Tag: Desert Daze

New Audio: Pearl Charles Releases a Pop Confection with a Dark Undertone

Pearl Charles is a rising, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who has been playing music since she was five. When she was 18, she formed the country duo The Driftwood Singers with Christian Lee Hutson, contributing vocals, guitar and autoharp. By the time Charles turned 22, she joined The Blank Tapes, playing drums.

After a handful of years in which she fully immersed herself in the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle. she decided it was time to pursue a solo career, and she began writing the material that would eventually comprise 2015’s self-titled debut EP and 2017’s full-length debut — both of which were released through Kanine Records. Building upon a growing profile, Charles toured internationally and nationally as an headliner and as an opener, sharing stages with Best Coast, Sunflower Bean, Mac Demarco, Conor Oberst and others. The Los Angeles-born and-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has also played across the national festival circuit with stops at Austin City Limits, Huichica, and Desert Daze.

Interestingly, Charles’ work can be seen as a sort of chronological progression in which she has played and written 60s garage rock and psych rock — and most recently 70s pop country and AM radio rock. Drawn to catch pop hooks and choruses, the Los Angeles-based artist’s work generally draws on what she has loved about each era’s sound and approach while developing a unique take and voice.

Slated for a January 15, 2020 release through Charles’ long-time label home, Magic Mirror is a reflective album that follows a woman that has lived a full and occasionally messy life, gaining self-reflection and wisdom through the natural progression of love and heartache — and eventually finding new love as a result.

“Imposter,” Magic Mirror’s second and latest single is a breezy bit of AM radio rock centered around twinkling Rhodes, a blue-eyed soul-inspired horn line, a sinuous bass line, Charles’ gorgeous vocals and an infectious, hook. And while the song may seem like a breezy and sun-dappled, pop confection, the song has a darkness that lurks just below the surface — if you pay close attention.

“On the surface ‘Imposter’ sounds like a sun-soaked day,” Pearl Charles explains, ” but there is a darkness that lurks beneath. An experience reminiscent of Ram Dass’ first trip in Be Here Now, ‘Imposter’ tells the story of someone wrestling with their larger cosmic identity beyond the human form and deals with the general idea of ‘Imposter Syndrome’, feeling like a fraud despite your qualifications and accomplishments, which many professional women struggle with.”

Live Footage: Tokyo’s Kikagaku Moyo Performs “Smoke and Mirrors” at LEVITATION 2014

Deriving their name from a Japanese phrase that translates into English as “geometric patterns,” Tokyo, Japan-based psych rock act Kikagaku Moyo was formed back in 2012 by its founding members Go Kurosawa (drums vocals) and Tomo Katsurada (guitar, vocals) as a free music collective that experimented with and explored psych rock and space rock while busking around their hometown. Shortly after their formation, Daoud (guitar) joined the band. Daoud met Kotsu Guy (bass), who was recording local vending machines for a noise project. Guy was recruited and was became the band’s fourth official member. Kurosawa’s brother Ryu (sitar) joined the band after returning from Kolkata, where he studied sitar under Manilal Nag.

By the following year, the band had written, recorded and released their self-titled, full-length debut, which caught the attention of Beyond Beyond Is Beyond Records, who released the Tokyo-based act’s sophomore album, 2014’s Forest of Lost Children. Building upon a rapidly growing profile, the members of Kikagaku Moyo started to tour internationally making appearances across the festival circuit, including Desert Daze and Levitation.

Around then, their self-titled debut was re-issued through Burger Records through cassette tape as a result of high-demand. The band followed up with Mammatus Clouds, which was initially released on cassette tape through Sky Lantern Records and later as a 12 inch LP by Cardinal Fuzz Records in the UK and Captcha Records in the States. The band continued a busy touring schedule with their first UK tour, which included a number of sold-out shows in London.

2015 saw the band touring extensively across Europe with appearances at Eindhoven Psych Lab and Duna Jam. That year also saw the band start Guruguru Brain Records, a label that showcases East Asia’s music scene. Since then the band released 2017’s Stone Garden EP and 2018’s Masana Temples while managing a busy touring schedule. (Last year, I saw the Kikagaku Moyo play a headlining show at Greenpoint, Brooklyn’s Warsaw with rising Japanese krautrockers Minami Deutsch.)

