Tag: psych rock

New Video: Peel Dream Magazine Releases a Trippy Anachronistic Bit of Dreamy Psych

Joe Stevens is a New York-based singer/songwriter and musician and the creative mastermind behind the acclaimed psych rock project Peel Dream Magazine. Deriving its name from the legendary BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel, one of England’s preeminent tastemakers, the band’s name is meant to evoke a certain strain of independent music. “I wanted to create an outlet for subcultural wanderers. Something you can subscribe to,” Stevens explains. 

Earlier this year, the New York-based psych pop act released their critically applauded sophomore album Agitprop Alterna, an album which draws from a wide set of post-punk, shoegaze and indie pop influences while possessing a self-assured and unique sound. Building upon the attention and momentum they’ve earned earlier this year, Peel Dream Magazine recently released the Moral Panics EP, a companion effort that features previously unreleased songs from the Agitprop Alterna sessions. Far from outtakes, the EP’s material are songs that can stand on their own — while functioning as a sort of corollary to their sophomore effort. 

The EP’s title is derived from Stanley Cohen’s Folk Devils and Moral Panics, a pivotal study of the media treatment of the mod movement and the political, societal and cultural fault lines that the media panic embodied. Unsurprisingly, the EP’s material continues Stevens’  and Peel Dream Magazine’s investigations into those frought and areas where art, culture and commerce meet. 

“Verfremdungseffekt,” Moral Panics’ latest single is a fuzzy, half-remembered dream centered around layers of arpeggiated and droning keys, a chugging bass line, shimmering, atmospheric guitars and ethereal vocals — with the end result being a mod-like take on psych rock that superficially sounds as though it could have been released in 1965, 1995, 2015 or — well, yesterday. 

Centered around footage of Stevens and Company performing at Chicago’sSleeping Village and Ottawa’s Cinqhole just before the COVID-19 pandemic, and the video is an eerie reminder of the things we all miss and can’t have right now — shows, bars, hanging out and bullshitting with friends. 

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New Video: JOVM Mainstays Mayflower Madame Release a Gorgeous and Trippy Visual for Menacing “Sacred Core”

Mayflower Madame — Trond Fagernes (vocals, guitar, bass), Havard Haga (guitar) and Ola J. Kyrkjeeide (drums) — is a rising Oslo Norway-based psych rock/post-punk act that can trace its origins back to 2011. The band’s hazy and smoky sound was conceived in and inspired by the band’s gritty surroundings: their first rehearsal space was a desolate, industrial building, which they shared with a local carwash company. After their formation, they quickly recorded a four-track demo. which led to the band being named “Unsigned Band of the Week” on one of Norway’s biggest radio stations. 

Shortly after their four-track demo, the band then spent the next few years touring and playing shows across Scandinavia, carefully honing their sound along the way. The band’s full-length debut, 2016’s eight track Observed in a Dream was brooding and icy psych rock with a dark romanticism. Based on the success of their full-length debut, the Oslo-based psych rock band toured across North America and Europe to support the album. The band followed Observed in a Dream with 2018’s Premonition EP,  four songs of apocalyptic love songs. 

Building upon a growing profile. Mayflower Madame supported Premonition EP with more touring, including the European festival circuit with stops in France, Germany, the UK and Eastern Europe. And as a result of the band’s touring schedule, they’ve shared stages with an impressive and growing list of artists including Killing Joke, Moon Duo, Night Beats, Psychic Ills, Froth, The Underground Youth, Crocodiles, Cosmonauts and La Femme. 

Released earlier this year through a collaboration between French label Only Lovers Records, Portland‘s Little Cloud Records and Parisian label Icy Cold Records, Prepared for a Nightmare, the Norwegian psych rock JOVM mainstays’ latest album finds them further developing their unique blend of psych-noir and post punk with elements of shoegaze and noise rock. So far I’ve written about two of the album’s previously released singles — the shoegazer yet menacing “Vultures” and “Swallow” — and while both tracks may bring The Black Angels, My Gold Mask, and Chain of Flowers to mind, they also evoke the dread and despair of our horrible sociopolitical moment. 

