Wednesday, March 25, 2015

-valis Pick of the Week



Hail Voyagers! Our Pick this week comes from Leicester, England: Children of Leir! They've recently released their second long-player, II, (a/k/a horse cover,) via their Bandcamp page.



A duo consisting of Stuart Gray and Gregg Hunt, this outing sees them furthering their musical interests into virtual soundtrack, (mindtrack?,) areas. By this I mean there's a cinematic quality to the music on offer, especially in album opener "Drowning In Fear," which at nearly ten minutes gives time to develop a feel for where the pair are headed. They maintain a consistency of sound throughout the other six tracks, including previous B-side, "Children of Leir." The savvy listener will pick up on multiple genre/band cues which makes this one a worthy forty minutes again and again. Where are they taking us next?



Listen:


***

You can hear the archived version of the radio show Trip Inside This House on KDHX any time you want to stream it up to two weeks past a show's original air date. GO HERE.

Friday, March 20, 2015

-valis Pick of the Week



Hail Voyagers!!! Our Pick this week, from France, is: Arnold Fish! The nom de guerre of Fabien Versmessen, Arnold Fish first released In The Land Of The Elephant Blues some time last year but it's been picked up by Greek label, G.O.D. (Garden Of Dreams) Records, for proper release on CD as well as a limited run of vinyl.



Stylistically mining the same deep vein which finds Jacco Gardner, Balduin, and Dr Cosmo's Tape Lab, (all celebrated previously here,) plying: that peculiar and particular strain of English baroque psychedelia from 1968. Easily categorized as pastiche, Arnold Fish -like the others mentioned before, does so in a manner which bursts the shackling constraints of such categorization. He's serious. It shows in the sounds. It's anachronistic. But the damned thing works! From start to finish this is one hell of an album, on multiple levels. (Identify them your own self.) Me, I say: Oui! Plus, merci....écoutez:




Go FISH!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

-valis Pick of the Week



Hail Voyagers! Our Pick this week comes from Sydney, Australia, (a veritable HOTBED of neo-psychedelia right now,): The Grease Arrestor! The quintet have just released their second long-player in a year's time, Volume Two, available via Bandcamp.



Rick, Ryan, Sam, Liz, & Josh, are out there pushing boundaries, and -I suppose, are stoned. Immaculate. At least that's what it sounds like: a band in the vortex where the conundrum of being in control and letting go collides. This isn't chaotic mind you. Not at all. There's measurement here, in their abilities to bring forth the sounds they're hearing in their heads, and the way they go about preserving it for our enjoyment. While influences abound, subtly and not so, it's ultimately OUR own listening which defines who those influences are. (It was ever thus.) Add The Grease Arrestor to a LONG list of bands to watch, now and in the future.

And, while you're in the watching mood, watch this:


...and then try this:




Brilliant.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

-valis Pick of the Week



Hail Voyagers! Our Pick this week, no strangers to these pages -they were a Pick of the Week almost one year ago exactly, from Zaragoza, Spain: My Expansive Awareness! They've just released their self-titled album, available through Bandcamp.



The band certainly live up to their name on this eponymous release. A full-on sound storm of psychedelia from Spain, (and we need more of it!)In a year's time the quintet have aimed for the heart of the Sun and in the offing produced an album of what, to me, seems remarkable in both content and construct. The album lurches out of the gate with opener "We Are Stardust." Insistent drumming and treated vocals provide the launch pad for the intermittent guitar attacks. From there the nine remaining tracks build on said opener and treat the attentive listener to a talented band hitting their stride. Recommended!




The band will be a part of the Lisbon Psych Fest, April 10-11..!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

-valis Pick of the Week



Hail Voyagers! From Glasgow, Scotland, comes our Pick this week: The Mushroom Club! Their new release, EP2, was just set free a month ago.



Together Paul McCabe, Stevie Kearns, Blair Miller, Seb Jonsen, and Grant Cowie, have put together a 5-track head trip lasting longer than some bands' albums. I hear quite a lot of Spacemen 3 in their style, especially on the nearly-eight-minute "Dreams," and "Oh God." If that name drop gets you excited I think you'll enjoy strapping on the headphones, lighting up the hookah, and gaining admission to The Mushroom Club. (The password may be "Buckfast!")

Listen:





Best wishes to the band as they open for Dead Meadow, alongside fellow Glaswegians Cosmic Dead, in three weeks at the 02 ABC2 in Glasgow.

***

You can hear the archived version of the radio show Trip Inside This House on KDHX any time you want to stream it up to two weeks past a show's original air date. GO HERE.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

-valis Pick of the Week



Hail Voyagers! Our Pick this week calls Oakland, California, home: Mondo Drag! Their self-titled release just came out last month on Kozmik Artifactz and is causing quite a stir in all the right circles. Find it here.



With a sound which harkens back, in many ways, to the '70s, intentionally or otherwise, they manage to create a big sound in that space between your ears. Three of the five original members remain and form the core of this powerhouse, (indeed for my money guitarist Jake Sheley may be the second coming of Paul Kossoff!) Also, to these ears, they've not lost anything in their sound with John Gamino managing vocal duties. A move made necessary when the band lost two original members back in Iowa, where Johnnie Cluney, (original chief vocalist,) still resides and makes music under the Bedroom Shrine name.
Opener "Zephyr" confirms the '70s throwback sound homage with a chugging keyboard line that'd make Jon Lord proud. "Crystal Visions Open Eyes", the second track, opens with a propellant beat by new drummer Cory Berry, with a swirling big ballroom feel and Sheley's magnificent playing near song's end. I strongly encourage readers to give this album a listen and judge for yourself. Finally, I'd be remiss if I didn't state, for the record, my favorite track: "Shifting Sands" is a five-headed hydra of krautrock insistence, a la Neu, and never lets up. Witness:



And here's "Zephyr"

Catch them in the Bay Area on Friday, Feb. 27th, at The Brick & Mortar, with Cosmonauts and good blog pal Al Lover!



Wednesday, February 11, 2015

-valis Pick of the Week



Hail Voyagers! Our Pick this week comes from the banks of the Volga: Cosmic Letdown! Cheboksary to be exact. Their debut album, BeHepa, (Venera,) is out now and available via their label Opium Eyes Records/Bandcamp



The band, Artyom Yegorov - sitar, guitar, vocal; Tosha - drums; Roman Prokhorskiy - bass; and RIFF - percussion, guitar, certainly create whipsmart riffs and melodies carrying listeners to the outer reaches of inner space, much like the spacecraft the album's title is taken from. Well worth a listen and satisfying on repeat visits!



Listen to "Мэри", ("Mary):



and here is "Mope", ("The Sea"):



I'm unsure if they've taken their name from The Warlocks track, from their Phoenix album, but Cosmic Letdown sure do shake the dope out!