Tag: psych rock

New Audio: Toronto Psych Rockers Possum Release a Languorous and Funky Single

Slated for a July 2, 2021 release through Ideé Fixe Records, Lunar Gardens, the Toronto-based psych rock act Possum’s self-produced, sophomore album reportedly finds the quintet — Brandon Bak, Tobin Hopwood, Patrick Lefler, Christopher Shannon and Bradley Thibodeau — intently pushing their sound into new directions, while exploring the intersection of influence and intuition.

Sonically, Lunar Gardens reportedly finds the band veering into uncharted realms — with the band crafting material that meshes elements of jazz, komishe, funk and psych. And thematically, the album touches upon telepathy, though transference, Ley line riding; it’s 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.”

The album’s first single “Gala at the Universe City” is a slow-burning and languorous song featuring wah-wah pedaled guitar, a steady motorik-like groove and Rhodes stabs, harmonic and funky bass lines weaved around lyrics that tell a tale about universal meeting of the minds. To my ears, the song reminds me a bit of Zappa and The Mothers of Invention covering Can with a slithering, musty funkiness.

Live Footage: The Black Angels Perform “Young Men Dead” at LEVITATION Festival

Levitation Festival (formerly known as Austin Psych Fest) can trace its beginnings to a simple idea devised by the members of  The Black Angels in the back of a tour van 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. Austin Psych Fest quickly became an international destination for psych rock fans with lineups featuring up-and-comers, cult favorites, legendary and influential acts and a headlining set from The Black Angels. Renamed Levitation in honor of Austin psych rock pioneers The 13th Floor Elevators, the festival has sparked an new, international psych rock movement while inspiring the creation of several 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.

Late 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.

Live at LEVITATION‘s second album The Black Angels — Live at LEVITATION features 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. “Since the beginning The Black Angels were meant to be heard live,” the band’s Christian Bland explains in press notes. “This record captures the rumble of the drums and amps, and the very essence of the way it should sound. Now future generations and new listeners can now hear how these songs were meant to be heard.”

The album’s first single was a hypnotic and equally menacing version of Passover single “Manipulation” that featured a mesmerizing guest spot from Elephant Stone‘s bassist, sitarist and frontman Rishi Dihr. And building up more buzz for the album’s release day — which is tomorrow — the band released the live album’s second and latest single, a muscular and menacing version of Passover single “Young Men Dead.” The accompanying live footage captures the band and their live sound with an uncanny fidelity.

This weekend is a big weekend for the band: As I mentioned their live album, Black Angels — Live at LEVITATION is slated for a digital and vinyl release tomorrow. And if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past year, you’d recall that The Black Angels and MIEN frontman Alex Mass released his solo debut, a meditative and gentler take on the psych rock sound he’s developed throughout his nearly two decade career, inspired by the birth of his son Luca.

Much like countless other artists across the globe, the pandemic has put touring on hold indefinitely. So, Maas and his backing band — Bryan Richie, Jake Garcia and Rob Kidd — decamped to nearby Bastrop, TX to bring the live show that they had developed around the album’s material to the world through a live performance film, shot in the Texan city’s historic downtown.  “We shot this down in an old opera house built in 1889 and a 100 year old German tailor mercantile building in historic downtown, which is now Astro Records,” Maas says in press notes. “This session is a glimpse of what a tour on Luca would look like had we not been in a pandemic. It was a joy to get out and get back with the friends and collaborators I created this album with, and bring these songs to life. For now this is the world tour, and a look at what we’re looking forward to being able to do on stage when we are back up and rolling! Thank you to Jonas Wilson of Mr. Pink Records who asked me originally to film this in the beautiful city of Bastrop.” 

Featuring sections from Luca and three new songs, the live session shot in Bastrop, TX will stream as a Levitation Session on March 27, 2021 at 7:00PM Central.

Stockholm-based psych act Phogg released their full-length debut Slices to critical praise across Scandinavia and elsewhere — with critics comparing their sound to the likes of to Ariel Pink and Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Building upon a growing profile, the band released their highly-anticipated sophomore album Mofeto: Mashine Adamkosh, an album about “robots that take over the world,” in 2019.

If you were alive and coherent, last year may have been among the most difficult you’ve experienced in recent memory — and much like everyone else, 2020 was difficult for the members of the acclaimed Stockholm psych rock act: Riding high from the critical reception of their sophomore album, the band began the ambitious challenge of workin on two different albums simultaneously with the goal of working on each in parallel — and then releasing them at the same time. Attempting to record two albums at the same time wound up being a terrible decision, with the band experiencing extreme burn-out and fatigue.

