The Golden Dregs is the project of London's Benjamin Woods. On his debut Lafayette, simple, psyched out melodies play out in effortless style much in Velvet fashion. Recorded and re-recorded several times since 2015 between different studios and bedrooms in the UK, Lafayette's final form is a beguiling reward.
The prolific masters of modern psychedelic rock, King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard returned to Brooklyn for three nights of sell out sets at Brooklyn Steel. The Australian band is touring America after releasing five new records in 2017, including Polygondwanaland that was given away for free to any private pressers or independent labels interested in creating their own King Gizzard limited edition vinyl (190+ variants exist on Discogs to date).
On "Numbers Game," the third single from Chris Crofton's debut Hello It's Me, the Nashville-by-way-of-Los Angeles stand-up comedian turned smoky room crooner funnels the frustration of a dysfunctional romance into a poignant letter of uncertainty. Crofton's rollout, which has included tracks featuring Jim James, Houndmouth and Kacey Musgraves band members, soundtracks his witty vulnerability and sober-eyed self-reflection.
On their newest EP, SCENT compute pop music through an expired processor with a beautifully glitched culmination of lo-fi effects and hyper-modern sound sculpting. ROADSIDE CHERRY EP unlocks a duality of low resolution indie rock and light-speed cyber-pop
Five years removed from releasing new music proved to be no detriment to Melody's Echo Chamber's spellbinding psychedelic sorcery. On Melody Prochet's latest record Bon Voyage, the French musician's trademark swirling enchantment returns with enrapturing synth sequences, swift peel-outs of experimental psych-pop, and fantastical good-trip lyrics.
Since 2010, in the late days of Northern California springtime, Huichica Music Festival has presented one of the most finely curated music events found in the country. Nestled within the Mayacamas Mountain Range about 35 miles north of San Francisco, Gundlach Bundschu's estate vineyards host two days of programming of legends and budding talent playing stages designed for intimacy. This year's festival presented by Eric D. Johnson, Jeff Bundschu, and (((FolkYEAH!))) included performances by the iconic Jonathan Richman, Linda Perhacs, Acetone, and Calvin Keys along with unforgettable sets by Cut Worms, Vetiver, Fruit Bats, Cass McCombs, King Tuff, and Iceage. Huichica Music Festival offers a relaxed and no-frills opportunity to see performances by some of the most important figures in independent music on wonderfully undersized stages with bottomless world-class red and white wines at your disposal.
East Coasters, fret not. The same minds behind the Sonoma, CA experience present Huichica East happening in Hudson Valley, NY on August 24-26. Tickets are available and an incredibly diverse and exclusive lineup is awaiting on the farm.
All photos by Ruchita Lalmalani
The glo-fi sparkle of Hoops' 2017 release Routines is present but subdued on Kevin Krauter's Bayonet Records debut, Toss Up. Different than with his Indiana indie rock band, Krauter's solo songcraft sounds more mature and sober but with an equally blithe and laid back delivery. Toss Up follows his 2016 EP Changes and ventures beyond the tranquil folk, leaving behind the youthful frustrations for full-bodied, fully-formed expression with cinematic execution on tracks like "Keep Falling in Love."
Mel & Kim is Mel Johnston and Kim Foxen. On the singing duo's debut single "Bad Man" produced by Dala Records' Billy Aukstik, the Brooklyn-based independent label's Motown revival is strengthened. The duo's vocal virtuosity is fused with the Hive Mind Recording studio's mid-century groove to transmit ultra-modern political protest through retro sound waves of early soul standards.
The acid folk pilgrim known as Arthur Ahbez, hails from Auckland, New Zealand, or so it's rumored. His internal compass points to the same deep wilderness traveled by his 60s folk rock predecessors. Following an overgrown path, his second record Volume II harvests sitar-rich neofolk and seraphic horn sections to map the troubadour’s psychedelic sabbatical.
The best-known Latvian avant-garde outfit, NSRD was comprised of Juris Boiko and Hardijs Lediņš After both men passed away in the early 2000s, their catalog found a new relevance with the rise of appreciation for psychedelic and minimalist leftfield recordings. Eno meets Eastern European darkwave.
Purchase The Workshop For The Restoration Of Unfelt Feelings out now via STROOM.tv
Eunice Collins- At The Hotel
Kansas City Express- This Is The Place
Winfield Parker- Shake That Thing
Friday, Saturday & Sunday- There Must Be Something
The Hamilton Movement- She’s Gone
The Realistics- Brunswick
Down Beats- Why Do You Love Another
Hart Shorter- Let’s Get Our World Together
Louis Curry- God’s Creation
Young Ladies- I’m Tired Of Running Around
Known in France as “The Giant,” Bernard Estardy utilized his CBE studios to churn out hits for Françoise Hardy, Serge Gainsbourg, and the Swedish cowboy himself Lee Hazlewood. Fragments D'une Empreinte Magnétique is a collection of recordings created by the producer between projects with his historic list of clients from 1966 to 2006. Hear the after-hours sounds of Estardy’s studio via Gonzai Records.
It took finding an organ dating back to 1642 for Ellen Arkbro to achieve the tones required for her latest composition For Organ and Brass. The Stockholm-based composer uses sustained drones from brass horns and the Hans Scherer Organ at St. Stephen’s Church in Tangermünde, Germany to explore "tuning, intonation, and harmonic modulation." Arkbro describes the work as "very slow and reduced blues music."
Purchase Ellen Arkbro's For Organ and Brass out now via Subtext Recordings.
