Aside from the inevitable grooves, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Khruangbin show at Mohawk on Friday night, afterwards it became very clear. It was my first time to see the trio live and here’s my three main takeaways: 1.) Nobody is still quite sure how to pronounce the name…and just forget spelling it correctly, 2.) That 70’s inspired psych jams from Southeast Asia and the Middle East can induce a dance party in ATX for the ages, 3.) That something with roots so strikingly foreign to Texas (and even today’s stateside music scene in general) can come across as spellbindingly authentic. All that and more after the jump. Read more
Norman’s Helen Kelter Skelter will be releasing their new album, Melter, on January 19th via Shaking Shanghai Records, and today you can get an early listen to one of the album’s stunning tunes. For just over a minute the group take you on an exploratory psychedelic ride, displaying their skills in craftsmanship before giving into to the vocal display. The vocals haunt the tune, stretching across the careful guitar lines while the ominous drum rolls echo in the background. You’ll also find a central pulse that carries the track along, hitting a heavy stride in the track’s latter half as a barrage of noise rings strong until the quieted fade out that closes the tune. Austin fans can keep an eye out for a show coming your way in February at Cheer Ups.Enjoy the ride on this one!
Recently, rising Austin band Roaring Sun changed their name to the Timothy Leary themed The Millbrook Estates…and now they have their first single under said name. It’s precisely the sort of tune we’ve come to expect from these youngsters, delving into the pure psychedelia via washes of keys atop intricate little guitar bits. I love the understated drumming too, serving as the central nervous system for the track. Despite their age, these guys are really starting to find their groove, and hopefully that brings incredible things from them in the near future. Get lost in this tune.
The arena of psychedelic rock has been changing since it’s rebirth into mainstream consciousness. Since then we’ve seen acts like Tame Impala and others putting a different, pop-centric spin on things; the Vryll Society doesn’t look to be too far off. However, they seem to employ a stronger simplicity, keeping the krautrock bass line in one place as the band works behind it, shooting off guitar chords here and there to add texture to the track. It’s a new single, officially being released on March 11th…we can only hope they’ve got more new work (and an album) on the way.
We’ve given some love to Promised Land Sound in the past so you shouldn’t be surprised to see their name mentioned here again. Today they have this great new track “Otherworldly Pleasures” for your listening pleasure. It’s a little bit psychedelic with dashes of Americana and maybe even just a hint of folk stylings for good measure.
You can pick up new album For Use and Delight on October 2nd via Paradise of Bachelors.
I’m always interested in the work of Black Lizard, and it’s becoming increasingly clear that I should give them more love as they prep the release of their new effort, Solarize. You’ll hear the psychedelic influence on this latest single, with a stomp alive and well, meshing with the sound of ringing guitar swagger. Admittedly, the vibe isn’t for everyone, but I’m on board, particularly because they’re releasing this new album via our friends at Soliti Music. You can grab it from the label on March 20th, then rock out with the band for months to come.
Last week I brought you a jam from Trans Upper Egypt that I had been sitting on, so this week I’m staying on top of the world by bringing you this tune early. Stick with the meandering at the beginning for a moment; wait for the drums to take the pace to a gallop. The vocals loom large, yet distant, haunting the song as the tension is steadied by the rolling drum licks that slowly change. This is one of those groups that I think is really doing the psychedelic thing right; it’s so strange, yet so right on at the same time. Look out for the band’s self-titled album via Monfonus Press on November 4th.
I’ve really been wrapped up in the Allah-Las since I first stumbled upon their early 7″. The group seems to encompass everything about the musical history of California, harkening back to the state’s glory days, which may or may not leave the band with some detractors. Their self-titled debut lives up to my expectations, though it does seem to get stuck in one place for a bit too long.
