Tag: The Doors

New Video: The Breezy and Summery Visuals and Sounds of Wooden Shjjips’ Road Trip Anthem “Already Gone”

Over the past couple of months, I’ve written a bit about the renowned San Francisco, CA-based psych rockers Wooden Shjips, and as you may recall, although the act is currently comprised of founding member and primary songwriter Ripley Johnson (guitar, vocals), Dusty Jermier (trumpet, bass), Omar Ahsanuddin (drums) and Nash Whalen (organ), the band can trace their origins back to 2003 when Johnson started the band with the intention of finding a group of non-musicians and creating music with them, centered by the underlying idea that untrained musicians would have a different outlook on what music is and how it’s played, essentially bringing something fresh to to the table in a fashion reminiscent of the garage rockers of the early 60s, the  Velvet Underground and 70s punk rockers did. As the story goes, Dusty Jermier, one of the longest tenured members of the band was originally recruited to play saxophone, an instrument he had never picked up before while members of earlier iterations of the band frequently had such a lack of interest in playing live for anyone that the band didn’t bother looking for gigs. 
Eventually, the band settled to its current lineup but with different intentions. Johnson, who’s a fan of largely impenetrable albums and arcane, small-press poetry books was fascinated by the idea of books that went unread or became largely out of favor and/or of print that were rediscovered by collectors or some bored critic looking for something different, and praised for being lost and under-appreciated gems. The band had purposely set out to make obscure albums that Johnson envisioned randomly leaving in libraries, thrift store margin bins and on park benches. Eschewing a MySpace page, a Soundcloud account or a website with MP3 downloads, the band gave away a limited pressing of 300 copies of their debut 10 inch vinyl album, paying the shipping costs for out of town requests — and unexpectedly, the album received some rave reviews, including one from Rolling Stone, which raised the album’s cachet and the band’s profile, thanks in part to a sound that the band has described as “a minimal, droning kind of garage band-influenced psychedelia with a noticeable 60s Krautrock influence” with some comparing the band to Suicide, The Velvet Underground, The Doors, Soft Machine and Guru Guru.

Building upon the growing buzz surrounding them, the members of Wooden Shjips released 2006’s “Dance California”/”Clouds Over the Earthquake,” to mark the centennial of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, which sold enough for the band to break even on their investment, and “Summer of Love 2007,” a single inspired by groups, who worked to make the world the kind of place they wanted to live in, like the Diggers, a local anarchist collective that founded the first Free Store and served free meals in Golden State Park to any and all comers, and the proceeds from the single went to the charitable foundation Food Not Bombs. Adding to a growing profile, the band’s second, real gig found them opening for the psych rock legend Roky Erickson.

The band’s self-produced and self-recorded full-length debut was recorded in the band’s rehearsal space, using a half-inch eight-track console that Jermier found, making the album a strictly analog affair aimed at getting high-quality and high-fidelity on an extremely low budget. Some tracks were layered-up demos while others were live studio jams with drum parts adding later, since they only had two tracks of the drums and no way to keep instruments from bleeding into each other noisily. But despite — or perhaps because of its DIY fashion, the album was released to critical applause that lead to the “Loose Lips”/”Start to Dreaming” 7 inch released by Sub Pop Records. Since then, the band has released three more full-length albums, 2009’s Dos, 2011’s West, 2013’s Back to Land and two compilations 2008’s Volume 1 and 2010’s Volume 2 — and they’ve managed this while the band’s Johnson has been busy with his acclaimed side project Moon Duo, with Sanae Yamada that has released four full-length albums and one EP.  Interestingly, V, the Bay Area-based psych rock band’s fifth full-length album and first album in over five years, finds the band reportedly expanding upon their sound while lightening the overall vibes, with the material being decidedly laid back, almost summery jams. 

Written last summer, Johnson has publicly said that he has viewed the material as a necessary antidote to the pervasive political anxiety and apocalyptic panic of American life; in fact, as Johnson says in press notes,“We had huge forest fires just outside of Portland and there was intense haze and layers of ash in the city. I was sitting on my porch every evening, watching ash fall down like snow, the sky looking like it was on fire. It was an apocalyptic feeling. Summer in Portland is usually really chill and beautiful, and we were working on a ‘summer record,’ but the outside world kept intruding on my headspace.” V., a graphic representation of the Peace sign, seemed apt to an album focused on the power of peace, beauty and resistance. The music is a balm against the noise and negativity.” 

