New album: World Image || World Image

While browsing Bandcamp, I came across the song World Image, which turned out to be the opening track of World Image, the debut album by Canadian three-piece World Image. I liked what I heard, and luckily there were seven other jangly tunes that are just as captivating. World Image features Malcolm Jackson Biddle (vocals, guitars, harmonica, songwriting, production), Calen Degnan (bass) and Allan Miller lll (drums), and they play dreamy psych pop with a summery feel. The music, inspired by Meat Puppets, was recorded and mixed on a Tascam 388 at “Taco Tuesdays” last spring. In the words of the frontman: “We wanted to do something lowkey but glassy, some kinda 90’s northwest hippie grunge.” Anyhow, World Image is another great discovery for fans of great jangle pop – we’ll definitely be listening to it in the fall as well.

World Image is out now digitally (self-released). Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: The Richmond Sluts || Psychoactive Sounds

More than 20 years after their exciting self-titled debut LP, Californian rock ‘n’ roll band The Richmond Sluts are back with their third full-length album, appropriately titled Psychoactive Sounds. In 12 new songs, founding members Shea Roberts (vocals, guitar, percussion, bass) and Chris Beltran (bass, guitar), now together with John Tyree (drums), Jesse Nichols (guitar, vocals) and Justin Lynn (piano, organ, vocals), prove that they still know how to entertain fans of good music. They cover Ray Charles’ I Don’t Need No Doctor, but their own tracks are just as strong. This is quite intense but (largely) danceable garage rock with psych influences, where Lynn’s swinging organ provides an extra dimension next to the screaming guitars and heartfelt vocals. “Can the king of mind // Somehow slip // To show you things // That can make you trip”, they wonder in Who Knew. I guess they answer that question themselves with their fascinating sound.

Psychoactive Sounds is out now digitally via Rock Box Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New album: Ross Storm || The Meridian

Instrumental music that is a blend of “prog & math rock, with notes of jazz and post-punk” is not something I expected to like. But somehow I’ve been enjoying The Meridian by Storm Ross quite a lot. Apparently, it’s already Ross’ fourth release on Already Dead Tapes, but relative to previous releases it’s more of a team effort. On The Meridian, Ross is joined by Yuma Uesaka on tenor sax and Skeleton Birds bandmates Jeremy and Jonathan Edwards on bass and drums respectively.

According to Ross, this is some of his best work to date. And although I’m unfamiliar with his previous output, I’m taking his word for it. The Meridian is as exciting as it is hypnotic, and as vibrant and colorful as the album art. These are no bedtime instrumentals to make you fall asleep, nor will they provide a relaxed start to your day. But I expect the songs on The Meridian to keep you fully awake at work. In fact, I’m pretty sure A/B testing will show The Meridian will significantly raise your focus, productivity and quality of your day.

The Meridian is out now on Tape at Already Dead Tapes.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Wild Wild Wets || Love Always

Californian psych rockers Wild Wild Wets, fronted by Mike Turi and Taejon Romanik, are back with their third full-length album, Love Always. Here are nine original garage psych tracks, with heavy drums, mesmerizing guitars and echoing vocals, tightly produced by JeanCarlo Mendez. Dark, danceable and hypnotic music, sometimes poppy but more often dangerous.

Love Always is out now digitally and on vinyl LP via the band’s own record label Yeah Yeah Blah Blah.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Marie Mathématique || Nos Jours Étranges

In the period when The Limiñanas couldn’t satisfy my hunger for good French garage psych on their own, I found a welcome and extensive dessert in Marie Mathématique’s debut album Tous Vos Lendemains Dès Aujourd’hui (2016), one that I still consume regularly (watch the Sous Mon Second Soleil video for an energy boost). The follow-up Nos Jours Étranges (translated: Our Strange Days), just released, is once again both idiosyncratic and very tasty.

Marie Mathématique is the duo Emmanuelle Kawalek-Mazel and Nicolas Mazel, who took their band name from Jean-Claude Forest‘s fictional animation character, broadcasted in the 60’s with vocal contributions from Serge Gainsbourg and France Gall – pretty cool. Their 12 new lo-fi, psychedelic pop songs are varied, sad and joyful at the same time, captivating but also a bit alienating (in short: very suitable for strange times), with vocals that complement each other like those of Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood. You’ll hear a tribute to Mark “Luke Skywalker” Hamill, but just as easily lyrics are about Kafka or Incas. And even if these names sound too heavy, the titillating music is light-hearted enough to please you. Enjoy!

