So much Valium has gone down my throat since busting my arm recently skating that everything became a bit of a blur, in-between the constant turning of 12″ and 7″ records. This playlist represents the comedown and the new life that has blossomed since the process of healing. Roll a fat one and enjoy some new chillers that have managed to catch our attention in the last few weeks.
Andy Shauf – The Magician – (Anti)
This beautiful track from Canadian artist Andy Shauf aroused Winston Hacking so much that he and his team made this entire video by hand. It’s a damn fine master piece served at a perfect temperature with mushrooms and ice cream. – Zac
The Claypool Lennon Delirium – Cricket and the Genie – (ATO)
The son of a legendary Beatle and the mastermind behind Primus (who left their mark on some of the best 80s skateboard videos). It’s an unlikely combination on paper but pure perfection in reality. This is just one earworm from their new album that is a must have. That flute solo… – Zac
JC Flowers – Ym Mhorthcawl – (ATP Recordings)
London’s daily grind doesn’t seem to bother JC Flowers as they wisp through the underground with their hangover friendly pop steez. If you want more, look up their Driving Excitement and the Pleasure of Ownership album. – Zac
Savoy Motel – Souvenir Shop Rock – (What’s Your Rupture?)
Shake that bum of yours as it’s the best thing you can do in your life. Sounding like it was written in 1975, this relatively new Nashville posse sure know how to get down. – Zac
Sugar Candy Mountain – “666” – (People In A Position To Know)
If you’ve ever visited Joshua Tree then you will know that its inhabitants are toking on on some damn fine fresh air. Check your friend’s scalp for the 666 mark after listening to this dreamy little pop number. – Zac
The Magic Gang – Walk On By – (SR)
Burt Bacharach’s amazing Walk On By single has been covered by so many artists since Dionne Warwick’s version of it was released in 1964. Brighton’s upcoming house party specialists join The Stranglers, Cyndi Lauper and handfuls more in giving this classic a magic touch. – Zac
Julia Holter – Sea Calls Me Home – (Domino Records)
There’s something so satisfying about this track that it just had to be included. It may have come out last September but was included in the 6Music feature on artists that were inspired by the Beach Boys and it stood out like a sore thumb. Beautiful work from Julia Holter lifted from her Have You In My Wilderness album. Scout it out. – Zac
Heron Oblivion – Your Hollows – (Sub Pop)
Sublime folk rock from San Francisco. Meg Baird’s gorgeous ethereal vocals provide a perfect contrast to ex-Comets On Fire guitarists Ethan Miller and Noel Von Harmonson’s Neil Young/Crazy horse over-driven guitar fuzz. The sound of Haight-Ashbury 60s hippy boom colliding head on with 2016 fuzz rock. Out of this world. – James Sherry
Wire – Pilgrim Trade – (Pinkflag)
Despite being born out of the fast and furious UK punk explosion of the late 70s, Wire in 2016 do mellow just as well as they do intense. ‘Pilgrim Trade’ is from their latest album Nocturnal Koreans and sees frontman Colin Newman’s dry vocals floating over a bed of warm, fuzzy guitars and lethargic drums. – James Sherry
Kikagaku Moyo – Melted Crystal – Guruguru Brain Records
Put away that fuzz box and pick up the peace pipe, for this far-eastern psychedelic gem will melt your mind good and slow, just the way it should be. Their fantastic new album’s called House In The Tall Grass, put it on loop and fade away. – Dave Palmer
Plaid – Do Matter – (Warp)
The video to Plaid’s latest alone is enough to chill you right out, but turn up the volume knob and you’ll hear the kind of cinematic, moody and minimalistic soundscapes that ring delightfully familiar bells. – Dave Palmer
Adolescent – Mutter – (Girl Records)
London producer Adolescent’s new EP is a paradox of emotions. Delicate but immensely powerful, it plunges from gnarled beats to beautiful cello and piano passages at will. A work said to be inspired by experiences whilst taking anti-epilepsy medication, this track is a whole mood swing in itself. Watch the accompanying short film below and you’ll be left thoughtful, contemplative, but ultimately wanting more. – Dave Palmer
The kind of mind-altering psychedelia you could only truly see through your inner mind’s eye, Wand‘s ‘Sleepy Dog’ comes crashing in like a cinderblock to the cerebral cortex, laced with hi-fi fuzz and power, soaring up to dizzying, mind-mulching heights anew.