V’s first single ““Staring at the Sun” featured a shimmering guitar pop sound with a steady groove reminiscent of Buffalo Springfield‘s “For What It’s Worth” and Psychic Ills‘ Inner Journey Out, and “Red Line,” its shoegazer rock meets classic psych rock-inspired follow up single may strike listeners and fans as a bit of return to form, as it features a hypnotic groove — while much like its predecessor, emphasizing slowing, down and pressing the reset button in a world gone absolutely mad. The album’s latest single is the twangy, Buffalo Springfield and Neil Young and Crazy Horse-like “Already Gone” — with a subtle twist to the proceedings, twinkling synths reminiscent of Who Are You-era The Who; but regardless of its influences, it’s the perfect road trip song, as it possesses an overwhelmingly optimistic view, centered on the possibility of new adventures, new friends, of transformation, of being lost and found within the double lines. Unsurprisingly, the recently released video begins with the band’s Johnson getting his bike to ride to the band’s studio space on a glorious day — much like today here in New York — to meet the rest of the band. And of course, they play some hackeysack together — because they’re hippies. But all is right and glorious: bullshitting with your friends and playing music is necessary in a world that’s mad. It’s sometimes the only thing you’ve got. 

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Although currently comprised of founding member and primary songwriter Ripley Johnson (guitar, vocals), Dusty Jermier (trumpet, bass), Omar Ahsanuddin (drums) and Nash Whalen (organ), the renowned San Francisco, CA-based psych rock act Wooden Shjips can trace their origins back to 2003 when Johnson started the band with the intention of finding a group of non-musicians and creating music with them — with the underlying idea behind it being that untrained players would have a new outlook on what music is and how it’s played, and as a result bring something fresh to the table in a way that many of the garage punks of the early 60s and the Velvet Underground did. In fact one of the longest tenured members of the band, Jermier was originally recruited to play saxophone, an instrument he had never even picked up before while other members from their earliest iterations often had such a lack of interest in playing live for anyone that the band didn’t bother looking for gigs.

Eventually, the band settled to its current lineup — but this time, the intention was different: Johnson, a fan of seemingly impenetrable albums and arcane, small-press poetry books, was fascinated by the idea of books that went unread or became largely out of favor and/or of print that were rediscovered by collectors or some bored critic looking for something different, and praised for being lost and under-appreciated gems. And unsurprisingly, the band set about to make purposely obscure albums that Johnson envisioned leaving in libraries, thrift store bargain bins and on park benches. Eschewing a MySpace page, a Soundcloud account or a website with MP3 downloads, the band gave away a limited pressing of 300 copies of their debut 10 inch vinyl album, paying the shipping costs for out of town requests — and unexpectedly, the album received some rave reviews, including one from Rolling Stone, which raised the album’s cachet and the band’s profile, thanks in part to a sound that the band has described as “a minimal, droning kind of garage band-influenced psychedelia with a noticeable 60s Krautrock influence” with some comparing the band to Suicide, The Velvet Underground, The Doors, Soft Machine and Guru Guru.

Building upon the growing buzz surrounding them, the members of Wooden Shjips released 2006’s “Dance California”/”Clouds Over the Earthquake,” to mark the centennial of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, which sold enough for the band to break even on their investment, and “Summer of Love 2007,” a single inspired by groups, who worked to make the world the kind of place they wanted to live in, like the Diggers, a local anarchist collective that founded the first Free Store and served free meals to Golden State Park to any and all comers with the proceeds from the single going to Food Not Bombs. Interestingly, their second real gig as a band was a single release show, opening for the psych rock legend Roky Erickson.
The band’s self-produced and self-recorded full-length debut was recorded in the band’s rehearsal space on an half-inch eight-track console that Jermier found, making the album an strictly analog affair aimed at getting high-quality and high-fidelity on an extremely low budget. Some tracks were layered up demos while others were live studio jams with drum parts added later, since they only had two tracks of the drums and no way to keep instruments from bleeding into each other noisily. But despite — or perhaps because of its DIY fashion, the album was released to critical applause that lead to the “Loose Lips”/”Start to Dreaming” 7 inch released by Sub Pop Records.Since then, the band has released three more full-length albums, 2009’s Dos, 2011’s West, 2013’s Back to Land and two compilations 2008’s Volume 1 and 2010’s Volume 2 — and they’ve managed this while the band’s Johnson has been busy with his side project Moon Duo, his acclaimed dup with Sanae Yamada that has released four full-length albums and one EP.  Interestingly, V, the Bay Area-based psych rock band’s fifth full-length album and first album in over five years, finds the band reportedly expanding upon their sound while lightening the overall vibes, with the material being decidedly laid back, almost summery jams.

