Tag: psych rock

New Video: The Gluts Take Us on a Hedonistic Glimpse of Ancient Rome

Rising Milan-based act The Gluts — Claudia Cesana (bass/vocals), Bruno Bassi (drums) and Nicolò Campana (vocals, synths) and Marco Campana (guitar) — derive their name from a term used to denote unsold goods and symbolically expresses a surplus of energy like the one that drives their work. Since their formation, the rising Italian quartet have established and honed an explosive psychedelic-take on noise through the release of their first three albums, 2014’s Warsaw, 2017’s Estasi and 2019’s Dengue Fever Hypnotic Trip.

The Gluts’ Bob de Wit-produced fourth album Ungrateful Heart is slated for an October 8, 2021 released through Fuzz Club and the album reportedly finds the Italian psych rockers making a decided sonic departure from with the material being rooted in a sound indebted to 70s punk, 80s hardcore and post punk — in particular, Fugazi, Gang of Four, Sex Pistols, Public Image, Ltd. and the Campana brothers’ obsessive with Italian and American hardcore punk. Recorded over a tireless week in which the band and their producer essentially lived and worked side-by-side in the studio around the clock, the Ungrateful Heart sessions were fueled by a forceful intensity and uncompromising fierceness. “Bob’s contribution to this album was essential. He pushed us beyond our limits. It was difficult, we can’t hide it, but it really was worth it,” the members of The Gluts say in press notes.

Ungrateful Heart’s latest single “Love Me Do Again” offers listeners a real taste of what to expect from the album: slashing and angular attack paired with scorching feedback, atmospheric synths, four-on-the-floor that builds up to a frenzied intensity paired with a snarled, old school punk rock vocal delivery and an enormous hook. The new single is a slick and uncanny mesh of Never Mind the Bollocks-era Sex Pistols and Mission of Burma — rooted in unadulterated hedonism. Written by the band’s Bruno Bassi while in lockdown, “Love Me Do Again” was “inspired by the different versions of the myth of Dionysus (the Greek god of wine, pleasure, madness and frenzied ecstasy) and an unexpected excitement caused by imagining how great it would be to be all together again. At the end of the song our fascination for The Sex Pistols can be felt, since Nico screams like Johnny Rotten.”

Directed by Brace Beltempo, the recently released and gorgeously cinematic visual for “Love Me Do Again” is set in ancient Roman times — but while nodding at Caligula and the anachronistic-style of Sofia Coppola, with characters wearing roller skates. Bassi explains ” “In the video Nico plays the role of Dionysus and Claudia a maenad. Dionysus is the God associated with irrationality and the excess(es) of life and that’s what is behind our own name . . . ”

The Milan-based act will be touring to support the new album with stops across mainland Europe throughout October.

Live Footage: Primal Scream at LEVITATION Festival

ea devised by the members of JOVM mainstay act The Black Angels in the back of a tour van back in 2007: “Let’s invite all of our favorite bands and all of our friends for our version of a music festival.”

The inaugural Austin Psych Fest was in March 2008 — and by popular demand, the festival expanded to a three-day event the following year. Within a relatively short period of time, Austin Psych Fest became an international destination for psych fans across the globe, with the festival featuring lineups that included up-and-comers, cult favorites, legendary and influential acts and a headlining set from the festival’s founders, The Black Angels. A few years ago, the festival was renamed Levitation in honor of Austin psych rock pioneers The 13th Floor Elevators, but in in its almost 15 year run, the festival has helped spark a new, international psych rock movement while inspiring the creation of similar events across the globe, including Levitation Festival events in Chicago, Vancouver, France and a SXSW showcase, as well as other special events in Europe and Latin America.

last year, Levitation Festival’s record label, The Reverberation Appreciation Society announced the launch of a new live album series, Live at LEVITATION. Comprised of material played and recorded throughout the festival’s decade-plus history, the live album series specifically captures and documents key artists in the contemporary psych rock scene. Of course, many of these moments were also important moments of Austin’s live music scene. 

