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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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Spirit Family Reunion sells out Mercury, tours East Coast

Trends come and go, but some styles seem to always stay relevant. It's true with Spirit Family Reunion, from whom you can expect a classic kind of Americana performed by musicians who know how to pluck a banjo the right way. But what really makes this band stand out is that they don't sound like they're re-inventing anything. When you see them live, the sound is all their own, and the soulful yelps and gospel harmonies in jams like 'I am Following the Sound' and 'On That Day' should convince you of what you've been missing. After a sold out show at Mercury Lounge last Friday (probably also caused by recent coverage on Rolling Stone), the band will be soon leaving for a 2 week East coast tour. - Mike Levine (@Goldnuggets)

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Von Haze celebrates release party at Glasslands on 11.19 (tonight)

I don't see how anybody could posibly try to describe Von Haze's music without using the word "trip" somewhere in the sentence. In their new video for the single "Mother Mountain," band members Travis Caine and Katherine Kin's voices sound high as kites, to the point of challenging his highness Tricky's levels of stonedness. Now back in NYC after on year spent in London, Von Haze plays minimalistic electro-trip-goth that carries a bagagge of dark, decadent influences ranging from Suicide to Joy Division, from Velvet Underground to Dead Can Dance. The Lynchean video looks like a hopeless and bleak celebration of irrationality shot in the middle of nowhere in the US (also referred to by us as "Tea Party-land"), but the band's other material can be more uptempo and slightly less depressing (see "His Love is Fine, streaming below). Von Haze will celebrate the vynil release of their album 'Kar Dee Akk Ake' at Glasslands on 11.19 (tonight). 

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New Track: “Lomi” - Beard-o-Bees

Below is a new track called “Lomi” from Beard-o-Bees, the solo project of Jesse Miller (Lotus). It appears on his debut EP Imperfect Grid, and he’ll be celebrating the album’s release this Wednesday, November 21 at Popular Science, the bi-monthly EDM showcase held at Kung Fu Necktie and hosted by Grimace Federation and Sonkin.

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Residuels Opening for …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead at JB’s Nov. 18

Residuels, the Moon Women-Creepoid side project that first brought its ragged garage jams to Philly over the summer, is performing tonight at Johnny Brenda’s. After a mini-tour across the Northeast and a promising couple of tracks, their new EP fully delivers on the rollicking power of their first forays, draped in fuzz and reverb imported from 60s psych. Opening for stoner rock giants …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead who are accompanied by The Coathangers, JB's will be alive and well tonight. Johnny Brenda's, 1201 Frankford Ave., 9pm, $14 - $15, 21+ - Alyssa Greenberg

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Rush to the Dance Floor w/W.C. Lindsay at North Star Bar Nov. 18

When suburban pop-punk unites with electronic dance-beats, the marriage that results is W. C. Lindsay. Tonight at North Star Bar, this unique pairing takes the rough-edged irate grit, the aggression, and frustration that fuels punk music while also making it relatable to an audience, and smoothes it out with dance grooves. Let your emotions run rampant, and then use that rush of adrenaline to dance the night away. W.C. Lindsay will be opening for a pair of Ohio outfits, rock-oriented Come Wind and the energetic pop duo Twenty One Pilots. North Star Bar, 2639 Poplar St., $12 - $14, 7pm, All Ages - Michael Colavita 

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EP Review- David Thomas Jones- "Comfort Creatures"

David Thomas Jones, taking after his better-known "Indiana" namesake, typically consorts with primitive relics of a bygone age. Namely, a 4-track cassette tape recorder. This was the man's go-to gear for recording his music, typically in the living room of his apartment. It's what his Watch Out For Rockets crew recorded on. They turned out 5 albums-worth of stellar lofi alt rock on that thing, catching attention and raising expectations all over the continent.

But we're using the past tense here (maybe you caught that), because Jones has managed to get in some time in a real recording studio, on real equipment.  And rock-star producer/engineer James Jones manned the conn and caught it all in Protools.  And the results confirm our best hopes - In a pristine setting, Jones did what he does best, and now we have, arguably, the best indie alt rock record of 2012.

Bold statement, that. But not a stretch, really. Go back and listen to those 5 lofi releases. Glimmering between the tape hiss and room noise and muddy tonal balance, it's hard to miss the budding compositional chops. Like John Williams, Jones has that knack for generating tunes from a wealth of genres that are familiar enough to hang a motif on, yet fresh enough to rivet our attention.

Our Lives, for example, is the opening track. A World-flavored, David Byrne-ish tune, with disco-danceable percs and a marimba-lead melody, then sealed tight with Jones' easy-to-sing-along-with chorused vox. It's a viral-inducing, irresistible piece of work, and a pretty far piece from your typical lofi stuff. This opening is followed up by the easy-in alt-rock "Diced Gold"; a vaguely familiar rock-pop number with definitely unfamiliar breaks and bridges. Then, the loveable straight-up rock of "Butcher In The Sky" enters as a moody & somber, yet easy-to-air-guitar-and-bellow-along-with rock anthem. Next, the cinematically-familiar "Perfect Knots" gives us a softer, jazzy, piano & drum & bass number, with Jones' vox gently luring us close before skewering us with a dramatic piano arpeggio - Surprisingly subtle stuff from a guy known for lofi. 

The next track though, "The Deaf Words", obliterates the previous gentle touch with thick rock-steady guitar thrash, and then kills it with an almost-too-abrupt fake ending. "Alibi" brings intimacy as Jones' picks the acoustic guitar along folksy chord progressions, but not dipping into folk art. And the last track, "Coffin Electricity", seals and delivers the package with a more familiar driving-rock theme.

And when you look back over this collection, the alt rock and jazz and folk and thrashing-rock, the hard and soft motifs, the subtle and not-so-subtle, you see a variety of influences and sounds; none of which overpower, and all of which comprise a masterful whole. Stepping up his production game, Jones has deftly navigated past the Charybdis of indie releases - No track sounds like another. And all shine with the happy confluence of professionally-handled tech meeting masterfully-generated art. For a first step into a brave new studio-clean world, it's off-the-charts good, and one of the best Austin-based releases this year. -Scott Osborn

Comfort Creatures is due Nov. 27th.

Find out more on David Thomas Jones on Fakebook or on his website at www.davidthomasjones.com.

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HogMaw Bringing the Thunder at North Star Bar Nov. 17

A mess of strings is set to fill the stage at North Star Bar tonight. Progressive bluegrass group HogMaw’s music is an up-tempo combination of nearly all things string. With the ability/potential to jam out their tunes with a sonic explosion that’s been described as “thundergrass,” HogMaw takes bluegrass and ups the traditional ante, carving a multitude of rootsy hills and valleys that engulf the listener in some rural bliss. The band is opening for local headliner +Church+, who will be preaching their grunge-infused folk sounds. North Star Bar, 2639 Poplar St., $8 - $10, 9pm, 21+ - Michael Colavita 
 
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Let's Drive to Alaska plays Shanghai'd Room 11.17

Whittier, CA-based Let's Drive to Alaska is the ambient/experimental project of Christopher García, whose developed a soothing soundscape of gleaming, almost anthemic instrumentals that oscillate between delicate synth textures and spacey, melodic loops. The arrangements are minimal and hypnotic, each piece perpetuating a flutter of pulsing artificiality that digs deep into classic kosmische territory. Christopher will be playing with a full band tomorrow night at Huntington Beach's Shanghai'd Room.

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