 

Written last summer, Johnson viewed the material as a necessary antidote to the pervasive political anxiety and apocalyptic panic; in fact, as Johnson says in press notes,
“We had huge forest fires just outside of Portland and there was intense haze and layers of ash in the city. I was sitting on my porch every evening, watching ash fall down like snow, the sky looking like it was on fire. It was an apocalyptic feeling. Summer in Portland is usually really chill and beautiful, and we were working on a ‘summer record,’ but the outside world kept intruding on my headspace.” V., a graphic representation of the Peace sign, seemed apt to an album focused on the power of peace, beauty and resistance. The music is a balm against the noise and negativity.”
 Now, as you may recall V’s first single “Staring at the Sun” was an expansive and shimmering guitar pop sound with a steady groove that seemed as though it owed a big sonic debut to Buffalo Springfield‘s “For What It’s Worth” and Psychic Ills‘ Inner Journey Out; however, V‘s latest single “Red Line” is a bit of a return to form, with the band nodding at both classic psych rock and contemporary shoegaze as the track is centered around droning instrumentation and a propulsive and hypnotic, motorik like groove. But much like its predecessor, the band emphasizes slowing, down and pressing the reset button in a world gone absolutely mad.

The band is currently touring to support their forthcoming fifth album, and you can check out the tour dates below.

Tour Dates:

 

April 20 – Half Moon Bay, CA – Old Princeton Landing [tickets]

April 21 – Santa Cruz – Michael’s On Main [tickets]

April 29 – Austin, TX – Levitation Festival

May 25 – Portland, OR – Mississippi Studios [tickets]

May 26 – Seattle, WA – Crocodile [tickets]

June 1 – Nelsonville, OH – Nelsonville Music Festival

June 2 – Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle [tickets]

June 4 – Detroit, MI – Marble Bar [tickets]

June 5 – Toronto, ON – Horseshoe Tavern [tickets]

June 7 – Los Angeles, CA – The Lodge [tickets]

June 9 – Sonoma, CA – Huichica Music Festival

 

Although currently comprised of founding member and primary songwriter Ripley Johnson (guitar, vocals), Dusty Jermier (trumpet, bass), Omar Ahsanuddin (drums) and Nash Whalen (organ), the renowned San Francisco, CA-based psych rock act Wooden Shjips can trace their origins back to 2003 when Johnson started the band with the intention of finding a group of non-musicians and creating music with them — with the underlying idea behind it being that untrained players would have a new outlook on what music is and how it’s played, and as a result bring something fresh to the table in a way that many of the garage punks of the early 60s and the Velvet Underground did. In fact one of the longest tenured members of the band, Jermier was originally recruited to play saxophone, an instrument he had never even picked up before while other members from their earliest iterations often had such a lack of interest in playing live for anyone that the band didn’t bother looking for gigs.

Eventually, the band settled to its current lineup — but this time, the intention was different: Johnson, a fan of seemingly impenetrable albums an arcane, small-press poetry books, was fascinated by the idea of books that went unread or became largely out of favor and/or of print that were rediscovered by collectors or some bored critic looking for something different, and praised for being lost and under-appreciated gems. And unsurprisingly, the band set about to make purposely obscure albums that Johnson envisioned leaving in libraries, thrift store bargain bins and on park benches. Eschewing a MySpace page, a Soundcloud account or a website with MP3 downloads, the band gave away a limited pressing of 300 copies of their debut 10 inch vinyl album, paying the shipping costs for out of town requests — and unexpected, the album received some rave reviews, including one from Rolling Stone, which raised the album’s cachet and the band’s profile, thanks in part to a sound that the band has described as “a minimal, droning kind of garage band-influenced psychedelia with a noticeable 60s Krautrock influence” with some comparing the band to Suicide, The Velvet Underground, The Doors, Soft Machine and Guru Guru.