On Technicolor Paradise, Numero Group soundtrack a sonic getaway to a long-lost Pacific fantasyland. Across the triple LP release, coconut-flavored jazz, bikini-clad surf, and coral-colored orchestral soundscapes set the tantalizing mood of the collection of rare and long-out-of-print exotica tracks.
Purchase Technicolor Paradise out now via Numero Group.
Bridging ambient music and songwriting during the eighties D.I.Y. lofi movement, Jan Van Den Broeke assembled soft electronic arrangements with breezy and lighthearted lyrics to create an intensely personal sound. A career-spanning compilation, 11000 Dreams covers over 30 years of music covering the ambient and song recordings from several of Van Den Broeke's groups.
11000 Dreams is out now via STROOM.tv
If you’re around long enough, things will change. It’s the calculus of the human experience. Neighborhoods, friends, mentalities. For Sam Evian, maybe it was the commercial whitewashing of his Brooklyn block, a revolving door of friendships, or just the feeling of aging on his body and soul. You, Forever is Sam Evian’s sophomore record out today via Saddle Creek. It's a return to his trademark patient and crisp analog soul-rock with a matured and conscious sagacity.
The single "Health Machine" is about a rejection of the typical rock and roll road warrior diet and lifestyle. Would you consider yourself health conscious? Has your physical and mental health state been different for your new record writing and recording cycle?
I’m not overtly healthy, but as a I grow older, I feel the effects of my abuse. I definitely drink too much. I quit smoking last year and it has been amazing. I suppose I’m trying to shape up, you know?
What are your strategies for keeping your health machine functioning properly while you're out on the road?
Health Machine is actually a fictional thing. I wish it was real. I dreamt it up when I was shopping for vitamins at CVS. Looking back at my taxes, I spent a lot of money at CVS last year. I always buy that zicam stuff. It kinda works!
You, Forever is your latest record out June 1st on Saddle Creek. It seems to be heavily focused on personal responsibility, deliberate living, and reckoning with being the sole liability for your own decision-making. Did anything in particular drive these themes to the forefront of your imagination over the past year or so? Have you struggled with this realization or found inspiration as a songwriter in the mantra?
Well, I'm getting older. I guess I’m trying to get my shit together…but not in your traditional job/house/marriage sort of way. I just want to be a good person, and I want to feel OK in my day to day life. I want to bring something to the table for my peers and the society that I am a part of. I don’t think it's a struggle. I'm super privileged..and I’m happy to have the opportunity to try and be my best self.
Several of the instrumentals on the new record were captured on a 4-track in your parents' home in North Carolina. How does working with such a limited piece of recording machinery help you seize your ideas and get them to the finish line; typically having a polished and tight quality?
I love the limitations…it helps me move quick and not get caught up in insecurities. In our digital world, I think it's important to create small systems for ourselves. Humans seem to do best when they have a challenge to work out. Otherwise we will just flounder around in the unlimited digi-art universe.
The record was cut to tape at a house in Upstate NY you and your bandmates retreated to with an 8-track reel-to-reel. What was the energy and pace like during the recording? Were you pushed for time or wide open to explore and be patient with the process? What made Upstate the destination for recording the album?
We had a decent amount of time..about 12 days. It's definitely on the short side. I had two reels of 1/2-inch tape, which allowed us to keep one take per song, with no edits. So we did about one song per day. It was intense. In the morning, I would play the demo for everyone. Then we would start playing around with parts and form. We’d rehearse for several hours and then have a nice lunch. Then we’d cut into tracking and would finally arrive at the ‘perfect’ take around dinner time. Then we would all hang and cook lovely food together.
It was important for me to take everyone out of their element a bit..and upstate NY is so perfect for that. It's only 2 hours from the city, so we all could just hop in the van and be there within an afternoon's drive. I suppose I was inspired to consider that area because I was heavily into Music From Big Pink.
You, Forever is also partly about separating some preconceived notions you had about what living in New York was like versus the reality you've discovered there. What was your initial idea of what "life in New York" was supposed to look and feel like? How is it actually different? What parts were you correct about?
It's been a wild ride. I moved to New York in 2011 with a thousand bucks in my pocket. I thought it would be enough dough to get started. It wasn’t… I slept in a practice space, on friends' floors, in the back of Glasslands. I’ve come a long way since then. I’m not sure I even remember what I thought it would be like, but it was so exciting. It still is. I love New York City. A lot has changed; venues, friends, bands have come and gone. A lot of neighborhoods have been wiped out and whitewashed. There is a Whole Foods and an Apple store in Williamsburg but I’m still here.
You've opened for Whitney, Lucius, Allah-Las, Big Thief and others over the past couple of years. How did those experiences impact your own performance skills? What are the most critical aspects of performing to maintain a captivated audience and to convey your songs to a room both big and small?
I learned a ton from those pals! Besides the nerdy guitar tone zone stuff, the main take away is that on the big picture, I have to be super present and committed to any performance. I can’t get caught up in the little things that go wrong. I have to connect with people, and it's fun to do that. It's a trip to look out and see someone mouthing the words to your song. I never thought that would happen, but it does! I’m lucky to have this sort of interaction with complete strangers, and I don’t want to let anyone down by being off my game or too in my own head.
From Swift Drifter, the upcoming debut record from Boone, North Carolina based songwriter, Shay Martin Lovette, "Join Me" is an introduction to Lovette's angst and longing born from a mystic outlook on devastating and transformative experiences.
"In a small town on the border of Colorado and New Mexico a young woman is falling in love with a character in one of her romance novels. The year is 1988 and on a dreary Sunday evening she finds herself at the local laundry mat. Tired and soothed by the sound of surrounding dryers she falls into a dreamscape of love and loss as her fantasy becomes reality even if only for a short time."