Hailing from Bryansk, Russia, Jet Plane play an interesting take on post rock, taking the usual structures and frameworks and rebuilding up some self-described low-key drama. It’s a (here it comes) tasteful approach, stripping away some bombast they don’t need to get their point across without diminishing impact or emotion. Jet Plane incorporate some cello work from guest Alexey Kovtun that heightens the theatrical and melancholy haze while remaining understated. Coupled with a languid flow they work into All The Static Stars, Jet Plane lift themselves a touch off the ground, gliding over any overly methodical trappings.
Air Threads :: Jet Plane :: All The Static Stars (2012, Jet Plane)
U.K. trio Stubb bring home a mash of bone-crunching and nut-busting stoner and acid blues rock with a heavy-duty fuzz-laden 70s vibe. Dead set and driven to ‘continue the journey of the power trio through the 21st Century,’ Stubb has a big enough set of stones to fill your bell-bottoms to the brim. On the surface, it may not seem very… English…butStubb don’t lower themselves to aping anything ‘American’ and they certainly aren’t above kicking some of it square in the teeth. The mix from T. Dallas Reed is thick, heavy and despite all the hair growing on it, crystal clear in getting the point across. Guitarist Jack Dickinson not only delivers the licks, but has a great set of pipes perfectly married to the crunch laid down by him and cohorts Pete Holland and Chris West. Stubb is also available in some CD/LP bundles if you’re so inclined. Get some…and paint some flames on it.
Certainly seems that’s more than enough. 2016 pt II & III wallows in a druggy lo-fi pool of smoke that’s not necessarily a case of less is more, but rather doing more with less. Coming from various locales over time in Texas, Cavedweller may seem like a small operation, but Michener and his rotating assists put everything about right where it needs to be to inflate his reverbery space in size to the point where you’re looking at his home-state from the other end of the microscope. Cavedweller isn’t about how big they can be. It’s about creating a feeling of echoing ambling space no matter what the size of the room, or garage, you’re working in.
Smoking 3-song EP from Santa Ana-based Plant Tribe. This one, this one is American. No mistaking it. That’s not to say Plant Tribe don’t mix in some grooves beyond our shore, and skies. Plant Tribe take a classic 60s/70s groove and bend the frame psychically and psychedelically. Why wouldn’t they? They’ve got their feet firmly entrenched in some road tested, and no matter what they tell you, still abundantly fertile soil. With eyes and cortex pointing high, the tendrils lift up giving Saturation the flexibility to take in the wind and bend with it, from then to now and back again. A bit back Plant Tribe was a Revolt of the Apes Band of the Weekfor damn good reason, and since my simian brother speaks the language like no other, I’m going to lift two of his laser-beamed terms and butt them up together; off-kilter boogie-woogie. Dig in and take root.
4-cut outing that’s perfect for finding some dubby respite from the Summer furnace, courtesy of Adelaide’s Major Crimes (Ben McLaren, Callan Visser). I’ve never been in a monsoon, so I’m not sure how much they can break the heat or induce some chill, but this one does. A fairly simple concoction, each ingredient is added just right for your cocktail; dashes of electronica flavors, wah guitar, funky percussion, keyboards…all in the right measure. Far from being slight in any way, MONSOON is an interesting concoction; refreshing and slightly menacing in a slippery way. Lesser hands would have gone for pure atmosphere over any substance, or gotten betrayed by its allure. Major Crimes don’t and part of the appeal of MONSOON, and it’s strength, is that you can enjoy as a blast of cool air, or the subtle gusts of something stronger.
Finnish psychedelic outfit Hisko Detria doesn’t shy away from its influences. With a title like “Poserslave” they seem happy to acknowledge the debt they owe to Neu!, while the rest of their 4-track demo continues in the vein of some of the great Krautrock bands of the past. Long cuts with endless interstellar guitar/keyboard exploration carried along by a repetitive rhythm section and delay-laden vocal outbursts.
Hisko Detria is landing on the Free Music Archive just in time for your Summer roadtrip, so grab the whole album and get on the road again. We hear there might be some new recordings coming down the pipe, so keep your ears peeled.
