Another new month, another roundup of what’s been dominating our turntables, cassette decks, streaming platforms, etc.
Mothra – S/T
Now that Godzilla has returned to the big screen once again, why not let Mothra crush your stereo?
Mothra is a supergroup of Italian improvisers that blend together elements of jazz, Middle Eastern folk and North African rhythms into a singular, uniquely mesmerizing concoction.
The group here casts intricate spells through the use of instruments like the oud, an Afghani rabab, a whole plethora of African percussion instruments and a variety of flutes like the duduk and the fujara. The mix of sounds, textures and moods on this release can easily send the listener to an entirely unfamiliar—yet deeply peaceful—dimension that they’ll want to visit again and again.
If you ever wanted to experience a fantasy meeting of a Larks Tongues-era King Crimson, (the US) Kaleidoscope and Ali Farka Touré, then let yourself be blown away by the mighty force of nature that is Mothra.
Osmium House – Omnia
A fine example of transcendent acid rock from Denver, Osmium House’s single from January just totally rips. Aesop Stefan Adams’ one-man band project is a mind-melting triumph that fits superbly well amongst astral travelers like Acid Mothers Temple, The Heads and Bardo Pond. The title track is a drug-sick swim through the outer-most reaches of the cosmos, with oscillating twisted analogue synths and phantasmic reverb-saturated guitars. If you listened to the most recent episode of my show on Dune Buggy Radio, you would have heard this number (and likely still haven’t recovered from it!)
The B-side soars with scorching yet disturbed guitar solos, slamming percussion and freaked-out walls of fuzz and distorted effects–which all culminates into a foggy cloud of acidic haze. This deserves as much praise as anything on the Cardinal Fuzz label. Nab this sucker right here.
The Compleat Cannoniere – Sun & Moon
Also featured on the most recent episode of my show, The Compleat Cannoniere’s Sun & Moon album is a gorgeously meditative psychedelic folk gem.
Released at the beginning of the year, this ethereal mix of flutes, sitars, dulcimers and a full cornucopia of other stringed instruments enchants like Popol Vuh at their most natural (and acoustic). Check out the swirling and hypnotic “Sorrow and Joy for Me” and see if you can try to not end up on a different level of consciousness.
Try it out for yourself here.
The Perfect Trip
Boston’s The Perfect Trip is a psychedelic folk outfit that conjures the ever curious, whimsical spirit of acts like The Incredible String Band and Magic Carpet better than…possibly any other artist today. No exaggeration.
Simply listen to “The Magician’s Trick,” with its elfin flute, careening vocals and highly eccentric acoustic wanderings, and tell me you don’t walk away with that same hazy, yet bucolic feeling that you get after playing The 5000 Spirits or the Layers of the Onion or My People Were Fair and Had Sky in Their Hair…
So far only three songs are available via their Soundcloud account, but each one is a charming and eclectic jewel that would be absolutely adored by any fan of acid folk’s lighter side.
The Warp/The Weft – A Sun-Filled Room
As for acid folk’s darker side, we have the return of The Warp/The Weft. The Hudson Valley group have hardened their sound a bit more since we last heard with them, as this song charges along with crunching riffs and a nearly stoner metal intensity.
The single broods with melancholic lyrics and a vocal delivery that floats somewhere between the likes Jethro Tull and Comus. With this single being so chilling and so rife with embittered isolation, one can only imagine what warped things may enfold on the upcoming full-length record (due out in August).
Rose City Band – S/T
This one’s been getting a great deal of very well deserved attention lately.
Headed by Ripley Johnson of Moon Duo and Wooden Shjips fame, Rose City Band is a smoothly mellow trip down the smokiest valleys of stoned Americana rock. Sounding somewhere between Vetiver, Jerry Garcia’s solo work (“The Wheel” certainly comes to mind more than once while spinning this record) and the likes of Kikagaku Moyo and Boogarins, Rose City Band goes down easy like a sunset with a couple of spliffs.
Throughout most of the record, you can practically feel yourself float away on the warmly tranquil grooves, but tracks like “Fear Song” and “Rivers of Mind” pick up the tempo a bit and keep you moving with a catchy rhythm that’s just straight up addictive.
A strong debut that’s already a contender for 2019’s top 10 records, RCB is one you will not want to skip.
The Mad Doctors – RIP
As we said on Facebook recently, all good things must come to an end, but rarely can an end rock so damn hard.
The Mad Doctors have been blasting NYC’s faces off for ages now, and they deserve all of our thanks and praise for that. It’s only fitting that they should go out on the highest of high notes and the loudest of bangs. RIP is both these things and a great deal more.
Take a listen to “Truancy Man” and you’ll know what I mean.
All of us here at RCU wish the Docs nothing but total success and joy with all of their future projects and endeavors as individuals.
You can preorder this sizzling tape here.
And you can still catch them in person before they hang up their lab coats for good at the 6th (or 666th) Pizzafest at the Gutter in Brooklyn on June 7th. More about that here.
Meanwhile, pour one out for the boys tonight and crank this one up fuckin LOUD!!!!
Neal Francis – These Are The Days/Changes, Pt.1
Freshly released on 45 through Karma Chief Records, Neal Francis’ latest single is an instant Americana-funk classic. Both tracks boogie with a soulful fluidity that is not common in many modern records. This wholesome vibe not only makes each track feel warm and welcoming, but it also reveals their spiritual relation to the work of artists like Mavis Staples, Leon Russell and Billy Preston.
R&B, blues and touches of gospel and good ol’fashioned funk merge into pure beauty and soul here, making the appetite and excitement for whatever Francis does next all the more intense.
Anadol – Uzun Havalar
Big thanks to Luna Kuroda for introducing me to Anadol!
This album is a complete surprise to me from start to finish. I just never know what direction it’s about to go in. Every instrument, effect and note is completely unexpected. At one point, echoing saxophones could be honking out short Coltrane-like solos, and then gurgling synths suddenly twist around cold, treated vocals, while drum machines play Turkish folk rhythms softly in the background.
Elements of electro-psychedelic folk bleed into a sort of Middle Eastern take on Krautrock here, with a heavy focus on improvisation. This is especially evident on the ten-minute “Ya Evde Korksan,” which sounds like something from the Twin Peaks revival soundtrack. The atmosphere on songs like this one is filled with surreal confusion and an arid stillness.
For best results, perhaps play this album for the first time while you’re a stranger in a strange land, and you have no idea where to go next.
You can download the album here.