The live series’ first album Kikagaku Moyo — Live at LEVITATION featured two different Kikagaku Moyo sets — their 2014 Levitation Festival set, which was one of the Japanese psych rock act’s first Stateside shows and their return to Levitation back in 2019, during a sold-out Stateside tour, which included a stop at Warsaw that year with Japanese krautrockers Minami Deutsch.
The series’ second album The Black Angels — Live at LEVITATION featured the festival’s founders The Black Angels. The Black Angels live album is comprised of material recorded at Austin Psych Fest 2010, 2011 and 2012, and captures a rare glimpse of the festival’s earlier, more humble days. And of course, for Black Angels fans, like myself, the album features live version of six songs from their first two albums — Passover and Directions to See a Ghost.

e (vocals), Andrew Innes (guitar), Martin Duffy (keys), Simone Butler (bass) and Darrin Mooney (drums) — have embraced an eclectic and diverse array of styles and sounds from psych pop, degenerate rock ‘n’ roll, euphoric rave and industrial gloom while going through a complicated series of lineup changes that have also included The Stone Roses’ Mani and My Bloody Valentine’s Kevin Shields, and the death of beloved guitarist Robert “Throb” Young. They’ve collaborated on material with George Clinton and Kate Moss. And throughout their run, they’ve managed to capture the mood and tone of the UK several times over — while surviving narcotic oblivion and countless personal traumas.

Slated for a November 19, 2021 release through The Reverberation Appreciation Society, Primal Scream — Live at LEVITATION is centered around the British legends’ 2015 LEVITATION set, a career spanning set, which pulled hits from landmark records like Screamadelica, Give Out But Don’t Give Up, XTRMNTR and others. To build up buzz for the album, LEVITATION, The Reverberation Appreciation Society and Primal Scream released two singles off the album: muscular renditions of Give Out But Don’t Give Up track “Jailbird” and XTRMNTR track “Accelerator.” The accompanying live footage serves as a reminder that Primal Scream is one of the best live bands in the entire world.

A/Canada and British and European stores, a Rough Trade vinyl exclusive and a very special American feature as part of the annual Ten Bands One Cause charity initiative. That feature will launch around National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October — and will benefit Red Door Community, where no one faces cancer alone.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Death Valley GIrls Absurd Yet Defiant Visual for “I’m a Man Too”

I’ve spilled copious amounts of virtual ink over the course of the site’s 11+ year history covering Los Angeles-based garage rock/psych rock JOVM mainstays Death Valley Girls. Although the band has gone through a series of lineup changes throughout their history, the band — currently founding duo and primary songwriters Larry Schemel (guitar) and Bonnie Bloomgarden (vocals, guitar, keys) and a rotating cast of collaborators that includes Alana Amram (bass), Laura Harris (drums), Shannon Lay, members of The Make Up, The Shivas and Moaning, as well as The Flytraps’ Laura Kelsey — can quite literally trace its origins as a sort of safe haven for its founding duo, as they navigated the difficult path of getting clean from hard drugs.

Understandably, for Schemel and Bloomgarden, the band was a kind of rebirth for them, and an outlet for a new — perhaps clearer and cleaner — way of living. Their newfound appreciation for life, inspired a thirst for communal celebration. And their earliest shows wound up taking on a mystical fervor: While their overall aesthetic is influenced by The Manson Family, B movie theatrics and the occult, they paired that with adrenalized swagger, scuzzy garage rock and punk, without the hardened nihilism.

Glow in the Dark was a jittery and jubilant barnburner centered around scuzzy guitar riffle, rousingly anthemic choral hooks and thunderous rhythms. Thematically, the album sees the band reveling in the secret bond held between misfits and outcasts, who openly refused to submit to the crushing weight of “capitalism, classism and elitism” with the album’s songs being a rallying cry to like-minded souls. “Once you realize that money, government, and this whole system is a shitty construct that doesn’t work and stands in the way of our true magical infinite potential, we start to glow,” The Death Valley Girls’ Bloomgarden says about the album. “And we can see everyone that believes ‘cause they glow too!”

