After starting from scratch following a lineup shakeup, Deeper's new beginning proves to be a fertile dawn for the snappy Chicago group. On their self-titled record, Deeper chug ahead in a highly active and genre-dominating Midwestern lens of post-punk. Spiraling twin guitars and tight drum wallops pace-set the prescriptive lyrical quips of the Fire Talk Records release.
Described as a lone-wolf hippie from Tel Aviv, Shimshon Miel experimented with percussion and psychedelic folk in the mid-70s. Middle Eastern audio archivists at Fortuna Records present the hallucinatory self-released recordings from 1977 on Amsterdam To Nueiba featuring two of the original tracks and a deep 808 sub edit from label co-founder Kalbata.
With influences like Baris Manço, Selda Bağcan and Erkin Koray, Turkish Amsterdammers in Altin Gün were destined to find a vertex of psych, jazz, and folk energy. On their debut On out May 25 via Bongo Joe, a contemporary funk is fused with the early sounds of progressive 1970s Turkish dance music.
Maple Death Records have announced their latest two-side, two-track tape; the self-titled debut from the new duo Heart Of Snake featuring Vincenzo Marando (Movie Star Junkies, Krano) and Alberto Danzi. The Torino, Italy based group decussate Western guitar instrumentation and minimalist drone.
"Golden shine, desert trail, satan’s whiskers, palomino charm, western Piemonte"
Propelled by a genuine reflection of many of the beloved power pop groups of the 70s, Michael Rault delivers slick, high-spirited, and thoroughly dynamic songs on his new album, It's A New Day Tonight, out now via Wick Records.
Your record has an indiscreet focus on sleeping and dreaming. Why were these such fascinating concepts for you during the creation of this record?
I'm not really one hundred percent certain why the whole sleeping/dreaming motif came up. I think I wrote the song "Sleep With Me" first, quite spontaneously after trying to write a song for a few days straight with no real idea of where I was going with it. Eventually, I started to notice that the idea of dreaming vs. waking life kept emerging in the different bits and pieces of songs that I had been working on. After that, I made a couple more intentional efforts at writing specifically dream-themed songs.
I think I generally approach writing songs from a relatively subconscious place, just letting my mind run free and seeing if a recognizable form pops out of the mist at some point in the process. It wasn't until after finishing the album that my friend Meg Remy suggested that I read "Man And His Symbols" by Carl Jung, which ended up shedding some light on the whole thing for me - both on my writing process and some of the subject matter of the album.
Oh, yes. Of course - in a huge way. Previous to this album I had exclusively done digital recordings, so making the transition into analogue recording was a huge change for me. It was a bigger change than I expected. When you are recording to digital, you switch your whole state of mind, and you start to edit every little thing, and there is a tendency to get really lazy with performances, and every time you make a mistake you just move on - knowing that you can edit it, or patch it in, or combine a number of takes later to form a super take of all the best bits. But, when you're recording to tape, suddenly you realize that you need to play the song well - from beginning to end - like a live performance. Except - unlike a live performance - it will live on forever and become your album afterwards, and you have to stand by it and feel OK with it. So, the process really whipped me into shape as a singer and musician. I went to boot camp!
It's night and day looking at my abilities before this album and afterwards. On top of all of that, Wayne Gordon's engineering and co-producing added so much to the quality of the sound on the record, and having Gabe Roth and Neal Sugarman involved and overseeing the process added so many years of combined experience and overview to the mix. It wouldn't have been the same album without them.
What was the biggest difference between making the new record than for your first?
Sort of like I said earlier, but the biggest difference was having a team of people to work with who have so much experience and confidence in what they do. It simultaneously made it clear how hard I had to work to bring my performances up to the standards that the Daptone crew maintains, while also strengthening my confidence that I could do it - because they all believed in me and were into the ideas I'd brought into their studio.
What’s your process like for songwriting? Do you fill up a notepad or iPhone notes in a piecemeal fashion or are you more focused on finishing songs before starting the next? Is there a certain instrument you are most inspired to write on?
On this record I had a lot of bits and pieces floating around. A lot of unfinished guitar riffs and ideas - some with bits and pieces of lyrics attached, others without any lyrics. I'd record notes on my phone - for some reason I generally do videos, even though it is a larger file size. I think I like being able to see what I looked like at that point in time, and where I was - later when I'm looking back through months of notes. I still feel that the songs that come all together - lyrics, chords, structure - are the best songs usually, but on this album I got more into collaging different ideas together. Certain sections of songs started as pieces of other songs, or as stand alone works that got incorporated into other songs.
