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!

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