On "Battle Funk," New York psychedelic warriors NYMPH return to provide a set of freak explosions, mountainous crescendos, Afrobeat extensions and pointillist guitar dots. It's crazy but it all feels intensely spiritual as the track glides around in a tangled cluster in sync with the noise-weapon vocals of Eri Shoji. Some mind expansion necessary, but the payoff is worth it.
Whether emotionally or physically, Pure X's Crawling Up The Stairs is a record about being crippled. Their debut Pleasure, all fog, mystery and summery escapism, was like a nice spritzer compared to this new one's multi-bottle emotional severity.
Using the studio as more of an instrument, the Austin group shows great range throughout Crawling. "I Come From Nowhere" is a frozen-heart torch song. "Things In My Head" is about that fantasy relationship that eventually crushes you under its inherent intellectual stupidity. "Never Alone" is a bleary-eyed ode to having a friend in loneliness that brings to mind masters-of-sadcraft like Red House Painters.
It's a big step forward – the kind that I wish more bands would make on a second or third album. With such a readymade, enjoyable formula already set, Pure X could have just knocked another one out and collected some new summer babes. They took a risk, though, opening their wounds and letting the blood seep into a unique psychedelic puddle.
I got the band (Nate Grace, Jesse Jenkins and Austin Youngblood) to go On the RCRD and tell us more.
Life changing record for you was…
JJ- rain and tears by aphrodites child (mp3)
NG- TVZ live at the old quarter (cd)
Matty Tommy- Lefty Frizzell self titled (Lp)
AY- Willie nelson- yesterdays wine (LP)
What people, outside of music, have influenced you over the last year?
NG- Carl Jung
What did you learn about yourself and/or the world at large the last time you made a record?
AY- how badass I am
What gift would you most like to possess?
NG- being able to change water to wine
What quality do you admire most in a song?
What's your take on the music business in 2013?
JJ- posers vs composers
Best instrument ever invented was....
Ay- pedal steel
JJ- oberheim 4voice
On "Sandy," Jackson Scott continues the wide-eyed bedroom Pink Floyd obsession that has propelled his initial blitz. There's a sweet, stoned, nocturnal ethos on display here – one that lets you soak in the pleasant escape of hummable psychedelic-pop from an era that's overly mined but still has its relaxing, romantic rewards.
From a deadpan joke in his film Coffee And Cigarettes, Jim Jarmusch has turned his iconic dialogue into a rumbling post-rock band called SQÜRL. On "Pink Dust," he shows it legitimately rules, too. The song is a psychedelic mountain with huge, patient guitars and drums just as gigantic. Similar to instrumentals on the soundtrack to The Limits Of Control – where this formation made its first appearance – this track is a natural electric atmosphere to get lost within.
TEEN will trip you the hell out, and it feels like a kind massage to the brain all over their upcoming EP Carolina. Here, they're covering kindred spirits Rain Parade and getting some extra shred assistance from The Men's prodigeous Ben Greenberg. It's all twinkling arpeggios and interstellar tones – perfect for getting glazed eyes.
Gun Outfit, from the name on down to sound, captures that '90s ethos where using the five minutes before a recording session to shoot heroin is better than tuning-up your instrument properly. "Lau Blues" consists of sludgy, raw psychedelic leather with a muddy heaviness. Hard Coming Down, their third album for PPM, is out April 2.
White Fence mastermind Tim Presley knows how to craft warped, warn-in music that feels timeless in its inherent understanding of psychedelic rock's DNA. "Fragility," a new B-side for his "Pink Gorilla," single is all loose bottleneck guitar and sun-kissed harmony that sounds like it could lead to a meltdown if it all wasn't so chilled-out.
Psychedelic, industrial and garage rock merge into an alien form on the spacey "Dark Corners" by Sonny & The Sunsets. "I can't wait to find my little place in your weird world," sings lead singer Sonny Smith, which is about as appropriate as it gets for this one. Hear more on Antenna To The Afterworld – the Cali band's new one coming in June.
You should count Austin dreamers Unknown Relatives into the 'return of rock' revolution. "Another Place" is prime jean jacket music with tons of room sound and those cool big sky guitars. It makes my face feel fuzzy.
TEEN welcomes us back to their bleary psych-rock world with "Carolina" – the title track from a new EP coming May 28 on Carpark Records. This one chugs into the cosmos with some monster riffage, twinkling guitars and loud, fuzzy synths that sound like they're coming from another room.