Monday, 23 December 2013

The More You Know: Guild's Take on the Solid-bodied guitar

In the early sixties, Guild Guitar Company were looking for a way into the electric guitar market, after years of making predominately acoustic guitars. Breaking away from the Gibson and Fender school's of guitar bodies, Guild looked to build a genuinely astetically-innovative guitar which wasn't like anything anyone had seen before. Decidedly, Guild put forward three guitar's into production; the S-50 named the Jetstar, the S-100 named the Polara, and the S-200 named the Thunderbird. All incorporated the companies signature solid-body design of the time and are now considered to be rarities, especially the S-200, a guitar which is played by The Black Keys very own Dan Auberach.  

Written by Dan Sharman.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Night Beats Interview: Tarek Wegner talks the gear of Sonic Bloom!

Catch up with the Psych-Garage rock trio, Night Beats, as Tarek, the band's bassist, gives Do You Even Psychedelic a quick run-down on the production of their latest album, Sonic Bloom.


"Let's start with some background on the band. Where/when did you guys meet up and start playing"
"All 3 of us in met up in Seattle around January 2010."

"Where do you guys draw influences from as musicians, what influences the music which you then create and whom inspired you to pick up your respective instruments?"
"Probably just Magic/fate."

Danny with his Danelectro-made Silvertone 6-string.

"For the new material off your latest album, Sonic Bloom, the tones have been varied and interesting both live and in the studio. Tell us about some of the guitars(including basses)being used on-stage and in the recording room (with addendum regarding other instruments, e.g: Drum kits)?"
"Pretty standard stuff mostly. The Basses I used were an Eastwood High-flyer, a Fender P-bass and a Fender Mustang bass. I remember the guitars played were a Danelectro twelve-string with built in effects, a Fender Stratocaster, a Valco-built Airline Town & Country, a Guild Jet-Star, and a Squier mustang. The drums were pieced together differently for each song really."

'64 Guild Jetstar

"What amps and pedals are being used?"
"A '70's Fender Twin-Reverb (same one used for guitar on the Black Lips album 'Let It Bloom'), A '70's Fender Bassman combo, A '65 Black-face Fender Bassman, An old Peavey, A Fender Deluxe-Reverb reissue, and a Vox AC30. The pedals used were: A Digitech whammy octave, A Boss tremolo, several delays, several distortions, a Danelectro Spring King, a tremolo, a chorus.

A Dunlop Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face, A '60's home-modified Dunlop Germanium Fuzz Face, A 1970's Mosrite Fuzzrite, A modified 60's Mosrite Fuzzrite, and an unnamed home made fuzz."

'65 Fender Bassman
Mosrite Fuzzrite
Dunlop Geranium Fuzz Face

"What were the recording sessions for Sonic Bloom like? Where/how is was recorded, what in-studio effects did you have, where was it mixed, ect, ect."
"It was different for every session. We did it pretty clean to the tape with the exception of a couple of tracks with use a tape echo. It was recorded by Kyle Brunette in Tacoma, WA."

"What lessons have you learned from the albums you've made, including Sonic Bloom, and what future projects does the band  have planned?"
"We can't exactly say."

"Lastly, where can people find out more about Night Beats and show there support? Maybe you could tell us about  your upcoming trip to south Africa."
"You can come to our shows, we play and travel enough. Wish Nelson Mandela could of made it to one of our South African date's."
Do You Even Psychedelic? would like to take the chance to thank Night Beats for conducting this interview. 

Interview Conducted By Dan Sharman at 07/12/2013.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Thee Dangs Dangs: For The People Review

Earlier this year I was contacted by Colorado 4-piece, Thee Dangs Dangs, and, I was ecstatic even after just a single listen of their new full-length, For The People. The indie quartet's psychedelic sounds are perfect for injecting some much needed life and energy into any lazy evening or afternoon, so get ready to hit the surf and chow down on an LP as fresh as Baltimore crab - Review by Daniel Sharman.

Thee Dang Dangs have been going for a little over a year now, and it that time, seen exponential growth as song writers and musicians in general. For The People further demonstrates the band's versatilities and song writing capabilities. Songs on the new record range from straight up sun-skewed surf to spaced out psychedelic breakdowns. The album can go fast, but isn't afraid to slow things down a step when it feels it needs to. Songs often swiftly combining multiple pacing elements, creating varied and interesting rhythmic juxtapositions. 

