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November 2013
Wooden Shjips
"Back to Land

Hailing from San Francisco, psychedelic group Wooden Shjips, has just released their newest album Back to Land. The album brings together a sound crafted from inspirations that range from psychedelic music to classic rock.

The album is an entire trip in itself.  One can hear hints of 80s music, classic rock, and modern garage rock styles in the record, but they always resolve back to their classic psychedelic sound. With tracks like “In The Roses,” which brings a very spacey, low volume vocals, and a lo-fi sound that is not too cheesy or under produced. to “Ghouls,” which is a much faster, much more psychedelic rock sounding song that takes influences from classic rock guitar chords, while still utilizing classic psychedelic synthesizers.

Most songs on the album carry a jam-band sound, without becoming too abstract or getting too carried away. And in some cases, the music is so vast in genre diversity, one is surprised at the resulting sound, such as in the track, “These Shadows”, which starts off with an extremely catchy intro guitar riff and carries a vague David Bowie meets Velvet Underground sound.

“Back to Land” is a great piece of work that utilizes the potential of each member of Wooden Shjips effectively and thoroughly.

Most importantly, “Back to Land” is an experimentation of how far the psychedelic genre can stretch while still successfully staying true to its roots.

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Blossoming Mums -- Up All Night

Up All Night, the four-song EP from Blossoming Mums, weaves in ethereal melodies with plucky strings to create a pretty and wandering ambience. Blossoming Mums play a mix of lo-fi dream pop and shoegaze, but there is little information on them to be found; the only detail given on their last.fm page states that they are from a small town in Western Mass. The lyrics of Autumn Birthday help to substantiate this: “It’s Autumn in Massachusetts / I’m at the bottom of Massachusetts / the leaves are changing in Massachusetts.” However, most other clues regarding the band members are left a mystery for now.

Cloudy Soft introduces the EP with the rise and fall of layered, airy voices spurred on by the shaking of a maraca. The gentle guitars and lilting style of My Room make it seem like the kind of song that would bridge the gap between drowsy eyelids and a peaceful sleep; an indie lullaby. The whole album, actually, seems like the music to play in a dimly lit room filled with paisley throw pillows and the scent of patchouli. Weekly Wonders, the longest and last track of the set, clocks in at just three minutes and begins with folky vibes and a chorus of voices that border on other-worldly. The instrumentation speeds up toward the latter half before tapering off in its conclusion.

Up All Night paces itself at a drawl and creates a calming mood with its set of soundscapes. The lyrics often meander into indecipherable territory, but the overall aura is perhaps more important than the details.

--Sarah Ruggiero

The Suitcase Junket -- Knock it Down

While the Boston area is a well-known hub of all things sonic, the surrounding sections of Massachusetts are more prone to slow times and allowing all that is weird to gestate and thrive. Up route 9 from the capital can be found a town called Amherst, home to one half rural escapism and one half college party capital of the Commonwealth. This small town has produced its share of recognizable bands, including scremo pioneers Orchid, hardcore heroes Deep Wound, and of course alternative royalty The Pixies. Now, coming from the weird and wild west is one-man-band The Suitcase Junket, Matt Lorenz’s country/noise infused push into the Bay State music scene.

The latest release from Lorenz’s project is a ten song full length entitled Knock it Down, a quick, haunting, experimental jaunt through folk song structure, feedback gimmicks, slide guitar and dirty south distortion. In a schizophrenic cacophony, the songs trade between slow and somber folk to Muddy Water distortion latent blues. The album's subject matter is lonely and medicated with hints of grungy undertones. Bone is a stand out single that pulls from the Nick Cave school of folk rock. Knock it Down is defiantly good company for misery and should be checked out for a mood music collection.

--Anthony Geehan

Adventure Set -- Centuries to Go

Prior to their November 2011 EP release, Adventure Set haven’t felt a pulse since the mid 1980s. In their heyday as contenders in Boston’s altrock scene, the band reached second place in the WBCN Rock and Roll Rumble, an annual battle of the bands hosted by the renowned and now-defunct radio station. Soon followed a hiatus in which the members pursued careers and other musical endeavors.

The 5-song EP Centuries to Go draws heavily from the New Wave vein-- it’s in Ken Scales’ beguiling, looming vocals and Mark Pothier’s arty lyrics-- as if Scales and Pothier weren’t quite finished with whatever business they left behind in the eighties. Saying that they are stuck in the past would be inaccurate. The songs from Centuries to Go are more precise and keyboard-driven than their older material. Stereo Hands opens the album in an upbeat and eerie way with hints of David Bowie peeking his way through Scale’s vocals as he sings about the limitations in using technology to communicate. Fueled by synths and an energetic catchiness, Paler Faces is the most dynamic track of the five, making the most out of both the electronic and pop aspects of Adventure Set’s style.

The EP’s biggest upset is that it takes almost no risks as each song follows the formula until it reaches the average four-minute mark just as expectedly as the last one. It would be great to hear Scales and Pothier take their material a step further and see what else can be explored with their jaunty New Wave-flavored pop.

--Sarah Ruggiero

Black Pyramid to Release Sophomore Album Next Month

New England doom rock trio Black Pyramid will release its long awaited sophomore album Black Pyramid II on Jan. 31, 2012 via MeteorCity Records.

Recorded at Black Coffee Sound and mixed by Justin Pizzoferrato (Sonic Youth / Witch / Dinosaur Jr), the record features nine tracks of the band's self-titled "galloping war metal". Known for its dynamic sound that blends towering riff cosmos with magnetic psychedelic rock, Black Pyramid has been turning heads in the underground music scene since its formation in late 2007.

Black Pyramid II is available for advance purchase here.

--The Deli Staff

Big Mess -- Mold

Lowell trio Big Mess put out two new songs in October to follow up their self-titled release this past January. MOLD is twelve minutes of ominous, instrumental doom metal marching through a downpour of sludge. As opposed to their first album, which mixed in bluesy rock parts, MOLD adheres to a slow and straightforward brand of hardcore. Heaviness builds up in the desolate Side A and then trudges off to the dirge’s conclusion, and crunchy guitar distortion bookend Drone Bee.

--Sarah Ruggiero



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