During that period, the members of the band went through a deep existential crisis, which resulted in the band having deep-seated philosophical questions. “What does it really mean to be a rock band these days? Does anything matter?” The band writes in a statement. “The legendary days of rock have faded into the ruthless fart of the pandemic era. It’s not fun to make songs about the end times when you are in the middle of it.”

Phogg’s third album, The Sharkness is slated for an April 16, 2021 release through Ouyee Bayou Records, and the album’s material is influenced by the harrowing events and emotions of the pandemic, the band’s existential crises and heartbreak — most of the band’s members have had long-term relationships split up during the same time, as well.

Last year, I wrote about “Corme (Rental Palace),” a meditative instrumental jam with surf rock accents, centered around shimmering guitars, atmospheric and twinkling key and a propulsive rhythm section before turning into a breakneck gallop around the song’s second half. While being one of the few instrumental tracks in their growing catalog, it may be among the most brooding yet heartfelt. The Sharkness‘ fourth and latest single, album title track “Sharkness” is a trippy and deceptively upbeat song featuring looping and shimmering synth arpeggios, a propulsive, motorik-like groove and a guest spot from vocalist Indrielle, who contributes her ethereal vocals.

But as the band explains in press notes, the overall vibe of the song is much darker: “’Sharkness’, the title track of our new album, came to be while recording the album. ‘Sharkness’ means to hold a kind of self-destructive self-preservation drive. To navigate through difficulties and hardships. To push down instincts of worries and prance forward in life. This is to hold Sharkness.”

New Video: Follow Montreal’s Les Deuxluxes on a Campy “Star Trek” Inspired Romp Through the Galaxy

With the release of their critically applauded mini-album, 2014’s Traitement Deuxluxe, the Montreal-based psych rock duo Les Deuxluxes — vocalist and guitarist Anna Frances Meyer and multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Etienne Barry — exploded across their native Quebec. Building upon a rapidly growing profile across the province, the duo released their critically applauded full-length debut, 2016’s Springtime Devil.

After Springtime Devil, the Montreal-based duo released a batch of attention grabbing singles, including a French translation of album title track “Springtime Devil,” “Diable du pringtemps.” Adding to a rapidly growing profile, the band played sets at Montreal Jazz Fest, Festival d’ete de Quebec, POP Montreal and M for Montreal — and they’ve opened for the likes of Lisa LeBlanc, Marjo, and Jon Spencer. They ended 2016 with a mini-tour of South America that included stops in Santiago, Chile; Valdivia, Chile; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and São Paulo, Brazil.

The duo isolated themselves in a 19th century church in the remote Quebec countryside, where the duo wrote and recorded last year’s sophomore album Lighter Fluid to tape. Released through Bonsound Records, the album’s material is centered around old school, power chord riffage and classic psych rock vibes. Now, if you were frequenting this site throughout the course of last year, you may recall that I wrote about the swaggering AC/DC-like album title track and pure ripper, “Lighter Fluid.”

Interestingly, Lighter Fluid’s latest single “Vacances Everest” climbed to the top of Influence Franco’s charts as a result of airplay on SiriusXM — and the track eventually found its way into rotation on CBC Radio 3. The track’s success shouldn’t be surprising: it’s a no bullshit, no filler, boogie woogie 12 bar blues ripper, centered around some Chuck Berry meets AC/DC like riffs, a thumping backbeat and Anna Francis Meyer’s sultry and self-assured crooning. But underneath the song’s bluesy stomp, the song lyrically is about the perseverance to overcome life’s obstacles and the idea of giving it all, even when you feel low.

Directed by frequent visual collaborator Ariel Poupart with artistic direction from Matthieu Turcotte, the recently released video stars Les Deuxluxes as a pair of intrepid space travelers who go on a campily retro-futuristic romp through the galaxy. Spaceships hurtling through the cosmos? Check. Shimmery space jumpsuits? Check. Laser guns? Check. Otherworldly landscapes? Check. Fights with weird humanoid creatures, who probably didn’t want to be bothered by humans? Check.

Visually, the video lovingly pays tribute to old Star Trek episodes, Jane Fonda’s Barbarella and Zsa Zsa Gabor’s Queen of Outer Space among other things. “With Mathieu Turcotte, the video’s artistic director, we were inspired by iconic landscapes from Star Trek to come up with our own interpretation and blur the lines between the future and the past,” Les Deuxluxes say in press notes. “All the components in the video were created with recycled materials; from the scale model spacecraft to the 100% vintage outfits and the liquid light backdrops recreating the cosmos. Even in space, nothing is lost, everything is transformed!”

