It's Psychedelic Baby Magazine

It's Psychedelic Baby is an independent music magazine. We are covering alternative, underground, non-commercial and non-mainstream artists in variety of shapes and genres. Exclusive interviews, reviews and articles. A place where musicians can express themselves. We serve an international readership.

Cos - Viva Boma (1976) review

From the depths of Zeuhl, Jazz, Progressive and Canterbury rock, Cos emerges and enchants with a hypnotic and cryptic language that asks to be deciphered, leaving the listener momentarily stranded, somewhere between Boma and Bomma, much like an opium smoker or the hippos on the river Boma, or both… Unique and truly Belgian, with a touch of defiant humour, yet with uncanny finesse, Cos rightfully delivers the word, often with no words at all, through a rich texture of pulsating and elastic bass lines, magical farsifa organ, intricate drums and percussion and the ever-present blistering duality of Shell and Son. Son who almost entirely discards language, using her voice much as a new instrument. Schell who reinvents language in his subtle punctuated guitar phrasing. With this album, we are given hints of something that parallels the creation of a new world. We are passengers of a ship that is heading to uncharted terrain, a place that belongs to Cos and to Cos alone, a place that feels like outer space, yet familiar and even comforting. A place from which one never returns as the same person.

Review made by Antonio Barreiros/2013
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Night Beats @Galeria Ze Dos Bois, Lisbon (POR) – 21/06 Live Report

I'm not your typical concert reviewer. So, if you're looking for details as the setlist or length of songs, you are not going to get those informations. What you will get is my personal recount of what went on. With this in mind, let me describe the events of June, 21st, 2013. I had recently discovered Night Beats and I went to the show having heard only a few songs. This way, it was going to be a full on experience of finding out a new band.

The first act was Portuguese blues howler Fast Eddie Nelson. Then, it was time for the true beat of the evening to bring on the night.

Though they are based in Seattle, Night Beats come from Texas and they ooze their origins through their sound. Starting off with a big bang of sound, they jingle and jangle bringing to memory that other famous Psychedelic Texan band from the sixties that I won't say the name. The difference is, unlike many more copycat bands out there, these guys are not copying anybody and they reach deep into their souls to make familiar sounds we think we heard before their own. It's as if they have their a still uncharted map but they know how to read every turn to take to get to their destination.

By the time they reach the fourth song, the song's tempo changes tell you more about their uniqueness. Lee Blackwell plays the guitar with the finesse of a matador on the arena, bringing on a certain south of the border Mexican feel to their sound. A little bit like if Jimi Hendrix was from Texas and actually enjoyed surf music. Tarek Wegner grooves and delivers himself into eye rolling oblivion, while James Traeger keeps the night beat awake.

As they play new songs, I don't feel that much out of place for not knowing the band properly since noone has heard those songs before as well. Hopefully, the new record is out in September and the new songs have a natural evolution to their sound. Through my ears, you can hear a little bit of krautrock and if you listen carefully, you can tell that Night Beats go further than any garage by numbers band out there. They are garagey but they draw influences from other sources like girl groups and hypnotic voodoo rock, pulling you deeper into their music as they dwell into their set. On some moments, they can even conjure up a nice sunshine feel transporting Galveston to California and vice versa.

After a great set, they come back ready to rumble and that's exactly what they do. After a rendition of the classic Link Wray song, they deliver a scorching final song that leaves the crowd craving for some more. They might be based in Seattle but I think it may just bring out the Texas in them even more and for the rest of the evening, everybody had surrendered to the calling of this nightly beat.'

Report made by Carlos Ferreira/2013
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The Janitors - Drone Head (2013) review

The Janitors “Drone Head” (Cardinal Fuzz white vinyl 2xLP/CD, 2013)

Cardinal Fuzz combines this Swedish psych duo’s “The Worker Drone Queen” and award-winning (“Best EP of 2012”) “Head Honcho” EPs into a collectible double gatefold LP on white vinyl and makes things even more collectible by adding two exclusive remixes and a brand new track. [A limited run of 100 CDs will also be available.] Yowza! If you missed them the first time, there’s no excuse to “Do It Again”, which just happens to be one of the funkiest psychedelic stews awaiting within. With a stalking, horrorshow swagger and a reincarnated Mr. Mojo Risin’ [English] vocal, the pair create a swampy, snarky environment that’s equal parts Cramps, Nine Inch Nails, and Bauhaus. It’s all razor blades and leather and scary as fuck.
A track like “Death Song” is not likely to relieve the gloom and doom atmosphere and if your musical tastes are geared towards the dark, metallic end of veteran mindfuckers Loop, Spacemen 3 or Julian Cope’s Brain Donor, then this is the band (and album) for you. The “Al Lover remix” adds some backing vocals and vibrato that strengthen the Jesus and Mary Chain influences. “Coming Down” is one helluva postpartum depression dirge that suggests unbalanced listeners might want to hide the razor blades ahead of time. The Strssmmnt (i.e., Stress Management] remix delves into dark electronica and nearly succeeds in transposing the lads into a 21st century Happy Mondays. Finale “Long Way Back” sets the wah-wah pedals on stun and emphasizes the band’s “evile boogie woogie shoegaze” side, while drawing favourable comparisons to California psych maestros The Warlocks and Brian Jonestown Massacre. So far, so fantastic.
The punnily-titled “Head Honcho” EP may be even more fucked-up and brain-frying than its predecessor. ‘Strap Me Down” begs to be on the soundtrack of the next blood-soaked chapter of the “Saw” saga – it’s dark, foreboding, and bloodcurdling. The package’s centrepiece must surely be the 12+ minutes of sheer abject terror masquerading inside “A-Bow.” From the relatively temperate opening bass drone, a disembodied voice warns us, “You better run.” If Mr Morrison were still walking amongst us, this is what we might encounter! An eerie, guitar line (a la Robert Smith/The Cure) serpentines around the room, coiled and waiting to pounce as the singer gleefully revels in lyrics about “your last breath” and “a slow death.” I’m telling you know – hide the kiddies for this one! By the time all hell breaks loose and the band’s full-on aural assault strikes us between the ears with ravishing slices of barbed wire fuzz… well, you just ain’t heard nothing like this in a long while. Even death metal stoners still drooling all over their “Jerusalem” and “Dopesmoker”  albums will jump up and take notice. “What the fuck is this?”