Building upon the growing buzz surrounding them, the members of Wooden Shjips released 2006’s “Dance California”/”Clouds Over the Earthquake,” to mark the centennial of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, which sold enough for the band to break even on their investment, and “Summer of Love 2007,” a single inspired by groups, who worked to make the world the kind of place they wanted to live in, like the Diggers, a local anarchist collective that founded the first Free Store and served free meals to Golden State Park to any and all comers with the proceeds from the single going to Food Not Bombs. Interestingly, their second real gig as a band was a single release show, opening for the psych rock legend Roky Erickson.
The band’s self-produced and self-recorded full-length debut was recorded in the band’s rehearsal space on an half-inch eight-track console that Jermier found, making the album an strictly analog affair aimed at getting high-quality and high-fidelity on an extremely low budget. Some tracks were layered up demos while others were live studio jams with drum parts added later, since they only had two tracks of the drums and no way to keep instruments from bleeding into each other noisily. But despite — or perhaps because of its DIY fashion, the album was released to critical applause that lead to the “Loose Lips”/”Start to Dreaming” 7 inch released by Sub Pop Records.

Since then, the band has released three more full-length albums, 2009’s Dos, 2011’s West, 2013’s Back to Land and two compilations 2008’s Volume 1 and 2010’s Volume 2 — and they’ve managed this while the band’s Johnson has been busy with his side project Moon Duo, his acclaimed dup with Sanae Yamada that has released four full-length albums and one EP.  Interestingly, V, the Bay Area-based psych rock band’s fifth full-length album and first album in over five years, finds the band reportedly expanding upon their sound while lightening the overall vibes, with the material being decidedly laid back, almost summery jams.

Written last summer, Johnson viewed the material as a necessary antidote to the pervasive political anxiety and apocalyptic panic; in fact, as Johnson says in press notes,
“We had huge forest fires just outside of Portland and there was intense haze and layers of ash in the city. I was sitting on my porch every evening, watching ash fall down like snow, the sky looking like it was on fire. It was an apocalyptic feeling. Summer in Portland is usually really chill and beautiful, and we were working on a ‘summer record,’ but the outside world kept intruding on my headspace.” V., a graphic representation of the Peace sign, seemed apt to an album focused on the power of peace, beauty and resistance. The music is a balm against the noise and negativity.”
V‘s first single “Staring at the Sun” is an expansive, laid-back, shimmering delay pedal effected, guitar pop with a steady groove that sounds as though it owes a big sonic debt to Buffalo Springfield‘s “For What It’s Worth” and Psychic Ills‘ Inner Journey Out paired with a slowly building narrative centered around the gentle push and pull between the desire for sun and escape and the pressing tug of anxiety and uncertainty — with peaceful resistance to that anxiety and uncertainty winning the day and guiding the overall tone.   At one point, the song’s narrator seems to say “come on, man slow it down, daydream in the sun for a bit,” and you know what, goddamn it, the guy is right. Even in the face of a world constantly on the brink of annihilation, of a government on the verge of collapse and a social order being shredded apart, sometimes you need to push the reset button or you’ll go crazy.

 

The band will be embarking on a tour to support their newest effort and you can check out the tour dates below.