New Video: JOVM Mainstays TEKE: TEKE Releases a Trippy Fever Dream

Featuring a collection of accomplished, Montreal-based musicians, who have played with and alongside the likes of Pawa Up First, Patrick Wilson, Boogat, Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra and others, the rising Montreal-based Japanese psych punk septet TEKE: TEKE – Yuki Isami (flute, shinobue and keys), Hidetaka Yoneyama (guitar), Sergio Nakauchi Pelletier (guitar), Mishka Stein (bass), Etienne Lebel (trombone), Ian Lettree (drums, percussion) and Maya Kuroki (vocals, keys and percussion) — was initially founded as a loving homage (and tribute) to legendary Japanese guitarist Takeshi “Terry” Terauchi.

With the release of their debut EP 2018’s Jikaku, the rising Montreal-based septet came into their own highly unique and difficult to pigeonhole sound, a sound that features elements of Japanese Eleki surf rock, shoegaze, post-punk, psych rock, ska, Latin music and Balkan music. 2020 was a big year for the Canadian psych act. They signed to Kill Rock Stars Records, who will be releasing the band’s highly-awaited full-length debut Shirushi. The band also released two singles off the album, which is slated for a May 7, 2021 release:

“Kala Kala:” Deriving its title from a phrase that roughly translates to English as clattering, “Kala Kala” is centered around a mind-melting arrangement and song structure, Kuroki’s howling and crooning. And to my ears, the track accurately captures the band’s frenetic live energy.
“Chidori,” a cinematic yet mosh pit friendly freak out that’s one part psych rock, one part Dick Dale-like surf rock, one part Ennio Morricone soundtrack delivered with a frenetic aplomb.
“Meikyu:” Deriving its title from the Japanese word for labyrinth, the track is a no bullshit, no filler all killer ripper with menacing guitar work, dramatic bursts of trombone, fluttering flute, thumping tribal drumming and some wild soloing within an expansive, mind-melting song structure.

Shirushi’s fourth and latest single “Yoru Ni” derives its name from the Japanese phrase for “at night” and the track is a Dick Dale-inspired fever dream centered around dreamy blasts of flute and trombone, menacing, slashing guitars and intricate Japanese shamisen within a cinematic and expansive song structure. Adding to a fever dream-like vibes, the band’s Maya Kuroki breathily singing and howling lyrics in French and Japanese respectively. Sonically, “Yoru Ni” further establishes their mischievous and unique sound — a sound that’s one part Quentin Tarantino soundtracks, circa Kill Bill, Ennio Morricone and spy movies. However, despite what the song sounds like, the lyrics tell a much different story, with the song being a somewhat romantic and spiritual tale about its central character letting go of a long-held, delusional quest.

It probably shouldn’t be surprising that a trippy fever dream of a song “was literally written in the middle of the night,” the band’s Serge Nakauchi-Pelletier explains in press notes. ‘’I woke up suddenly and had this melody in my head, as if it had come to me from another world. It really felt like I was following some kind of spirit or ghost, it was taking my hand and wanted to take me somewhere.”

The recently released and cinematically shot video features the members of the band as spectral apparitions appearing in a typically suburban house — at night.

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays Boogarins Teams Up with Erika Wennerstrom

Acclaimed Goiânia, Brazil-based psych rock and JOVM mainstays Boogarins — Benke Ferraz (guitar, production), Fernando “Dinho” Almeida (guitar, vocals), Raphael Vaz (bass, synths, vocals) and Ynaiã Benthroldo (drums) formed back in 2013. And up until last year, the members of the psych rock quartet have brought their uniquely Brazilian take on psych rock on non-stop tours to clubs and clubs across the globe.

With touring and live music on hold as a result of pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns, the members of the JOVM have spent the past year hosting live streams, commissioned remixes of their work, collaborating with other artists across the globe — and revisiting their past work. The band’s forthcoming release, Manchaca Vol. 2 (A Compilation of Boogarins Memories,Dreams, Demos and Outtakes from Austin, TX) is the second of a series of archival releases that focuses on the JOVM mainstays’ approach to improvisational-based songwriting and studio collaborations. The album combines songs, demos and sketches written and recorded during the Lá Vem a Morte and Sombrou Dúvida sessions in Austin between 2016-2017 — with some 2017 Sombrou Dúvida pre-production/rehearsal sessions held in São Paulo’s Fábrica de Sonhos Studios.