Review made by Jeff Penczak/2013
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Geronimo! interview with Kelly Johnson

When will Chicago stop and take a second to breathe?  It seems like everywhere I look in Chi-town there’s some amazing new sound, some fuzz fueled, reverb, guzzling fanatic with a guitar, drum and bass making some of the most bad ass music I’ve ever heard.  The only downside to that is that it’s nigh-impossible to standout in that kind of environment.  And I say nigh because believe it or not there are bands that stand out from the myriad of competitors.  Bands like the pop, punk lo-fi psych scientists Geronimo.  They will pop into a studio every few months, effortlessly record a cassette, release the thing and six months later are on to the next, bigger and better thing.  It might not sound like anything too amazing in itself but this has been going on since 2010 and has produced some of the best slice-of-mind or moment in-time documents of a band I’ve ever heard.  Not only is these guys sound killer, crafting songs and giving plenty of thought to where they need to end up, but they’re also at the top of their game creatively and musically.  Teaming just the right amount of serious punk, shoegaze and traditional garage attitude with honest to god, balls-to-the-wall psychedelia, Geronimo is proving a unique and prolific voice in the chocked concrete jungle of Chicago.  Click the link, get yourself some music from their Bandcamp page, go ahead do it…  Are you done yet?  You are?  Excellent!  Now you can read on and learn everything I ever wanted to know about Geronimo!

What’s the band’s lineup?  Is this your original lineup?

Kelly Johnson: Vocals/guitar, Ben Grigg: Keyboards/synth, Matt Schwerin: Drums.  It’s always been us three bozos.

Are any of you in any other bands at this point?  Have you released any material with any other bands?  If so can you tell our readers a little bit about that?

No other bands at this point.  We have been in other bands in the past, but for the past three years or so it’s just been Geronimo!

Where are you originally from?  Where’s the band located now?

Forged in the fires of Rockford, Illinois.  We all relocated to Chicago for various reasons and currently all reside here.

How would you describe the scene where you are located at?

Well it’s Chicago.  It’s splintered into a lot of scenes.  There are so many talented bands playing for various reasons.  The reasons for DIY bands might differ from bands frequenting the clubs, it can be competitive and challenging to stick out but that keeps us on our toes and doesn’t let us stagnate in my opinion.

Has it played a major role in the history or development of Geronimo?

I guess I sort of answered that in the previous question regarding the competitive nature of Chicago.  Because there are so many places to play and scenes to explore it’s allowed us to find our strengths and preferences as a group.

When and how did you all meet?

Ben and I know each other from high school.  We went to college and lived together there for a few years at a place called The Purple House.  Matt met Ben in Rockford and introduced him to me when they got together to jam.  We started out a whole lot different with me on bass, Ben on piano and Matt on drums.  That didn’t last very long.

What led you all to form Geronimo and when was that?

We formed the band because we all had such a good rapport together.  That was sometime in early 2008.

How did you select it and what does the name Geronimo mean or refer to?

It refers to the exclamation when jumping out of a plane or off a building or cliff.  Matt suggested it at the beginning and we didn’t think it sucked so bad.

I’m extremely interested to hear who some of your personal musical influences are, there are some really interesting and unique sounds in Geronimo and I wonder where they came from?  What about influences on the band as a whole rather than individuals?

I can really only speak for myself: Fugazi, Smashing Pumpkins, Pixies, Archers of Loaf.  As a band we can all agree we like Radiohead, Guided by Voices, Magnetic Fields and Madonna.

I loathe labeling or classifying music myself, can you describe Geronimo’s sound to anyone that hasn’t heard you before?

Loud fuzzy rock.  Sometimes it’s angry, sometimes pretty, sometimes sloppy; always loud.

Can you describe Geronimo’s songwriting process?  Is there just a lot of trial and error jamming or does someone approach the rest of the band with a more finished idea to flesh out?

It’s happened both ways, most of the time we all work on a jam together that we structure.  We try and leave parts that make sense for me to sing over.  It’s very much a collaborative effort and not individually based.

You released your first album Fuzzy Dreams in 2010, can you tell us a little about the recording of that album; who recorded it?  Where was it recorded?  What kind of equipment was used?  Who released it?

That was self-released.  We recorded it in Ben’s parent’s house in Rockford over a few weekends.  No one was living there at the time so we set everything up in the living room.  It was all hardwood floors and it sounded really nice.  It was an experiment with sounds, production and effects.  It’s something we’re all proud of but we were definitely learning.  Our friend Josh Miller who recorded great records by Kid, You’ll Move Mountains and Ghastly Menace was there to show us what to do and he also mixed the record.

What does the name Fuzzy Dreams mean or refer to?

It was something that popped into my head while walking one day.  It felt appropriate for the feel of our sound and the abstract approach I take to lyrics.  Most people think of a “warm, happy” image when they hear the phrase so I liked the flipped meaning idea.

You followed up Fuzzy Dreams with the first volume in the Buzz Yr Girlfriend tape series in August of 2011, now first off what does Buzz Yr Girlfriend mean?  I love it, there’s something catchy as hell and yet somehow nonsensical about the title.

It’s from one of the greatest films of all time, Home Alone.  Kevin is rifling through his older brother Buzz’s room and he finds a framed picture of a goofy looking girl, to which he quips “Buzz, your girlfriend. Woof”.  We were joking around in practice about interpreting it as a command to give your girlfriend a buzzcut.  It felt apropos to the spirit of what we wanted to accomplish which was have fun and not put too much stress into the recording and creation of the tape.

Where was the Buzz Yr Girlfriend Vol. 1 tape recorded?  Who recorded it?  What kind of equipment was used in the recording?  Who released it?

It was recorded by our friend Joe Robinson on his 4-track at our practice space; that was-released again by us.

Was the Buzz Yr Girlfriend series always intended to be a multi-volume series of releases or has it just naturally grown and progressed to that point?