The video ventures even further beyond, diving into a murky world of hallucinatory animation – who is that dog? And how did all these deranged jesters, temptresses and skeletal priests get into his castle? Watch this cartoon calamity unfold below.
Wand will tour the US from October 28th on the below dates, but for those who missed out on their recent UK jaunt, go here to check out our recent interview with the band in Brighton.
US October Tour Dates
28 The Echo in Los Angeles, CA
29 Brick & Mortar Music Hall in San Francisco, CA
30 The Know PDX in Portland, OR
31 Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver, British Columbia November
1 Narwhal in Seattle, WA
3 The Real Lounge in Missoula, MT
5 The Entry in Minneapolis, MN
6 Witching Hour Festival in Iowa City, IA
7 Empty Bottle in Chicago, IL
10 Adelaide Hall in Toronto, Ontario
11 Bar Le “Ritz” P.D.B. in Montreal, Quebec
12 Middle East (upstairs) in Cambridge, MA
13 Mercury Lounge in New York, NY
14 Rough Trade NYC in Brooklyn, NY
15 Black Cat in Washington, DC
16 Tiger Mountain in Asheville, NC
18 529 in Atlanta, GA
19 Hi Tone in Memphis, TN
20 Siberia in New Orleans, LA
21 Red 7 in Austin, TX
22 Lowbrow Palace in El Paso, TX
24 Solar Culture in Tucson, AZ
25 Soda Bar in San Diego, CA
March’s sophomore album release Golem saw Los Angeles-based Wand state their claim as a face-slapping psychedelic force to be reckoned with, inviting you on a juvenile joyride to bold, head-melting dimensions unknown across nine treacherous tracks.
Fast-forward six months and Wand are still skidding through the grimy back-streets of sludge rock and doom with gusto, yet this time around there’s even more on offer. To investigate the trio’s new-found Crazy Horse-indebted groove, we sent Yasmyn Charles down to Brighton to catch up frontman Cory Hanson and find out how, exactly, their new album 1000 Days became reality.
What was the formative process of Wand and how did it come into being?
Well, the three of us went to art school together and after we all graduated we all had a bunch of different projects and I just kind of asked everyone if they wanted to play music together… so we did. It’s a pretty unremarkable story! [Laughing]
Did you have any idea of the sound direction you wanted to take?
I was listening to a lot of 70’s German, kind of krauty music at the time and I’d been playing in a lot of Rock n Roll bands and then decided I wanted to start a more ‘arty’ rock-driven project I guess.
Do you feel you’ve kind of achieved that with Wand?
Yeah, I mean it was maybe a good choice because there are a lot of musical directions you can take at any given time. So it makes it easier to be inspired than maybe working within a more succinct genre of music that’s more defined by the traditions it’s partaking in.
Would you say that residing in LA has had a positive influence on your sound due its current and past musical history or has it had no effect at all?
Well I’m from LA and I’ve never lived anywhere else so I think it has had a huge effect on me in terms of growing up there and sort of seeing the way things have changed. LA’s an interesting city because it has these really intense moments of scene proliferation, it’s an explosion of bands then it will kind of eat itself and then it has to start over from scratch. Then there’ll be moments where LA seems so attractive then huge lulls where it’s a very unattractive place to be and everybody hates it. And right now for some reason there’s like a really big light shining on the place that I’ve lived forever and everyone is transplanting themselves into the city and it’s kind of bizarre to me.
Golem sounded far more acerbic and abrasive than Ganglion Reef and this was supposedly down to a shift in songwriting away from you to greater inclusion of the rest of the band. Has this been the same for 1000 Days?