“Sacred Core,” Prepared for a Nightmare’s third and latest single continues a run of brooding and menacing psych rock, centered around swirling, shimmering and hypnotic guitars and a propulsive and muscular beat. Unlike its immediate predecessors, which were subtly shoegazer-leaning, “Sacred Core” is even more menacing, recalling The Black Angels’ Directions to See a Ghost while still being atmospheric. “‘Sacred Core’ is a song about getting lost, drifting away and trying to find the way back to your safe haven — guided by swirling, hypnotic guitars and an insistent heavy beat,” the band’s Trond Fagernes says in press notes. 

Continuing their ongoing collaboration with director Astrid Serck, the recently released video for “Sacred Core,” is centered around motion and stillness — and as a result, there’s gorgeous black and white footage of beaches and churches, movement in and around an old house, blinding sunbeams and footage of the band playing shows in Oslo and San Diego. “To me, the song is like an open landscape – it’s grounded, but at the same time moving. I wanted to capture that feeling visually with footage from windmill fields and beaches, where there’s constant movement — like a rhythm, as opposed to the solid ground. A contrast between motion and stillness. Something to hold on to as well as something loose and vibrating,” Astrid Serck says in press notes. 

“The core is what you hold on to. The motion is what you can let go. The sunbeams are blinding you, like a sacred light. The ceiling of a church is another symbol for sanctity. The moon is dancing, in disturbing ways, on the screen. In the video there is also an abandoned house, left with the door open. It´s a metaphor for the feeling of something that is lost, you can go back there, but only the memories are left. In addition there’s live footage of the band filmed from shows in Oslo and San Diego.”

New Audio: RidingEasy Records Releases a Shimmering Psych Rock Anthem from Indianapolis-based Band ICE

Over this site’s 10 year history — 10 years y’all! — Brown Acid, Permanent Records’ and RidingEasy Records’ ongoing collaborative proto-metal and pre-stoner rock compilations from the 1960s and 1970s have become a regularly occurring biannual feature. Each individual edition of the series is based around RidingEasy Records’ founder Daniel Hall’s and Permanent Records co-owner Lance Barresi’s extensive, painstaking research and curation — with Hall and Barresi spending a great deal of time tracking own songs’ creators. The Brown Acid series proves that there’s a massive amount of heavy psych and proto-metal that has managed to be lost to the sands of time, including Indianapolis-based act ICE, who were prominently featured on Brown Acid: The Ninth Trip.

Formed during the late 1960s, the members of the Indianapolis-based quintet — Barry Crawford (vocals, keys) Jim Lee (lead vocals, bass), Mike Saligoe (drums), John Schaffer (lead guitar) and Richard Strange (rhythm guitar, vocals) — grew up in Indianapolis’ West Side. In a relatively short period of time, the members of ICE became one of the first emerging bands from their hometown to tour across the Midwest, playing a set of originals at high schools, college campuses and small clubs. Eventually the band built up enough of a profile regionally that they wound up opening for nationally touring acts like Three Dog Night, SRC,Kenny Rogers & the First Edition, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and others in arenas and theaters.

Back in 1970, Crawford, Lee, Saligoe, Schaffer and Strange recorded 10 songs of original material at Chicago’s 8-Track Studios. But shortly after the sessions, the band split up. Confusingly, two of tracks recorded during those sessions were eventually as a 45 in 1972   — but under a completely different band name, Zukus! That 45 managed to receive regional airplay: the A side of that 45 was “Running High,” which appeared on the aforementioned Brown Acid: The Ninth Trip. While Permanent Records and RidingEasy Records were going through the process to license “Running High,” they discovered that ICE had an entire album of material, recorded on 2 inch tape that had languished for over 40+ years on a shelf somewhere.

RidingEasy Records then converted the analog tape tracks to digital files and then remixed them to preserve the original vocals and instrumentation. Packaging the material as The Ice Age, the material will see the light of day for the first time in 50 years with the album’s release next week. The album is 10 songs of hard-edged rock with enormous, arena rock friendly hooks that may remind some listeners of the Grand Funk Railroad, The Guess Who, The Move and others.