It was always intended to be multi-volume.  We write pretty quickly and build up a lot of songs, not all of them fit to be on albums.  It’s a way for us to records those and to have fun.  I actually stole the idea from the Boredoms who have a series called Super Roots.

Was Buzz Yr Girlfriend Vol. 2: The Burden of Genius recorded and released in a similar fashion to Vol. 1?

Totally different.  We did it at our friend Matt Arbogast of The Gunshy’s recording studio, 8AM.  It was a way for us to try it out and give him a guinea pig as well as his studio is still pretty new.

You released your second full-length album Exanimate in October of 2012, and it’s an absolutely stunning piece of psychedelia!  Where was Exanimate recorded?  Who recorded it?  What kind of equipment was used?  Who released Exanimate?  Was it a very different recording experience than the Fuzzy Dreams and Buzz Yr Girlfriend sessions?

Thanks!  Exanimate was recorded a lot like Fuzzy Dreams.  It was done by our friend Josh Miller over about a year and a half period of time.  We recorded it in Josh’s basement at his house here in Chicago.  We did it in chunks months apart and mixed it in very much the same way.  Thus the length of time we spent on it, which ended up being a lot longer than we wanted it to be due to scheduling conflicts with all of us.

The word exanimate means lifeless: deprived of life; no longer living; "a lifeless body", why use that as an album title?

It was a word Matt stumbled upon and suggested.  We liked the word and it fit with the artwork that we had done for the album.  My lyrics deal a lot with death and the afterlife, especially on that album, so it all seemed intertwined.

The third installment in the Buzz Yr Girlfriend series was released in March of this year, The Metal David Byrne.  Are there plans for continuing the Buzz Yr Girlfriend tapes for the foreseeable future?

Absolutely, as long as we can keep coming up with stupid titles.  As such, we have about 150 more tapes to create.

Can you tell us a little bit about the recording of The Metal David Byrne?  Who put the tape out?

Again we recorded it at 8AM with Matt Arbogast.  It was recorded quickly in about three or four sessions.  This time we were lucky enough to have Exploding in Sound Records put out the tape.  We met Dan, the label owner, a couple years back after he said nice things about Fuzzy Dreams.  We stayed in touch and met a couple of times.  We got to know some of the other bands on the label and they’re all way better than us so we figured we had to get involved with him.

Are there any plans for another full-length or any other recordings at this point?

As of right now we are taking a “hiatus” (relative to what we usually do) this summer and early fall.  We are playing one-off shows here and there but are focusing on writing our next album.  We are going into our friend Daniel Good’s studio, Chrome Attic, sometime this fall to record.  We’re hoping to spend about a week there and track everything we write this summer.  Right now we have about four songs and about fifty ideas.  It’ll be our first “official” studio album.

What do you have planned as far as touring goes this year?

Nothing yet.  We are just focusing on the album at this point and then are going to see where that all ends up.  Ideally we’d like to go on a big ass tour after we finish it, but one thing at a time.

You have played with some of my favorite bands going right now, who are some of your personal favorites you’ve had a chance to share a bill with?

Most of my favorite bands at the moment are ones we’ve been lucky enough to play with.  Bands that we love in Chicago are Meat Wave who put out my personal favorite record last year, T’Bone, Truck or Dead Horse, Hospital Garden, Predators, My Dad and DEN.  As for bands we’ve played with on the road, a lot of Exploding in Sound artists.  Pile is on constant rotation when we are on the road as well as Ovlov and Speedy Ortiz.  There isn’t a band we don’t listen to on Exploding in Sound so we really can’t say enough about the label.  Motherfuckers got it goin’ on.  I’m sure there’s a ton I’m forgetting too.

Do you have any funny or interesting stories from live shows that you’d like to share with our readers?

Usually the most embarrassing stories end up being the funny ones.  The first one that springs to mind is a show that we played in Buffalo that was to be a benefit for a woman’s shelter.  We ended up being the only band and at the last second it got moved to a sports bar called Yings Wings ‘n Things.  I think two people showed up?  The rest were regular patrons of the sports bar who stayed at the bar on the other side of this giant room.  One guy kept yelling for us to play Wonderwall.  Finally, fed up that we hadn’t satiated his drunken request, he and his friend approached the front of the stage, effectively becoming the only audience members with more requests for Wonderwall.  We got out of it unscathed, but it’s pretty funny to think of a couple of drunken meatheads insisting that we play the song Wonderwall.

It’s awesome to have a digital copy of an album to listen to on the go or whatever, but there’s something magical and irreplaceable about a physical release.  Having something to hold in your hands, artwork to look at and liner notes to read makes the listening experience more complete, at least for me.  Do you have any such connection with physical releases?

I think we all feel the same way.  A lot more people are feeling the same way as well so it’s nice to be able to have something physical to present to people again.  CDs have become the middle man for iTunes so most people aren’t going to shell out ten or fifteen bucks for that when they can just download it.  Records thought are a different breed and a lot more attention and love goes into creating them.

Do you have a music collection at all?  If so can you tell us a little bit about it?

I used to take great pride in my CD collection until I moved to Chicago and didn’t have a job and was super broke.  I sold a lot of the good ones so I could eat and buy beer.  I’m amassing a record collection and it’s going much faster now that most bands have vinyl for sale.  The other dudes are the same way.

Like all things to do with technology there are upsides and downsides to it, but I’m always curious what artist’s opinions on digital music and distribution are?

I can only speak for myself when I say, download our shit whatever way you want.  Free, for some money, great!  Get it from a friend if you want.  Of course I’d prefer to see some money so we can pay for practice space, rent, gas and whatnot but to me the idea of having our music in someone’s library is more important.  I’ve downloaded stuff for free so much over the past seven or eight years and found great bands.  Now I see those bands when they play live or buy their records when I see them in stores.  I like to hope others would do the same for us.

In hopes of keeping up with never ending tide of amazing music out there right now is there anyone from your local area or scene that I should be listening to that I might not have heard of before?

See the previous question about my favorite people we’ve played with but DEFINITELY Meat Wave, DEN, T’Bone and RUNNING; all from Chicago.

What about nationally and internationally?

Nationally I’d suggest Pile, Ovlov, Roomrunner and Speedy Ortiz.