Levitation Festival’s record label, The Reverberation Appreciation Society will be launching a brand new live album series, Live at LEVITATION. Recorded throughout the festival’s history, the new live album series captures key moments in psych rock and for live music in its hometown of Austin, TX — and features key artists of the psych rock scene.

The live series’ first album features Kikagaku Moyo. Kikagaku Moyo — Live at LEVITATION showcases two different Levitation Festival sets: a 2014 Levitation Festival set, which was one of the band’s first Stateside shows on the A-Side — and their return to Levitation in 2019, during the middle of a sold-out Stateside tour. “Playing Austin Psych Fest / Levitation was always a goal from our earliest days of the band — to join the psychedelic community for a weekend of music and present our live performance,” the members of Kikagaku Moyo explain. “This show in 2014 was a landmark for us. To return years later in 2019 and find the same welcome, the dream was still very much alive and well.”

The live album’s first single “Smoke and Mirrors” was recorded from the Tokyo-based psych rock act’s 2014 Levitation debut. Centered around an expansive, mind-bending, shape shifting arrangement featuring shimmering and droning sitar, a sinuous and supple bass line, dreamy vocals and some expressive guitar work, “Smoke and Mirrors” sounds as though it could have been released in 1968 or so — but with a loose and furious live performance.

Kikagaku Moyo — Live at LEVITATION is slated for a January 15, 2020 release.

Live Footage: King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard on Live on KEXP

The genre-defying Aussie psych rock act and JOVM mainstays King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard released five albums in a wildly prolific burst in 2017 — with each album managing to be in a completely different genre and style. Naturally, such a feat helped to cement the band’s reputation for being restlessly prolific and experimental. So for a band known for being like clockwork when it comes to releasing new material, last year’s lack of new material sticks out as anomaly. However, in fairness to the members of the band, they spent part of last year on a busy world tour that featured a headlining set at Desert Daze and three-sold out nights at Brooklyn Steel, one of the larger venues they had played at the time in the States — until their Rumsey Playfield show with Stonefield and Orb back in August. 

This year finds the acclaimed and wildly prolific Aussie psych rock at speeding up the pace. Earlier this year, they released the boogie blues-tinged Fishing for Fishes and in August, they released their second album of the year and their 15th album overall, Infest the Rats’ Nest. Now, as you may recall, Infest the Rats Nest featured what may arguably be the most pared down lineup of their entire creative output: the band’s creative mastermind Stu McKenzie (vocals, guitar, bass), Joey Walker (guitar, bass), and Michael Cavanaugh (drums) with the band’s remaining members busy with prior commitments.  The reduced lineup allowed the band to focus on crafting together arrangements with a pummeling and feral ferocity inspired by McKenzie’s long-held love of thrash metal — in particular, Metallica, Black Sabbath, and Rammstein.

King Gizzard’s 15th album, sonically and thematically is a radical and unexpected departure from its most immediate predecessor: the album’s material may arguably be the darkest and bleakest efforts they’ve released to date, as the band seethes with disgust and contempt over the human race’s myopia, stupidity and greed. At its core, is the acknowledgement that we’re all blindly marching lockstep to our annihilation —  and maybe we deserve it. 

During the band’s last North American tour, they stopped by KEXP to record a live session, which featured material off Infest the Rats Nest that included the Black Sabbath-like “Mars for the Rich,” the pummeling Slayer-like “Venusian 1,” “Venusian 2,” and “Hell” and the Ride the Lighting-era Metallica-like “Perihelion.” The live footage is not just a taste of their amazing live show, it’s a reminder that King Gizzard may be one of the best indie bands in the world — their dexterous musicianship allows the band the versatility to play anything with a self-assuredness and pitch-perfect accuracy. 

New Video: Acclaimed Singer/Songwriter Jonathan Bree Releases a Striking Visual for “Waiting On The Moment”

Jonathan Bree is a New Zealand-born and-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist and producer, who can trace the origins of his musical career to when he was a child: he began writing his own songs when he was nine and performed as a drummer in his cousin’s band until he was 13. This was interrupted for some time, as he was sent to Australia to live with his father, who was an aspiring cult leader. Bree subsequently left home and navigated his teenage years independently. 

When Bree returned to New Zealand, he formed The Brunettes, an indie rock act that released material through Sub Pop Records and his own label, Lil’ Chief Records. The band managed to tour across the world to support their material — but the frustrations of taking the traditional route to success found Bree taking a long hiatus from releasing his own music. During that hiatus though, Bree produced Princess Chelsea’s “The Cigarette Duet” and directed its accompanying music video, which has amassed over 47 million views. 