I feel like our process is constantly evolving because we’re always trying new ideas and configurations of writing songs. With 1000 days, it was within the sort of framework for which we wanted to make the album in terms of it being a lot larger and more about having the space to make mistakes and experiment with things. Both Golem and 1000 days are very performance intensive. We spent a lot of time in a rehearsal space for like hours and hours and hours just reconfiguring songs, breaking them apart and trying to find every possible outcome that we could. The only rule that we had for 1000 days was that every single part of the process for writing a song, the song had to change dramatically. It had to be altered from one moment to the next; it could never be played the same way twice.
Is this something you recreate live as well?
Yeah, we try. I mean it’s interesting because we don’t really like to play the songs the way they are on our records. For us the records are these things we spent a lot of time making and in order to stay true to the writing process and the kind of spirit of the songs, they have to change within the structure of a performance. It’s a very different space than a recording space.
You’ve said that Golem was recorded at “not an upbeat time”. Has the atmosphere affected the output on 1000 Days the way it did with Golem?
We’ve gone through a lot of changes as a band. And personally through a lot of highs and lows in our short career that have totally influenced the way that the records are shaped and the kind of themes that get brought into the songwriting and the recordings and the way that we treat the recordings. We definitely have no intentions of making a happy record or a sad record but rather something that’s a little more true to the time we spend in the band and out of the band.
There’s definitely a sense of that on the albums. There’s no emotional guidance, you form your own emotive ideas about the music.
Yeah, I mean, we don’t really have a compass for those kinds of things or a trajectory… in most ways [Laughs].
It’s been said that the influences for your past material have been Final Fantasy and Dungeons and Dragons, what have been the influences for 1000 Days?
Hmmn. Let’s see… We were listening to a lot of Crass and a lot of Psychic TV and Throbbing Gristle. A lot more Industrial and Anarcho-Punk bands.
There’s maybe a slightly more electronic slant on 1000 Days, is that something bore of listening to these industrial acts?
Yeah, we all have a previous relationship to these kinds of bands but the influences seemed to take on more of a character during the recording of 1000 Days. I mean we’ve had synthesizers on every record and on every record we process all of the guitars through a lot of synths. They’re very much studio records in the sense that everything is being massaged and processed and treated in a certain way. So it’s sort of an accumulation of experiences in the studio that resulted in the records sound.
So you’ve followed a very natural process with the recording sound but also appear to have a deliberate ‘mystical’ aesthetic both visually and as part of your sound. Is this intentional?
Yeah, I mean there is a curiosity/relationship to fantasy or esoteric themes but I feel that a lot of the space that’s occupied is not that. Like, if that’s the kind of outer… ‘trappings’ of the music, then the things going on inside are pretty real. [Laughs] In the sense of us being human beings it’s kind of inescapable that we’re going to have a relationship to the music that’s really intense.
Do you think that that’s essentially the nature of psychedelic music in the sense that’s it’s something both real and a form of escapism?
Well…I wouldn’t say the music’s escapist, though it may flirt with those ideas, I think that in the most positive sense, escapism is a way of finding a moment of removal from the present or whatever surface problems that are accumulating in order to better understand what’s happening. It’s so that you can re-interpolate into reality or the present and become better equipped to deal with shit.
If you had to describe 1000 Days in one sentence, what would it be?
[There’s a long silence] I don’t know… I feel that the title is pretty indicative of what’s on the record. To me it feels massively contained. It’s a lot of information and a lot of music that’s selected and curated in way that despite it being the shortest record we’ve made, it feels like the biggest. And it is, for us, our biggest… kind of…
Not our magnum opus but up to this point the truest that we feel about music and about playing and making records. It’s just a more ambitious version of what we have been doing.
Even though that wasn’t a sentence it was still a pretty good answer! Has there been any anxiety with trying to follow up the success of Golem.
I have a lot of anxiety about those things! We basically started writing 1000 Days as soon as Golem was mixed and mastered and the artwork was at the plant. We were like, let’s make another record before this one comes out and we did it with the last one too. The real hurdle we’re going to have to overcome at some point is that, now we have these records and the stuff that’s been happening, we need a little time to process all of this in order to make the next one.
Would you say that all your past projects have taken a complete backseat along with your solo work?