In addition to the slick speed changes, the LP also sets itself apart from the crowd in part to it's unique vocal compositions and harmonies. The band's vocalist, Rebecca Williams, relying heavily on ecstatic vocal flares(rounded off nicely with the use of a Holy Grail reverb pedal) to convey the emotion of a song and snugly fill the spaces the rhythmic section of the band leaves empty. 

Basking in classic garage and surf influences, the album has a very pronounced feel and a very particular vibe/feeling that can't all together be described in words. One notable aspect of the album, though, is it's consistent sexual undertones. Many references can be seen to this throughout the album's runtime, such as the almost orgiastic vocal flares, voluptuous lyrics(see 'Wrap my lips around your spine' and 'She Moves') and orgasmic rhythmic build-ups, courtesy of the heavily reverberated guitars. 

A mixed bag in terms of genres, this album shines at many moments. It's more classic, by-the-book songs, very much leave an impact as the hits of the album, these being, in my opinion, She Moves and Lips Around Your Spine, both opting for a full out, rock n' roll sound. Lips Around Your Spine especially stands out, showcasing the bands ability to create garage hits as well as surf ones, the driving progression showing us that 4 chords is still king.

However, this album isn't a one-trick pony, it also shows evidence of the bands' wider influences. Take Pieces Of You for example, showing the bands' more delicate, atmospheric side, an obvious hat-tip to many of the early jazz and big-band records. Furthermore, the LP's tenth track, Kingdoms Lost, is psychedelic throw-down with a fantastic fuzz-filled bass-line to boot.

If there was one criticism to be said about this album is, the album's fifth track, Landlocked Surf Rock, is a bit of a red-herring in an otherwise focused album, not really bringing much to the table, but not enough to make you want to skip to the next song. Luckily, this is one of the shorter tracks on the album and doesn't keep us waiting for too long, plus we soon are drawn back into the action by tracks such as Breathe On Me Young Frankenstein and Dust In The Mojave, so this could be seen as just another device to keep our attention. 

Critics Summary: This is an album that continues to amaze and inspire throughout it's runtime, showing us the multiple musical persona's this band is able to undertake whilst managing to remain within their own sound. A band that is quite clearly more than the sum of their influences, I cannot wait to see where Thee Dang Dangs go next and to see what they will produce, all I know is this reviewer will be behind them all the way... Power to the people and their quest for creativity!

Also remember to buy a full copy of the album (where you can hear all the tracks for free): Here!

Remember to like the band's Facebook page: Here!

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Travelling Circle: Interview + extensive rig rundown!!!

From left to right: Dylan Maiden; Josh Schultz and Charlie Freeman.

Last year pysch-rock power trio Travelling Circle released their latest album, 'Escape From Black Cloud'. A fantastic fuzz driven thrill-ride, the LP was notable for it's inspiring tonal flavours. Wanting to find out more, Do You Even Psychedelic? caught up with the band to find out more about the gear used on the record...

(This article is a follow-up to DYEP's review of the aforementioned 'Escape From Black Cloud', which can be found here.)

Note: images taken from Google Images, some instruments/pictures may vary from that of the actual band's gear arsenal. 

What guitars were used (with addendum regarding other instruments)?:
1967 Gibson SG
Dylan: I played my original Cherry Red 1967 Gibson SG Junior. It has a single P90 soapbar pickup.
The guitar speaks for itself and practically plays itself.   

Josh: I played an early stop sign badge Gretsch drum kit. Some unusual elements of my kit include a very resonant 24-inch bass drum and 14-inch deep marching snare (Ludwig blue and olive badge). I use a (synthetic) wool lined cork bass drum beater, which makes for a very boomy sound. Personally, I love my ride cymbal, I have had it since I was 12 or 13. But what about the bass, Charlie?

Charlie: I played a Fender P-Bass with flat wound strings. I much prefer the tone of flats over rounds and I think they suit our sound really well. On “Willow Tree Fair,” I played a Farfisa student piano that Josh gave me. Thanks again Josh! Dylan and I played a Fender Rhodes Piano on “Newborn Shadow” as well.