Physical copies of Glow in the Dark have been unavailable with the album being out of print since 2016. But thankfully, the good folks at Suicide Squeeze Records will officially re-issue Death Valley Girls’ sophomore album on August 27, 2021: The album will be available on all the digital platforms — and as an initial vinyl pressing limited to 2,000 copies (1,500 on Unite, Multiply, & Conquer splatter vinyl, 500 on Little Ghost tri-color vinyl).

brate the re-issue of Glow in the Dark, the band released a new video for album single “I’m a Man Too.” Centered around enormous and rousingly anthemic shout along worthy hooks, scuzz spattered power chords and a forcefully chugging rhythm section, “I’m a Man Too,” the song is a joyful and defiant anthem that calls for the end of societal ideals of gender and gender roles, pointing out that they’re complete restrictive bullshit.

“What it means to be a man and what we expect from a woman has negatively impacted all our lives. How we treat each other and ourselves shouldn’t be based on society’s ideals of gender!” Death Valley Girls’ Bonnie Bloomgarden explains in press notes, “Everyone is a unique combination of feminine and masculine energy. It’s constantly changing. Somebody outside of you telling you how to be yourself is the most ridiculous and harmful thing I can imagine. You are a beautiful combination of many different things. Get to know yourself, be the most authentic you you can be. Label yourself if you wanna, don’t if you don’t, respect yourself and who everyone else is; that’s who they are!”

The recently released video by Cherry and edited by Little Ghost is a surreal and nightmarish makeup tutorial set to the song.

Kekko is a Singapore-based psych rock/dream pop duo and married couple — multi-instrumentalist Tim Kek and vocalist Cherie Ko. Ko spent her teenaged years covering dream pop and shoegaze classics on YouTube, earning a cult following from fans of Slowdive, Beach House and My Bloody Valentine. But her musical career started in earnest with a stint as the frontperson of Bored Spies, an act that featured members of Seam.

Bored Spies managed to tour the US and Europe, including a notable stop at Primavera Sound Festival. But interestingly according to the band’s Cherie Ko, Kekko marks the first time that she has been able to fully embrace her authentic wholeness. And without self-imposed expectations and ideas of what music — in particular her music — should be, Ko feels the she now sings from a place of “warm transcendence,” where the music fully embodies who she is deep inside. Kekko’s Tim Kek is tasked with with the paradox of expressing the inexpressible through his compositions. Deeply steeped in Eastern philosophy, Kek’s work often “starts with just one night and a quiet contemplation” of how the sound makes him feel. He then builds and crafts melody-driven arrangements from his “heart cave,” a term that Ram Dass describes as “a place beyond all forms and lists, a place for letting go.” The end result is work that attempts to envision and encapsulates the expansiveness and magic of all realms of existence.

The Singaporean duo have exploded out the gate with their debut single “Past Lives,” which received praise from NME, Obscure Sound and Nevermind. The duo’s debut EP Dreaming Life is inspired by an ancient introspective musing by the ancient Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi: Once upon a time, I dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was myself. Soon I awaked, and there I was, veritably myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man.” The EP’s material reportedly feels strangely familiar yet simultaneously exciting and surreal.

Dreaming Life‘s second single, the slow-burning and painterly EP title track features Ko’s ethereal and plaintive vocals paired with shimmering synth arpeggios, an almost motorik-like groove and a soaring hook. While sonically, some critics have compared their sound to Tame Impala and Melody’s Echo Chamber, “Dreaming Life” reminds me of Young Narrator in the Breakers-era Pavo Pavo. But as the duo explain, the song offers a reminder to the listener: that being in control of our lives is an illusion and that this futile pursuit can be very stressful and tiresome. The song calls for an different view of our existence — that life actually happens through you and because of you and that all we can do is appreciate each and every moment we’ve got.

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New Audio: Possum Returns with a Trippy and Expansive Jam

Toronto-based psych rock act Possum — Brandon Bak, Tobin Hopwood, Christopher Shannon, Patrick Lefler and Bradley Thibodeau — can trace their origins to their involvement and eventual meeting through their hometown’s psych rock and garage rock scenes, bonding over a mutual love and appreciate of acts like CAN, Grateful Dead, Fela Kuti and Ty Segall. Possum’s full-length debut Space Grade Assembly and the Toronto-based quintet crafting a hypnotic sound that drew from and meshed elements of garage rock, kraurock, psych rock and Ethio-jazz, centered around expansive arrangements full of shifting time signature changes.