Is there anything that I missed or that you’d just like to talk about?

That’s all I can think of…  You touched on a lot of things!  

(2010)  Geronimo – Fuzzy Dreams – digital, ??? – Self-Released
(2011)  Geronimo – Buzz Yr Girlfriend: Vol. 1 – digital, Cassette Tape – Self-Released
(2012)  Geronimo – Buzz Yr Girlfriend Vol. 2: The Burden of Genius – digital, Cassette Tape – Self-Released
(2012)  Geronimo – Exanimate – digital, 12” – ??? (Hand Silk-Screened Covers Limited to 200 copies)
(2013)  Geronimo – Buzz Yr Girlfriend Vol. 3: The Metal David Byrne – digital, Cassette Tape – Exploding in Sound

Interview made by Roman Rathert/2013
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The Outsiders - Outsiders (1967) review

The Outsiders - "Outsiders" (Pseudonym Records, 2012)

They are the incomparable Dutch 60s garage-punk, beautiful-and-ugly beat r’n’b, turned psychedelic rock mavens the Outsiders, and their eponymous half-live, half-studio debut from the spring of 1967 originally released on the Relax label has now been given the remastered, expanded treatment in this luxurious 2 LP set courtesy of Pseudonym.
This is a release that bolsters the already stunning original with some juicy, and thoroughly embryonic demos that includes the likes of their wonderful, utterly heartbreaking 1966 smash hit single 'Lying All The Time', and also the fiercely pounding, frantic punk-style offering, 'If You Don't Treat Me Right'. There's a wealth of other tremendous fare on display too, such as a wholly thrilling instrumental pass of that dear, oddball forty-five 'Strange Things Are Happening', plus we are very fortunate to have the half-a-dozen late '68 tracks from that year's momentous CQ album, cut live at Amsterdam's notorious Fantasio club, included too. And while these have been compiled a few times before, here they sound full-bodied and incredibly robust, in fact in a word or three they are pure dead brilliant; the zooming, booming bass lines of Appie Rammers and enervating kit work of Leendert 'Buzz' Busch, and of course the all-out undisputed blaze of Ronnie Splinter’s highly-authoritative style of guitar playing. The heraldic vocals of Wally Tax too appear more urgent sounding than ever, at times they are by turns breathtaking and heartbreaking. I won’t go on and on giving you a blow-by-blow account of all the excellent songs that made up this astonishing first ellpee; from the gutbucket punkoid fury of ‘Filthy Rich’ to the mesmerising and aching plea of ‘Tears Are Falling From My Eyes’, although of course I could… but I’ll just mention that, tacked onto the end of Side One, you’ll hear the greeting you would’ve received had you telephoned singer Wally Tax but not been able to catch him at home.

Once again the label has done the group, and their fans, immensely proud, and there’s the added bonus of a magnificent photo-packed gatefold display, topped off with a significantly perceptive sleevenote by one of their biggest fans too young to have caught them first time around.

Review made by Lenny Helsing/2013
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Dead Ghosts - Can't Get No (2013) review

Dead Ghosts - "Can't Get No" (Burger Records, 2013)

Vancouver's Dead Ghosts are the musicians playing in old surf/rockabilly/psychedelic manner. Their sound is the mix of 60s classic rock sounding of The Animals and The Byrds, also as 60s psychedelic  rock like Electric Prunes and even some Dylan`s electric era. Great guitar riffs echo through the whole album, colored with The Shadows atmosphere. The interesting stuff about this album is that it was recorded on cheap Tascam 388 8-track purchased on Craigslist and carried all over their hometown to corners, bars, kitchens…  OK, and now the songs. Album opens with rockabilly album titled tune “Can`t get no” followed by great “That old feeling”. “Summer with Phil” sounds like some soundtrack to Easy Rider, where Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper jump into water with the girls, totally naked and stoned. Further on, album has some really nice moments like fantastic “Roky Said” and “B.A.D.”. Album`s main break is the psychedelic instrumental “Tea Swamp Rumble” that is being followed by ending tunes “Hanging (in the alley)” and doo-wop closing “I Sleep Alone”. Vocals through the whole album sound so rough and fuzzy that sometimes lyrics are hardly recognizable, but that`s not a big minus. Band evidentially wanted to sound mono retro, like the songs from radio stations listened on old cheap radios from the 50s and 60s. Great psychedelic album cover is very thought out. So, how to conclude this album review? Well, imagine yourself sitting in `59 Chevy, chillin` out and smoking good cigar, while good looking noir chick drives you from Chicago to Las Vegas, while wind`s blowing her long blond hair… Well Dead Ghosts are surely on the radio through the whole drive. Hold on folks, `cause the 60s are back!

Review made by Andrija Babovic/2013
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White Hills “The pursuit of rock & roll transcendence”

I’m going to non-randomly throw in some ideas about Zen calligraphy, because I think it relates to White Hills and their “thing.” Writing, sound, and vision combined.

Live, I got totally sucked in, filling in the void, a transport, my (against contentment) mind took over with an unconscious (1) escape move (2).
The heartbeat of movement, a hammer, a different kind of psych-rock hammer.

Things didn’t start off in the right way though, there was a paranoia, a flashback, and not because I saw a paperclip on the floor. A pre-show tune from the Melvins Bullhead, a vinyl I had recently sold on ebay so I could survive. What does it mean? What’s gonna happen? It’s not what happened, but how we feel about it.

Visually throughout the show, I could have used a hallucination periodically (3). What was lacking was 7 fog machines and some pretty lights (saved for the headliner Kylesa). I needed to make things up through my trance, like when listening at home, or when I’m moving in a vehicle – I thought of Heavy Metal the movie, the original one. The not perfect animation, a bit sloppy, expressive as if already at tomorrow’s party, or through an old radio. Seeing some knee-high red boots and a trippy floral print shirt didn’t cut it. And I was missing the weird Crispin Glover performance for this, yes, and with a smile.