Manchaca Vol. 2 (A Compilation of Boogarins Memories,Dreams, Demos and Outtakes from Austin, TX)’s latest single, the slow-burning, lullaby-like “Far and Safe” is an English language version of Sombrou Dùvida track “Te quero longe.” The album closing track is centered around their love of collaboration with different artists: John Schmersal reformulated the English lyrics — and Heartless Bastards’ Erika Wennerstrom contributes her imitable vocals. And although the song features English lyrics, it retains the original’s longing for peace and safety, and its gorgeous melody.

Live Footage: The Black Angels’ Alex Maas Releases a Teaser of His Upcoming LEVITATION Session

Alex Maas is an Austin, TX-based singer/songwriter, best known for being the frontman and founding member of acclaimed Austin-based psych rock act The Black Angels and psych rock supergroup MIEN. In 2018, Maas’ life changed with the birth of his first child, a healthy and happy baby boy that he and his partner named Luca, which means bringer of life.

With his son’s birth, Maas experienced a complex flurry of emotions he hadn’t experienced or known before. Of course, he felt profound joy and awe over the creation of a new life — but there was to some lesser degree a deeply gnawing fear: What sort of world was his son going to grow up into and inhabit, exactly? How could Maas protect him its dangers and uncertainties? “The world is definitely messed up,” Maas says in press notes. “But there’s a lot of good in it too, and that’s why the whole world isn’t on fire—parts of it are. I do believe that there’s more good than evil.”

Deriving its name from the name of his first-born son, Maas’ Brett Orrison co-produced, full-length album Luca was released late last year through Innovative Leisure. Although, the album found Maas’ stepping out into the spotlight as a solo artist in his own right, the album’s material was a actually a long time coming, with some of its material dating back almost a decade — and painstakingly put together piece-by-piece over the past couple of years. While still rooted in the psych rock sound that helped win him fans and accolades across the global psych rock scene as a member of The Black Angels and MIEN, Luca’s material offers a much gentler, mediative take, showcasing what Maas says is “a whole different part of my brain.”

Inspired by the enormous skies and quiet, nature-filled expanses of his home state, the album finds Maas contemplating his son’s future in the terrifying and uncertain world, which he was born in and how he may attempt to navigate the perils, disappointments and frustrations of our world and our society. Unsurprisingly, it makes Luca the most personal and direct material, Maas has written and recorded in his nearly two decade recording career.

Last year, I wrote about two of Luca’s album singles:

“The City,” a woozy and intimate campfire-like song with a hauntingly sparse arrangement that reckons with the larger and brutal, historical cycle of human cruelty and violence. The song evokes despair, heartache and horror over the senselessness, stupidity and cruelty of our infighting and behavior towards each other,. “The enemy is always just outside the door and the enemy could be anything,” Maas explains.
“Been Struggling,” a dreamy and shuffling waltz that brings both classic Nashville and Scott Walker to mind, centered around a meditation on memory, fate and loss from the prospective of narrator who has seemingly lived a full and very messy life.

Much like countless other artists across the globe, the pandemic has put touring on hold indefinitely. So, Maas and his backing band — Bryan Richie, Jake Garcia and Rob Kidd — decamped to nearby Bastrop, TX to bring the live show that they had developed around the album’s material to the world through a live performance film, shot in the Texan city’s historic downtown. “We shot this down in an old opera house built in 1889 and a 100 year old German tailor mercantile building in historic downtown, which is now Astro Records,” Maas says in press notes. “This session is a glimpse of what a tour on Luca would look like had we not been in a pandemic. It was a joy to get out and get back with the friends and collaborators I created this album with, and bring these songs to life. For now this is the world tour, and a look at what we’re looking forward to being able to do on stage when we are back up and rolling! Thank you to Jonas Wilson of Mr. Pink Records who asked me originally to film this in the beautiful city of Bastrop.”

Featuring sections from Luca and three new songs, the live session shot in Bastrop, TX will stream as a Levitation Session on March 27, 2021 at 7:00PM Central. To celebrate the upcoming release of the live session and to build up some buzz for it, Levitation and Maas released a sneak peek of the session, “Too Much Hate,” a new song, played in a live setting. Centered around a spectral arrangement of reverb-drenched guitars, driving and tribal-like toms, shimmering keys and Maas’ intimate vocals, “Too Much Hate” is an incisive and thoughtful criticism of the ills of our world: from how we treat each other, how we raised our babies and our penchant for rash and impulsive decisions — without consideration of their long-term effect on ourselves and others. Indeed, there’s too much hate in our world and not enough listening and thinking.