Possum’s self-produced, sophomore album Lunar Gardens is slated for a July 2, 2021 release through Ideé Fixe Records, and the album reportedly finds the band further cementing their sound while pushing their songwriting into new, unchartered territory for them. Thematically, the album touches upon telepathy, ESP, thought transference, Ley line riding and the like; it’s a a psychic exploration of the collective cortex, the capture of cosmic energy and the alignment of astral flux. Trippy shit, indeed. 

“While Space Grade Assembly dealt more with space in a cold literal sense, Lunar Gardens’ approach is more ‘space as metaphor for consciousness in all of its infinite expanding fractal forms’, a surrealist escapist space fantasy of impossible spaces — the type of place you might go when the things are too heavy here in 3D,” the Toronto-based quintet says of the differences between their debut and forthcoming sophomore album. “If we were talking movies, one might say Space Grade Assembly is 2001: A Space Odyssey and Lunar Gardens is The Holy Mountain.”

In the buildup for the album’s release next month, I’ve written about two of the album’s single:

“Gala at the Universe City,” a languorous song centered around a slithering and musty funkiness that to my ears brought  Zappa and The Mothers of Invention and CAN to mind.
“Clarified Budder,” a song that acts as a bridge between their debut and sophomore album that begins with a languorous intro before quickly exploding out the gate, featuring rapid-fire drumming, a hypnotic motorist groove, wah-wah pedaled guitars and punchily delivered vocals. And the end result is a song that actively evokes the sensation of being weightless and floating away from your surroundings.

New Video: Montreal’s Mort Rose Releases a Trippy and Satirical take on NFTs Cryptocurrency and Greed

Founded back in 2016, the Montreal-based psych rock act Mort Rose has established a sound heavily influenced by and indebted to the sounds of the late 60s — but with a personal and modern touch. The band’s sophomore album Goodbye Cowboys is slated for a September 10, 2021 release, and the album reportedly finds the Montreal-based act further embracing all things psychedelia.

Goodbye Cowboys’ latest single “Money” is a mid-tempo and trippy song featuring around shimmering sitar, guitar, dreamily sung verses, rousingly anthemic hooks centered around harmonized choruses before a Baba O’Riley meets bluegrass coda. But underneath the tune-out and lift off vibes, the song is a satirical take on money with the song essentially inviting the listener to invest all of their cash into NFTs and cryptocurrency — as a way of forgetting about all of the world’s real problems. Get rich at all costs, baby!

The video follows four everyday schlubs as they devise a get rich quick scheme — presumably so that they never have to work a shitty day job again. And all of it takes is a laptop.

New Audio: Portland’s Lore City Releases a Mesmerizing New Single

Although formed in 2011, the Portland, OR-based art rock duo Lore City — Laura Mariposa Williams (vocals, keys, guitar) and Eric Angelo Bessel (percussion, keys, guitar) — can trace their origins to when the duo met in 2003 while attending Syracuse University’s College of Visual & Performing Arts. Williams and Bessel manned to reconnect years later, formed Lore City and got married shortly after that.

As the duo explains their music is “born from the transformational power of sound. We hand over words, instruments, and rhythms; trading back and forth until everything belongs to both of us. Until we are distinguishable. We create from the belief that we all are one, and that we’ve been here before. Song fragments are shimmering all around us, ready to transport. We tune in and transcribe. Deep knowing, alongside the unfathomable unknown, is where we reside. Sonic soundscapes give way to archetypal figures and voices materialize. Sometimes we are just singing along with the ghosts that emerge from our chorus of effect pedals.”