So far I’ve written about two of the album’s previously released singles: the Steppenwolf and The Guess Who-like “Run To Me,”  and the album’s shimmering The Byrds-like “Gypsy.” Interestingly, the album’s third and latest single “Satisfy” strikes me as being a synthesis between the shimmering psych rock of its immediate predecessor, the soaring and propulsive organ work of Iron Butterfly’s “In A Gadda Da Vida” and The Doors with a subtle nod to prog rock paired with enormous hooks. Certainly, in an alternate universe, “Gypsy” and “Satisfy” would be in the classic rock canon. 

New Audio: Indianapolis-based ICE Releases a Shimmering Arena Rock Friendly Single

Over this site’s 10 year history — 10! — Brown Acid, Permanent Records’ and RidingEasy Records‘ ongoing collaborative proto-metal and pre-stoner rock compilations from the 1960s and 1970s have become a regularly occurring biannual feature. Each individual edition of the series is based around RidingEasy Records’ founder Daniel Hall’s and Permanent Records co-owner Lance Barresi’s extensive, painstaking research and curation — with Hall and Barresi spending a great deal of time tracking own songs’ creators. The Brown Acid series proves that there’s a massive amount of heavy psych and proto-metal that has managed to be lost to the sands of time, including Indianapolis-based act ICE, who were prominently featured on Brown Acid: The Ninth Trip.

Formed during the late 1960s, the members of the Indianapolis-based quintet — Barry Crawford (vocals, keys) Jim Lee (lead vocals, bass), Mike Saligoe (drums), John Schaffer (lead guitar) and Richard Strange (rhythm guitar, vocals) — grew up in Indianapolis’ West Side. In a relatively short period of time, the members of ICE became one of the first emerging bands from their hometown to tour across the Midwest, playing a set of originals at high schools, college campuses and small clubs. Eventually the band built up enough of a profile regionally that they wound up opening for nationally touring acts like Three Dog Night, SRC,Kenny Rogers & the First Edition, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and others in arenas and theaters.

Back in 1970, Crawford, Lee, Saligoe, Schaffer and Strange recorded 10 songs of original material at Chicago’s 8-Track Studios. But shortly after the sessions, the band split up. Confusingly, two of tracks recorded during those sessions were eventually as a 45 in 1972   — but under a completely different band name, Zukus! That 45 managed to receive regional airplay: the A side of that 45 was “Running High.” While Permanent Records and RidingEasy Records were going through the process to license “Running High,” they discovered that ICE had an entire album of material, recorded on 2 inch tape that had languished for over 40+ years on a shelf somewhere. 

RidingEasy Records then converted the analog tape tracks to digital files, remixed them to preserve the original vocals and instrumentation. Packaging the material as The Ice Age, the material will see the light of day for the first time in 50 years. The album is 10 songs of hard-edged rock with enormous, arena rock friendly hooks that may remind some listeners of the Grand Funk Railroad, The Guess Who, The Move and others. Now, as you amy recall, earlier this year, I wrote about the album’s explosive first single “Run To Me,” which managed to bring Steppenwolf and The Guess Who to mind.  

The Ice Age’s second and latest single is album opener “Gypsy.” Centered around a chiming and glistening 12 string guitar line, copious amount of cowbell, shimmering organ arpeggios and an enormous yet melodic hook, “Gypsy” manages to sound as though it were indebted to The Byrds — but with a subtly gritty undertone. Throughout the song’s 2:50 or so run time, there’s this gnawing sense that in an alternate universe, that it would be a classic rock radio staple. But alas, fate works in its own way. 

Lammping · Greater Good (side A)

Lammping is an emerging Toronto-based psych rock act featuring multi-instrumentalist Mikhail Galkin and drummer Jay Anderson. The duo’s full-length debut Bad Boys of Comedy is slated for a July 21, 2020 release through Nasoni Records — and the album’s material, which is rooted in power chord-devein riffs and thunderous drumming finds the duo taking a fresh and eclectic approach to psychedelia while eschewing easy categorization: the material draws from Tropicalia, Turkish psych, New York boom-bap hip hop beats and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young-like multi-part harmonies among other things.