Early stop-sign badge Gretsch drum kit
without Schultz's modifications.
Josh:  I found that thing on Craigslist for only $25 and it 
made it on the record!  Sounds great too! I had to take the Long Island Rail-road out to Ronkonkoma to pick it up. Actually scoring my drums involved a Long Island trip as well. The guy I bought them from had been in a band that released some major label records a long time ago but he wouldn't tell me the name of the band! 

Dylan: This album also features Theremin arrangements by Matt Dallow and additional keyboard arrangements by producer extraordinaire, Gordon Raphael, who played an Arp Odyssey.

Josh: This is the synth part on “Tears From The Soul.” I actually didn't know Gordon used an Odyssey, I just knew it sounded great. Sweet!!!!!

What amps and pedals were used?:
1960's Ampeg Gemini I
Dylan: I used a dual guitar amp configuration. On the left was a 90’s reissue Fender Twin Reverb and to the right a 1960’s Ampeg Gemini I, with my SG inputted through the reverb/tremolo and accordion channels, respectively. My pedal arsenal included a 1980’s Electro Harmonix Big Muff, mid 1970’s MXR Flanger, 2000’s MXR Carbon Copy, 2000’s Electro Harmonix Hum Debugger and 2000’s Morley Splitter, which allowed me to create a stereo and quadrophonic effect on demand, ranging from reverb, fuzz, delay to flanger.

Josh: Dylan is a feedback wizard! I love the Gemini. I have been looking for a Gemini II, which has a 15-inch speaker, for my own dark purposes.

A vintage Kustom 250 Tuck & Roll.
Charlie: Dylan’s set-up is pretty epic. I played through a late 60’s Kustom 250 Tuck and Roll amp, running through an early 70’s Plush cabinet. I used a 1970’s Ross distortion pedal on some songs but very minimally.

Dylan: Yeah, but when you did use that Ross pedal Charlie, it was pretty fucking awesome. Minimal, but fucking awesome.

Details about the Escape from Black cloud sessions: e.g: Where/how it was recorded, ect. 
Josh: Both our records were recorded at Seaside Lounge in Brooklyn, NY with our friend Mitch Rackin. That place is the best!!! 

Dylan: Yes! Polish sandwiches and beers a block away.

Inside Seaside Lounge recording studios, Brooklyn.
Josh: They record to tape and have tons of cool stuff like the Roland Chorus Echo, a Rhodes, a Wurly, a Hammond, spring reverb, plate reverb -everything! Mitch is the best too!!! He put out a record a few years ago with a band called Heavy Hands (not the Scottish HC band) which is great if you can get your hands on it. His list of recording credits is long and he has worked on some sweet stuff. We recorded the basic guitar, bass and drum tracks for Escape from Black Cloud all in one big room but with a lot of mic options, room mics etc. Then Dylan and Charlie recorded their vocals and Charlie added some great keys. The Theremin was recorded in my apartment. We found Matt Dallow via craigslist and he came in and did a great job. Gordon Raphael took the tracks from there and mixed them and added a few bits somewhere between Berlin and Texas. He did a really great job. I am really happy with how it all turned out!

A Roland 'Space Echo' unit, just one of the many cool things
at Travelling Circle's disposal when recording the new LP. 
Dylan: We kind of removed ourselves from the whole process of post-production and just left it to Gordon. When I first heard what he had done I was a little challenged to be honest. There were aspects I was uncomfortable with in terms of the overall depth. But in retrospect he really helped capture what we were thinking and feeling when we wrote those songs.

Josh: Mixing remotely was a real interesting process. We had to be pretty sure of the changes we asked for because then Gordon would have to go back to work and then get us another version. He was really easy to work with though and patient with us. He put more bass in the mix than probably would have been done if we were all sitting with him in the control room, and when I heard it I thought wow, these songs really move!!!! It changed my thoughts about the place for bass in a mix. Gordon deservers a lot of credit for the density and drive these mixes have.

Follow up and new material: e.g: lessons learned, new projects,ect.
Dylan: Right now I'm working on songs for a new project in Australia. The style is very song-writerly and sort of arrangement-driven with elements of cinema, country, folk, psychedelia, space rock and undeniably some vestiges from my experiences with Travelling Circle. It’s all virtual session work on Protools at the moment. But once the songs are ready, I'm sure I’ll be calling on Josh and Charlie for assistance. The three of us are kindred souls when it comes to writing music. We share similar musical propensities. When I'm playing with these guys, they just know what to do.