The duo’s fourth album Participation Mystique is slated for a July 23, 2021 release through the band’s own imprint. Sonically the album finds the duo meshing elements of psych rock, post-rock, krautrock, post-rock, dark wave and dream pop into a difficult to pigeonhole, mesmerizing sound. Thematically — and perhaps even sonically — Participation Mystique is inspired by a once every 500 year celestial occurrence that happened in early 2020: Saturn directly aligning with Pluto within the constellation of Capricorn. According to astrologers essentially hard lessons joined forces with transformational evolution when it came to the infrastructure between the spiritual and the material.

Participation Mystique’s latest single “I Know You Know” is a brooding and cavernous mix of krautrock and psych rock centered around propulsive and blown out tribal beats, chanted vocals drenched in copious reverb, droning synths. The end result — to my ears — is a song that evokes a trance-inducing shamanistic ritual, meant to bring you closer to both one’s ancestors and the universe.

The duo describe “I Know You Know” as “a trait drone-rock anthem vibrating with tension between material and spirit.”

New Video: The Murlocs Release a Slow-burning and Bluesy Ode to Troubled Friends

With the release of their first four albums, The Murlocs  — King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s Ambrose Kenny-Smith and Cook Craig with Cal Shortal, Matt Mlach and Tim Karmouche — have released four albums of fuzzy and distorted psychedelic blues. which they’ve supported both as an opener for the likes of Gary Clark, Jr., Mac DeMarco, Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, Pixies, Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks, Wavves and of course, Kenny-Smith’s and Craig’s primary gig, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard and as a headliner. 

The Aussie psych blues outfit’s fifth album. the Tim Dunn-produced Bittersweet Demons is slated for a June 25, 2021 release through their longtime label home ATO Records. Recorded at Button Pushers Studio, the 11-song album finds the band lovingly reflecting on the people, who have left a profound imprint on their lives, the saviors, the hell raisers and other assorted mystifying characters. Arguably, the most personal and complex batch of material they’ve written to date, the album reportedly finds the band bouncing around and between sunny pop, blues punk and wide-eyed psychedelia informed by John Lennon‘s Plastic Ono Band and Harry Nilsson‘s Lennon-produced Pussy Cats. 

Last month, I wrote about Bittersweet Demons first single, the Tim Karmouche penned “Francesca,” a rousingly upbeat, hook-driven ripper with a subtle New Wave polish written for Kenny-Smith’s mother, who found a new lease on life through newfound love. Bittersweet Demons’ second and latest single “Eating At You” is a slow-burning and melancholic sing-a-long centered around wailing harmonica, shuffling rhythms, some shimmering pedal steel, Kenny-Smith’s most plaintive and earnest delivery of his career. In some way, “Eating At You” is The Murlocs’ “I Got Friends in Low Places,” as a rousingly anthemic ode to those deeply troubled friends and erstwhile n’er-do-wells of life. “it’s an ode to all the lovable train wrecks out there that have gone off the rails and keep going back for more,” The Murlocs’ Ambrose Kenny-Smith explains. “The never-ending vortex cycle. Some seem to never learn their lesson even when it smacks them right in the face constantly. It’s important to address these issues before disaster strikes and it’s too late. Never give up on your loved ones when they’re in need of a helping hand.”

 Directed, edited and shot by John Angus Stewart, the recently released video for “Eating At You” begins with someone spray-painting “Eating At U” on Kenny-Smith’s orange sweatshirt. We then follow Kenny-Smith getting fucked up with a collection of homies in an abandoned and graffiti covered public bathroom but as the video continues we see the night slide into anarchic chaos and despair. And throughout, there’s something a bit menacing but off-kilter.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays WRY Release a Trippy Visual for Anthemic Yet Intimate “Man In The Mirror”

Since their formation, the Sorocaba, São Paulo, Brazil-based psych rock act WRY — Mario Bross (vocals, guitar), Luciano Marcello (guitar), Ítalo Ribero (drums) and William Leonotti (bass) — have been at the forefront of Brazil’s indie rock scene, releasing six albums that have firmly established their sound that features elements of Brit Pop, shoegaze and post-punk with a distinctly Brazilian vibe.

After a stint living and working in London, the Brazilian psych rockers achieved a growing international profile, which helped lead to several tours across the UK and the European Union, including notable stops on the European festival circuit — in particular, a notable stop at Barcelona’s Primavera Sound.