All upbeat sounding live, driving, hammering, traveling, easy on the guru vocals. A soundtrack for reversing time, like when Monster Magnet’s Tab is playing backwards, but it sounds regular?,………. listening on the ledges of meditation (4). Or a soundtrack while executing your style of writing, due to the non-repetitive repetition, the snowball effect, or what Foucault liked to say – enveloping. The written lines created through some effects pedals, op-art-ness, the not exact lines of connecting energies (5) with the drums riding the cymbals, there to control the chaos.

Let it go man, put on the record and let it go (6), have patience my friend, the music is listening to you, empathy and atmosphere. Recorded material is less aggressive at times, mellow meandering, lonely, Floydish, don’t be afraid. Being low at times, I’m not sure if it’s best to plan on listening to a White Hills record, seems more of a spontaneous thing for full effect, in the moment, chance, you will never know, and it doesn’t want you to. But you can create the situation where a listening might be ideal. Find it, it’s different for everybody. You can’t lose your own experience.

The Spirit of Exile video was not subtle (7), a contrast to the music (8). Themes of powerlessness in the face of nature, outer space, energy (9), symmetry, with generated color and technology, sometimes against it, but embracing it when needed to keep up the middle way, Buddha.

Modern missing planets rock is entertainment, producing images, and includes that non-threatening guitar indulgence/focus (10). “Open your eyes,” “open your mind” (11), and don’t rely on techniques because the beauty of it cannot be repeated.

By the way, I didn’t mention Hawkwind at all, but I will say hippie metal, no shoes.

1.           Work of conscious effort is devoid of life.
2.           Be one with the creation, the characters.
3.           Viewing the work is communication with the spirit of the creator.
4.           Standing, using the whole body, form and spirit.
5.           Lines emerge from the void (chaos that preceded separation of heaven and earth) beginning the instant brush touches paper.
6.           No-mind. Thought, emotion, and expectations don’t matter, true creation.
7.           Bold strokes for stability and weight.
8.           Gently curving lines – warmth and compassion.
9.           Gestural energy.
10.         Do not be indulgent. Write simple characters with intense focus.
11.         Remove barrier between self and others.

Article made by Robert Savela/2013
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Exploding Rubber Band and Friendship interview with Magnus Kultorp

Scandinavian countries have in the last five years produced so many good bands, inspired by those 70s hard rockers. Exploding Rubber Band and Friendship is no exception. Releasing an LP and single back in 2011. Exploding Rubber Band is currently not together, but there is a new band called Friendship which is more improvisational rather than ERB, which is more straightforward rock. We spoke with Magnus and he told us a lot of interesting stuff behind their music.

What is your music background?

My music background is blues music, I have spend hours listening to my fathers old records: John Mayall and Fleetwood Mac, but also the acoustic fingerpicking style of Mississippi John Hurt. I was living one year in Malmö, Sweden doing a lot of jamming with people influenced by artists like Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf and the swedish blues singer Peps Persson. Later I followed the tracks of the blues into bluesrock as Cream, Jimi Hendrix and the Rolling Stones. 

Exploding Rubber Band started back in 2008 and in January 2011 you released your first LP. How would you describe it?

Recording a full LP for the first time was special. The band was nervous and not knowing much about working in a studio. Why we did a full record and not just a single, was to make the band noticed in the music industry. It was expensive to do it, but we had a lot of fun.  

Like described on your page; you really play straight rock'n'roll. How do you write new material? It must be pretty hard these days, because of so many stuff already written...

Writing music has always been for me an expression of feelings. I play what I feel. I never write songs from start to finish, I bring ideas to a rehearsal and we fool around with the idea for a while. I feel that jamming together with an idea is important in the process. It brings together all the influences of the members in the band, and make an original musical expression.   

What's the current situation of the band? I mean you have a new project called Friendship. Tell us a bit more about that and what are some future plans?

Exploding Rubber Band was put to rest as we was lacking the inspiration to write music together.
Friendship is my newest band. I started the band together with Fredrik Skalstad and Kristian Berg trying to bring soul, funk and rock together in powerful trio. The debut single was released November 2012, and a full album is planned recorded this year. We have just hired a new bass player in the band, Per Tobro. He’s nicked Rude Boots and have a killer groove…

What is the main difference between Exploding Rubber Band and Friendship?

ERB was a straightforward rock’n’roll band. The songs was short songs with a standard chord progressions and arrangements. Friendship is about improvisation and high energy. I truly believe that people, most of us not being aware, are longing for a live act like Grand Funk and Jimi Hendrix. Friendship is all about giving this to the audience. Playing a Stratocaster through a Marshallstack with a fuzzface and a wahwah is a statement musically. Keep it simple and keep it groovy. 

How do you see the current rock scene? There are more and more bands coming out. The problem is that they are having hard times to get any promotion at all. But I guess it was always like this. A few lucky ones "explode"...

The current rock scene is mostly bands not being able to play their instruments good enough and give the audience a proper live show. That being said, I belive being a musician and make it, have always been hard. The challenge is also part of the fun being in the industry.

Name a few less known albums you enjoy? What are you currently listening to?

Currently I listen to jazz artists like Miles Davies, Art Blakey and Oscar Peterson. My favoruite album at the time is a concert of Jan Johansson live in Tallinn. Aretha Franklin live at Fillmore, Fleetwood Mac live at Boston Tea Party, Jimi Hendrix (all records) and Rory Gallagher live with Taste. A couple of cool old Norwegian bands: Junipher Greene, Aunt Mary, Ruphus and Freddy Linquist.

A few less known albums I enjoy:
Elephant 9- Atlantis
Jens Carelius- Beat of the Travel
Freddy LInquist- Menu
Dungen- Ta det lugnt
Tobben og Ero- Ballader fra Bakgården
Elton John-Tumbleweed Connection

Any last words or perhaps a message for our readers?

There is no way of spending too much money and time enjoying good music.