With Pangea I haven’t been in that band for 3 years and Meatbodies 2. As for all of my other projects, they’re now just kind of happening in the leftover space… there’s no real point of even talking about them because they’re in the spectrum of ideas that are maybe materialising in some way or another.
So Wand’s your main output for material you’re truly happy with?
Yeah, at this point. I’d love to be happy with some other projects really soon, and hopefully that’ll be the case. But for now Wand is the main vehicle for my songwriting at least.
What’s next for Wand?
After this tour the record comes out then we have a US tour. Then after that we’ll start recording and writing again. We’ve established this sort of cycle of touring and recording.
There appears to be this idea of ‘if a shark stops swimming it dies’ – where you always have to be creating?
Yeah we don’t feel very comfortable taking time off because we’re not in a position where we’re making enough money to! [Laughs]. We’re still kind of struggling to make a living as musicians and artists and so there is a sense of urgency. It’s also important for us not to get ensnared in the kind of cycle that most bands get trapped in. Where you make a record…it takes 6-8 months to comes out… then you tour the record for half the year then it takes a year and a half to produce another record. We’re definitely not interested in that kind of structure, and we can’t do that because we have to keep making records.
Support Wand in their mission to keep playing and making music by ordering their new album on Drag City out on September 25th from here or order it from your local record shop. It’s a damn good one, you will not be disappointed.
Promo photos: Romain Peutat
Words and instant camera shots: Yasmyn Charles
Sweeping in from the same smouldering Scandinavian scene that birthed one of the most mind expanding albums of 2014, Hills’ latest offering is an intoxicating smokescreen of otherworldly noise to knock you right off you chair.
Breathing new life into the often-over-populated pool of psych, ‘Milarepa’ sees the seven-piece laugh in the face of tradition, fully embracing heavy hallucinatory territories on a free-flowing flute trip led by drones.
Their forthcoming album, Frid, marks the bands ninth year together and their third LP. Suitably homed to the prolific Rocket Recordings, this is said to be Hills’ most out-of-mind and out-of-sight effort to date, crystallising everything that makes these Scandinavian satyrs stand out from the global herd.
Recommended as a feast for seasoned crate-diggers and fresh-faced converts alike, stream Hill’s latest with haste.
Bop English, more commonly known as White Denim mastermind James Petralli, has been hard at work crafting a solo venture of, whilst certainly epic at moments, rather retrospective proportions. Peering through the psych-pop prowess that you’d expect from the man that wrote a song like ‘At Night In Dreams’, amidst the haze of riffs and effects, the singers roots come to light in a way that didn’t quite fit the White Denim mould.
‘Struck Matches’ flares up into an acoustic-guitar driven hark back to the glory days, with Petralli layering slap backed vocal delay’s over wah-wah’d licks a plenty. His warped horn section and Texan drawl almost conjuring memories of golden boys Petty, Harrison, Lynne & co. as he leads the way into an infectious Wilburys-indebted boogie that demands multiple replays.
Lyrically, Bop’s dealing with what sounds like a precarious balancing act between consciousness and mind-melt after being handed the pipe and not knowing exactly what lay within the bowl. He sees a walking disaster, but all that’s to be found here is a triumphant ode to blues-rock, teaming with hooks and Americana appeal.
‘Struck Matches’ is taken from Bop English’s Constant Bop LP, out now via Blood and Biscuits. Catch him live in the UK on the dates below.
29th Glasgow, Broadcast
30th Liverpool, District
31st Birmingham, Hare & Hounds
1st Bristol, Louisiana
2nd Brighton, Sticky Mikes
3rd London, Oslo
4th Manchester, Night and Day
It’s not often that you stumble across a band that love sludge, and space cakes, so much they launched a KickStarter to fund a trip into orbit as the first stoner rock trio to jam in outer space. Gnob are that band, and thank green we’ve found them, and their new EP, Temple Of Sinners – a mind-melting home brew of cosmic dirge that is guaranteed to blow your ears clean off.
