bass), Rick Irby (guitar) and Danny Bentley (drums), the Washington, DC-based psych rock act Paperhaus have released 5 EPs. including 2013’S LoHiLo EP, which garnered attention from NPR and the Washington Post and was supported with a two month two that included a NYC area stop. Building upon the buzz they had received, the band’s 2015 full-length debut premiered on NPR First Listen. Along with their full-length debut, the band played at that year’s SXSW, played a headlining, album release show at DC’s famed 9:30 Club and received coverage from Brooklyn VeganUSA Today, NPR’s All Songs Considered and several others.

Now, it’s been quite a while since I’ve written about the Washington, DC-based psych rock act, but the band’s latest effort, Are These The Questions That We Need To Ask? officially drops later today, and the album which was recorded and co-produced by Peter Larkin at his Alexandria, VA-based studio The Lighthouse reportedly marks a major turning point for the band, as the album’s title and material urges the listener to ask questions about their surrounding world — while focusing on our increasing reliance on technology, a craving for nature and the natural world, the return and increasing rise of authoritarian ideas and the division it creates for people, and what all of this means for human relationships. In fact, the album’s latest single “Told You What To Say” sonically features shimmering and wobbling synths paired with a strutting bass line and a soaring hook in an expansive song structure that possesses elements of psych rock, prog rock and post punk — all while reportedly pointing out that history has a way of echoing and paralleling itself. But unless we make vital connections between the past and present, we’re not only doomed to repeat the past, we’re doomed to repeat it — without ever knowing why or how to stop it.

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: The Lysergic Visuals and Sounds of Stockholm’s Marble Mammoth

Marble Mammoth is a Stockholm, Sweden-based psych rock band that features 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 — and with the recent release of their self-titled EP, the band has quickly developed a reputation for a sound that meshes the bluesy power chords of Led Zeppelin with the dreamy, psychedelia of the likes of Tame Impala — although the band’s latest single “Wrecked Ship” reminds me much more of JOVM mainstays Goat and Black Sabbath as the song features some blistering guitar pyrotechnics paired with soaring organ chords and anthemic hooks, but within an expansive, twisting and turning song structure that nods at voodoo, Latin rock and psych rock, while lyrically the song evokes the anxious awareness that the end is coming — and quickly.

Directed and edited by Milja Rossi, the recently released hallucinatory video for the song features the black clad members of the band performing the song near a lake in glorious sunshine and quick cuts to volcanos erupting, explosions and other natural phenomenon shot at weird angles to evoke an abstractness and the influence of hallucinogens. 

New Video: The Limiñanas Team Up The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Anton Newcombe on Lysergic and Menacing “Istanbul Is Sleepy”

Comprised of Marie (drums, vocals) and Lionel (guitar, bass, keys and vocals), the Perpignan, France-based duo The Limiñanas have developed a reputation as one of France’s beloved treasures, as their sound straddles the boundaries of psych rock, shoegaze and yé-yé, paired with fuzzy, distorted and reverb-heavy hooks and effortlessly cool vocals. And while being mischievously anachronistic, the duo manage to do so in an quintessentially French fashion. 

“Istanbul Is Sleepy,” the title track of their forthcoming Istanbul Is Sleepy EP finds the renowned French psych rockers collaborating with The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s influential Anton Newcombe, who contributes guitar and his imitable vocals to the track. And as the members of The Limiñanas recall in press notes, the collaboration can trace its origins to last year, when the folks at 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.” 

Sonically speaking, the French psych rock act’s latest single features an arrangement that consists of  propulsive backbeat, layers of fuzzy guitars, soaring organs and rousing hooks and while possessing a decided garage rock scuzziness, the song has the sort of underlying menace reminiscent of The Black Angels — although interestingly enough, Newcombe was reportedly inspired by Rain-era The Cult. 

Naturally, while the  Jean Luc Moly-directed video is decidedly psychedelic, it also pays subtle homage to French New Wave films thanks to its attention to split screens and bright colors — as it features a zombie-like Anton Newcombe with the members of The Limiñanas performing the song in a persistent rainy backdrop as a man in a suit struts, dances and bops his head to the music. 