Nos Jours Étranges is out digitally and on CD through Lunadélia Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Roku Rousu & The I.O.N.S. || The Imaginary One-Night Stands

Roku Rousu (vocals, guitar) has been around in the Finnish indie scene for a while, but with his new band The I.O.N.S. – Joo Karjalainen (drums, keys), Mikko Siven (bass) and Sussu Ketola (keys) – imaginary ambitions could just become reality. The quartet has mastered an interesting combination of styles: influences from early 60’s pop, late 60’s psych and 90’s alternative rock are cleverly mixed with contemporary folk, power pop and indietronica. On their full-length debut album The Imaginary One-Night Stands (in case you were still wondering what I.O.N.S. means, here’s your answer), you’ll hear eight genre-transcending tracks – diverse and mind-boggling, always melodic, upbeat and surprising. Let’s hope The I.O.N.S.’ passion for music beats the temptations of Video Games & Heroin.

The Imaginary One-Night Stands is out now digitally via Kynsinauhat.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: GROOP || GROOP

Imagine that we are ten years further in time. You get into your flying vehicle, take off, crank up the music system, and you hear the instrumental self-titled debut album of American psych rock jam band GROOP. Opening track Highway Jam, 16 minutes of tempo changes and impulses, literally and figuratively lifts you to higher spheres. And that’s just the beginning, as after this promising first miles you’ll encounter illustrious figures such as Fogman, Leather Father and Camelot along the way, and hop off for a Toffee Walk.

Louis Cohen (guitar), Gabriel Salomón (sax & synths), James Novick (modular & synths), Bert Hoover (bass) and Shaughnessy Starr (drums) – perhaps known from Hooveriii or Frankie & The Witch Fingers – make it an exciting trip that stimulates the senses. Is it kraut rock? Prog? Jazz maybe? It doesn’t really matter, this is immersive music, in which an intelligent combination of instruments lets so much happen that the lack of vocals isn’t missed.

GROOP is out now digitally and on vinyl double LP through Greenway Records and Mock Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Gus Englehorn || Dungeon Master

The album title and cover photo should have been a warning, but I listened to Gus Englehorn’s new LP Dungeon Master without prejudice. It turned out to be the strangest and most disturbing release of recent times, but in a good, mesmerizing way that won’t let you go. As the label states: “An outsider opus that sparkles with Dada spirit — a playful juxtaposition of isolation, alienation and mildish OCD. Surprising, paranoid, and studded with synths and strings, deeper than a cellar and blunter than a club.” The Alaskan singer-songwriter/guitarist, based in Montréal, Québec, plays avant-garde garage pop, surreal and dark but also captivating and intriguing. I assume recording these 10 songs was an adequate way for Englehorn to deal with his ups and downs, great that he’s sharing that musical process with us. If you don’t want to dream restlessly, you shouldn’t play this just before going to sleep.

Dungeon Master is out now digitally, on cassette, CD and vinyl LP trough Secret City Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs || Secret City

New album: Mercvrial || Brief Algorithms

The first word that comes to mind while listening to Brief Algorithms, the debut LP of Mercvrial? The word you’ll read in any review of the band’s sound? Eighties. There really is no way around it. It’s the most eighties sounding record we shared on this site.

Mercvrial is based in Rosarito (Mexico). The biggest strenght of Mercvrial is that they sound authentically ’80s but are are impossible to pigeonhole in a specific genre. Every song taps into a different style, which transcends the post punk or new wave label. The only common denominator is that it is drenched in eighties nostalgia – the collaboration of guitarist Terry Bickers (House Of Love/Levitation) on half of the songs strengtens this vibe.

To be sure, Brief Algorithms won’t be for everyone. In fact, I’m still not sure what to make of it, let alone have the words to describe it. I do know it’s something else, decidedly out of time and unworried about what is hip or happening. It has songs like I’ll Get You Home On Time and Waiting On A Miracle (a reimagining of Ride’s Jump Jet/Dub Jet) that are too far out of my comfortzone to fully appreciate. But then there are songs like Dark Stars, Be That Someone and I Never Liked You Anyway that slowly get under my skin and make me want to return to the record and discover other Easter eggs Mercvrial have hidden on the record.

Brief Algorithms is out now through Crafting Room Recordings (UK), and available through Meritorio Records (Europe) and Jigsaw (US).

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Baywitch || Apocatropica

A title like Apocatropica evokes various associations, but Baywitch’s members Lila Burns, Jake Meierdierck and Sicily Robinson explain that we should think of it as “a realm marred by mists, myths and monsters, a campy parable for very real-life wildfires, colonialism, bias, capitalism and the never ending ever pending doom-news whirlpool.” On this new mini-album (6 songs in 26 minutes) the Seattle-based trio may play surf-rock, but due to the addition of dark lyrics, hazy vocals and psych influences, their sound is more reminiscent of Thee Oh Sees than The Surfrajettes. It’s “smurf-rock toon doom” as they call it, ominous and hypnotic – quite impressive.

“Victory was forecast but misfortune feeds on faith. All eyes looking forward to an ego-manic fate.”

“Look, look, look for liars, preying on your tall desires; never had a clue, so goes the doom generation down.”

Apocatropica is out now digitally, on cassette and 12″ vinyl through Halfshell Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp 

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