Tag: psych pop

New Video: Dire Wolves’ Ambient and Trance-Inducing Sounds and Visuals

During the early part of last year, I wrote a bit about the Bay Area-based psych pop/free jazz/indie rock quintet Dire Wolves, and as you might recall, the band, which is currently comprised of Sheila Bosco (drums), Brian Lucas (bass), Kelly Ann Nelson (vocals, wooden flute), Jeffrey Alexander (guitar, wooden sax), Arjun Mendiratta (violin) and Georgia Carbone (vocals) have developed a reputation for both being remarkably prolific as they’ve released 12 full-length albums since forming back in 2008 — and for crafting deeply hypnotic music with a lysergic tinge. 

The Bay Area-based collective’s forthcoming album Paradisiacal Mind is slated for release in November — and the album’s latest single “Unfettered and Alive” is a free-form and improvised track centered around winding guitar lines, angular string arrangements and vocals meant to induce a trance-like state. Naturally, the track will further cement the Bay Area-based band’s reputation for crafting gauzy and trippy material meant to encourage you to delve deep into your mind’s eye. 

Directed by Andy Puls, the recently released video features trippy concentric and psychedelic patterns meant to push the viewer towards tripping out. 

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Best known as a former member of dream punk bands So Many Wizards and Tomemitsu, the Los Angeles, CA-born and -based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Devin Ratliff’s solo recording project Dev Ray received attention last year with the release of his debut single, a moody, synth-based take on The Pointer Sisters‘ 1982 smash hit “I’m So Excited.” Interestingly, Ratliff’s latest single “Can’t Hide” was released earlier this summer through Dangerbird Records as part of their ongoing Microdose series, a monthly single release and live event series celebrating and promoting new music from up-and-coming Los Angeles-based artists — and beyond.  The single is centered around a dreamy and swooning psych pop arrangement that features shimmering and arpeggiated synths, gently padded yet propulsive drumming, shimmering guitar lines, ethereal vocals and a soaring hook — and interestingly enough, Ratliff does so in a way that recalls 60s psych pop, bubblegum pop and DIY lo-fi indie rock, complete with a placid and unhurried air.

Currently comprised of founding members David Schnitzler (vocals) and Elias Foerster (bass) with newest, touring member Tilman Ruetz (drums), the indie electro pop/psych pop act Sea Moya was formed back in 2014 with its founding members writing material between shipping containers in a German harbor. As a duo, they released two well-received EPs and building upon a growing profile, the act’s full-length debut Falmenta is slated for an October 12, 2018 release through Golden Brown Records and Majestic Casual Records.

Falmenta was written and recorded in a reclusive cabin in the Italian Alps above Lago Maggiore, and unsurprisingly, the material is the restful of a total withdrawal from everyday life, the distractions of technology and any influence from outsiders. Such reclusiveness allowed the members of the band to completely immerse themselves in their surroundings, to be more introspective and to bounce ideas off one-another until their creative output became one; in fact, each song and every lyric on the album was a collaborative effort — and interestingly enough, while being effortless, manages to be experimental and deeply personal.

Sonically, the material on Falmenta finds the act drawing from a wide-ranging and diverse array of influences including Krautrock, Afrobeat, electronica, electro pop and psych pop underpinned by a mischievous sense of experimentation in which analog instrumentation is filtered through saturated tape, modular systems and a complex array of effect pedals. Interestingly, the forthcoming album’s latest single is the breezy “The Long Run, a single centered by twinkling synths, a sinuous and funky bass line, stuttering drumming, a throbbing, motorik groove and ethereal melodies that recalls Tame Impala, Toro Y Moi and Fela Kuti among others but in an upbeat, neon-bright, difficult to pigeonhole fashion.

Following the recording of their full-length debut, the members of Sea Moya spontaneously relocated to Montreal, where they have quickly embedded themselves into that city’s DIY underground scene, playing shows across Canada and the States. Of the spontaneous move, the explains in press notes,  “At that time we listened to a bunch of great artists from Montreal like Homeshake, TOPS, Suuns or Project Pablo. It felt like there was a free spirited and open-minded music and arts scene going on. Even though none of us had ever been to Canada before, we just decided to give it a shot.

And here we are, moved in early 2018, already played a whole bunch of shows in Canada and the States, dived into the music scene in Montreal which is incredibly rich of DIY spirits, mesmerizing artists and an amazing mixed-up and buzzing culture of ALL couleurs. It feels like you can find your spot for every tiny niche you want to experiment with and all that pretty easy going and not too serious. It’s an inclusive and yet far out scene which makes it wild, buzzing and forward thinking. The move to Canada has been one of the most inspiring steps we took in our lives for now.”