Youth of the Beast's latest album; 'Seventy Seven'.
Josh: I am going to be playing drums with some friends on some recordings they will be releasing in the next few months. Their band is called Youth of the Beast. It’s not psych but it has been fun to work with them. I also put some combo organ tracks down on the demo's. I will be curious to see if the organ parts survive to the final mixes!  They sound good though so maybe they have a 50/50 shot at surviving! I constantly make noise at home but nothing really shareable. I picked up a Realistic Concertmate MG-1 for a great price recently so I have been messing with that a bunch, going down the dark road of analogue synthesizers. I'm certainly up for helping on some D. Maiden jams! We (Travelling Circle) got an offer to do a song for a comp from the great psych radio program Trip Inside This House from Saint Louis. I haven’t actually discussed it with Charlie and Dylan yet. Do you guys want to do it?

Charlie: Let’s do it! I've been working on some projects at home too, trying to strengthen my song-writing skills. They’re pretty much just simple, folksy, hippie songs. I would love to try some long-distance recording sessions with these guys though. I think we could come up with something pretty far out.

Dylan: I'm definitely up for some tri-coastal session work.

Josh: Well in that case, keep an eye out for our track on an upcoming Trip Inside This House compilation!  

You can find the whole of Travelling Circle's new album here: Here!

This is what we said about Escape from Black Cloud: ''★★★★ - Very good, This album exceeds expectations in nearly all areas, begging the question, why is this the first we've heard of Travelling Circle? Get ready for a fully-stereo, fuzz driven thrill ride that will sit snugly into your Sunday evening and beyond...and yes, it's true bypass.''

Like the band's Facebook page to keep up with events: Here!

Do you even psychedelic? would like to thank the band for this interview.

Interview conducted by Dan Sharman, posted on 16/11/2013.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Escape From Black Cloud by Travelling Circle (album review)

Find yourself craving desert rock with a east-coast edge? Look no further than the new Traveling Circle LP, Escape From Black Cloud, ''an alchemy of disparate musical ingredients that will awaken your senses, clear the dormant catacombs of your mind and spin-cycle your neural fabric.'' - Review by Daniel Sharman.

Released in: 2012
Genre: Electric Progressive psychedelia/Desert rock
Record Label: Nasoni Records
Medium: Black Vinyl, Coloured Vinyl
Recorded at: Seaside Lounge in Brooklyn, NY

As of late, I've recently found myself craving some fresh, interesting desert rock to listen to, partly due to my recent interview with Nik Rayne of the fantastic Arizona desert-psych outfit, The Myrrors. To quote Dexter Romweber of the Flat Duo Jets, 'some things come your way when you want 'em', and much to my surprise, they have indeed it seems. 

Now, when I was first contacted by the Circle's drummer, Joshua Schultz, I wasn't quite sure what to expect judging from the band's name and ascetic, but like most bands, the music truly spoke volumes incommunicable by any of it's creators. Travelling Circle is one of those bands truly worthy of the phrase 'you've never heard of them but, you really, really should'. 

When I think Escape From Black Cloud, I think of a mellower, more melody-focused version of a Wooden Shjips LP. The outfit seem to evoke and forge the same sort of lulling, hypnotic vibe and spaced out grooves as the San Francisco four-piece but, by using a different mixture of ingredients.

Driving, sustained guitar leads are lush and plentiful in this album, often becoming the main basis for a songs rhythmic and melodic section, and rightly so, perfectly complementing the airy, falsetto vocals. It is clear that the band's guitarist, and the whole band in general for that matter, put a great amount of thought and care into their 'sound' and set-up, often being very tasteful with the effects imposed on the guitar sections and being sure not to over-expose instruments to modulating devices.

Even though opening tracks such as, Higher and The Candlelight Sway, provide intense, high-calibre bouts of fuzz and volume, later tracks such as, Newborn Shadow, adopt a calmer style, bestowing upon the listener a welcome change in pace and making the later tracks, which share the similar sound of the first two tracks, infinitely sweeter and more enjoyable.