Tour Dates:

April 13 – Portland, OR – Bunk Bar [tickets]

April 14 – Bellingham, WA – Shakedown [tickets]

April 20 – Half Moon Bay, CA – Old Princeton Landing [tickets]

April 21 – Santa Cruz – Michael’s On Main [tickets]

April 29 – Austin, TX – Levitation Festival

May 25 – Portland, OR – Mississippi Studios [tickets]

May 26 – Seattle, WA – Crocodile [tickets]

June 1 – Nelsonville, OH – Nelsonville Music Festival

June 2 – Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle [tickets]

June 4 – Detroit, MI – Marble Bar [tickets]

June 5 – Toronto, ON – Horseshoe Tavern [tickets]

June 7 – Los Angeles, CA – The Lodge [tickets]

June 9 – Sonoma, CA – Huichica Music Festival

 

Deriving their name from their name from the fictional spice in Frank Herbert’s sci-fi saga Dune that makes intergalactic travel, telepathy and longevity possible, Madrid, Spain-based psych rock quintet Melange, comprised of long-time friends Adrian Ceballos (drums and vocals), Daniel Fernandez (bass and vocals), Mario Zamora (keyboard and vocals), Sergio Ceballos (guitar and vocals), and Miguel Rosón (guitar and vocals) formed back in 2014, and they are among their hometown’s most accomplished and acclaimed musicians, as individual members of the band have played in a number of locally and regionally recognized acts including Lüger, RIPKC, and Bucles and others.

Now, as you may recall, the members of Melange brashly emerged into Madrid and the Spanish music scenes with their self-released, double LP, which featured a highly conceptual narrative reportedly influence by the diverse experiences of the bandmembers with materially thematically touching upon evolution, comprehension and transformation through music — while sonically, the Spanish rockers sound drew from prog rock, psych rock and folk. And as a result of their unique sound and approach, the Spanish rockers received praise from El Pais, Mondo Sonoro, Sol Musica, and Ruta 66 as well as airplay from Radio 3, and played at some of their homeland’s biggest and well-regarded festivals including Low Festival, Sonogram Festival, Sala Stereo Festival, Sala Planta Baja, Festival Noroeste, Festival Wos, Fueu Festival and others.

Building upon a breakthrough year, the band spent their free time writing and recording their soon-to-be released Carlos Diaz-produced sophomore effort Viento Bravo live to tape at Gismo 7 Studios in Motril, Spain and Phantom Power in Madrid Spain.  Reportedly, the band’s sophomore effort finds them refining and honing their sound while retaining the elements that first won them national attention — who the album’s first single “Rio Revuelto” being reminiscent of of JOVM mainstays Boogarins, Junip , Jose Gonzales and The Yes Album-era Yes. The album’s second single “Cotard” while continuing along in a similar vein as its predecessor featured an expansive, mind-bending song structure emphasized by arpeggiated organ chords and some impressive guitar work, reminiscent of The Doors‘ “Light My Fire,” Yes’ “Roundabout,” and “I’ve Seen All Good People.

“Armas Preparadas,” Viento Bravo‘s third and latest single is the most straight forward psych rocker of the album, as it features an incredibly tight melody, an uncannily lush sense of harmony and some impressive guitar work paired with an expansive, twisting and turning song structure. And perhaps most important, possesses  an urgent improvised at the fly of a moment feel, revealing them to arguably be one of Spain’s most interesting and beguiling bands of the moment.

 

Forming in 2014 and deriving their name from the fictional spice in Frank Herbert’s sci-fi saga Dune that makes intergalactic travel, telepathy and longevity possible, the Madrid, Spain-based psych rock quintet Melange, comprised of long-time friends Adrian Ceballos (drums and vocals), Daniel Fernandez (bass and vocals), Mario Zamora (keyboard and vocals), Sergio Ceballos (guitar and vocals), and Miguel Rosón (guitar and vocals) are among their hometown’s most accomplished and acclaimed musicians — with the band’s individual members having stints in locally renowned acts including Lüger, RIPKC, and Bucles and others.

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the summer, you may recall that the members of Melange brashly emerged into both Madrid’s and their home country’s music scenes with their self-released, double LP, which featured a highly conceptual narrative influenced by the diverse experiences of the bandmembers. Thematically, the material touched upon evolution, comprehension and transformation through music — all while sonically drawing from prog rock, psych rock and folk music, and as a result, the band received praise from  El Pais, Mondo Sonoro, Sol Musica, and Ruta 66 as well as airplay from Radio 3, and played at some of their homeland’s biggest and well-regarded festivals including Low Festival, Sonogram Festival, Sala Stereo Festival, Sala Planta Baja, Festival Noroeste, Festival Wos, Fueu Festival and others.