 

New Video: The Lysergic Sounds and Visuals of Jesse and the Dandelions’ “Give Up The Gold”

Jesse and the Dandelions are an Edmonton, Alberta, Canada-based indie rock act comprised of Jesse Northey, Conner Ellinger, Daniel Sedmark, Travis Sargent and Dean Kheroufi, and “Give Up The Gold,” the album title track and latest single off their forthcoming album Give Up The Gold is a lysergic-tinged dream centered around distorted boom-bap-like breakbeats, shimmering guitar fed through delay and other effect pedals and arpeggiated Wurlitzer chords — and the result is a song that has the a retro-futrustic vibe that recalls JOVM mainstays Pavo Pavo and Drakkar Nowhere; but as the band’s frontman and songwriter Jesse Northey says in press notes, the song found him exercising an active restraint while including a few lyrical double entendres.  

Consisting of cinematography by Truthful Works Films’ Dylan Howard and glitch art by Parker Theissen, the recently released video features the band performing in an empty studio but at points, the screen goes into a the sort of glitchy feedback and noise you’d expect from warped and old VHS tape, which further adds to the psychedelic vibes.

 

The up-and-coming Los Angeles, CA-based psych pop project Das Kope is the brainchild of its Sao Paulo, Brazil-born, Los Angeles-based creative mastermind, George. Interestingly, George lived a few blocks away from where renowned Brazilian psych rock act Os Mutantes had originated — and much like the members of the renowned group, George had long felt that he was an outsider with a unique vision. As a self-taught guitarist, influenced the city’s grey cityscape, he found his musical voice in punk rock. As a teen propelled by the DIY spirit and ethos, George saved up enough money to buy a one-way ticket to Los Angeles, leaving everything he had known behind to pursue his dream of becoming a musician. Quickly realizing that the money he had saved in his homeland didn’t translate to much in the way of American money, he did something rather unexpected considering the situation: he decided to join one of Los Angeles’ fastest and constantly growing lifestyles — broke musician.

The Sao Paulo-born, Los Angeles-based musician spent the next couple of years working at a slew of odd jobs and moving from place to place before eventually settling in as a partial recluse in a dark Hollywood apartment he nicknamed “the cave.” Isolated, he spent the next few years focusing on any and all creative pursuits that brought color to his mostly nocturnal existence. He became obsessed with guitar pedals, synthesizers, VCRs, after effects, tape recorders, green screen and the like. And as the story goes, those obsessions influenced Das Kope. Interestingly, his latest single, the breezy “L.A.X.” is centered around layers of shuffling guitar chords, a sinuous bass line, thumping beats, ethereal vocals and shimmering synths that recalls JOVM mainstays POND and Tame Impala but with a gritty urgency at it score.

 

 

 

James Clifford is a Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, and creative mastermind of the recording project Primaveras, which was once known as Modern Howls. As the story goes, Clifford grew up in a rather musical family; in fact, Clifford began playing guitar in his early teens and throughout his high school years, he played in a number of garage bands. Foregoing a formal musical education, the Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist is largely self-taught with his passion for playing and writing stemming from a lifelong passion for everything music, as he’s been known to scour music stores for vintage guitars and synths or to stay up into the wee hours listening to records. Unsurprisingly, Clifford has cited the likes of David Bowie, Prince, The Clash, Funkadelic, Chic, Todd Rundgren, Roxy Music, Steely Dan, and The Beach Boys as some of his greatest music inspirations.  Thematically, Clifford and Primaveras draws influence from the stretch of the famed Pacific Coast Highway from Malibu to Santa Monica — warm breezes through cracked car windows, the soft sound of waves crashing and receding into the Pacific, and the silhouette of the Los Angeles skyline. For many it’s timeless and almost dreamlike; but those who haven’t stuck around long enough fail to notice the effects of salt air on the surroundings — in the form of rust and erosion. In some way, it evokes faded dreams and hopes of a paradise that never really was there in the first place, and in another sense, the faded surroundings evoke a lonely introspection. Clifford’s Primaveras debut Echoes in the Well of Being was written in a way to embody that dualism — with the album’s material generally being sunny psych pop yet possess an underlying longing and introspection.
Interestingly with Clifford’s previously released material and Echoes in the Well of Being‘s latest single, the shimmering and strutting “Better Off,” his sound has been compared favorably to the likes of Tame Impala and Phoenix — and while that is definitely fair, I also hear a subtle nod at Avalon-era Roxy Music as the song evokes bright neon lights, evening faces, Jack and Cokes, the buzz of a coke high and a desperate escape from one’s loneliness and regret. But interestingly enough, Clifford pays loving  homage to The Isley Brothers’Footsteps in the Dark, Parts 1 and 2” with the song’s intro drum break, which not only ties the song to classic R&B, but gives it a subtle sensuality.
As Clifford says of the song, “While most people will immediately interpret as a breakup song, I see the core sentiment as trying to grow up and move on from any sort of worn-out relationship.”
 

 

Patrick Phillips is a Portland, OR-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter, DJ and multi-instrumentalist, and creative mastermind behind the dream pop/indie pop/psych pop recording project Water Slice. And in some way, the project can trace its origins back to when Philips realized that his life in Portland was beginning to closely resemble an unending Portlandia sketch — he worked at a hip gastropub, played packed local gigs and DJ’ed obscure African music. When he realized what his life had become, Phillips decided that it was time for a change, and he eventually related to Los Angeles. In 2014, he moved into an idyllic artist house located in the hills of the Echo Park section — and as the story goes, Phillips would spend a great deal of time on the house’s rooftop, overlooking the city’s landscape in the shade of a  giant rubber tree, contemplating life and writing songs, partially influenced by his surroundings.