It is also worth noting that most of the songs often tend to indulge themselves in their instrumental sections, normally dwelling on the relationship between the guitar and the drums. The drums, which, may I add, take a welcome approach tonally, not often heard on many rock records, opting for more of a Arabic, exotic sound.

If I had to harbour one complaint about the album, I would comment on the repetitiveness of the vocals, but due to the space-rock inclination of the band, simple lyrics tend to lend themselves to the rest of the music's rhythm section. And, even though the album does start to trail off towards the end, you have to understand, it's that kind of party.

If you find yourself, like me, yearning for a sizeable dose of solid, refreshing, effects-friendly desert-space rock, look now further than Escape From Black Cloud. Not only will this LP keep you entertained for a healthy 35 minutes, it's title track Higher has a vast amount of re-playability.

Critics Comment:  This album exceeds expectations in nearly all areas, begging the question, why is this the first we've heard of Travelling Circle? Get ready for a fully-stereo, fuzz driven thrill ride that will sit snugly into your Sunday evening and beyond...and yes, it's true bypass.

You can read Do You Even Psychedelic?'s interview with the band here!

You can find the whole of the new album here!

Like the band's Facebook page to keep up with events here!

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

The Myrrors Interivew: Interview/Gear Review with Nik Rayne!

The Myrrors, hailing from Arizona, U.S.A, have been the muse of many a psychedelic and desert rock fanatic for the past five years now as the popularity of their first record, Burning Circles In The Sky, spirals forever upwards. Amongst other things, fans of the band, including myself, have always been fascinated with how the 'Circles' EP was recorded exactly, I caught up with the bands guitarist Nik Rayne to find out more...


Dan: What guitars were used (with addendum regarding other instruments) on Burning Circles in the Sky?

Nik: Since the band's earliest days my mainstay electric has always been a Gretsch Double Jet. It's got a strong, sharp attack and, perhaps most importantly, a Bigsby tremolo that I really abuse the hell out of. For a while I was messing around with a Fender Stratocaster, but it just never did it for me. Acoustic guitars are been more of a mixed bag. The title track on Burning Circles In the Sky was, to the best of my memory, recorded on a cheap Washburn steel string. Between the band we have a rather large and motley assortment of stringed instruments. In fact, a lot of our gear was either salvaged or entirely homemade. The dulcimer that leads "Nobody's Children" even has some scratchy handwriting inside reading "made on a rainy day November 9, 1979" if your out there, mister Robert Sitnek, thank you for the wonderful instrument! It's always a beautiful thing unearthing historical footnotes on old pieces of equipment like that. Grant [Beyschau, drummer] and I really have a passion for finding and learning unusual instruments, and we've recently started incorporating a lot of new textures into the music. He plays a righteous free jazz sax on our latest single "Ramona Parra," for example, and I've been working out the charango and quena, which I picked up back when I lived in Chile.

Dan: Additionally, What pedals and amps were used on the recordings of Circles, Solar Collector, and Ramona Parra?
Nik: I've actually gotten a lot of mileage out of a little Fender Eighty-Five that I picked up at a thrift store several years back, and it's that amp which is most likely featured on Burning Circles In the Sky (in any case it was most certainly the one used for the guitar parts on "Ramona Parra" and the Solar Collector tape). The rest of the band has been on me for a while now about getting a new amp, but I have to admit I've grown close to the little bastard. It doesn't look like much, but it packs a punch. As for guitar effects, I'm very fortunate in that most of the ones I use are handmade by a friend of the band's named Claira Safi, including the fuzztone that drives "Warpainting." I've got an echo box of hers that I use that has so many unmarked controls that no one really knows what it's capable of! Hell, even my power supply comes from her worktable. I'll confess that I do still use a stock Dunlop Cry Baby and an Electro Harmonix reverb on occasion, however. I know the former made it onto "Plateau Skull."

Some of Nik's Custom Pedals

Dan: Furthermore, what can you tell us about the Circles recording sessions?