Over the past couple of months on this site, I’ve written a bit about the  Oklahoma City, OK-based indie rock/psych rock quartet SPACE4LEASE — and as you may recall, the band, comprised of primary songwriter and founding member Grayson Hamm (keys, lead vocals), along with Walt Blythe (guitar),  Brandon Brewer (bass, vocals) and Wes Belk (drums), can trace their origins to when Hamm, Blythe, Brewer and Belk met while they were all attending the Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma.

Although each member comes from a vastly different musical background and influences, their sound manages to be a seamless convergence of their influences including Tame Impala, My Morning Jacket, Big Thief, Andy Shauf and others, while thematically their material focuses on lost love, heartbreak, the unknown and inevitable life experiences.

With the release of their debut EP Hiraeth, an effort that focused on the complicated process of self-discovery, the members of the Oklahoma City-based quartet toured extensively across the Midwest last year, eventually winning the praise of The Flaming Lips‘ Derek Brown, who described them as  “Fellow Okies that wonderfully mix the blissfulness and melancholy of the great wide open.” Building upon the buzz the members of Space4Lease have released a batch of singles off their forthcoming EP Drifting: Must Be Something” one of the first singles I wrote about, was a lush single reminiscent of  JOVM mainstays  Caveman, Los Angeles-based indie rock act Hands and others but bristling with a sense of endless possibility  that can only come from being on the road, and seeing the world open up before your eyes. “Lately,” struck me as drawing from classic, Quiet Storm-era R&B, blue-eyed soul and indie rock in a way that reminds me of Milagres’ exceptional first two albums Glowing Mouth and Violent Light — and much like the material off of those albums, there’s the push and pull of infatuation, lust, love and heartache at the core of a confusing relationship.

Drifting‘s latest single “I Tried Calling” is a slow-burning track that pairs Hamm’s plaintive vocals paired with a lush and haunting arrangement featuring twinkling keys, guitars fed through a series of atmospheric effects — and much like the preceding singles, it’s a deeply personal song that focuses on the frustrating yet necessary ups and downs of a maintaining a relationship and the lingering ghosts of the person you’re no longer with, and of the relationship that’s over.  But what makes the song interesting is that it comes from the perspective of someone, who has a lot more to say to a partner (or ex-partner in the case), who doesn’t seem all that interested in hearing it, and as a result, the song has an underlying bitterness — the bitterness that comes from having a relationship fail and not knowing how or why it happened.

 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site throughout its seven-year history, you’d know that I’ve 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 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.

As you may recall, after the release of their 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 recruits Ryan Hagan and Ben Taber. And interestingly enough “Seance,” the first single off the band’s forthcoming third album Matterhorn retains the gorgeously shimmering guitar lines, propulsive, motorik-like groove and enveloping sound that first caught the attention of this site and the e rest of the blogosphere; however, there’s a noticeably different energy and vibe to the proceedings — simply put, “Seance” reveals a band with a swaggering self-assuredness within what arguably may be their most expansive and ambitious songwriting. Matterhorn‘s second single “Thanksgiving II” continued along a similar vein as its predecessor, as it prominently featured the band’s propensity for crafting tight, motorik grooves paired with shimmering guitar lines and ethereal vocals. But while the song may be among the most trance-inducing they’ve released, it’s also one of the more arena friendly songs they’ve written and released to date, with the song slowly unfurling to reveal its creators’ ambitious and expansive songwriting.

“Kingsday,” Matterhorn‘s third and latest single while possessing the stalwart elements of their sound — towering and shimmering layers of guitar chords and ethereal vocals and a trance-inducing, lysergic vibe, but within its four minute run time, the song reveals an expansive song structure consisting of four subtle yet discernible movements connected by a chugging motorik groove — and interestingly enough, the song may arguably be one of the most decidedly 60s influenced songs they’ve released in quite some time.

Perhaps best known as the lead guitarist of the British indie rock band Howling Bells, Joel Stein, an Australian-born, British-based multi-instrumentalist, producer and singer/songwriter decided that after four successful albums with the band and a series of world tours with the likes of The Killers and others, that it was time to pursue his own solo work with his recording project Glassmaps .