Bad Boys of Comedy‘s second and latest single is the noise rock meets shoegazer-like “Greater Good.” Centered around dense layers of fuzzy and distorted power chord-driven riffs, thunderous boom bap beats, layered harmonies and an enormous arena rock friendly hook reminiscent of Foo Fighters, “Greater Good” as the emerging Canadian psych duo explains is an exploration of working class paranoia that feels — and sounds — remarkably accurate.

New Video: Rising London-based Act Tempesst Releases a Brit Pop Take on Psych Rock

Growing up in a musical family, Noosa, Australia-born, London-based twin siblings Toma and Andy Benjamin joined the church band when they were 14. Coincidentally, the church band was where the Banjamins met their future Tempesst bandmates Kane Reynolds and Blake Mispeka. 

The Banjamin Brothers eventually left home and discovered a whole new world of music, ideas and ways of living that weren’t part of their previous purview: after a short stint in the UK, the Banjamins wound up in Williamsburg, where they soaked up the DIY ethos of the  late 2000s Williamsburg scene, while developing their own ideas and starting home recording projects inspired by Joni Mitchell, Al Green, Wings, Electric Light Orchestra and others. 

After a year in Brooklyn, an expiring visa forced the Banjamins to relocate to Hackney, where they hunkered down and got serious about writing and recording material. They recruited Swiss-American Eric Weber (guitar) and reconnected with their fellow Aussies Reynolds and Mispeka. And at that point, the rising London-based indie act Tempesst started. 

Unsurprisingly, the need to practice, write and record in a city like London helped facilitate the creation of their own studio. “We started out with a basic production studio that Tom kept at his house but one of the biggest challenges in London is that you can’t make noise,” the band’s Andy Banjamin recalls. “So we began looking for a rehearsal space and came across this warehouse, which was way bigger than anything we were looking for but got us wondering about what it would actually take to set up a proper studio.” 

Naming the space Pony Studios, the band started to convert the warehouse into multiple studio rooms and practice spaces. Simultaneously, the band started Pony Recordings, which helped changed the way the band had approached their work.  “These days artists are expected to do so much themselves and we have always been slight control freaks anyway,” Andy Banjamin says in press notes. “DIY is part of everything that we do, so that extends to our label, the studio, the videos, all of it and really it’s just how the indie music scene has evolved.” Toma Banjamin adds ““With the studio, we have time to work on all the key things that have become quintessential to our sound but also experiment and add an element of surprise, whether that is a weird synth solo or a key change. It’s those little departures that keep the listener on their toes.”

After releasing a handful of critically applauded, buzz worthy singles and EPs, the Aussie-born, British-based members of Tempesst will be releasing their highly anticipated full-length debut, the Eliot Heinrich co-produced Must Be a Dream. Slated for a September 30, 2020 release through the band’s own Pony Recordings, Tempesst’s full-length debut reportedly finds the band boldly taking a step forward with their songwriting and their sound. Generally leaning towards folk-tinged psychedelia, the album’s material nods at Spiritualized, The Flaming Lips, and The Beach Boys — but with a modern melodic sensibility. 

Sonically, the material is deceptive: complex musical ideas are centered around seemingly simple melodies.  Seemingly sun-kissed, the album thematically explores themes of longing, love, loss, substance abuse, the death of loved ones — and yet remembering the beauty just underneath all of it. “This record is the first time that I feel like I’ve had the uninterrupted ability to create and have full control at our own pace,” Toma Banjamin says in press notes. “With this LP, we’ve created something we’re really proud of that truly cements our identity as a group. The joy of taking these songs live is something that we’re really excited about.”

Must Be A Dream’s first single “On The Run” is a decidedly Brit Pop-take on 60s and 70s psych rock centered around shimmering and reverb drenched guitars, layered vocal harmonies, an enormous hook and Toma Benjamin’s serpentine-like vocals. And while superficially being a sun-kissed, summery anthem, the song is actually much darker, as the song thematically focuses on substance abuse, death and the loss of innocence — that feels haunted by the weight of heartache. “it’s about a close friend who disappeared for a decade and returned as someone completely different, and it’s an ongoing trauma,” Toma Banjamin explains. “When I connected the music to the lyrics to try and finish the song, it felt like it had a rolling rhythm, so the chorus fell into place from there. For me, this song carries a lot more emotional weight.”