Along with their recorded output, the band owns a popular club in their native Brazil, which has frequently hosted their internationally acclaimed countrymen and friends Boogarins. 

WRY’s latest album, last year’s brilliant Noites Infinitas thematically touched upon anxiety, despair and unconventional paths towards hope while living in our incredibly fractious and divisive world. And sonically, the album features ambitious and hook-driven arena rock friendly anthems rooted in lived-in experience.

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the past year or so, you might recall that I’ve written about two of the album’s previous singles:

“Travel:” Brit Pop-like single centered around a motorik groove and a rousingly anthemic hook. 
“I feel invisible:” a shimmering New Wave meets shoegaze-like track featuring shimmering guitars fed through reverb and delay pedals that captures a narrator, who’s been oppressed and hemmed in by a society that won’t allow him to live his life in a truthful fashion. 

I also wrote about their career spanning-live streamed set for the (virtual) Febre Festival and a live set at their studio Deaf Haus centered around Noites Infinitas. Of course, the band is still actively promoting the album, and it’s latest single “Man In The Mirror” finds the act subtly expanding upon their sound: the song begins with a brief synth-led into before turning into a New Wave-like take on Brit Pop featuring angular and reverb-drenched guitars, driving four-on-the-floor, a relentlessly driving bass line and a rousingly anthemic hook. But despite its overall bigness, the song thematically focuses on something intimate and familiar to most of us — the sensation of being trapped in your head, in your own home without any distraction or escape. And the entire time, you might not actually like what you see in that proverbial mirror.

The recently released video for “Man In The Mirror” was shot during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in their native Brazil and is split between footage of the band’s frontman Mario Bross running in terror from something unseen throughout most of the video and the band performing the song in a front of trippy backdrops. As the video progresses there’s a trippy and mind-bending twist — that maybe the terror Bross is running from is himself.

New Audio: Possum Releases a Hypnotic Cosmic Jam

Toronto-based psych rock act Possum — Brandon Bak, Tobin Hopwood, Christopher Shannon, Patrick Lefler and Bradley Thibodeau — can trace their origins to their involvement and eventually meeting through their hometown’s psych rock and garage rock scenes. Bonding over a mutual love and appreciation of acts like CAN, Grateful Dead, Fela Kuti and Ty Segall, the act’s full-length debut Space Grade Assembly found the act crafting a hypnotic sound that fused elements of garage rock, krautrock, psych rock and ethio-jazz centered around expansive arrangements full of shifting time signature changes.

The Toronto-based psych quartet’s self-produced sophomore album Lunar Gardens is slated for a July 2, 2021 release through Ideé Fixe Records, and the album reportedly finds the band crafting material that meshes elements of jazz, komische/krautrock, funk and psych rock while pushing their songwriting into new, unchartered territory for them. Thematically, the album touches upon telepathy, ESP, thought transference, Ley line riding and the like; it’s a a psychic exploration of the collective cortex, the capture of cosmic energy and the alignment of astral flux. Trippy shit, indeed.

“While Space Grade Assembly dealt more with space in a cold literal sense, Lunar Gardens’ approach is more ‘space as metaphor for consciousness in all of its infinite expanding fractal forms’, a surrealist escapist space fantasy of impossible spaces — the type of place you might go when the things are too heavy here in 3D,” the Toronto-based quintet says of the differences between their debut and forthcoming sophomore album. “If we were talking movies, one might say Space Grade Assembly is 2001: A Space Odyssey and Lunar Gardens is The Holy Mountain.”

Last month, I wrote about album single “Gala at the Universe City,” a languorous and slow-burning song that brought  Zappa and The Mothers of Invention and CAN to mind but centered a slithering and musty funkiness. Interestingly, the album’s second single, album opening “Clarified Budder” acts as a bridge between their debut and sophomore albums’ beginning with a languorous intro, the song explodes out of the gate, featuring rapid-fire drumming, a hypnotic motorik groove, wah-wah pedaled guitars and punchily delivered vocals. The end result is a song that evokes the feeling of floating away from your surroundings.