Hey Mother Death (Denma Peisinger and Laurence Strelka) mix French, English, poetry and spoken word, minimalism, ‘avant-guitar exploration’ and a whopping dollop of drama into a dark, and often stark, debut. Spontaneously composed and recorded, Hey Mother Death EP may come across as some gothic cabaret, but any kitschiness or insincerity is left at the gate by deconstructing some of the traits that lure you inside in the first place: a sense of the foreign and exotic, melodrama and flat-out mood. The scratching and scrawling guitar carries as much emotional heft as the vocals in the same way their minimal approach, and execution, seems to fill up the spaces and also leave plenty of room to move, and use your own imagination. Black Monday conjures up some sort of ghostly narrative out of seemingly formless instrumentation, whether you understand French or not; Desert of Trees and Water moves into English without changing the tone or intent of anything. Decidedly, and artfully, unhurried Hey Mother Death EP moves at its own pace and focus in any language.
Desert of Trees and Water :: Hey Mother Death :: Hey Mother Death EP (2012, Hey Mother Death)
Portland-via-Brooklyn’s Jeff Beam, makes the case that his Be Your Own Mirror ‘sounds like a kaleidoscope’ and that ‘you might just like it.’ That laid back, open invitation vibe carries through from the lighter songs to the ones that work up to a lof-fi lushy dissonance before parachuting down for the next round. The prominent presence of the acoustic guitar winds through, keeping things hazy, sprightly and rooted. Light but not slight, Be Your Own Mirror tumbles through its folk tinged psych pop reflecting a kinship with outfits like Woods, MMOSS and even some of Beck’s dusty, ramshackle constructs. Written and performed by Beam, Be Your Own Mirror is available via BandCampas a download and cassette.
Dead Sea Apes continue their prolific run with the release of the long-gestating Astral House. Following the lead of Lupus, Land of the Sun fromKeep Off the Grassand a Kraftwerk re-imagining onHead Music, Astral House again takes their sound through inversion and subversion. Where the new full-length Lupus revels in a meditative and contemplative vibe, Astral House builds a sense of urgency. And considering the recent run of releases, it’s fitting that Astral House presents a more active Dead Sea Apes release. Each outing has shown a different side of DSA, slowly unfolding a deeper well of influences, mission statements and breadth. Astral House is no different, made clear from the stomp of opener Bikini Atoll. Using dynamics as much as sheer bulk to build drive and thrust, Bikini Atoll also, simply, brings the rock in more places than one. Much of DSA’s heft has been built around a sonic ebb and flow that uses expanse and space to define their size, but on Bikini Atoll much of the focus is on the fire, rather than the embers. Dead Fingers Talk dips into their spooky vibe mastery of other releases, but that overall pressing drive is there, making itself known through more tension-and-release than sheer brute force alone. The title cut collapses all this into a slow rumbling climb that builds into a release of its own without relinquishing control, a trademark of DSA. From the more overt fire of Bikini Atoll to the introspection and deceptive heavy hush of much of Lupus, DSA always have a firm grip on the wheel without veering into the ditch of rigidity. Though the origins of Astral House may precede much of what has seen the light of day and it does give a certain evolutionary footnote to their sound release-to-release, the real revelation is how it keeps pace with their run of releases, blurring any timeline restrictions, and how Dead Sea Apes continue to re-investigate exactly what their house is built on. And stands for.
Bikini Atoll :: Dead Sea Apes :: Astral House (2012, Dead Sea Apes)
Trio It’s Not Night: It’s Space make their introduction with East of the Sun & West of the Moon, a four cut EP that takes up residence in the space between said bodies. Logically, if you keep going east and keep going west, you’re eventually going to meet up. I think…INN:IS give it a shot and meet up at sweet spot between the reach of space/psych rock and the slow-burn of stoner rock’s heft. East one way and west in the other; there are a lot of miles to cover in there and INN:IS don’t blow all the fuel during launch. East of the Sun & West of the Moon moves at a deliberate pace, a march almost in many spots, pushing forward and upward, with plenty of drive in the engine room. Focusing on what goes on once you’re up, and staying up, East/West opens up as you get in, revealing more as the stars go by the driver side window. The heavy rooted side of the mission gives INN:IS a grounded urge that should appeal to voyagers who want to keep at least one foot on terra firma while checking their compass direction. Describing their flight plan in the Kingston/New Paltz Times, guitarist Kevin Halcott summed it up saying, “We’re interested in mysticism and abstract ideas, but we also have an appreciation of natural forms…A kind of earthiness, maybe.” Indeed…and that earthiness has its own tectonics with INN:IS often sounding like they’re chewing up some of their own tail in the grind for the energy to shift those masses around. It’s a great intro EP that stands on its own, and promises a much deeper campaign on the next flight, in either direction.
