NEW MUSIC ∆ Zones

zones-real-time
Back in 2009, writer David Keenan coined the term “hypnagogic pop” to describe a new generation of experimental lo-fi musicians channeling the sounds of ’80s pop radio, New Wave, New Age and synth-driven VHS soundtracks into a form of neo-psychedelic music. Zones, the solo project of artist/musician Derek McKeon, is one of Toronto’s finest studies into that unique school of music. Crafting hazey, sun soaked psych melodies that coast through warbling dub and kraut grooves, McKeon’s music in Zones calls to mind a melding of early Ducktails and the twisted dub of Sun Araw. Much like his own art, McKeon’s music is a collage of psychedelic tropicalia.

Have a listen to Real Time, the debut release from Zones, which came out earlier this year on Heretical Objects. Zones plays the Holodeck at The Drake Underground alongside Doomsquad and Petra Glynt this Saturday as part of Nuit Blanche.

NEW MUSIC △ Kikagaku Moyo

kika

From the far east of Japan hails Kikagaku Moyo, a bohemian tribe of psychedelic rangers led by cheiftains Go Kurosawa and Tomo Katsurada. During the summer months of 2012, while sequestered among the foothills outside of Tokyo, the band was born out of a series of late-night jam sessions from which it seems they were able to tap into a uniquely cosmic domain of the Mind at Large. Inspired by the music of their forefathers in Acid Mothers Temple, Kikagaku’s trip expands its journey through ambling West Coast psych jams ala The Electronic Hole and Eastern-guided melodies like those of The Incredible String Band. We’re still coming down from their spellbinding performance at this year’s Austin Psych Fest.

Kikagaku Moyo’s sophomore album, Forest of Lost Children, comes out May 20th on Beyond Beyond is Beyond Records.

 

Boozoo Bajou ∆ 4

boozoobajou4
As a music journalist, I receive a rather large number of press releases and pitches from a countless number of publicists and PR agents. Over the years, I’ve learned to sift through the sheer mass of these releases, preferring only to pursue musics sent by those with both a curated focus and a discerning taste. Some of these folks are constantly at the cutting age of “21st century music,” and falling behind on the bands they are representing means falling behind on what is current and relevant to the most discerning, critical-minded listeners in today’s vast musical world.

 

If music was to follow the global changes that have taken place over the past 50-odd years, what “should” it sound like today? I sometimes feel like I’m behind the times, simply because I’m still listening to bands that use instruments, and have real people playing them. Walk into these avant-garde venues in the deepest and most subterranean rooms in Brooklyn and, these days, and you’ll typically find one person controlling an array of equipment that is only sold in stores that opened within the past 10-20 years. Stores that are completely foreign to me. Take the guitar store down the street from my apartment, for example. Years back, it was a guitar store and a used guitar store split in two. Now, the used side is gone and it’s been replaced by a “studio” department that sells everything from oscillators to monitors to samplers to stuff where I really don’t know what I’m talking about. It’s a far cry from the four-tracks and basic studio equipment that The Beatles revolutionized on Sgt Peppers, or the drum machines and flangers of the 70s and 80s.

 

Continue reading

Feature: A Conversation with Richard Gibson of Optical Sounds

optical-sounds-psych-pop-vol-2
Since 2008, Richard Gibson and his brother Robert have quietly been operating the underground Toronto-based psych label Optical Sounds. A genuine individual who’s passion for music seeps from his pores, Richard has forged a scene–largely centered around the Kensington Market bar The Embassy–that recalls the prime of the psychedelic heyday.

Home to many of the city’s finest psych and shoegaze bands, Optical Sounds brings together the kind of artists who self release their material, but wave a collective flag and gig constantly around town with one another. A musical collective in its truest sense.

Earlier this week, Optical Sounds released Psych Pop Vol. 2, a compilation featuring songs from artists on the label along with some that are part of its extended family. You can hear the compilation for free via Bandcamp or streaming below. You can also see many of these bands performing live this Saturday night at the compilation release party taking place at The Great Hall.

Richard was kind enough to take a bit of time to chat with us about the label, himself and the new compilation. Read on for the full conversation after the jump.

Continue reading

Dog Gone Presents: February 2014 Mix

Virginia-stringband-1937

There’s no doubt about it, folks. A cold, snowy winter is upon us. If you’re like me and you read the Old Farmer’s Almanac, you would have seen this coming. They predicted the whole thing. As you are surely aware, heavy snowfalls call for plentiful jams and loads of hot soup. Perhaps a tea and a Victoria sandwich too.

Enjoy this month’s mix.