You opened some shows for the psych lords King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. How did your time watching those guys perform impact your live sets and songwriting?
I actually think the idea of collaging pieces of musical arrangements was an idea that I started to consider when we were on tour with them. They would have certain sections of songs that reoccurred throughout the course of their set - at least on that tour. It was really trippy and took me a while to notice that they were doing it, because I was seeing them play every night for a couple of weeks straight, and at first I thought I just recognized certain bits from the previous night's show. Mainly, the take away I had from touring with them was the same that I take from every great band that we've toured with, and that's just that I'd like to push myself to try to bring myself closer to their level of performance. King Gizzard is an insane live band. It's just so powerful.
What were some of your motivations and influences for the new record? How were your influences different while writing New Day Tonight compared to Sleep With Me?
I don't generally go into writing songs with any strong motives. Except maybe that I would like to make a song that evokes some sort of feeling and moves me on an emotional level in some way. The ideas that come out of the songs are more given to me, rather than me put into the song by me. At least, that is how it works when it is working best.
New Day Tonight came from a lyrical inspiration first - the actual phrase "it's a new day tonight" was the initial idea. Sleep With Me came with the chords and melody and lyrics all at once, or really fast one after another - I think it was the first and second verses and the chorus. Then I added in the middle instrumental section, which I wrote independently and realized it might fit well with the rest of the song.
Your music has a sense of nostalgia without an overbearing revivalist nature. Are you mindful about creating a totally unique sound or being intentionally individualistic or is the process more organic and simply a product of whatever you’re able to create in a certain moment of inspiration? Does music of the past play a significant role in your songwriting?
I love looking for inspiration in old records. Not because I want to try to make old music, but more because I feel that there is more room for me to take the ideas I hear and reimagine them for today. When you're listening to a new band - especially a new popular band - your hands are sort of tied if you want to take their ideas and adapt them for yourself. People are going to see that you are coming out of that band's sound, and you either have to accept always being compared to that band or you have to change it so much to avoid the comparison that you probably will lose the inspiration that you originally felt from it. In general though, when I'm writing - I'm not trying to ape anyone. I write my own songs, and then when I'm arranging and producing I might borrow some sounds from records that I love to bring it to life.
Dutifully channeling 70s and 80s English pub-punk, Freak Genes are everything you'd expect from a Syd Barrett or Buzzcocks record from their prime. Short, quit-witted, with warlike aggression, the band's debut Playtime flawlessly siphons the Manchester underground DIY scene through cheap amps and low-budget recording equipment.
A swift couple-months turnaround and the band already has their second LP, Qwak Qwak out in the world via Drunken Sailor Records. More professionally assembled with bigger synthesizer and drum machine backing, the group incorporates the weirdest components of late 70s punk, garage, and pop hooks into a one-stop package.
Just as most artists transform over time, Ryley Walker has adjusted from a mellow folk songwriter into a multifaceted vanguard creator. On Deafman Glance, his latest on Dead Oceans, challenging guitar tones tangle with casual, unbuttoned vocals singing conscious, plainspoken doctrines, synthetic drones slithering freely between. Since the intricate acoustic fingerpicking of 2014's All Kinds of You, Walker's writing has evolved to incorporate concepts from folk classicism, primitive instrumentation, experimental composition, and free-jazz complexity. Quite contrary to his junk food and nu-metal online identity, Deafman Glance presents Ryley Walker's sui generis nature.
Inducing a collision of bygone eras of film and music with neophyte sonic imagination, Tokyo's Videotapemusic is a dynamic purveyor of Japanese underground culture. Recycling old VHS tapes collected from closed rental video stores across Asia and sampling the material for video and sound productions and adding layers of jazz piano, steel guitar, trumpets, synthesizers, and vocal effects, Videotapemusic creates a timeless and original experience on Sourvenir, out May 18th via 180g.