Stein’s Glassmaps debut, Strangely Addicted was recorded and produced by Stein in the Las Vegas, NV-based home studio of The Killers’ Mark Stoermer, where Joel was staying while recording with Howling Bells. And while staying with Stoermer, Stein found a soundproofed room filled with random instruments — tubular bells, a double bass, a three-stringed banjo, vintage guitars and an old Telefunken microphone on which he recorded vocals.  And the end result was material that finds Stein, employing both electronic and organic instrumentation on punchy, hook-driven material that’s nods at 60s psych pop and psych rock and 70s AM radio rock while thematically the songs draw on his personal experiences while focusing on universal themes — love, loss, life, etc. Interestingly enough, the album features guest spots by The Killers’ Mark Stoermer, who plays bass on album single “Summer Rain,” and Howling Bells’ Glenn Moule, who contributes drumming throughout the entire album. “I took my laptop into that soundproofed room and didn’t really sleep for two weeks,” Joel recalls. “I would wake Glenn in the early hours of the morning to drum on tracks I had just finished. He’d sleepwalk his way to the kit and just nail it every time!”

“Hypnotised” is breezy symphonic pop with multi-part harmonies that nods at Sgt. Pepper-era The Beatles and ELO with soaring hook that quickly throws a trippy curveball as the song suddenly turns into a hazy psychedelia with an impressive guitar solo but while being clearly under-pinned by an old-timey vibe, the song possesses a swooning romanticism; after all, the song is about a beguiling woman, who seemingly casts a spell on the song’s narrator. But along with that, the song reveals some rather ambitious songwriting.  “The sonic inspiration varies from classical music to 70’s music,” Stein explains. “I was adamant in making a very organic record, I missed the sound of guitars, especially guitar solos.”

 

Comprised of long-time friends Adrian Ceballos (drums and vocals), Daniel Fernandez (bass and vocals), Mario Zamora (keyboard and vocals), Sergio Ceballos (guitar and vocals), and Miguel Rosón (guitar and vocals), the members of the Madrid, Spain-based psych rock quintet Melange are among their hometown’s most accomplished musicians, as each individual member can claim stints in locally renowned acts Lüger, RIPKC, and Bucles and others, and although the band formed back in 2014, the psych rock band derives their name from the name of the spice that makes intergalactic travel, telepathy and longevity possible in Frank Herbert’s sci-fi saga Dune.

The quintet brashly emerged into both the Madrid and Spanish music scenes with their self-released full-length effort, a double LP that featured a deeply conceptual narrative, which was the result of a creative processed inspired by and fueled by the diverse, personal experiences of the members of the band and thematically focused on evolution, comprehension and transformation through music while sonically drawing from prog rock, psych rock and folk.

Thanks to critical praise from the likes of El Pais, Mondo Sonoro, Sol Musica, and Ruta 66 as well as airplay from Radio 3, the Madrid-based psych rock quintet wound up playing at some of their homeland’s best known venues and music festivals including Low Festival, Sonogram Festival, Sala Stereo Festival, Sala Planta Baja, Festival Noroeste, Festival Wos, Fueu Festival and others. Building upon a breakthrough 2016, the members of Melange spent most of this year touring and writing and recording the material, which would comprise their highly-anticipated, Carlos Diaz-produced sophomore effort Viento Bravo, an effort that was recorded in all-analog, live to tape at Gismo 7 Studios in Motril, Spain and Phantom Power in Madrid Spain.

Interestingly, the band’s sophomore effort reportedly finds the band refining the prog rock meets psych rock and folk sound of its predecessor. In fact, as you’ll hear on “Rio Revelto,” the first single off the band’s sophomore effort, the band’s sound is reminiscent of JOVM mainstays Boogarins, Junip and Jose Gonzales, as the song possesses a breezy, tropicalia-influenced vibe but thanks to an expansive, time signature shifting song structure, consisting of four distinct sections held together by a propulsive bass line and some incredibly dexterous guitar playing, the band’s sound also nods at The Yes Album-era Yes. And from this single, the Madrid-based psych rockers will add their names to a growing list of diverse Spanish bands, who have achieved some level of success Stateside.

Renowned psych rock label Beyond Beyond is Beyond Records will be releasing Viento Bravo on November 17, 2017.