Download: Dog Gone Presents: February 2014 Mix

Tracklisting after the jump…

Continue reading

NEW MUSIC: Morgan Delt

LP.jkt.template

Early last year, California native Morgan Delt self-released a very limited 6-song cassette titled Psychic Death Hole, which offered up the first taste of his unique home-recorded psych experiments. Today, Trouble in Mind releases his his debut self-titled album, building those initial experiments into a psychedelic masterpiece that traverses nearly every corner of the genre’s 40 year history. Essential references like The Byrds, Love and the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band arise frequently throughout, but Delt goes beyond, employing distant eastern melodies, tribal hand percussion and Faust inspired kraut journeys, all of which mesh together in an interweaving web of distorted, fuck-up sound. It’s as though Delt has studied the inners of psychedelia since its very beginnings, learned the formulas and techniques to recreate its best moments, and then ran them all through a half broken cassette player. The album as a whole is warped—at times it can even sound like you’re hearing a band like White Fence coming through the particle board walls of the bathroom at a DIY venue, while others recall the likes of R. Stevie Moore’s lo fi recordings. Throughout the entire album, Delt’s music ebbs and it flows in an acid-drenched river of psychedelia–unstuck in time, unfettered by rule, organically and vibrantly alive.

Purchase Morgan Delt via Trouble in Mind.

Dog Gone Presents: Best of 2013

old_radio_studio

Well folks, here we are again looking back on another year gone by. Fresh out of the frost, here’s the list of albums that received the most play around these parts in 2013. You’ll also find a mix containing some of our favorite songs from 2013 at the bottom.

entrance-band-face-the-sun-cover

The Entrance Band – Face The Sun

Four years on from the release of their previous full-length, LA psych juggernauts The Entrance Band returned with an album built upon the personal struggles and spiritual transformations experienced by all three band members during the extended period of gestation. Balancing both sides of the journey toward the light, Face the Sun finds The Entrance Band in a more transcendent, melodic space while maintaining a hauntingly beautiful darkness in its undercurrent. Songs like “The Crave” and “Year of the Dragon” depict the introspective journey through the tunnel of addiction and sorrow, while “Fine Flow” and “Fire Eyes” channel a more cosmic side with the interplay between guitarist Guy Blakeslee and bassist Paz Lenchantin at near subliminal levels. A journey to the depths of the darkness can be known to strip away the heart and soul of a band, but in the case of Face the Sun it seems as though the members have returned to the surface with a brighter and more inspired outlook than ever before.

(originally published in Relix Magazine)

white-fence-cyclops-reap

White Fence – Cyclops Reap

Once again, in 2013, the ever-prolific Tim Presley released an album loaded with lo fi, garage-rock nuggets that sound like they could have been released over 40 years ago. Recorded during a 4 ½ year span and largely inspired by the loss of his father, Cyclops Reap strips away some of Presley’s trademark punk murk, making way for a more spacious, folk-inspired sound. Surely one of the finest to come out of the White Fence cannon.

comedysoundtrack.11183v9

Foxygen – We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic

These two young California sons managed to meld the ideas they’d been crafting while separately away at college into a beautiful piece of ‘60s inspired paisley psych-pop. As history often shows, combine two unique songwriters, especially one who possesses a highly volatile personality, and magic is bound to happen. However, tragedy and conflict are often bound to follow.

Endless-Boogie-Long-Island

Endless Boogie – Long Island

There aren’t too many bands that still embody the old New York spirit the way Endless Boogie has for the past decade. Long Island, the band’s third proper release for No Quarter, unapologetically churns and tunnels its way through the group’s signature, riff-caked groove, tugging at their namesake for 80 minutes of stoned-out bliss. You either love ‘em or you don’t. They certainly don’t give a shit.

steve-gunn-time-off

Steve Gunn – Time Off

For nearly 15 years, New York-based guitarist and songwriter Steve Gunn has existed on the periphery of the contemporary avant-folk scene, acting as a solo artist and touring member in Kurt Vile’s Violators, as well as one-half of the Gunn-Truscinki Duo. But on Time Off, Gunn’s immense talent comes into full view as he leads a trio of old pals through a series of six extended folk journeys that touch on everything from Pentangle to Fahey to Indian Ragas to the Grateful Dead. Gunn’s soft, slightly haggard voice is showcased on songs like the heady acoustic jam “Lurker,” while the guitar interplay on “New Decline” would have Bert Jansch and John Renbourne singing praises. The title, Time Off, perhaps is not so much a suggestion that these songs were recorded during a particular downtime, but rather a nod to the music’s timelessness—where time can simply be switched off leaving music as the only dimension in which events may take place.

