Sunday, May 25, 2014

Weekend Music Roundup

Well it's finally come to this, an all psychedelic rock weekend on the Roundup. It happened kind of on accident, or least it wasn't something I planned. But I guess it can't really be an accident if my musical tastes continue to be more and more geared toward the genre. It's always been among my favorite types of music, but lately it seems to dominate more of my listening choices. Perhaps that has to do with a dwindling supply of quality indie rock bands due to the never ceasing intrusion of dance and synth pop into the genre. Metal has moved dramatically away from traditional metal. Hip-hop is in a confusing state of transition. That really leaves psych rock as the only genre that is continuing to move forward on a path that I support. So lay back, let your mind wander, and soak up the swirling sounds of psychedelic rock. Enjoy!

The Brian Jonestown Massacre - Revelation: It's been two years since the San Fran neo-psychedelic band released an album, but they have returned this year with a new record. The album opens with another German language track, which littered the last album. It moves back into English afterward and ends up being their most solid release in years. Though they don't abandon their love to old '60s psychedelic sounds, there is a Kurt Vile feel to the record, and it seems like a good direction for the band to take. The vocals permeate under the floating surface of the music, creating a hypnotic aurora that surrounds the the record. A definite necessary addition to any BJM collection.

Woods - With Light and With Love: Released in April, this is the NY state psychedelic folk band's 10th album since their formation in 2003. While their earlier albums were much more folk centered, their recent work has gradually infused more and more psychedelic rock elements, all coming to a glorious culmination on this record. The epic title track serves as a showcase for the band's growth with 9 minutes of brilliance. Though I've enjoyed this band in the past, I was thoroughly surprised at just how good this record is. "Shepherd," "Feather Man," and "Shining" are also standout tracks.

The Blue Angel Lounge - A Sea of Trees: Released earlier this month, this is the third album from the German neo-psychedelia band. After listening to a sample track, I quickly snatched this up. It reminds me a lot of Christian Death, a band that I've been listening to a lot recently. There's this '80s goth vibe that is extremely well done without feeling dated. Having added a touch of shoegaze to the style, they have produced something that sounds very pleasing. Over the last several years there have been a lot decent bands to come out of the Fatherland, most of them influenced by a hypnotic spacey sound that I've always adored. "Desolate Sands," "Walls," "Quartz," and "Melloch Halb & Halb" are high points on this solid record. 

Electric Wizard - Legalise Drugs & Murder: This EP from 2012 combines several singles released by the UK heavy psych band from that same year. Having been one of my favorite bands over the past several years, I'm not sure how I missed this release, probably because their stuff is still import only state side. This is the only music released following 2010's fantastic Black Masses LP. These six tracks continue the apocalyptic feel of their recent work and have been a welcome sound to my ears. Some of the songs are demos, and understandably raw, but lo-fi metal has always been part of their appeal. "Patterns of Evil" and "Legalise Drugs & Murder" are the two best and most tradition Electric Wizard songs, but the experimental weirdness of "Murder & Madness" and "Our Witchcraft Grows" are also quite interesting.

Fungi Girls - Old Foamy: The new single from the Texas lo-fi garage rockers was released in March on cassette. I came across it and couldn't resist the cover. The three songs are more garage rock than psych rock, but there are moments where they feel like 13th Floor Elevators. But mostly this reminds me of Sic Alps or Thee Oh Sees. It's quick, reckless groove is very entertaining and all three songs are pretty good. I really enjoy the fuzzy sunshine feel that hangs over it. Muffled vocals, jangling guitars, and driving rhythm...what's not to like? Definitely worth checking them out on bandcamp.

The Cosmic Dead - Psychonaut: This 2011 compilation gathers material from the Glasgow psychedelic space rock band that dated prior to their self-titled release in the same year. They have since released six albums, so I have a lot of catching up to do. Most of the songs are long, averaging about ten minutes in length. The rhythm section is akin to most drone bands, but the guitar work pulls it out of the genre, providing an early Hawkwind or Pink Fairies feel to it. These instrumental tracks work as a constant exploration of soundscapes of expansive dimensions. "Serpent Coils the Earth," "Psych Ashtray Aktion Mother," and "Fool & the Five of Swords" are among the most interesting compositions.

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