During his first month in town, Phillips met James Supercave‘s Joaquin Pastor and spent the next 2 years as that band’s bassist. After leaving James Supercave, the Portland-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist had time to process his past life in Portland and to dive back into his record collection of power-pop, post-punk and world psychedelia — and this period was for him, the definitive spark that led him to write his own material under the moniker Water Slice. Of course, the material he had begun to write drew deeply from his own personal experience — particularly, a lengthy romantic relationship that dissolved and friendships that fell by the wayside (as many do), and the lingering ache and confusion of a past that’s continually just out of reach and the acceptance of a present that barely makes sense.

Now, as you may call, Philips’ Water Slice self-titled, debut EP is slated for an August 10, 2018 release and with the release of “This Way,” the first single off the effort quickly received attention for a sound that pairs buoyant and breezy grooves with dark lyrical content. As Philips told Ones to Watch, “Many of my favorite tunes, whether post-punk, power-pop, or reggae, are stories of suffering, while staying undeniably groovy. I love this contrast of heavy lyrics with otherwise sunny music, and I kept this tradition in mind when writing ‘This Way.’ At the time I was stuck deep in a rut, ‘This Way’ is about accepting my flaws and pushing into the future with the people I love.” The EP’s Gus Seyffert-produced second single “Please Remember” managed to further cement Philips’ growing reputation for crafting breezy and buoyant pop with a wistful and nostalgic air; but underneath that an acceptance and celebration of how life seems to constantly shift around you, forcing you to shift lanes, change direction  or stop whatever it was you were doing In the first place. After all, no one really has an answer to anything and nothing really works the way it’s supposed to — and yet, we usually find a way.

The EP’s latest single “Write Back” is a decidedly 60s psych pop stomper, centered around shimmering and swirling guitars, a propulsive rhythm section and an incredibly infectious hook — and while breezy and wistful, the track reveals a songwriter and artist with a careful attention to craft. As Philips explains in press notes, “The song’s about facing the fact that you’re not always where you thought you would be in life.” He adds, “But instead of freaking out about it, it’s important to remember what and who grounds you, to keep moving forward or dig deep and turn everything around.” Certainly, when things aren’t right (and that seems more often the case than not), having someone say this so clearly is not just affirming but absolutely necessary.

Patrick Phillips is a Portland, OR-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter, DJ and multi-instrumentalist, and creative mastermind behind the dream pop/indie pop/psych pop recording project Water Slice. In some way, the project can trace its origins back to when Philips realized that his life in Portland was beginning to closely resemble an unending Portlandia sketch as he worked at a hip gastropub, played packed local gigs and DJ’ed obscure African music. With that realization, Phillips decide it was time to leave Portland, eventually relocating to Los Angeles. In 2014, he moved into an idyllic artist house located in the hills of the Echo Park section — and as the story goes, Phillips would spend a great deal of time on the house’s rooftop, overlooking the city’s landscape in the shade of a  giant rubber tree, contemplating life and writing songs, partially influenced by his surroundings.

During his first month in town, Phillips met James Supercave‘s Joaquin Pastor and spent the next 2 years as that band’s bassist. After leaving James Supercave, the Portland-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist had time to process his past life in Portland and to dive back into his record collection of power-pop, post-punk and world psychedelia — and this period was for him, the definitive spark that led him to write his own material under the moniker Water Slice. Of course, the material he had begun to write drew deeply from his own personal experience — particularly, a lengthy romantic relationship that dissolved and friendships that fell by the wayside (as many do), and the lingering ache and confusion of a past that’s continually just out of reach and the acceptance of a present that barely makes sense.

With the release of “This Way,” the first single off his forthcoming self-titled debut EP, slated for an August 10, 2018 release, Philips quickly received attention for a sound that pairs buoyant and breezy grooves with dark lyrical content. As Philips told Ones to Watch, “Many of my favorite tunes, whether post-punk, power-pop, or reggae, are stories of suffering, while staying undeniably groovy. I love this contrast of heavy lyrics with otherwise sunny music, and I kept this tradition in mind when writing ‘This Way.’ At the time I was stuck deep in a rut, ‘This Way’ is about accepting my flaws and pushing into the future with the people I love.” Interestingly, the EP’s second and latest single “Please Remember” is the only track produced by Gus Seyffert, best known for his work with Roger Waters, Beck, The Black Keys, Dr. Dog and James Supercave, and while the single will further cement Philips’ growing reputation for crafting breezy and buoyant pop with a wistful and nostalgic air; but there’s also an underlying acceptance and celebration of how life seems to constantly shift around you, forcing you to shift lanes, change direction  or stop whatever it was you were doing In the first place. After all, no one really has an answer to anything and nothing really works the way it’s supposed to — and yet, we usually find a way.