Archive for psychedelica

Wand Waves Its Freak Flag, And It Is A Delight

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on September 25, 2014 by johnbuckley100

Ganglion Reef, the 35-minute long debut album by L.A.’s Wand is sonic DMT, a short, intense trip you can take on your lunch break and return to work with a slightly loopy smile on your face. The best psychedelica, like the best punk, always had a gooey core of pop music at its center, catchy melodies being just as important — maybe more important, given the heavy winds the music otherwise generates — than anything aimed right at radio programmers.  And so it is with Wand, a band that can appeal to anyone who made a mixtape including both Tame Impala and Unknown Mortal Orchestra.  Even after powering through sludgy riffs that seem like a bulldozer plowing a highway in the Mariana Trench, they shift to some sweet-sounding harmonies bristling with hooks.

Why we are on the cutting edge o’ discovery here is Wand opened last week for Ty Segall, and we were sufficiently moved to go home and download the album at 1:00 AM.  Live, Cory Hanson seems to wish he could graft the Eno-squall of “Re-Make/Re-Model” onto early Sonic Youth. Ganglion Reef, released in late August, showcases this incredibly gifted singer, songwriter, and guitarist who has a penchant for shifting into minor-key pretty stuff too.  The album has the pacing of an Olivia Tremor Control opus, replete with song titles like “Fire On The Mountain (I-II-III),” and whether the songs are 6:09 of pulsating psyche or three-minute snappy radio rock, this is a debut that heralds perhaps the union’s next great band.

Of course the music appealed to Ty Segall, who has wrapped his arm around the band and taken them for a ride.  Hanson has played with Mikal Cronin (they’re roommates in what seems like a group house you would either really want to live next to or nowhere near, depending on what hour the amps unplug), and let us just say that as fine a drummer as Ty is on his own recs, in Fuzz, or while actualizing the potential of White Fence, we would love it if he borrowed Evan Burrows for his next album, because on Wand’s debut, and certainly live, he channeled Keith Moon dueling with Kurt Dahle.  Go download “Flying Golem,” with its chiming garage-rock guitars and Farfisa evocation of a golden age, and like eating a single potato chip, you will not be able to resist more.  Like Oscar Wilde able to resist anything but temptation, we know you will press the buy button.  You see, as Wand waves over you, magic ensues.

How To Survive The Wait Until First Communion Afterparty Release “Earth Heat Sound”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 17, 2013 by johnbuckley100

When we last reported on First Communion Afterparty, it was prior to their  reuniting to play at the July 5th Bathysphere: A Psychonautical Voyage in hometown Minneapolis.  We knew about it because of a tip from a loyal reader in the Twin Cities, and pulling on the string of magic yarn he dangled before us, we found out not only that, at long bloody last, FCAP are going to release Earth Heat Sound, the album they’d recorded before they broke up, but that there were two off-shoot bands that sound an awful lot like the original Minneapolis psychedelic champions — whom you know we believe to be the greatest band this steaming glorious wreck of a nation has thrown out there since about 2000. We don’t know when Earth Heat Sound is to be released — though we urge any and all FCAP fans to channel info this way — but we do have some instructions on how you can bide the time until the magic moment arrives.  Ready?

1. Go to Bandcamp and listen to Driftwood Pyre’s demo/early version of their forthcoming E.P.  Scenes of The American Midwest Underground Vol. 1 of course takes its name from Big Hits From Mid-America, Vol. 1, the 1979 Twin/Tone sampler from which so many boss Americans learned about the great Suicide Commandos (by that time, forced by Suicide’s lawyers to change their name to The Commandos), not to mention NNB and the Suburbs.  (Come to think of it, wasn’t Vol. 2 how we all first heard of the Jayhawks?) But we digress.  Driftwood Pyre’s Bandcamp songs sound like exactly what you’d expect from the boys in First Communion Afterparty.  (There are two girls in the band, but we don’t know if one is the fantastic bass player who was in FCAP.)  If you just have to have your hit of FCAP Minny Psyche, this is an excellent way to tide yourself over until Earth Heat Sound is, at last, released.

2. Go to Bandcamp and download the single by FCAP offshoot Is/Is.  Not as good as Driftwood Pyre, but the same squalls of guitar wrapped in reverb.  You’ll like it.

3. Go find Three, the third album by the Flavor Crystals, which is more ruminative than the straight-ahead psychedelica of either FCAP or their offshoots, and perhaps not as good as their Television-esque early work, but still a fun listen.

4. If for some reason you’ve been slow on the uptake of checking out the Magic Castles, get thee to the iTunes store and start downloading.  The eponymous 2012 release, produced by mentor Anton Newcombe, is one of the most thrilling records of the past two years, as we pointed out last year when we asked, “Are the Magic Castles the best young band in America?” Landing somewhere between Brian Jonestown Massacre  and classic psyche, we’re disappointed we don’t have a new album to push, but  as of July 8th, their Facebook page was reporting progress on a new ‘un.

5. Finally, for something a little further afield, go check out the Bandcamp page of Fire In The Northern Firs.  Why do we include it here, since they don’t really sound like a Minneapolis psychedelic band?  Mostly because we like their album, which you can download, and the Minneapolis Rock’n’Roll Chamber o’ Commerce promised to send us a lutefisk if we pimped for all their most promising bands.

Hey First Communion Afterparty?  You could end this, and guarantee yourself an audience of, well, dozens, if you’d just give us a firm date for the release of Earth Heat Sound.  (Taps wristwatch.) We are waiting.

Prince Rupert’s Drops Move The Punkadelica Center O’ Gravity East

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on March 14, 2013 by johnbuckley100

Since the demise of the late and much lamented First Communion Afterparty, Tulip Frenzy has kept up a lonely vigil trying to locate the next great American punk band whose ambition drives them not to Nirvana-esque pop-smithery, but to the halcyon days of hallucinations and Fillmore Ballroom acid testing.  We long ago posited that the Magic Castles were candidates for America’s best young band, and meant it, but with the discovery of Prince Rupert’s Drops — whose debut album Run Slow was released last November — it is possible FCAP’s successors have, like the young Dalai Lama correctly pointing to the glasses of the lama from whom he was reincarnated, identified themselves.

Some weeks back we went just that slight bit nutso over Parquet Courts, the Texas transplants who moved to — natch — Brooklyn, and since then they’ve caused quite a ruckus.  But November 2012 will be notable not just for the release of their sweaty-club extravaganza, for it also brought us Run Slow.  Prince Rupert’s Drops may be a little closer to delicate British bands like The Koolaid Electric Company than psyche-powerhouses like Assemble Head In Starburst Sound, and we will admit that what set alarm bells clanging and forced us to reach for our iTunes was the Uncut tweet comparing them to a mix of The Jefferson Airplane and Fairport Convention, which gets it about right.  So yes, the Airplane with Sandy Denny, not Grace Slick could be one shorthand descriptor that gets it right.  But it doesn’t quite nail how authentically, thrillingly weird they can be, how the female lead vocalist sounds like she could call in the hogs at the New York State Fair, how they can back up all that guitar energy with piano adding that just, well, Prince Rupert’s droplet of color.

And so naturally they come from Brooklyn, an imaginary place where all the cheese is stinkier, all the chocolate dark, and all the bands exist, through magic, in the full flower of ’60s perfection.  Lord knows we miss our First Communion Afterparty, but if we can’t have them, hallelujah for Prince Rupert’s Drops.

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