Interview made by Klemen Breznikar/2013
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Bongripper / Conan Split (2013) review

Bongripper / Conan "Split" (Holy Roar Records, 2013) 

Conan is a three-piece from Liverpool, UK, whose musical proposal can be taken as the very epitome of Stoner-Doom Metal. Active since 2006, they’ve released three albums so far (including a live one, recorded at Roadburn Festival), and 2 split EP’s: the first with sludge-doomsters Slomatics from Belfast, and the second, which we’re gonna take a closer look at in a bit, with none other than Chicago-based doom metal superstars Bongripper. Now, if you haven’t heard of Bongripper, they’re four kids from Illinois who’ve been quickly building up a monsterous reputation in the doom-scene worldwide after having released five amazing  albums of unrelenting, demonic doom metal over the course of the past 6 years, played major festivals all over the States and in Europe, and all this without the support of a label. That’s right. A status that very few bands can pride themselves of having achieved. But let’s get into the music found on this platter, which is a very good example of what both bands are up to nowadays, and capable of when put to work together.

Introduced by the slow martial rhythm of the drums, enter Conan’s “Beheaded”. Their trademark doom sound is immediately recognizable, with heavy distortions and a tank-like cadenza that invoke images of medieval wartime funereal processions. The drums are soon joined by the guitars. A few chords, just hanging there, unwavering. It’s almost like the power of the impact of the resonating notes is surpassed by that of the space between the notes, like a vessel out at sea, waiting for the next wave to crash. When the vocals kick in, it sounds like they’re coming from another dimension, chilling in their overtly monotonous litany. A black mass that protracts itself for a considerable 17 minutes. As they did on their epic full lenght “Monnos” (2012), they decided to keep it low and slow, going as always for the long dark road rather than the easy way. That’s the way of doom, and it’s a tortuous one.

Flip the record to Bongripper’s “Zero Talent”, and you’ll see what I meant before when I mentioned “demonic doom metal”. The union of the perfect doom-metal guitar sound, and the resolution of striking the right chord at the right moment, plus a strong leaning towards experimentation (blast beats in doom? You better believe it), and an almost sick sensibility for finding successions of notes that could make up Hell’s very own soundtrack are but only few of Bongripper’s qualities which add to their demonic appeal. Anyone who’s seen them live will tell you: stay away from the speakers and keep your eyes on the band if you don’t want to pass out. Or just take a look at the cover they designed for their latest full lenght album, aptly titled “Satan Worshipping Doom”, if you don’t know what I’m talking about. Bongripper’s sound summarize the very essence of doom, yet at the same time it’s a refreshing re-interpretation of a genre that no more than 10 years ago might have been considered extinguished. But their vision is deeper and darker, more serious and motivated by evidently truer feelings than any other band I’ve encountered before in the doom scene. In this relatively short track (9+ minutes), the boys give it all out, and stick a few more nails in the coffin of traditional doom, as they take it further and further away from its roots, while twisting it and turning ti on itself while adding to the sheer emotional power of a genre that can now, thanks to bands like these, be considered finally resurrected, and taken as seriously as ever, both commercially and artistically. Wait until someone decides to refresh their now impossible-to-find, almost completely self-released back catalogue (they’ve already done “The Great Barrier Reefer”, their debut, on double vinyl), and then there will be no limit to how deep Bongripper can sink us.

Report made by Tommy Morelli/2013
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La Luz interview with Alice Sandahl Abbey Blackwell Marian Li-Pino Shana Cleveland

© Jessica Lopez

Every time I put on La Luz I feel like I should be watching some lost Tarantino classic, and I mean that in the best possible sense.  While so many aspects of the band feel at once familiar to the listener, there’s is an intriguing and unique take on the 60’s Motown doo-wop sound deftly teamed with some serious surf and garage rock influence.  Keyboards and reverb soaked guitar jangle and meld into the melodic and haunting vocal-harmonies, twisting and spiraling into a slow surfy dirge threatening to consume the listener completely as they drift off into the calm cosmic ether of sound.  Their Damp Face EP has been kicking around for almost a year now, originally self-released in an edition of a hundred cassettes, and managed to turn enough heads that Burger records reissued the EP with an extended 250 cassette run.  The recently released Call Me in the Day 7” comprised of two tracks from the Damp Face EP has served to further impress audiences, critics and labels alike and La Luz is currently planning a massive U.S. tour for summer later this year.  I was one of the lucky few who managed to pick up a copy of the original pressing of the cassette and have been chomping at the bit to see if the band had any plans to release a full-length or follow-up ever since.  Now having heard rumblings about and an upcoming release on Suicide Squeeze Records I finally had my excuse to track them down!

What’s the bands lineup?  Is this your original lineup?

Shana:  Alice Sandahl – keyboards, Abbey Blackwell – bass, Marian Li-Pino – drums, Shana Cleveland – guitar.  The original line-up had a different keyboard player, Katie Jacobson, she played on our Damp Face EP.

Are any of you in any other bands?  Have you released any material with any other bands?

Shana:  I have another back called Shana Cleveland and the Sandcastles, which doesn’t play very often, but it’s an outlet for me to perform quieter music than La Luz.  We have one self-released album called Oh Man, Cover the Ground.  My old band the Curious Mystery recorded two albums that were released on K Records.

Marian:  Alice and I were in the Pica Beats together, so we’re both on the latest album.

Abbey:  I play in a singer-songwriter/folky group with my friend Katie called Honey Noble, as well as a solemn, poppy, synth-based band called Wand.

Alice:  I have a solo project called Alice in the River with Joel Harmon (Grand Hallway, Sleepeyes of Death) and Margaux LeSourd.  It’s an outlet for me to play music that I’ve written and focus on vocal compositions.

Where are you originally from?  Where is the band located now?

Shana: La Luz is based in Seattle.  I’m from Kalamazoo, Michigan originally.

Marian:  I was born in Illinois and moved around a bunch as a kid, but I’m essentially from Washington.

Abbey:  I grew up in Everett but was born in Oklahoma.

Alice:  I’m from the sexy southern suburbs of Chicago.

How would you describe the local scene where you are located now?

Shana:  I haven’t lived in a ton of places, but it seems like Seattle must have one of the best music scenes anywhere.  I mean just the sheer number of bands is out of control.  There’s got to be more bands per capita in Seattle than any other city in the U.S.  I’m not basing this on any actual knowledge, but I’m pretty sure I’m right.  Seattle, and the northwest in general, has a really unique musical history; from soul in the Central District back in the day, to Jimi Hendrix, to Grunge, to Riot Grrl and just a crazy wealth of fantastic independent labels.  I think that draws a lot of musicians who are really driven and passionate about music to the area.  It’s what brought me here.