Nik: The first record, Burning Circles In the Sky, was recorded at my home studio back in Phoenix, Arizona in rather piecemeal fashion over the course of a summer. That record was, more than anything, us attempting to find our way in the studio, and some of the material reflects the rather tentative, experimental nature of the proceedings. The rhythm tracks were usually laid down first, then the rest of the instruments would build up from that. A few of the tracks were already live staples, such as "Mind's Eye" and "Warpainting," but the rest was thrown together as we recorded it. Though the record turned out pretty firmly structured, we have always been much more about free the end we only ever included one or two tracks from the album on any given night's setlist, though I suppose we'll probably keep playing "Warpainting" for a while, as that one seems to be pretty popular.

Dan: Follow up and new material?
Nik: After reflecting back on the material after five years there is a lot about the recording process I would have changed, but in that way I suppose it is an honest reflection of the band at that early stage of development. We relied far too much on post-production and multi-tracking in those days, and not enough on capturing what we really sounded like as a band. Fortunately we have almost wrapped up cutting our long overdue second album down here in Tucson, where I've been living for the past four years, and in my opinion the music is not only sounding a lot more interesting than that on our first record but also much more organic. The three jams on our recent cassette release Solar Collector are kind of an unpolished kodachrome of that new stage in our evolution as a group, I think.


The Myrrors have currently released a new single, you can listen to it here:

The Myrrors released 'Burning Circles In The Sky' in 2008, you can listen to it here:

To here more about The Myrrors new album, make sure to like their Facebook page.

Posted by Dan Sharman, 13:27, 28/08/2013.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Drone Head - The Janitors (album review)

After Drone Head's release on Cardinal Fuzz Records on the 24th of June, D.Y.E.P catches up with the Swedish duo's latest sonic outing.

In the past, psychedelic music used to be a bit of an obscure obsession. I remember those driven pre-digital days, traipsing across town and dale in search of the latest EVA '60s garage comp, the hours spent lusting after the ridiculously expensive in-store used copy of Kaleidoscope's Beacon from Mars at the local hip record emporium, or the excitement I'd feel hearing "Tomorrow Never Knows" getting a rare spin on the radio. But with the dawning of the internet all that has changed, with today's generation becoming spoiled for choice; music of a psychedelic persuasion(in addition to just the original '60s stuff) is hard to miss any more and, as the sold out crowds at Tame Impala's US tour bear witness, it all suddenly threatens to become a bit too predictable. 

Music of a psychedelically inclined nature is what Sweden's, The Janitors, deliver in spadefuls. Their new double-LP Drone Head (Cardinal Fuzz, CFUL008), pairs the duo's two 2012 EP's Head Honcho and The Worker Drone Queen into one glorious gate-fold package on white vinyl. Hailing from Stockholm, this duo play what they claim is "Swedish evil shoegaze boogie woogie and stökpsych a go go!" Now my Swedish is a bit rusty these days, but last time I checked, stök roughly translates as "mess." Although I'm not entirely sure what mess-psych is, based on repeated listens to the menacing beauty that is Drone Head, I'm fairly certain these boys are fully cognizant of the messy and messed up legacies of their preferred musical genre. Indeed, they create a convincing and recognizably "psych" sound on this record, and one that fans of the likes of Spacemen 3 and Wooden Shjips will feel instantly familiar with.

Other reviewers have also taken note of the dark edge to this duo's distorted sound, their penchant for overdriven fuzz and reverb, the booming and sinuous throb of the low end that anchors the buzzing whip of the chainsaw whine throughout each of the record's songs. Take note: if you like your psych-rock heavy and dark, with a bit of demonic quarter-speed Bo Diddley pounding through the wash and wave of the froth and fuzz, then there's much to like here. Take the booming drum-driven intro of a song like "Strap Me Down" for example; its propulsive howl, perfectly timed pauses, and horror-echo vocals are so pitch-reminiscent of the epic psych melodrama of the Angels that you'll be sucked in from the outset. The song ends with a swirling, crashing tide of hypnotizing technicolored shimmer that puts me in mind of the sort of 'we-have-lift-off' opus that is the Austin Fab Four's luminous speciality. The last song on Drone Head is "Nevereverism," surely an homage--surely?--to the tune of nearly-the-same name on Directions To See A Ghost, and as it builds from a deliciously menacing stomp into a shredding, sparkling, guitar driven whirl we're snaking our way to the back of the blue bus and beyond. 

