Over the course of this site’s almost 10 year history — JOVM turns 10 in June — I’ve spilled quit a bit of virtual ink writing about RidingEasy Records’ and Permanent Records’ ongoing Brown Acid compilation series. The series’ 10th edition is slated for an April 20, 2020 release, and much like its predecessors, the forthcoming new edition will remind listeners that there’s a massive amount of incredible heavy psych, proto-metal and proto-stoner rocker that has seemingly been lost to the sands of time — but has been slowly rediscovered by RidingEasy Record and Permanent’s staff.
During the late 1960s, Barry Crawford (vocals, keyboard), Jim Lee (lead vocals, bass), Mike Saligoe (drums), John Schaffer (lead guitar) and Richard Strange (rhythm guitar, vocals) started a band on Indianapolis’ West Side — and when they started the band they chose what they thought was the coolest name possible: ICE. The quintet quickly became one of the first emerging bands from their hometown to play a set of originals throughout the Midwest, performing at high schools, college campuses and venues. Building upon a growing profile, they eventually opened for national touring acts like Three Dog Night, SRC, Kenny Rogers & the First Edition, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and others in arenas and theaters.
In 1970, the members of the Indianapolis-based psych rock band recored 10 songs of original material at Chicago’s 8-Track Studios, only to break up shortly after the sessions. Two of the album’s tracks were eventually released as a 45 in 1972 — but confusingly under a different band name: Zukus! Interestingly, that 45 managed to receive regional airplay. The A-side of that single “Running High” was featured on Brown Acid: The Ninth Trip. While licensing “Running High” for the ninth edition of Brown Acid, the folks at RidingEasy Records discovered that ICE had recorded an entire album that had been languishing in obscurity, with the 2-inch master tapes had been shelved and forgotten until recently. 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.
50 years after the initial recording sessions that produced the album will finally be released — and see the light of day. Sonically, the material reportedly features 10 songs of hard-edger rock with enormous, radio friendly pop hooks that recalls Grand Funk Railroad, The Guess Who, and The Move. Centered around fuzzy power chords, shimmering organ arpeggios, propulsive drumming, some dexterous guitar soloing and enormous, arena rock friendly hooks, The Ice Age’s first single “Run to Me” finds the band meshing trippy and ambient-like psychedelia with explosive riffage that manages to recall the aforementioned Grand Funk Railroad and The Guess Who, along with a subtly nod of Steppenwolf. Listening to the track, there’s a sense that ICE if history was a bit more fair, the Indianapolis-based act should have been much larger.
The Ice Age is slated for a May 15, 2020 release. Be on the lookout.