Abbey:  There is such a wide variety of stable music scenes in Seattle that it’s baffling!  I do a lot of stuff with the free improvisation and jazz scenes and then to come into the “garage” or “rock” scene and find it just as, if not more, expansive is quite promising.

Alice:  Yeah, its mind boggling how much music is happening in this town.  One thing I’d say that I really appreciate about this scene is how supportive musicians are of each other.  It’s competitive, but people still have your back and that feels good.

Did either the scene where you grew up or your current one play a large role in the history or evolution of La Luz?

Shana: Living on the west coast inspired me to start La Luz.  I’ve always loved old soul and doo-wop music, and have discovered a lot of stuff in that vein through Mississippi Records compilations and tape mixes that Calvin Johnson put out.  But I don’t know if I ever thought of something like that was possible these days until I started hearing all these awesome west coast garage bands that were incorporating a lot of early rock and roll and soul sounds into their music, like the Shivas and Shannon and the Clams.

How and when did you all meet?

Shana:  I met Marian playing in the Curious Mystery and I met Abbey at Café Racer, my favorite Seattle hang out spot.

Marian:  And I met Alice a few years back when I joined the Pica Beats.

Alice:  Yep, Marian and I had the pleasure of drumming together in the Pica Beats. And I knew Shana 
from sharing bills with Curious Mystery as well as having many mutual friends.

© Kelly O aka The Stranger

What led you to start La Luz and when did it begin?

Shana:  I felt like there was a band I was dying to see but I couldn’t find anywhere, so we started it.

Marian:  I was lucky enough to be in Shana’s vicinity when she devised the surf-rock plan last year.

Alice:  And I was lucky enough to know these fine ladies.

What does the name La Luz mean or refer to?

La Luz:  It means “the light” in Spanish.

Your music is an entrancing combination of familiar sounds, reinterpreted and yet strikingly original at the same time, I’m very curious as to who some of your personal musical influences are?  What about the band as a whole rather than individually?

Shana:  Some of my personal influences are Sister Rosetta Thorpe, Tina Turner, Ty Segall, Link Wray, Bo Diddley, 60’s Girl Groups and Les Jaguars.  Collectively, the two bands that we all really love and sing along to in the van are the Beach Boys, the Growlers and this Mississippi Records comp called Why Did You Make Me Human, which we’ve probably listened to over a hundred times.

Marian:  My personal influence is basically everything.  I’m usually in tune to rhythms, obviously, so anything that is catchy, original or in the pocket will get me honing on it.  For instance, lately I can’t get over how damn smooth the drumming is in Dusty Springfield’s “Son of a Preacher Man”.  That ride at the end is perfect.

Abbey: I grew up listening to rock and roll from Led Zeppelin to Buddy Holly and then expanded into jazz and now classical.  I’m very interested in exploring harmonies in all brands of music, because they’re used so differently in different genres.

Alice:  I’m really drawn to heavy vocal harmonies and also grew up singing along to a lot of older groups doing just that i.e.The Beatles, The Mamas and the Papas but also can’t get enough of bands like The Rolling Stones; just good old rock and roll.  It’s pretty fun to put the two together.

Can you talk a little bit about La Luz’s songwriting process?  Is there a lot of jamming or does someone bring in a more finished, polished idea and share it with the rest of the band?

Shana:  Some of both.  I usually bring a song that’s pretty much there and then the band kicks in a bunch of ideas to make it better.

Marian:  Yup.  And I’ll try to stealthily make a drum part way too complicated until Shana notices and says, “I like that, but I’m kind of just hearing something that’s more along the lines of a… surf beat”; which always sounds better, of course!

Alice:  And I come in and try to step on Abbey’s solos.

Your self-released Damp Face EP was rereleased by Burger Records and two of those tracks have been issued as the Call Me In The Day 7”.  Can you tell us a little bit about the Damp Face recording session(s)?  Where was it recorded?  Who recorded it?  What kind of equipment was used?

Shana:  We recorded it with our friend Johnny who lives in a trailer park in Bothell, Washington, which is like a suburb of Seattle.  It was really hot.  Literally, of course, not sexy hot; although, to each his own I guess.  Uh, it was recorded digitally and then Johnny ran it through a reel-to-reel as a kind of poor-man’s-mastering.

What does the name Damp Face mean?

Shana:  Whatever you want it to.

Marian:  I’d say it’s pretty self-explanatory.

Alice:  Not to be confused with Dump Face.

As I said before you released the Damp Face EP yourself originally and reissued it with Burger Records last year.  Are there any plans for a follow up this year of any sort?  Some of us, who own the original version of the cassette especially, are rabid for some new material ha-ha!

Shana:  Yes!  We have two new tracks coming out on a 7” through Suicide Squeeze Records.  And we just finished recording a full length that will be out on another label, hopefully this fall.

Having first self-released the album and subsequently dealing with Burger Records what do you feel like the pros and cons of working with a record label are?  What about self-releasing material?

Shana:  If you have a good label, like all the labels we’ve worked with and are planning on working with, a label that knows what they’re doing and works for their bands, it’s awesome.  It’s much better in my opinion to have the support of a good label that striking it out alone.  It gives us more time to focus on our music and not have to worry about every detail of distributing and promoting ourselves.  There are so many bands out there though that it’s really hard to find a good label to support you sometimes, so we really lucked out that way.

Where is the best place for our readers to purchase your music?

La Luz:  Burger Records for the Damp Face tape, Water Wing Records for the Call Me in the Day 7”, our bandcamp page for downloads and Suicide Squeeze for the new 7” ( due for release July 6th).  You can special order those releases through your record store too.

What do you have planned as far as touring goes this year?

Shana:  We’re doing a month long U.S. tour in June and July and hopefully another US tour this fall, waiting for details on that.

You have played with some pretty awesome bands in the last year or so that I’ve been following you.  Who are some of your favorite artists that you’ve had a chance to share a bill with?