Building upon a breakthrough 2016, which included a busy touring schedule, the band spent their free-time writing and recording their h ighly-anticipated, Carlos Diaz-produced sophomore album Viento Bravo,  which live to tape at Gismo 7 Studios in Motril, Spain and Phantom Power in Madrid Spain. Reportedly, the album finds the band refining their sound — with the album’s breezy, tropicalia-like first single “Rio Revuelto” reminding me quite a bit of JOVM mainstays Boogarins, Junip , Jose Gonzales and The Yes Album-era Yes. The album’s second and latest single “Cotard” continues in a similar vein as its predecessor but with an even trippier song structure emphasized by arpeggiated organ chords and some impressive guitar world — but unlike its predecessor, it has a more direct psych rock and prog rock-based sound, seemingly nodding at The Doors‘ “Light My Fire,” Yes’ “Roundabout,” and “I’ve Seen All Good People” among others.

 

 

Renowned psych rock label Beyond Beyond is Beyond Recordswill be releasing Viento Bravo on November 17, 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: Introducing the Swaggering Badassery of Worcester UK’s HVMM

Comprised of Any Teece (vocals, guitar), Ebony Clay (lead guitar), Jack Timmis (bass) and Samuel Jenkins (drums), the Worcester, UK-based indie rock quartet HVMM have developed a reputation across the UK’s West Midlands for an overall aesthetic that draws from several disparate sources simultaneously — on stage and in press photos, members of the band dress in an anachronistic, Victorian era-like clothing while playing brawny yet off-time, power chord-based riffs reminiscent of Led Zeppelin 1 and Led Zeppelin IV paired with angular bass chords and darkly seductive and menacing lyrics and anthemic hooks reminiscent of The Doors’ “Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar),” Nick Cave, and The Amazing Snakeheads as you’ll hear on the band’s latest single “Lacerate.” And as a result, the song possess a decadently sleazy, swaggering strut perfect for late night misadventures, shenanigans and shit-starting. 

The recently released video for the song further emphasizes the song’s brooding nature while nodding at the work of O. Henry, Edgar Allan Poe and others, but with a hyper modern flare. 

New Video: Dream Machine Returns with an Anthemic Heavy Psych and Proto-Metal Barnburner

As the story goes, Matthew Melton, best known as the founder, frontman and primary songwriter of well-regarded Austin, TX-based indie pop/indie rock act Warm Soda had approached Thee Oh Sees’ prolific and dynamic frontman and Castle Face Records co-founder John Dwyer with two full-length albums — Warm Soda’s fourth and final album together I Don’t Want To Grow Up, which was released last month and material from a new project Dream Machine, which prominently features Melton’s wife Doris.

Now, if you’ve frequented this site earlier this year, you may recall that I wrote about “I Walked in The Fire” off Dream Machine’s recently released full-length album The Illusion, a single that revealed a rather decided change of sonic direction for Melton and his new bandmates, as the project’s sound clearly draws from the heavy psych, proto-metal and proto-stoner rock of early Deep Purple, Iron Butterfly and RidingEasy Records‘ and Permanent Records’ collaborative compilations of similar sounds from the 1960s and 1970s, Brown Acid while also nodding at The Doors. The Illusion’s latest single “All For A Chance,” which features Doris Melton taking up vocal duties will further cement the band’s reputation for crafting a lovingly spot on take on 60s heavy psych — and in the same loving fashion that Daptone Records does for soul; so much so that you can feel tricked into thinking that you were listening to some obscure rarity that was just discovered. (It helps that the band recorded the single and the material on a Tascam 388.)

Much like the video for “I Walked in The Fire,” the recently released video for “All For A Chance” employs a relatively simple concept — the band performing the song in an empty studio and shot on what looks like Super 8 film, as the video quality possess a smoky, grainy quality.