Scary Poppins is an arbitrary starting point to a wealth of material from Australia’s Rowan Galagher, masquerading as The Mad Pride. Or vice-versa…Touches of the fragile detachment of Radiohead and a spectrum of dramatic emotion all take up residence under an ominous sky. Scary Poppins is a brooding and somber set that plays out very much at its own pace, without resorting to melodramatic dirge. The songs are weighty, but the message is carried over on tunes that, as sober as they can be, aren’t impenetrable or cold. As the name implies, there’s a thread of the unstable that weaves through everything that’s ‘scary,’ but it also worms its way around and in to elicit empathy going in both directions. Galagher drives the narrative with a deep fret in his voice that has quiver and allure that reminds me of Chris Connelly, working his own ruminations on outings like Largo or under the guise of The Bells. Of course that leads right to Bowie, who also comes to mind from the vocals to some of the dramatic flare. There’s also an initial iciness to The Mad Pride that soon opens up once you’re in, but there’s a good dose of chill that lingers, in stark music and the vocal’s subdued pleas. Those looking for, or fond of, the Mary side of things will assuredly find it all off-putting and one-sided. But for every high there’s that low, and it usually has far more interesting things it has to say. Or it might go mad.
Brooklyn’s Eidetic Seeing return after their s/t EP with the voracious long-player Drink the Sun. Produced by Evan Sobel of La Otracina, Drink the Sun isa blissed and blitzed attack of controlled squall and ‘acid drenched’ pyrotechnics. Though Eidetic Seeing’s assaultwas recorded live and uncut, Drink the Sun still captures their abrasive and distorted heft, but with slightly more focus and drive that does nothing to temper their assault. If anything, it makes it clearer and all the more jagged. Where Eidetic Seeing delivered on the promise of their name, Drink the Sun does the same with the foundation laid down by that debut. Even on the more moderate cuts like No Pilot, the key is their grind, or the threat of it. Drink the Sun chews up the playing time, and itself in some places, churning out waves of heavy, raw psych. Paul Feitzinger (drums/synthesizer) and Danilo Randjic-Coleman (bass) provide a backbone and a guard rail to hold onto as Sean Forlenza’s solar-flared guitar implodes and explodes. The guitar is right up in and slapping your face, and may seem too prominent at first, but after you get the gist of the mission, it all pools together into a tasty psych stew. Like No Pilot, it’s not all in the red or out of control, though if you blink you might lose that place to catch your breath. The title cut goes for a more subdued and controlled campaign, while the revisited Variations on a reinterpretation of Lord Śiva gets a new leg up slowly edging out any obstacles and building up. It’s Brick Out is a tight barn-burner with Forlenza’s guitar carving and hewing out a mountain of sound and creating a space for the bottom-end to take root. The fantastic Deep Falafel Pocket returns as well for round two, still in fighting shape and sending surges out poking holes in the ether and filling up the vacuum with its own kind of mass. Even down in the deepest nooks of the furnace, with everything cooking and the wall of sound crashing down, Eidetic Seeing are steering Drink the Sun right where they want it to go and where it can leave the biggest footprint…here on their scorched Earth or elsewhere…out there…
Primeribneon/Waves and Radiation :: Eidetic Seeing :: Drink the Sun (2011, Eidetic Seeing)
Øresund Space Collective has a recent live show at BETA in Kobenhavn, Denmark up for grabs at the venerable Internet Archive. Recorded on 2/24/12 it’s another heady slab of improvised, intergalactic jams.
Jam in B :: Øresund Space Collective :: Live at BETA (2012, Øresund Space Collective)
Seven Long Years unleash some groovy psych pop on Chained to Your Love, conjuring up outfits like Yardbirds on through to Roky, among others. Fuzzy, bouncing and packed full of hooks, Chained to Your Love churns out nuggets one after another, whether it’s the horn pumped stand out call to arms Take Over the World, thefrenziedbeatnik beached Dance Around the Fire or the smooth hum of Stop What You’re Doin’. Las Vegas Jesus gets a little personal with its chug, but leaves the real soul to closer A Very Easy Explanation, where the horns and keys get to workagain. It’s eccentric enough, vocal stylings included, to leap-frog over gimmicky rehash that has no personality making Chained to Your Love a tight record that doesn’t skimp on the hooks.
Stop What You’re Doin’ :: Seven Long Years :: Chained to Your Love (2012, Seven Long Years)
"This show is 110% … one of the most consistently awesome programs we have come across."
The Sunrise Ocean Bender sets sail every Monday morning, 1 – 3 a.m. on WRIR lp 97.3 FM, to find something for your ears, and something for your head … From psych to prog to pop and whatever tributary we can find on the way … and right back around again. There might be a map, but the destination is up for grabs. If it all goes right, we may just get lost. Meet me at the muster station … it might be a long week.