Sadly, KickStarter denied their proposed £498,000 space ritual fund-raiser, but this bunch plough on to higher realms regardless. Opening track ‘Curse Of The Jester’ takes a treacherous plunge into some seriously evil aural gloop, before coming up for air to breath the kind of vocal you’d expect to find on Master Of Reality. Bridging the gap between this filthy offering, and the bold psychedelic dimensions that lay ahead, though, is ‘Ceremony’. Five minutes of what’s only describable as shamanic, almost recalling the sitar-like noodling prowess you’d expect to hear hailing from the mystic Goat commune.
As if your ears weren’t smouldering already, ‘Temple Of Sinners’ morphs into a ten-minute psychedelic close, building Sleep-indebted riffs to monolithic heights before hurling into a wonderful haze of warped eastern jams.
Hit play below and let Gnob’s sludge ooze (careful) from your speakers. There’s nothing short of a masterclass in the dark arts of sludge, doom and psych to be found here.
‘Psychedelic Power Engine Iron Claw Thunder Mistress’
What would Hawkwind have sounded like if they hadn’t kicked Lemmy out of the band, let him cane his speed and take full control of the musical reigns? Sadly we’ll never know, but Hastings’ Riddles offer a pretty likely idea.
‘Psychedelic Power Engine Iron Claw Thunder Mistress’ is the near six-minute space rock epic from this electrifying foursome, and it will leave your ears red raw. Phasers cranked and tubes cooking hot, this lot only do business if it’s coated in feedback, fuzz, and steaming along at 100 miles per hour on a hell-bent journey to terrifying sonic altitudes.
Watch the dark and twisted new music video below that matches this head-melter perfectly, and keep an eye on their facebook page for gigs.
Pioneering psychedelicists The 13th Floor Elevators are to reunite for the first time since 1968 to perform at this year’s Austin Psych Fest – now rebranded as ‘Levitation’.
The performance will feature the four surviving original members of the band. Roky Erickson, Ronnie Leatherman, John Ike Walton and Tommy Hall, who revealed in a recent interview with The Austin Chronicle that he is practicing his Electric Jug playing hard for the reunion, will once again make musical fusion together in front of a live audience for the first time in 47 years.
Check them out in the classic TV performance below and buy your tickets for Levitation here!
”Soulful pop in a seashell dress, except the sea in question is the one from that bit in ‘Interstellar’ on the perpetual wave-machine planet.” – anonymous
That is just one way that the new offering from big ol’ buddy pals POND has been described to me since its release. It sounds like the sonic interpretation of having a really great time with some close friends, except that you all have the ability to transform into lava-lamps, and that’s what you do all night, every night for a week straight.
Three tracks into ‘MIFLSA’ (as I call it) you’ve been dragged aboard the Pond Rocket depicted on the cover and are heading into uncharted cosmic territory that somehow still feels like a sofa bed in your cool friend’s mum’s basement. Friendly, but slick grooves are split up by oases that float you down gently from the sonic equivalent of the East Australian Current (as seen in the 2003 computer-animated comedy-drama adventure film ‘Finding Nemo’), and out into tepid waters, where you can look back and have bit of a think.
Penultimate track ‘Medicine Hat’, however, sounds like something off Exile On Main St that was recorded in the bottom hull of the aforementioned Pond Rocket as it soars past Saturn. Other highlights include an insanely cool guitar sound in the second quarter of the behemoth title track that figure skates right over your shoulder and into your heart.
All in all, this album is pretty nuts and pretty great. The fact the centerpiece of the album is called ‘Heroic Shart’ basically sums it up – don’t take it too seriously and that makes the quasi-cosmic journey all the more fun.
Brighton has a strange but pleasant scene. Be it, music, skateboarding, art or general culture, you can pretty much discover something interesting on the coastline down there without having to dig too hard. We discovered The Wytches at a show in London last week, a new band that have just released this new video and are making themselves heard in the run up to the 2013.
If you take the psych garage-rock vibes of the 13th Floor Elevators and MC5, then pound them into your ear canal with a dose of Bleach era Nirvana, you will be somewhere close in finding their sound. Of course though, every band has it’s own unique formula and The Wytches deliver noise filled, catchy tunes that are worthy of your time.