“I tried to touch on a few things on this song that would attempt to identify things that make the world more beautiful,” Maas says of the new single. “I’ve been trying to give solutions and not just speak about the cancer that is eating our culture. Some problems of society are rooted in how we raise our children, how we treat each other and quick uninformed decisions when people shoot from the hip as opposed to sitting back and thinking rationally about how to act instead of reacting.”

You can purchase tickets to the livestream. But along with that you can grab an audio download of the session, plus limited edition cassettes and t-shirts with artwork by Real Fun Wow, available exclusively as part the stream. And you can also purchase a package that includes all of the above, with a limited edition vinyl pressing LP, signed by Maas and his backing band. Purchase link and information can be found here: https://levitation-austin.com/products/alex-maas-stream-ticket

Levitation Sessions Presents Alex Maas will be releasing through all digital retailers on April 9, 2021 and on vinyl early this summer.

Throwback: Black History Month: Sly and The Family Stone

Today is February 20, 2021. It’s the 20th day of Black History Month. And as I’ve mentioned throughout this series, I’ve been featuring Black artists across a wide and eclectic array of genres and styles — with the hopes that it’ll be a bit of a primer on the Black experience and on Black music.

Of course, I hope that these posts will serve as a reminder of these very important facts:

Black culture is American culture — and Black music is American music.
America’s greatest and beloved contributions to the world are Black music styles — the blues, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll and hip-hop.
Black art matters.
Black lives matter — all of them, all of the time.

After coming across an Instagram post that mentioned Woodstock, I immediately thought of the 1970 documentary film on the legendary three-day music festival, appropriately named after the festival. Out of many highlights, my mind’s eye turned to Sly and The Family Stone, whose performance in the film is electrifying — and electrifying in a way that brings Otis Redding at Monterrey Pop Festival and James Brown on T.A.M.I. Show to mind.

The live footage above should remind you of a few things:

Sly and The Family Stone are a vision of the future: the band featured men and women, Black people and white people and anyone else, who could sing and play — having fun and just accepting everyone else for being themselves. We should be working towards that world right now!
There was maybe a 5-7 year period where Sly and The Family Stone may have been one of the best bands in the entire world.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard Release a Heady Ripper

Formed back in 2010, the acclaimed, genre-defying Aussie psych rock and JOVM mainstays King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard — Stu Mackenzie (vocals/guitar), Ambrose Kenny-Smith (harmonica/vocals/keyboards), Cook Craig (guitar/vocals), Joey Walker (guitar/vocals), Lucas Skinner (bass) and Michael Cavanagh (drums) – have a long-held reputation for being a wildly prolific and restlessly experimental act that has released across a wide array of genres and styles including psych rock, heavy metal, thrash metal, thrash punk, prog rock and even Turkish pop.

Last year’s K.G. was the Aussie JOVM mainstays 16th album. Written and recorded remotely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the album’s songs were pieced together and given space to breathe, which resulted in the music being freer than any of their predecessors. Interestingly, K.G.‘s material can trace some of its origins back to the band’s acclaimed 2017 effort Flying Microtonal Banana, the first of five albums released that year. FMB was written and recorded using a Turkish-inspired microtonal scale that required quarter tone tunings — and custom made instruments for the occasion. Featuring live favorites like “Rattlesnake,” “Sleep Drifter,” “Nuclear Fusion” and “Billabong Valley,” Flying Microtonal Banana managed to reveal a band that was willing to paint from a palette that extended past the prototypical Western musical sounds and tones.

“FMB was one of the purest and most enjoyable recording experiences we’ve had, and the ideas just kept coming” King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s Stu Mackenzie said in press notes. ” “But we didn’t think we would play it live as the music dictated a new medium that requires different instruments, new flight cases and so. It was a liberating studio-based experiment which surprisingly translated seamlessly and spawned some of favourite songs to play live.” Last year’s K.G. found the Aussie JOVM mainstays returning to the microtonal scales and tunings of Flying Microtonal Banana, cherry picking the best aspects of their previously released work and then contorting them into completely new shapes with non-Western scales.

Continuing upon their long-held reputation for being restlessly prolific, the acclaimed Aussie JOVM mainstays’ 17th album L.W. is simultaneously the very direct, highly-anticipated follow-up to last year’s K.G. and the third volume of the band’s explorations into microtonal tunings. The band has woven narratives across both releases: L.W. ends with the same track that opens K.G (K.G.L.W. after all).

