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Artist of the Month
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November 2013
Wooden Shjips
"Back to Land
"
mp3

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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los angeles

Artist to Watch: Dub Thompson

Dub Thompson hails from Agoura Hills just outside of Los Angeles, but after listening to their album for two straight weeks I can now say with confidence that this is a band that transcends the sunny California vibe. In fact, the recently released 8-song album, ironically titled 9 Songs, operates under a traditional rock band's instrumentation while working past any form of categorization whatsoever. The album takes influence from rock and roll experimenters like Can and Deerhoof, and psychedelia from The Flaming Lips and Pink Floyd. It reaches towards grunge at many points, and yes you guessed it, even some dub/down-tempo sneaks its way into the mix.

At certain points on the album the experimentations lunge towards what New England bands such as Guerrilla Toss and Sediment Club are reaching for; the noisy, chaotic complexities that may be a mystery to the band as much as the listener. "Dograces", in particular, is a signifier of this eclecticism, beginning with a fairly straight forward grunge rock groove before diving head first into a glaringly wild synth breakdown, one where I can't help but think of the innovative song structures of The Flaming Lips and Tame Impala. The song ends with an intermission for the album, which is just some lounge music that you might hear when you're on hold with a phone operator. Proving to be masters of alternating dynamics, unpredictable song structures, and straight-up powerful jams, Dub Thompson has sought after an unpredictable form, one which I believe will reject any expectations from future releases. - Jake Saunders

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Stream: Roses, "It's Over"

Roses, a fairly new dream-pop trio out of LA, has pumped out two perfectly dance-worthy singles in preparation for their debut EP, Dreamlover, via Group Tightener. Their most recent single, "It's Over" (streaming below) pays homage to 80's disco with familiar 90's shoegaze guitar wash. Juan Velasquez, previously of noise-pop band Abe Vigoda, sings with a half-talking drawl akin to David Byrne's unmistakable vocal presence. The band almost sounds like a west coast Diiv, particularly in song structure, but also because of that warm chorus/tremolo effect that every slacker-rock band out of New York seems to be using these days. The EP is out on August 5th, and you can catch them live tomorrow at the Bootleg Theater among United Ghosts and A Sunny Day In Glassgow. -Jake Saunders

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Video: GUNAKADEIT, "South"

San Diego singer-songwriter GUNAKADEIT's latest video for the track "South" is handled with an imaginative creativeness and abstruce bend of reality, and it molds around her unique style. Filmed around the non-absent artist, a beautiful red head is an actress that slowly drowns in the world around her. The song speaks loudly with hints of social distractions and insecurities, almost as if gazing at a piece from an art show, engagingly directed with detailed cinematography with the help of Liz Nistico of HOLYCHILD. Nistico’s style was made for an artist like GUNAKADEIT; HOLYCHILD has a nag for taking down social stigmas" in their videos,  like in their song ‘Playboy Girl’, which mocks gender expectations. Nistico brought a view of social situations becoming too much for someone and eventually breaks them, which evidently plays into the lyrics of "South". - Kayla Hay

 

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Stream: Paper Days, "Playground Days"

A noodling guitar lines opens the brightly cathartic "Playground Days" by Carlsbad quartet Paper Days, and it quickly hits you with a radiant glow that's far more serene than its busy arrangements initially lead you on. The track soars with an anthemic pull, and yet it's never showy or grandiose - the rthytmic interplay between the band members balances their formidable skill, letting the math-rock guitar lines and jittery drum strokes play together with some breathing space as it builds into an urgent finish; subtle yet all the more alluring for it. "Playground Days" opens their three-track debut EP of the same name, which they just released this week and is now available to stream on their official soundcloud page. 

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Anton Kellner & The Lone Stars Release You Were The Fire on July 29th, Shares New Video "Rebel"

Fresh off their upcoming album You Were The Fire (out July 29th), San Luis Obispo folk trio Anton Kellner & The Lone Stars offer up their bittersweet single “Rebel.” The track, described by Kellner as “a civilized yet fumigating song directed at the ways of our society,” provides a soothing and satisfying three-way marriage between mellow and uplifting folk instrumentation, melancholy lyrics, and smooth-rasp lead vocals. Reminiscent of the somber tone of Death Cab For Cutie, the rock vocals of Switchfoot, and the driving jug band quality of Mumford & Sons, “Rebel” succeeds as a modern-day indie-folk ballad filled with a healthy dose of acoustic twang, heavenly backup singing, and 90’s soft rock charm. - Michael Iemma

 

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