Formed in 1964 by five American GIs station in Gelnhausen, Germany — Gary Burger, Larry Clark, Eddie Shaw, Dave Day and Roger Johnston — as The Torquays, before a name change to The Monks, the garage rock/avant garde rock quintet had quickly become bored of the already cemented, traditional rock format, and as a result, they were inspired to create what was considered a highly experimental sound and aesthetic comprised of hypnotic and driving rhythms, which minimalized the role of melody, innovative sound manipulation, copious feedback, shrill vocals and guitarist David Day’s frequent use of the six string banjo. They were also well known for their shocking appearance as they would frequently dress up like Catholic monks, complete with black habits, cinctures tied around their waists and their hair worn in partial tonsures.  And although they horrified and baffled audiences of their day, in the 50 years since their last known release, the members of the American-born, German-based quintet are now largely considered pioneers both of the avant garde movement and of punk rock, as their socially charged material — material, which had the band voicing objections to the Vietnam War and criticizing what they viewed as the increasing dehumanization of modern society and modern life.

As The Monks, the American-born, German-based quintet released a handful of singles during 1966-1967 — most notably “Complication,” which coincided with the release of their only full-length album Black Monk Time. Though the material released during that period achieved limited commercial success or attention, over the past few years, the band has become a cult-favorite act, thanks to a newfound interest in Black Monk Time by collectors and music obsessives looking for art rock and psych rock of the 60s and 70s, and appearances on several compilation albums, including Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968 — and along with that bands like The Dead Kennedys and The Beastie Boys have publicly cited The Monks as an influence on them.

With the release of 1999’s Five Upstarts Americans, a collection of rarities, B-sides and demo’d tracks from the Black Monk Time sessions, the members of the band reunited for a reunion show and a series of sporadic tours throughout the 2000s. For the better part of five decades, it was assumed that The Monks quietly split up after a handful of releases; however in a strange bit of a serendipity, the folks at Third Man Records were sent a treasure trove of unreleased and barely released, original photos of the band, newspaper clippings, business cards, letterhead, contracts, postcards and analog tapes, which contained unreleased material recorded sometime in early 1967, sometime around the time of the recording sessions of their final single “Love Can Tame the Wild”/”He Went Down to the Sea,” and after hours in the Top Ten Club, just before the band’s breakup.

From what the folks at Third Man Records could determine, the Hamburg Recordings 1967 EP, the EP’s first single “I’m Watching You” would have most likely been recorded on February 28, 1967 during the same sessions in which they recorded their final single — and while sounding completely of it era, nodding at the blue-eyed soul of The Righteous Brothers, the mod rock of The Who and The Kinks, as well as The Beach Boys and The Doors, the song possesses a swooning urgency that feels wild and unhinged, evoking the thoughts of someone who’s madly, desperate in love; but just under the surface, there’s an obsessive menace, as though the narrator may stalking his object of affection.

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: Upcoming Scottish Indie Act Releases a Gorgeous and Atmospheric Cover of The Velvet Underground’s “Over You”

Comprised of Mairi Fenella Whittle (vocals) and Jack Boyce (guitar, piano), the Glasgow, Scotland-based indie rock/indie pop duo Fenella can trace their origins to when they were both studying and discovered a mutual love for Elektra Records’ mid-late 1960s releases, which included the work of Nico, The Doors, Love, Tim Buckley, as well as The Velvet Underground, Neil Young’s doom trilogy and jazz. After working and building upon Whittle’s song ideas, the duo made their live debut last year, and with some sporadic shows across their hometown, began to see growing local attention; in fact, the duo played at Glasgow’s King Tuts Wah Wah Hut for the venue’s New Year’s Revolution Festival earlier this year.

Signed to new indie label, Little Tiger Records, run by Riverside Music Business students, under the aegis of lecturer and Creeping Bent Records’ Douglas MacIntyre, the young duo have released a number of singles, including their latest single, an eerily atmospheric and haunting gorgeous, Scott Walker-esque/Mazzy Star-esque cover of The Velvet Underground’s “Over You,” that features Whittle’s aching, torch burning vocals paired with a simple and sparse arrangement of strummed guitar and piano.

Directed by Neil Mckenzie, the video employs a relatively simple concept — a close up of Whittle, as she’s staring directly into the camera, and at us with a pensive yet feral longing and eyes glassy from tears. At one point, we see her wipe tears from her eyes, and it further emphasizes the heartbreak at the core of the song.