Shana:  Rose Windows is a favorite, and Lonesome Shack.  Oh!  And Guy Blakeslee from the Entrance Band in Los Angeles, he’s incredible.  This band Froth we played with in Los Aangeles was really cool and the Lost Luvs in Eureka and Wimps and TacocaT!  I’m really stoked to play the first show of our summer tour with the Shivas in Portland.  And we’re kinda sorta opening for Ty Segall at Music Fest NW so I am freaking out about that concept!  Plus I’m really excited to play with a bunch of awesome bands like Guantanamo Baywatch and Summer Twins at SMMR BMMR fest in August.  There’s too many to get into I think.

Marian:  Yeah Rose Windows and Lonesome Shack are up there for me.

Abbey:  Yeah, Wimps!!

Alice:  The Shivas.  Loneseome Shack.  Rose Windows.  The Ballantynes.

Do you have any funny or interesting stories from live performances that you’d like to share with our readers?

Marian:  I don’t really remember how it started, but we’ve managed to get the audience to do a soul train at nearly all of our shows.  Somehow they always go along with it and it’s been pretty spectacular each time.  I was telling Shana that my dream would be for professional dancers to suddenly appear at a show and completely blow everyone’s minds.

Alice:  I like to try to kick Marian’s ride cymbal while we’re playing.  That’s always funny to me.

Many people have long considered rock to be a boy’s club to say the least but that’s has vastly changed especially over the last few years and it’s not often that I interview a band without at least one female member.  Have you ever had any problems with sexism or not being taken seriously because of your gender?  Do you feel like it’s even still an issue?

Shana:  Seattle’s pretty open minded, sexism is still a big problem in this country in a lot of ways so stuff comes up now and then, but I don’t feel like it comes up more often when I’m playing music really.  One annoying thing that people do quite often when they find out I’m in a band is immediately ask me if I’m “the singer”, which is just like, dude!  Ladies have been playing instruments for a really long time, wtf?

Marian:  The sexism I’ve encountered is usually subtle and so inane that I hardly consider it as such.  But it’s there from time to time, usually with ignorant questions:  “I see you have a drum key around your neck, does your boyfriend play the drums?” and stuff like that.  Or someone will try to compare me to another female drummer, not because we are stylistically similar, but because we’re both women; stupid.

Shana:  Ha-ha that one happens all the time.

Alice:  I’ve experienced that “subtle” sexism in some bands and just being a female musician in a country that still needs a lot of work in that area, yes.  But the subtleties are what make so much of the sexism in music fly under the radar, and we end up thinking we don’t need to work on it.  I had a woman come up to me after a show and tell me she took a poll and all her male friends would sleep with me.  Um... how about “great playing”!  That sucks.

With the vast amount of choices available to artists today I’m always curious as to why they choose the mediums for releasing physical product that they do.  Why a cassette release?

Shana:  I like the sound of cassettes.

Marian:  The kids love those things.

I must admit to enjoying my digital copies of albums, I can listen to them wherever and whenever I want on my phone or whatever.  But there’s something that I can’t describe about having a physical album to hold in your hands.  Liner notes to read, something to look at that just makes the listening experience more complete, at least for me.  Do you have any such connection with physical releases?

Shana:  Yeah, I still buy all my favorite records on vinyl because I like having the art object as well as a good sounding album.

Marian:  Definitely.   You get a little more from the band than just their music with a physical album.  Kind of like a look in to their aesthetic or personality with the liner notes.  It also feels more exciting to have an album in your hands rather than just watch it load on to your computer.

Alice:  There is definitely an art behind the album that we seem to be losing with digital music but I feel the two can co-exist!

Do you have a music collection?  If so can you tell us about it?

Marian:  I have no collection to note.  Just tons of random music on my computer and all the old classical CDs my dad left at home.

The internet is rapidly changing the face of the music industry to say the least, how do you feel about digital music and distribution?  On one hand it’s crippled decades old infrastructures, but on the other hand it’s exposed people such as me to a lot of music that we would otherwise never be exposed to unfortunately.

Shana:  I feel a lot of ways about it.  Too many to get into now I think, but overall I think it’s a good thing for music even though people are probably buying less actual albums.

Marian:  The internet makes it easier for bands with less money or opportunities to be seen and/or discovered.  But that also means there’s a ton more stuff to sift through.  I think there are pros and cons, like anything concerning technology.

Abbey:  It’s definitely good for distribution.  Everyone with a computer can buy your music.  But there’s also the problem with illegal downloads and sharing.  I’ve definitely downloaded music from the internet for free in the past, but now that I’m older and more aware of how music works, it looks a whole lot less appealing to me.

I do my best to keep up with the never ceasing stream of uber talented bands that are out there right now.  Who should I be listening to from your local scene or area that I might not have heard of?

Shana:  Lonesome Shack, the Shivas, Diminished Men, Thee Satisfaction and Nucular Aminals plus anything on Sublime Frequencies, Mississippi or Water Wing Records.

Is there anything that I missed or that you’d just like to talk about?

Shana:  Dancing more will make you happy in life.  I really like dancing by myself, like in crowds or alone, either way.  Some people like dancing with partners or whatever and that’s cool but it’s not my thing.  It’s also good to have one really impressive move that you can bust out when the moment comes and to have a name for it.

Marian:  I can vouch for that dancing comment.  I’d also like to note that dancing with my band is really fun whenever I get the chance. 

Abbey:  I can say the same for dancing as well as singing.  I feel like you can’t be mad or sad when you sing, so I try to do it all the time!  It keeps my spirits high.

Alice:  In my next life I will be a professional dancer!  For now I’m working on my hip-hop dance skills.  And eating good food, that will make you happy too.

(2012)  La Luz – Damp Face EP – Cassette Tape – Self-Released (Red Cassette, Limited to 100 copies)
(2013)  La Luz – Damp Face EP – Cassette Tape – Burger Records (White Cassette, Hand-Numbered run of 250 copies)
(2013)  La Luz – Call Me in the Day b/w Easy Baby – 7” – Water Wing Records
(2013)  La Luz – Brain Wash b/w T.V. Dream – 7” – Suicide Squeeze Records (Limited to 500 copies)

Interview made by Roman Rathert/2013
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