Bree’s solo debut, 2013’s The Primrose Path was initially released to little fanfare and an unusual bit of promotion — an accompanying album-length video of himself watching TV on his laptop in bed with his girlfriend and cat. His sophomore album, 2015’s A Little Night Music saw the New Zealand-born and based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer embrace a cinematic and classically influenced sound, centered around strong melodies, tight hooks and his brooding baritone crooning lyrics focusing on modern life and love. During the campaign for A Little Night Music, Bree introduced his period piece masked band with the video or “Weird Hardcore” featuring his backing band appearing as though they were in a skewed timeline that some have described as Amadeus meets classic BBC music show The Old Grey Whistle Test.

Since then, Bree has amassed a cult following around the world for his unique live show which features masked band members in pioneering clothing, set against a backdrop of cinematic projections specifically created for each song. Two dancers also perform other-worldly choreographed routines along with the music.

Bree’s third album, 2018’s Sleepwalking continued a run of material drawing from orchestral pop with the material centered around string and horn arrangements, celeste (a smaller, keyboard operated instrument that kind of sounds like a glockenspiel) and soprano vocals — and while sounding as though it came from a bygone era, the material touches upon avant-garde in a way that’s very modern. Album single “You’re So Cool” and its accompanying video went viral, amassing over 12 million YouTube views, while further cementing his reputation for crafting gorgeous yet brooding pop. 

Centered around a soaring and swooning string arrangement, a sinuous bass line, propulsive drumming, chiming celeste, arpeggiated synths, a remarkably tight hook and Bree’s brooding baritone, “Waiting On The Moment,” his latest single manages to be both carefully crafted and danceable pop that manages to be an uncannily anachronistic synthesis of 60s and 80s pop — with a subtly modern filter. At its core, the song is a breakup song about the lingering ghosts of a past relationship — primarily, the places that you and your former lover once went that had significance between you. Apparently in the song’s case, it’s a karaoke bar that its narrator once went. 

Rather than being a tearjerker ballad full of bitterness, heartache and recrimination, the song revisits the past relationship at its center with a sense of a joy that it all happened and a sense of optimism. As a songwriter once wisely wrong “every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” And they’ll be new loves, new places to hold significance and new heartache — but all of it is worth it. 

Directed by Jonathan Bree, the recently released video for “Waiting On The Moment” features Bree, his backing band and dancers performing the song in a sparse studio appearing in the wardrobe they do on stage — with each member covered head-to-toe in white zentai suits, wigs and monochromatic clothing.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard Release a Bonkers Visual for “Organ Farmer”

2017 saw the Melbourne, Australia-based psych rock septet and JOVM mainstays King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard release five albums — with each album managing to be in a completely different genre and style, all of which further cemented the band’s reputation for being both restlessly experimental and prolific.

Now, for a band that has managed to be as wildly productive and prolific as the Melbourne-based JOVM mainstays, not releasing new material last year was an extremely odd; however, during that same period, they were busy with a number of other things including — a relentless tour schedule that featured a headlining set at Desert Daze and three sold out-dates at Brooklyn Steel, the largest venue they’ve played in the States to date. The band also re-issued their first five albums on vinyl for the first time ever — and it created such a frenzied demand that the Flightless Records website crashed from the traffic.

Earlier this year, King Gizzard and The Wizard Lizard released their 14th album Fishing for Fishies earlier this year, and the album’s material found the band creating a sonic world in which the organic met the automated; where the rustic met the robotic; where the past and future collide in the beautiful present. But at the end of the day, the material was essentially boogie blues that strutted, shimmied and stomped through several different moods and terrains,. “We tried to make a blues record,” says frontman Stu Mackenzie. “A blues-boogie-shuffle-kinda-thing, but the songs kept fighting it – or maybe it was us fighting them. Ultimately though we let the songs guide us this time; we let them have their own personalities and forge their own path. Paths of light, paths of darkness. This is a collection of songs that went on wild journeys of transformation.”

