This week we’re proud to share Lxus Shaq, the latest EP from Sacramento based experimental producer Michael RJ Saalman. He describes the EP as ‘… the album I’ve been searching for inside myself. It’s a manifestation of all my inspirations … the beginning of my most deeply conceived direction.’ It draws on almost all of Michael’s closest friends, with vocal contributions from Alak and a truly meticulously prepared collection of b-side remixes including virtually all of his longtime collaborators. On Ripe Hymns Saalman used pop production to create a series of evocative vignettes, complex and twisted beat passages, whimsical, but that often resolved into more. Lxus Shaq is a step beyond those recordings, full of unusual vocal treatments, surreal lyrics, and a much more confidently open style of production. His overriding interest in the minuscule components, even the minutiae of mainstream pop remains, but here Saalman does more to extrapolate those novelties into complete gestures, breaking their components down and assembling them seamlessly into something simultaneously familiar and foreign.
Tomorrow Al Lover begins his European tour in Norway at the Oslo Psych Fest, and a couple weeks afterward, he’ll be in Angers for Levitation France, another psych fest - this one presented by Austin Psych Fest. In keeping with his role as Austin Psych Fest DJ, he’s got mixtapes in the wings for both days of the festival.
Check the mixes out out below and scope the ‘Sacred Drugs’ preorder at Bandcamp. Also a big thanks to the folks who covered the single last week; Boston Hassle and Creative Loafing had great write-ups.
You may have gleaned that we were a bit swamped last month, but we’re psyched to finally have some new tapes coming out. Last week Al Lover shared the first single from his ‘Sacred Drugs’ album, now available for preorder on tape/LP from us/Psych Army Intergalatic (to be released October 1st).
In the meantime, we’re proud to present the latest work from self-trained multi-instrumentalist Ernest Gibson. Though probably best known for darker outings thanks to his debut solo LP ‘Island Records’ (Skrot Up) and recordings as one half of Net Shaker (Kill Shaman, Sleeping Giant Glossolalia), ‘Pastoral IV’ sees him experimenting with the chemistry of atmosphere, and from a particularly unfamiliar vantage: behind the keyboard. Twenty tracks of immersive thought experiment form an adaptable companion to contemplation, one that constantly remakes itself in the light of new imagery. ‘Pastoral IV’ is a deep but shifting enterprise and the best indication to date of Gibson’s true range.
Diode, derived from Greek roots meaning ‘two’ and ‘path,’ is the experimental synth/noise project of Shawn Foree of Digital Leather and fellow Omahan, David Hansen, usually of Worried Mothers. Like the electrical component, Diode the duo blocks current in all but one intended direction, steeping themselves in an ooze of unchecked electricity, charged and jagged even when it seems to congeal around Foree’s synths or Hansen’s mammoth guitar movements. The result is only very occasionally miasmic - see the eight minute lunacy of ‘Here Come the Gay Martians’ for an example - with noisy technics well cut by minimalist new wave predominating, as on the standouts ‘Obama Zombies’ and ‘Peck on the Lips.’ An exciting and unusual listen, even compared to both musicians’ typically lo-fi, free form approach to rock and garage songwriting. Grab a copy on Bandcamp.
We also want to thank Keith Rankin for his work preparing the snazzy j-card on this particular tape. Rankin often goes by Giant Claw and is one half of the duo behind Cream Juice and Orange Milk Records… if you’re not familiar, he makes amazing music and has been designing some of the best looking tapes and LPs for years (some of them are even still for sale).
Cream Dream unveiled streams from the first release on his Creme Records imprint this week, arriving in a somewhat different register than previous works; more minimalist and rendered from other than his usual materials. “Built around a late night voicemail, Message is a fast club track stripped down to its raw essentials. Big booming drums and expressive bouncing synths lead the listener on a journey through the past, the present and into the future.” Two snazzy remixes round it out. For now the expanded single is streaming on SoundCloud, but Creme is slated to officially release the tracks on June 16th, via an as-of-yet unlisted Bandcamp (June 16th) - we’ll post a link when that comes around.
Twenty years ago today Julie’s Haircut played their first live show together in Sassuolo and to celebrate, they’re sharing a recently uncovered live bootleg. God knows they sound plenty different, a bit raw and stripped down, but more punchy, like they’d just digested a bunch of Pavement and Flying Nun records… yea, I’ll try not to blather this one up, just take a look on Bandcamp.
Based in Massachusetts’ Pioneer Valley, Sam Gas Can is a freewhelling troubadour with a truly egalitarian approach to sound and an expansive catalog, having released with as eclectic a bag of labels as Feeding Tube, Digitalis, Eggy, Gnar, and his own Faux-Pas Recordings imprint. Sam is a master of what Sunburned Hand of the Man called ‘social sound,’ transcending genre barriers as if they didn’t exist. On ‘I Sat Around Today,’ the range and relationships this creates leaves a flavor almost of lo-fi library music, as if the fuzz he’d heard on psych-rock radio had influenced his noisier tendencies as much as any experience with music. Having said that, in the same way that his music configures a variety of influences, free-form jazzy psych-pop or something more suited to the garage, his efforts also chart the expansion of a related creative community; some of the tape’s standouts feature segues into oddball contributions from a variety of others. Joseph Bastardo (Bastian Void, Moss Archives), John Moloney (Sunburned Hand of the Man, Chelsea Light), Sarah Smith (Blanche Blanche Blanche), and Orion Russell (Zzoness, ex-Lord Jeff) make appearances, alongside other one-off contributions from others in the growing Massachusetts/Vermont DIY scene. Beyond being one of his lengthiest efforts in the last several years, ‘I Sat Around Today’ is a stunning example of how ‘the album’ is opening up these days. Grab a copy while they last via our Bandcamp.
Our third tape this month comes from Austin based Macho Blush, a self taught multi-instrumentalist raised around music and inculcated with the natural sense of experimentation that comes from such elaborate solo-orchestration… as well as the peculiar influence of emergent no-wave sensibilities in psychedelia. Across a growing discography, self-released and occasionally in association with Austin noise outlets, she fuses diverse elements into rugged timbres… sometimes through strident passages but more often in an evolving, fitful hypnagogia, reflected in the shifting attitude and orientation of vocals and instrumentation alike. Despite the distinctive clangtint of her music, the ‘noise’ is incidental to exploring the dense creative space between wakened awareness and the symbolism of dreams, transmitted by oblique lyrics and miscellaneous thematic markers across both audio and text… though Macho Blush can resemble the acousmatic thanks to an impressionistic approach to sound production, these songs are nonetheless expressive, and particularly of their origins in the primordial act of creation.
Though copies of Unsick are available to purchase via our Bandcamp now, they won’t be shipping until next week due to a minor production delay.