(originally published in Relix Magazine)

wooden-shjips-back-to-land (1)

Wooden Shjips – Back To Land

For Back to Land, the new album by West Coast Psych amblers Wooden Shjips, leadmen Ripley Johnson and Omar Ahsanuddin packed up and moved to Oregon to record their first set of tracks outside of the Bay Area. With the lush climate and natural surroundings inspiring their musical direction, the pair tapped into a more grounded, organic sound without diverting the course of their modernist space-psych core. Throughout each the album’s eight tracks, a distinctly brighter flag flies atop the Shjip, as melodies step out into the forefront, washing away much of the sledge-y murk that cloud their previous recordings.

(originally published in Relix Magazine)

night-beats-sonic-bloom-art

Night Beats – Sonic Bloom

Recorded in a Tacoma, WA warehouse, Sonic Bloom album perfectly captures the Beats at their drugged-fueled, raved-up best.

TySegall_AlbumArt_Sleeper
Ty Segall Sleeper

California’s garage rock son turns in his electric and fuzz pedals for a simple acoustic on the emotionally-charged, introspective Sleeper LP. Recorded following the loss of his father, Sleeper showcases the unadulterated beauty of Segall’s knack for melodious songwriting.

Kevin-Morby-Harlem-River

Kevin Morby – Harlem River

Harlem River is the debut solo album from Woods bassist/Babies guitarist Kevin Morby. Aided by a stellar cast of backing musicians, along with the help of Rob Barbato’s (Darker My Love) impressive production work, Morby delivers an intimate collection of songs that touch on the loneliness, addiction and hardships of a touring musician. Having joined Woods before he was legally allowed to drink in bars, Morby’s tale rings with the wisdom and experience of a man who’s spent the better part of his life on the road.

fuzzselfcover

Fuzz – S/T

For the past several years, Ty Segall has largely existed as a solo artist. But with Fuzz, his latest project formed together with high school friend and Ty Segall Band guitarist Charles Moothart, it seems the lone wolf has finally found a pack in which to roam. Heavy psych of the highest order.

Continue reading

Steve Gunn & Mike Gangloff – “Worry Past Worry”

gunngang_slide_bigSteve Gunn, having already secured a pair of spots on our year’s best of list with his Golden Gunn LP and the solo effort Time Off, makes a run at a hat trick with a third release this year recorded together with Pelt‘s Mike Gangloff. The album was recorded in the spring months of this year at the remote farmhouse of noted roots-music engineer Joseph Dejarnette (Carolina Chocolate Drops, Bruce Greene, Curtis Eller). There, in the tiny community of Topeka set in the countryside of Floyd County, Virginia, Gunn and Gangloff spent an entire night improvising with six-and 12-string guitars, a banjo, along with traditional Indian instruments like gongs, tanpura, singing bowls, and a shruti box. The result was an intense night of improvisation captured on the forthcoming release Melodies for a Savage Fix. You can hear one of the tracks, titled “Worry Past Worry,” below.

Purchase Melodies for a Savage Fix on regular or red vinyl from the good folks at Important Records.

NEW MUSIC: Sun Stone Revolvers

sun-stone-revolvers
Before moving back to Toronto earlier this year, I remember scoping out the local music scene and coming across Optical Sounds—a independent Toronto label fixated on the burgeoning Great Northern psych community. It was here that I first discovered the Sun Stone Revolvers (formerly The Revolvers), a band that took little time to make their way to the top of my “list of bands to see” once I got back to my hometown. Not long after my return, I was lucky enough to catch a show put together by the good folks at Exhale Presents and to say it was a nice welcoming would be an understatement. A true rock band at the core, Sun Stone Revolvers venture through a range of sounds from spaced-out, dark-psych territory to blissed-out tribal chants to motorik, kraut-inspired grooves. And they look fucking cool doing it too. You can stream their most recent album, Spaceship X, below or purchase it on vinyl/CD via Optical Sounds.

Dog Gone Presents: November 2013 Mix

Nov2013Mix

Have a listen to this month’s mix, available to stream or download below.

Download Link

01. Woodsman – Healthy Life
02. The Entrance Band – Fine Flow
03. Morgan Delt – Beneath The Black And Purple
04. White Fence – To The Boy I Jumped In The Hemlock Alley
05. The Velvet Underground – Lady Godiva’s Operation
06. Quilt – Arctic Shark
07. Doug Tuttle – Turn This Love
08. Speed, Glue & Shinki – Don’t Say No
09. Amen Dunes – Ethio Song II
10. Grateful Dead – Early Morning Rain (11/3/65)
11. The Bethlehem Exit – Walk Me Out (Morning Dew)
12. The Resonars – Marina
13. Hellshovel – Summer’s Over
14. The Candymen – I’ve Lost My Mind
15. Jonathan Rado – Hand In Mine
16. Wooden Shjips – Ruins
17. Bombino – Amidinine
18. The Gaslamp Killer – Nissim feat. Amir Yaghmai
19. Endless Boogie – The Artemus Ward
20. Our Solar System – Merkurius