2019 find site Aussie JOVM mainstays returning to the prolificacy that their fans and the blogosphere knows them for. In fact, the band’s 15th album, Infest The Rats’ Nest is slated for an August 16, 2019 release through ATO Records here in the States. While the members of the band have long enjoyed a fluid creative approach, the recording sessions for Infest The Rats’ Nest featured a pared down lineup featuring Stu McKenzie (vocals,. guitar, bass) Joey Walker (guitar, bass) and Michael Cavanaugh (drums). This stemmed from other commitments — including Cook Craig (guitar) and Ambrose Kenny-Smith (keys, harmonica) being busy with their side project The Murlocs; Lucas Skinner (drums) taking time off to spend time with his newborn; and Eric Moore (drums) being busy running their label Flightless Records. 

Naturally, the pared down set allows for much tighter arrangements and blistering velocity — and as a result, the new album’s material finds them scratching a long-held thrash metal itch. “In fourth grade there was an older kid who was into Rammstein” explains Stu of his early discovery of metal’s extremities. “I made friends with him and we put together a performance at our school assembly where we headbanged to ‘Du Hast’. I got whiplash, which I thought was pretty cool. That was my introduction to heavy metal, and soon Rammstein led to Metallica, Metallica led to Slayer, Slayer led to Kreator and Sodom. The German bands really kicked my ass and scared the hell out of me too. Later on, when I picked up a guitar I realized that shit was too hard to play, so I got into rock ‘n’ roll and garage. That was liberating.”

“Organ Farmer,” Infest The Rats’ Nest latest single is blistering, balls-to-the-walls thrash metal, complete with shrieking guitar solos, howled lyrics, thunderous drumming, and rapid fire tempo changes. And naturally, the track brings Kill Them All and Ride the Lightning-era Metallica to mind — in other words, the song which seethes with disgust and fury, is a straightforward headbanger. 

Directed by John Angus Stewart, the recently released video for “Organ Farmer” features the members of the band, shirtless with the words “Organ Farmer” and others scrawled on their skin. The first portion of the video sees them smashing a car up with hammers — but by the end, the zombie-like members of the band are moshing in a sweaty and packed basement. It’s an insane and intense visual for an equally insane and intense song. 

New Video: Psychedelic Porn Crumpets Releases an Explosive and Trippy Visual Romp for “Hymn For A Droid”

Comprised of Jack McEwan, Luke Parish, Danny Caddy and Luke Reynolds, the Perth, Australia-based quartet Psychedelic Porn Crumpets quickly developed a reputation in their native Australia for crafting enormous riff-based psych rock. Earlier this year, the members of the Perth-based psych rock outfit made their Stateside debut — and they managed to kick ass and take names with a series of acclaimed SXSW sets.

Building upon a rapidly growing international profile, Psychedelic Porn Crumpets’ latest album And Now For The Whatchamacalit was released earlier this year, and the album which was recorded between Jack McEwan’s bedroom and Perth, Australia-based Tone City Studios finds the band with a huge, arena rock-like sound, which also manages to represent their loftier ambitions.  “The original concept was to take a 1930’s carnival that had been re-imagined for future generations, a collage of Punch and Judy, carousels and coconut shy’s that progresses in musical concepts and travels with the listener,” the band says of the album’s concept. “Then as we started traveling I was swept off into my own kind of circus, the odyssey of touring life. Large nights out, larger characters, drunken recollections of foreign cities and rabbit hole-ing into insanity.” 

The album’s latest single “Hymn For A Droid” will further cement the band’s growing reputation for crafting riff-based psych rock, as the song is centered around enormous, arena rock friendly, power chord riffs and a motorik groove within an expansive song structure. Play this one as loud as possible and rock the fuck out, y’all. 

“This track reminds me of a Rhino at full charge,” the band’s Jack McEwan explains in press notes. “I was absolutely cranking it while recording. Pretty sure my housemates didn’t get a lot of sleep the week this was being crafted. The lyrics were based on the end of a relationship, those months you’re questioning where your life will end up and if you’re making the right decisions. You’re almost robotic, ticking along like a drone that repeats the same lines over and over in your head, and then you go out with your mates for the first time in ages, take a bunch of thought juice and everything makes more sense. . I wanted the chorus to come out of nowhere like an instant realisation, confusing at first and then the next time you hear it all becomes way clearer.”

