Currently comprised of Milan McAlevey (songwriting, guitar), Nina Donghia (vocals), Caleb Davis (guitar), Chris Dirocco (bass), and Peter Cuffari (drums), the Bar Harbor, ME-based indie psych rock quintet Coke Weed can trace their origins back to NYC. McAlevey is a NYC scene veteran, playing in several local bands including The Lil’ Fighters with The Walkmen‘s Walter Martin, which resulted in the release of an acoustic folk-leaning album Mac St. Michael. McAlevey eventually relocated to Bar Harbor, where he teamed up with Donghia, who had just began singing. The duo had been planning to start a proper band when a chance encounter connected them to Davis and Cuffari.
In 2010, the then-newly formed quintet played a number of live sets using material of McAlevey’s Mac St. Michael album and by the fall, they had quickly begun working on the material that would comprise their full-lenght debut, Coke Weed Volume One, an effort that established the band’s sound: Donghia’s ironically deadpanned vocals paired with the guitar interplay of McAlevey and Davis, and a churning, hypnotic rhythm section. Unsurprisingly, Volume One and its follow-up, Nice Dreams were reportedly influenced by The Byrds, Jefferson Airplane, The Velvet Underground, Bob Dylan‘s electric period and Credence Clearwater Revival. However, the band’s third effort, Back To Soft seemed to draw from the grunge and alternative rock sounds of the 90s — and the band supported that effort with some extensive touring that had the band opening for The Walkmen, Woods, Vetiver, Black Lips, Micah Blue Smaldone, Steve Gunn, P.G. Six, and others. And as a result, the band saw its profile growing nationally.
Building up on the growing attention and buzz, the members of the band spent last winter working on the material that would comprise the band’s recently released fourth, full-length Mary Weaver. According to press notes, the material on Mary Weaver reportedly reveals a change in sonic direction as the material is largely influenced by 70s Bowie, Eno, and Martin Hannett‘s renowned production work with Joy Division and others. Admittedly, to my ears, album single “All The Shades” sounds as though it were equally inspired by late 60s psych rock as much as it does by early-mid 70s glam/art-rock while retaining the overall sound and feel that has captured the attention of the blogosphere — all while being reminiscent of The Mallard‘s incredible Finding Meaning In Deference, The Fire Tapes‘ Phantoms, The Standing Nudes’ Ghost Story, and others. Essentially the song is a tense and slow-burning bit of psych rock with a sneering bit of irony that belies its creepiness.
The recently released official video for the song features edited B movie footage that emphasizes the song’s creepy, murky feel, and with a perversely funny sense of humor.