Last month, I wrote about L.W. single “O.N.E.,” a feverish yet coherent synthesis of Flying Microtonal Banana and Infest the Rats Nest that begins with a dreamy lullaby-like introduction before morphing into a muscular strut featuring shimmering, sitar-like microtonal guitar, propulsive polyrhythm, glistening organ arpeggios and a blazing guitar solo. L.W.’s latest single Pleura is a labyrinthine and trippy bit of microtonal shredding, rolling polyrhythm, fluttering flute and howled vocals within a dense mix that reveals surprises and hidden layers upon repeated listens.

Directed by John Angus Stewart, who helmed the band’s 2020 concert film Chunky Shrapnel, the recently released video for “Pleura” is a live performance filmed at the band’s studio. Split into a Brady Bunch-styled split screen with a separate window for each band member, the video is an innate and raw document of live music that purposefully doesn’t rely on editing.

“I think a true document of live music shouldn’t rely entirely on editing,” Stewart says. “There is something that happens with the way we perceive images, if something “live” is too produced, your mind sort of loses interest. With this format, we wanted to leave the editing up to the viewer. The decision of who to look at, and at what time determines each individual viewing experience. With each watch your experience will be completely different, which mirrors Gizzard’s experience playing the song live. The process is the same, yet the result is different.”

New Video: Montreal’s TEKE: TEKE Releases a Frenzied Balls-to-the-Wall Ripper

Featuring a collection of accomplished, Montreal-based musicians, who have played with and alongside the likes of Pawa Up First, Patrick Wilson, Boogat, Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra and others, the rising Montreal-based Japanese psych punk septet TEKE: TEKE – Yuki Isami (flute, shinobue and keys), Hidetaka Yoneyama (guitar), Sergio Nakauchi Pelletier (guitar), Mishka Stein (bass), Etienne Lebel (trombone), Ian Lettree (drums, percussion) and Maya Kuroki (vocals, keys and percussion) — was initially founded as a loving homage (and tribute) to legendary Japanese guitarist Takeshi “Terry” Terauchi.

With the release of their debut EP 2018’s Jikaku, the rising Montreal-based septet came into their own highly unique and difficult to pigeonhole sound, a sound that features elements of Japanese Eleki surf rock, shoegaze, post-punk, psych rock, ska, Latin music and Balkan music. 2020 was a big year for the Canadian psych act. They signed to Kill Rock Stars Records, who will be releasing the band’s highly-awaited full-length debut Shirushi. The band also released two singles off the album, which is slated for a May 7, 2021 release:

“Kala Kala:” Deriving its title from a phrase that roughly translates to English as clattering, “Kala Kala” is centered around a mind-melting arrangement and song structure, Kuroki’s howling and crooning. And to my ears, the track accurately captures the band’s frenetic live energy.
“Chidori,” a cinematic yet mosh pit friendly freak out that’s one part psych rock, one part Dick Dale-like surf rock, one part Ennio Morricone soundtrack delivered with a frenetic aplomb.

“Meikyu,” Shirushi’s third and latest single, derives its title from the Japanese word for labyrinth and the song is a, no bullshit, no filler, all killer headbang centered around an expansive, mind-melting song structure that features some muscular and menacing guitar work, dramatic bursts of trombone, fluttering flute, trumping tribal drumming, and some of the wildest soloing I’ve heard in the better part of a year. Maya Kuroki’s crooning and feral howling add to the song’s balls-to-the-wall, maximalist frenzy — and it kicks major ass.

Fittingly, the Montreal-based act released a DIY yet cinematically shot video that features live footage of the band performing individually — perhaps as a result of pandemic restrictions — and gorgeous animations from the band’s Serge Nakauchi-Pelletier and Maya Kuroki. “When plans with a hired animator fell through, Maya and I decided to take things into our own hands,” Nakauchi-Pelletier says. Kuroki adds, “I’ll make some drawings or paintings and then use whatever tools we have, learn new software on the spot and ways of working as we go.’’

“Musically, we wanted a fast-paced repetitive pattern that would have a hypnotic and unnerving effect,” the band explains. Kuroki continues, “the song tells the story of a young character trying to escape the grasp of a twisted spirit that took the form of a labyrinthe-like mansion in a psychedelic atmosphere, slightly inspired by visuals from Japanese art-horror flick Hausu.”