Directed by Ashley Rommelrath and Oliver Jones and filmed by Rommelrath and Gareth Goodlad, the recently released video for “Hymn For A Droid” was filmed during the band’s recent UK and European tour and features live footage from sets in Glasgow, Liverpool and All Points East Festival. And while being a display of a band that has become a force of nature that destroys stages and enraptures fans, it’s a lysergic romp, thanks to animation from Oliver Jones that turns guitars into beasts, moshing fans into skeletons and so on. Live shows can be a furious, sweaty and joyous endeavor and this video accurately captures that. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard Release Insane Visual for Thrash Metal Ripper “Self-Immolate”

Over the course of 2017, the Melbourne, Australia-based psych rock septet and JOVM mainstays King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard released five albums — with each album being in a completely different genre and style from its predecessor, further cementing the band’s reputation for being restlessly experimental and prolific.   

For a band that has been as wildly productive and prolific as the Melbourne-based JOVM mainstays, not releasing new music last year was extremely odd; however, they were busy with other things, including — a relentless tour schedule that featured a headlining set at Desert Daze and three sold out-dates at Brooklyn Steel, the largest venue they’ve played in the States to date. Additionally, the band re-issued their first five albums on vinyl for the first time ever, and it created such a frenzied demand that the Flightless Records website crashed from the traffic.

Now, as you may recall, the band released their 14th album Fishing for Fishies earlier this year, and the album found the band creating a sonic world in which the organic meets the automated; where the rustic meets the robotic; where the past and future collide in the beautiful present with the band crafting material that’s essentially boogie blues that struts, shimmies and stomps through several different moods and terrains. “We tried to make a blues record,” says frontman Stu Mackenzie. “A blues-boogie-shuffle-kinda-thing, but the songs kept fighting it – or maybe it was us fighting them. Ultimately though we let the songs guide us this time; we let them have their own personalities and forge their own path. Paths of light, paths of darkness. This is a collection of songs that went on wild journeys of transformation.”

Interestingly, the acclaimed Aussie JOVM mainstays have written, recorded and released a couple of standalone tracks that simply don’t fit on their most recent album because they’re on a completely different tack — one of those tracks is the thrash metal ripper “Self Immolate” which finds the band piling power chord riff upon riff upon riff, thunderous drumming and McKenzie taking on a growling vocal delivery reminiscent of Slayer’s Tom Araya and Sepultura’s Max Cavalera. Interestingly, the track is a reminder that they’re not dabbling dilettantes when it comes to thrash and thrash metal — and that they can pummel eardrums with the best of them. 

Directed by frequent visual collaborator John Angus Stewart, the recently released video for “Self-Immolate” sees the members of the band burnt alive in a Satanic ritual in the middle of nowhere. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard Release a Wild Disco Synth Boogie Track

Over the course of an incredibly prolific 2017, the Melbourne, Australia-based psych rock septet and JOVM mainstays King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard, 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) released an incredibly prolific five albums — with each album consisting of material in a wildly different genre and style from the other, further cementing the band’s reputation for being restlessly experimental. In fact, some of their earliest output found the band blending elements of 60s surf rock, beach, rock, garage rock and psych rock with later albums being blends of film scores, prog rock, folk and soul — although two albums Flying Microtonal Banana and The Murder of the Universe found the acclaimed Australian act pushing their thematic concerns and sound in new, and darkly trippy directions.

Now, for a band that’s been as wildly prolific as King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, not having much in the way of new music during 2018 is a bit strange; but the band was busy relentlessly touring, including a headlining set at Desert Daze and three sold out-dates at Brooklyn Steel, the largest venue they’ve played in the States to date. Additionally, the band re-issued their first five albums on vinyl for the first time ever, and it created such a frenzied demand that the Flightless Records website crashed from the traffic. 

The first bit of new material from the Aussie JOVM mainstays, “Cyboogie” finds the band stepping in a wild new direction with five of its seven members playing synths in a funky and strutting disco boogie woogie paired with heavily vocoder’ed vocals that brings From Here to Eternity . . . And Back-era Giorgio Moroder, The Man Machine-era Kraftwerk and DEVO to mind, as the song is actually about a dancing cyborg from the future — viewed with a decidedly retro-futuristic and prog rock-leaning. ” 

“Cyboogie,” is accompanied by a visual from longtime collaborator Jason Galea shot in a grainy VHS that has the band’s Mackenzie as a half-man, half-synthesizer who essentially plays himself (no pun intended here), along with the bandmembers. The visuals seem to undulate and pulsate with the synths, which is a wildly hypnotic and hallucinogenic effect. By the way, “Cyboogie” will be released on a limited-edition 7″ inch along with another new track “Arcane.”