Directed by Andrea Banjanin, the recently released video is centered around cinematically shot footage of the band performing the song in a studio space with symbolic imagery placed in quick cuts — and that imagery focuses on the songs overall themes of mortality, loss of innocence and the complications of adult life. 

New Audio: Permanent Records and RidingEasy Records Release a Grimy Ode to Broke Ass Weed Consumption Off Brown Acid: The Tenth Trip

Over this site’s 10 year history — 10! — Brown Acid, Permanent Records’ and RidingEasy Records’ ongoing collaborative proto-metal and pre-stoner rock compilations from the 1960s and 1970s have become a regularly occurring biannual feature. Now, as you may recall, each individual edition of the series is based around RidingEasy Records’ founder Daniel Hall’s and Permanent Records co-owner Lance Barresi’s extensive, painstaking research and curation with Hall and Barresi spending a great deal of time tracking down songs’ creators. Most often, those bands haven’t written, played or recorded together in more than 30 years — but they encourage the bands to take part in the compilation process. “All of (these songs) could’ve been hits given the right circumstances. But for one reason or another most of these songs fell flat and were forgotten,” Lance Barresi explained in press notes for the previous editions of the compilation. “However, time has been kind in my opinion and I think these songs are as good now or better than they ever were.”

Of course, having the original artists participate as much as possible in the compilation process can give the artists and their songs a real second chance at the attention they missed all of those years ago. And for critics and fans, the songs on the Brown Acid compilation series can often fill in the gaps within the larger picture of what was going on in and around both regional and national underground scenes at the time. Unfortunately, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the release of Brown Acid: The Tenth Trip had to be rescheduled to its new release date of June 26, 2020. 

Much like its predecessors, the tenth edition finds the duo of Barresi and Hall digging even deeper into the well of material sadly reduced to obscurity. Earlier this year, I wrote about “Mr. Sun,” a song by a band that was previously featured on Brown Acid: The Third Trip — the Central Texas-based act First State Bank. Led by Randy Nunnally (vocals, guitar), First State Bank only released three singles during their six year history — 1970-1976 — with “Mr. Sun,” being a lysergic, power chord-driven, boogie woogie  synthesis of Jimi Hendrix, Grand Funk Railroad and T. Rex.  

Interestingly, not much is known about The Brood — or their grimy psych blues ode to broke-ass weed consumption “The Roach.” Originally released on the It’s A Lemon imprint, the track is centered around wailing guitar solos, screeching and arpeggiated organ blasts, howled vocals and enormous hook. And yeah, it’ll remind you of a weird little synthesis of the Rolling Stones and Steppenwolf — but with a raw, rock ‘n’ roll dirtiness that’s sorely missed.  

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays All Them Witches Release an Expansive and Trippy New Ripper

After the release of 2018’s critically applauded ATW, the Nashville-based psych rock act and JOVM mainstays All Them Witches went through a massive lineup change that resulted in what may arguably be the most pared down lineup in their history — Charles Michael Parks, Jr (bass, vocals), Ben McLeod (guitar, vocals) and Robby Staebler (drums, vocals). And although bands typically release more restrained and quieter work whenever their operating with a smaller lineup, their self-produced standalone single “1X1”  found the JOVM mainstay employing a muscular, prog rock-like sound, with scorching guitar work, thunderous drumming and enormous arena rock friendly hooks. 

The Nashville-based JOVM mainstays forthcoming album, the eight song Nothing as the Ideal is slated for a September 4, 2020 release through their longtime label home New West Records. Co-produced by the band and Mikey Allred, who produced their New West debut Dying Surfer Meets His Maker, Nothing as the Ideal was recorded at Abbey Road Studio’s Studio Two — and the album’s material not only serves as the first batch of original material written and recorded as a trio, it’s also reportedly among the most experimental and heaviest they’ve written to date. The material features tape loops, unplugged minimalist sections while retaining their long-held reputation for pummeling, heavy hitting headbangers.  