Listening to this, and tracks like the magisterial "A-Bow," all twelve-and-a-half elemental minutes of it, I'm dragged up that familiar kaleidoscopic psych-rock road right to the top of Holy Mountain, and it's clear that The Janitors ride their influences for all to hear. There are a few surprises on this record. The "Strssmmnt Remix" of "Coming Down" for instance, strays from the tried and tested formula of most of the rest of the songs for a slow hybrid burn that fuses electronica and shoegaze and puts me in mind of some of the more fanciful Tame Impala Innerspeaker remixes. And although I say "few surprises" like it's a bad thing, for a lot of psych-rock fans of course, 'few surprises' isn't a bad thing at all. We are after all fans of psychedelic rock. We enjoy its signature moves.

But isn't that surely a part of the problem of the aforementioned main-streaming of psych, it running the risk of becoming a set of musical cliches (reverberated vocals here, drone bliss-out there, backwards guitar bit over yonder, nirvanayada, yada), sonic transcendence rendered as corny cosmic shorthand? Holy Mountain as theme park. But also, wasn't it ever thus( . . . The Black Angels, Spacemen 3, and Wooden Shjips, after all . . .)? Or just maybe I'm one Binson Echorec shy of becoming a psych cynic? For all that, however, I'll always ever be the sucker for the epiphanic psychedelic catch phrase, and The Janitors do these up in style, and then some--and with heart too, it must be said. Simply put, if you love the flourishes of heavy psychedelic drone-esque spacerock and shoegaze then you'll absolutely love this record too.

Critics Rating: ★★★ - Good, no new suprises here, but ticks all the boxes for someone looking for straight up fuzz-heavy, drone rock to relax to at the end of a long day.

Written By Grow Fins (Phil Dickson) on 19:38, 13/08/2013.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Song Review: Warpainting By The Myrrors

The Myrrors - Warpainting 
Album - Burning Circle's In The Sky (2008)

A small background of the Song:
If there ever was a song that captured the feeling of strolling through dusty, sun-scorched alleys on a baking summer day it has to be this, Warpainting, one of the best depictions of 'Desert Rock' to date. The band, formed by two friends when they were still in high school, self-released a 5 track EP and posted songs to YouTube. Whilst the band was on a hiatus, this 7 minute stunner gathered over half a million hits. Now the band has reformed and currently sought a new bassist, apparently working on several new projects. If this single is anything to go by, the future is immensely bright for the Arizona four-piece.

Analysis of the song: 
This sand-sodden symphony really highlights what psychedelic rock can be at times, a force which can expand the consciousness without the need for mind-altering drugs. Everything about this track oozes dusty desert-psych, including the album's cover artwork. The light shaking of a maraca, the searing tone of lead guitar, the gritty, reverberated lead vocals, the primitive, metallic sound of a droning drumbeat, this song has a whole host of psychedelic rock's common calling cards, including an explosive breakdown at 6:09, starkly reminiscent of a dust storm one may gaze at from afar on a desert plane.

Where to buy and other trivia:
- Following Burning Circle's In The Sky's success, the band have decided to put up a high-quality downloadable version of the album on their BandCamp, for more information click here.
- If you head over to the Band's Facebook page, there has also been talk about reissuing the album on vinyl and CD in a limited pressing. 
- The Album originally was originally put out by the band on 50 hand-burned copies, here is the original artwork that appeared on the digipak:

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Song Review: Crystal Anis by The Limiñanas

The Limiñanas - Crystal Anis
Album - Crystal Anis

Analysis of song:
When I was first introduced to this fantastic French psych-pop duo in March this year by Mojo Music Magazine, they likened the band to a Velvet Underground which had in it's ranks the massively influential Serge Gainsborough and 60's sex-icon Brigitte Bardot. This is by far the best description of the aptly-named Limiñanas I've heard to date, taking their name from the brother and sister which the band is comprised of, Lionel Limiñanas and Marie Limiñanas. The powerful, spoken-word vocals(tying in with the Serge comparison) accompany the thumping, driving, bass-line brilliantly, while shimmering, Farsifa chords propel the song forward into unexplored areas. As far as the spoken-word vocals are concerned(an obvious hint to the aforementioned Serge.G), I feel their foreignness gives them an inherit psychedelic value, but if one is a stickler for such things, research further and you may find psychotomimetic depths to fish-related tales of the European outfit.