If you run straight through the first several tracks, you’re going to get the exact feeling of this debut by Allah-Las. “Catamaran” opens with a wayward psychedelic jangle, employing gang lyrics to provide an extra bit of emphasis. It includes a chorus of “I want to hold your hand/I want to be your man,” which seems to epitomize everything my father taught me about falling in love with the 60s. “Don’t You Forget It” has a bit more of an angular guitar line, but it still seems to have that Eastern guitar sound popularized during the hey-day of Haight Ashbury. Don’t take this to mean that there’s nothing ultimately pleasurable in traversing the annals of history, as the group makes it their own, especially when the guitar brightly dances off on its own.
For me, the standout track comes after the group takes an instrumental break with “Sacred Sands.” “Sandy” is perhaps one of the best songs the group’s put together. There’s an effect on the gang-vocal section that creates more intimacy with the listener, which isn’t always present on the rest of the lyrical development throughout Allah-Las; it’s almost as if they’re all whispering in your ear. Throw this in with “Catalina” and you can clearly see that re-hashing isn’t the sole purpose of this record. The group’s inspired by their home state, as the latter song indicates. It’s percussion perfectly fits with the mood of the record, matched evenly with the swirling guitar work and the fluid vocal approach. It all leads up to album’s last track, “Long Journey,” the song that I think most closely resembles my expectations and fascinations with the group. At its heart, you can almost feel some acid-induced boogie, but here they slow it down to the most mellow tempo their style allows, giving the song and listener room to breathe.
For what it’s worth, I went out and bought this album. I’m obsessed with the Allah-Las; I think no one out there has completely captured the sound of the California psych-garage scene quite like these guys. But, that being said, their self-titled debut does lack a little bit of pace or a little bit of mixing things up. A few instrumental tracks here and there do give you a chance to calm yourself, and that’s great, but perhaps a fast-paced jangler or a long-drawn out smoke-shop ballad would have made this record something out of the park. Do yourself a favor though, and sit down with this record. Absorb it, appreciate it, and you’ll definitely look highly upon this effort.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Allah-Las-Dont-You-Forget-It.mp3]
Download:Allah-Las – Don’t You Forget It [MP3]
Ready for more SXSW rock? Well, the Psychic Ills aren’t necessarily going to bring you straight ahead rock n’ roll; the band has done lots of experimentation with their sound since their inception in 2003. Most recently, they released Hazed Dream on Sacred Bones Records, signaling a slight departure from their more traditional sound. It’s definitely going to get lumped into the psychedelic genre, which is probably an easy descriptor, but I laud the band for their vast experimentation over the years. I hear bits of Spiritualized in songs like “Mind Daze” from their recent release, yet the song evokes different qualities depending upon your own personal tastes. In reading their bio, you’ll see that the experiments and testing of waters doesn’t just revolve around their efforts in music, but extends to their association with very art mediums while living in NYC. You lump that in with all their musical trials over the last several years, and you’re in for a fascinating show that will definitely leave you wanting to follow them around Austin for the week.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/02-Mind-Daze.mp3]
Here’s a list of their shows, for you stalking plans:
TUE 3/13 @ Whiskey Room (Sacred Bones event)
WED 3/14 @ Elysium (Sacred Bones official evening showcase, 12 AM set)
THU 3/15 @ Urban Outfitters, 2 PM set
@ Spiderhouse/29th Street Ballroom (Austin Psych Fest party, 6 PM Set
SAT 3/17 @ Red Eyed Fly (Strange Victory/Village Voice/The Wick party, 3 PM set)
Stephen Paul Smoker might not be a name you’ve heard of, but listening to this new track, I’m going to reach out and say he’s crafting some pretty interesting stuff. There’s a bit of dark psychedelia working in this track, but it still seems to maintain a very organized pop structure. At times you’ll find him meandering with minimal musical accompaniment other than some atmospheric guitars in the background; it creates quite a hypnotic little state carries you to the end of the number. Definitely something you should check out, and if you dig it, you can pick up his album Ripe Fruit on March 20th via Kilo Records.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Green-City.mp3]
Download: Stephen Paul Smoker – Green City [MP3]