Nothing as the Ideal’s first single is  “Saturnine & Iron Jaw.”Clocking in at a little under seven minutes, the expansive track and constantly shifting track begins with a slow-burning and atmospheric introduction before quickly morphing into a track that’s one Queens of the Stone Age-like stoner rock, one part Soundgarden-like grunge and one part The Mars Volta-like prog rock centered around massive, arena rock friendly power chords, thunderous drumming and brooding atmospherics. The band’s Ben McLeod told Consequence of Sound, “We very specifically wanted to lead with this track. I think it’s the most well-rounded track on the record; it’s constantly changing, it has a lot of different vibes to it.” Giving a hint at what to expect with the rest of Nothing as the Ideal, he adds, “Obviously there are way heavier songs on the record,” but “‘Saturnine & Iron Jaw’ should let fans know All Them Witches are still very much rooted in psychedelic and bluesy rock.”

The Mighty Orchid King · Swirling

Throughout its history, the St. Albans, UK-based psych rock collective The Mighty Orchid King — currently, Jonny Bennett (vocals, drums), co-found er Martin van Herdeer (12 string guitar), Matt Snowden (guitar), Marcelo Cervone (bass, sax) and Will Stephen, a.k.a June Logue (synths and production) — have been in a constant flux since its founding, with 20 members rotating in and out of its sphere at nay given time. And as a result, the project has simultaneously been a 60s psych rock jam inspired collective and a bedroom project focused on polyrhythmic exploration.

The band’s forthcoming full-length debut The Doctrine of Infinite Kindness was recorded at June Logue’s home studio, DIY bedroom vocal booths and Tom Hill’s London-based Bookhouse Studio — and the album reportedly finds the act weaving the various aspects of the band’s complex history together: the album’s more jam inspired material drift and sharpe into more meticulously developed solo work. Thematically, the album thematically concerns itself with eco-anxiety with the album’s lyrics at points being like Kerouac-inspired spontaneous prose with direct protest songs about the destruction of Earth. While sonically, the album sees the band drawing from 60s psych rock, samba, jazz and house music with arrangements that feature fuzzy guitars and synths.

“Swirling,” the first single off The Doctrine of Infinite Kindness‘ first single is an an expansive and decidedly 60s psych rock inspired track centered around fuzzy power chords and enormous harmony driven hooks. Sonically, the song brings San Francisco‘s  Cool Ghouls to mind — while bristling with an infectious energy of a bunch of friends jamming and creating something cool. But at its core is a desire to escape one’s current circumstances and the world itself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Suicide Squeeze Records · Death Valley Girls – Breakthrough

Throughout the bulk of this site’s ten year history, I’ve spilled copious amounts of virtual ink writing about the Los Angeles-based garage rock/psych rock act Death Valley Girls — founding duo Larry Schemel (guitar) and Bonnie Bloomgarden (vocals, guitar) 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 trace their origins back well over a decade ago, when they were formed by Schemel, Bloomgarden, Rachel Orosco (bass) and Hole‘s Patty Schemel (drums). Although they’ve gone through a series of lineup changes throughout their history, the JOVM’s sound and aesthetic for much of their history was influenced by The Manson Family and B movie theatrics while thematically focusing on the occult.

Slated for a June 12, 2020 release through their longtime home, Suicide Squeeze Records, the band’s two-song seven-inch EP Breakthrough finds the JOVM mainstays covering two songs that have a deep and profound connection to the band — both in their spirit and aural alignment: The EP’s first single is a cover of Atomic Rooster‘s “Breakthrough,” a song discovered through an even more obscure cover by Nigerian act The Funkees.  Centered around grimy power chords, fire-and-brimstone organ chords and an in-your-face, combative chorus, the Death Valley Girls cover, leans more towards The Funkees’ cover and although all three versions manage to hew closely to their long-held aesthetic, the song also manages to be remarkably contemporary, as it evokes an age-old desire to be free from all kinds of prisons, both real and mental.

The band was drawn to something far deeper than its melody and sound. “It spoke to me because of the lyrics about breaking free from an invisible prison… we all have invisible or visible prisons we are trapped in,” the band’s Bonnie Bloomgarden explains in press notes. Interestingly, the song’s discovery coincided with the band’s interest in The West Memphis Three’s Damien Echols and his ability to endure his lengthy imprisonment by learning to astral project through meditation.