楽しむ、友達 (Enjoy, friends)
Mike Donovan- Spiral Tee Shirt
The Nude Party- Poor Boy Blues
White Fence- Like That
Wand- Pure Romance
Lounge FM- Baby All Night
Katie Von Schleicher- Glad to Be Here
Iceage- The Day The Music Dies
Triptides- Strange Love
Sugar Candy Mountain- Split In Two
Ryan Pollie- Blackout
Cut Worms- Cash For Gold
Olden Yolk- Hen's Teeth
Caroline Says- Sweet Home Alabama
Nap Eyes- Hearing the Bass
Salad Boys- Divided
Gabriella Cohen- Music Machine
Forth Wanderers- Not For Me
Sam Evian- IDGAF
Kevin Krauter- Keep Falling In Love
Daniel Rossen- Deerslayer
The Pesos- Atomic Love
Bonny Doon- Part of Me
Michael Rault- New Day Tonight
Chicago punk outfit Negative Scanner have returned with their first single from their upcoming second full length Nose Picker out July 20th via Trouble In Mind Records. "Nose Picker" is brimming addition to the snarling, upbeat formula sustained throughout 2015's self-titled debut. They're just as rowdy, and even more invigorating.
Negative Scanner plays at The Empty Bottle in Chicago next Friday, May 25. Tix available here.
Recorded in 1967, Phil Pearlman (before recording as Relatively Clean Rivers) led a lysergic ceremony of kaleidoscopic canticles and tribal percussion susurration. The double-sided 12" is a prized relic of the 60s West Coast psychedelic narrative.
Gaze into the Pacific...
After a move to Los Angeles from her Philly home and a two-month residency in the Marin Headlands of Northern California, Mary Lattimore returned with Hundreds of Days, her third solo record of glittering ambient panoramas. Combining the intricate zephyr cast by her 47-string harp with echoes of electronic and guitar drones and vocal effects. Her second full-length LP on Ghostly International, Hundreds of Days is an intricate evolution of her hallowed entrancing compositions of congruous angelic abandon.
London's Ice Baths exhume the restlessly energetic underground sounds of Swell Maps and Television Personalities on their self-titled debut out now on Blank Editions. Seamlessly capturing the zeal of their live performances, Ice Baths brandishes their glistening guitar tones, stark reverberating vocals, tactful snaps of rabid grooves with ropy drones and rugged percussion.
Not since 2012's Hair have we received the bounty from the premier collaborators Tim Presley and Ty Segall. The next union of the garagey psych masterminds arrives with Joy out July 20 via Drag City. Six years later, the Ty Segall & White Fence brotherhood exists with copious sonic advancements and recording progressions that expand beyond the beloved lo-fi miasma into a refined cabalistic panache.
See it for yourself at this year's Desert Daze Music Festival at Moreno Beach in Lake Perris, California.
The Garcia Family has released a 5LP box set of early Jerry Garcia recordings from the days prior to the formation of The Grateful Dead. Jerry's old time and grasser days are on display in a vividly clear and rare collection of early 60s material captured from birthday party, coffeehouse, and other informal stripped-down solo gigs and with groups like Sleepy Hollow Hog Stompers and Black Mountain Boys. You'll get 3.5 hours of mountain instrumentals like "Salt Creek" and "Raw Hide" and country blues gold like "Deep Elem Blues" and "Rosa Lee McFall."
Indulging in the sun-bleached tones of 60s psych, surf, and garage, Dutch home-recorder Jellephant's latest record Skeletons is the prolific artist's most consistent work though the recognizable and evocative fuzzy blur remain intact with a delightfully semi-pro control.
Scraped from the dregs of the virile DIY post-punk scene in London, Early Adopters is the first proper release from Dairy Classics out on the chief purveyors of underground London sounds, Blank Editions. The record, 22 tracks of pure grit and riff, was recorded in one "Zywiec and 7-Up fueled day."
Buoyant and elegant, the latest atmospheric electro-acoustic collection from Les Halles is a lithe soundscape of bleak serenity. Zephyr, out now on Not Not Fun, is the return of Lyon's Baptiste Martin after a sabbatical from recording. It's a meditative cascade of flutes, airy panpipes, delicate chimes, and a mirage of delay distortions.
Lay Llamas take cosmic psychedelia to new heights both literally and sonically. The title for their latest record Thuban is borrowed from Arabic for the word used to describe a former celestial guiding star closest to the North Pole. In pondering its galactic trajectory, it's plausible to expect it won't return to its previous location for another 20,000 Earthen revolutions. Nicola Giunta of the northern Italy kraut-psych group wonders if the inhabitants of the current age are even able to identify such a beacon or if an empyrean signal has any significance at all anymore.
Returning with Thuban, out June 15 via Rocket Recordings, Lay Llamas have pursued their own guiding light to shepherd an unrelentingly hypnotizing version of cosmic psych and kraut that pulls in free jazzy gonzo horn squawks with motorik beats and Afrobeat rhythms.