It is worth noting that the band have produced songs with English vocals, so the decision to keep to their native tongue was a deliberate choice, one which I feel gives this single a very unique, continental vibe.

Where to buy a copy:
Crystal Anis is the title track of the Limiñanas 2012 LP, Crystal Anis. The LP was pressed on a limited run of 'gold edition' vinyl, only 199 copies where pressed, they are now sold out. However, a second pressing of the LP on black vinyl and CD is available from Hozac Records(the first pressings are now sold out from the official store, but may still be found on sites such as Discogs). The album is also available for digital download here.

Various vinyl pressings are available of songs from the album, most of which were pressed in different colours and quantities, some of which are now sold out according to Hozac Record's. 

Note: Some of Hozac Record's site pages are slightly outdated in their information.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

The Flying Eyes Interview

The Flying Eyes are a psychedelic blues rock band from Baltimore, Maryland, USA, who brilliantly merge Jimi Hendrix style riffing, gravelly blues vocals and thumping drum beats with the atmospheric, acid-driven melodies of the sixties. After the recent release of their latest album, Lowlands, I caught up with Elias from the band to ask a little bit more about their thrilling sound...

The band's debut album.

D: What are some of your main influences, it is often cited that the band shares similar vocals with that of Jim Morrison?
E: Undoubtedly we are influenced by the psych-rock legends from the late 60s-early 70s such Pink Floyd, The Doors and especially Black Sabbath. This was the first music that inspired us to play rock n' roll. But throughout our career we've picked up plenty of modern influences like Sleep, The Black Angels, Spiritualized and The Black Keys which are now equally as important to our sound.
D: The new record, Lowlands showed more focus than the first two albums, was there a conscious effort to find that Flying Eyes sound?
E: Whenever we start recording a record we want to make it better than the last one and the process of making Lowlands was definitely more focused and disciplined than ever before. But we didn't consciously think about "finding a sound". We always try to let the song writing naturally evolve without trying to push it in a specific direction. That's why are albums have a diverse feel to them.

D: What genre would you say your current records fall under?
E: Again, we don't really consider our own genre when we write music. We don't really want to to be defined in terms that might limit us. We definitely draw influences from shoegaze, doom metal and stoner rock but I think the best way to describe us, although it's broad, is "psychedelic rock". We always use psychedelic effects combined with driving rock beats.
D: You get a good variety of tones on your recordings, what are some of the pieces of gear you use when in the studio?
E: We used a variety of interesting vintage and modern amps on Lowlands: Fender Bassman, Fender Twin Reverb, Fender Concert Amp, Fender Super Sonic…as you can we are big Fender fans. Producer Rob Girardi also turned us on to some awesome effects he had in the studio: an Echoplex tape delay pedal, an old Fender spring reverb box which was perfect for warm guitar reverb. I also was given an 80s analogue synthesizer, the Prophet 600, which I restored and used on the record for some textural sounds.
D: After Lowlands, what can we expect from the Flying Eyes?
E: Over the past 3 or so years we've been slowly working on a different sort of album that we plan to release next. It’s mostly an acoustic album driven by acoustic guitars, banjos, minimal percussion and vocal harmonies. I play a lot of harmonica. If you listen to “Leave It All Behind” on our album Done So Wrong you’ll get an idea of what it sounds like. Country, folk, blues with some subtle hints of psychedelia. It’s very different but we are proud of it. We also have about 5 new songs written for the next electric album, but no concrete plans yet to start recording that one.

D: If you weren't musicians, what jobs would you be doing?
E: Well, we all have other jobs. Me and Mac work in the same divey Mexican restaurant/bar, Adam works at the Wegman’s sub shop and Will is a professional plumber. If I wasn't doing music I would probably be involved in some other performing art, most likely theatre. I studied theatre from a very young age through college and I’m still involved whenever I can be. But with The Flying Eyes being so busy over the last few years I hardly have any extra time. But whatever happens I'm sure I’ll always be performing on-stage in come capacity.
The Band's latest album, Lowlands.
You can buy The Flying Eyes latest album, Lowlands, here.

Interview conducted by Dan Sharman on 20:45, 06/08/2013.