This was one of those chance discoveries – the kind you make when you don’t have anything better to do that look up a random music site and listen to the first thing that catches your eye. Lucky for me, I have a pretty good eye. Well, some of the time, anyway, which only makes discoveries like this all the more sweet.
Hailing from Santiago, Chile, Holydrug Couple have chosen an apt name for themselves, because this 3-track release is rather addictive, and I spent almost an hour on google the other day trying to find anything else they may have released (to little avail, I’ll just add, though demo versions of the first two tracks, recorded in 2009, are available to download on Homemade Lo-Fi Psychedelic). The following quote comes from the same post on HLFP, where the duo (Ives Sepulveda and Manuel Parra) speak about their influences:
“…sixties garage rock, progressive rock, the sixties counterculture in general (hippies, Vietnam war…), psychedelic bands, Acid rock, krautrock too, and LSD and psylocibine of course, ahhh, and some Chilean psychedelic bands form the sixties like Los Jaivas, Los Blops or Los Vidrios Quebrados, they’re very important.”
Personally, I’m completely clueless about everything after krautrock, but those I am familiar with are detectable in one form or another, giving Holydrug Couple the potential to fill any gaps you might find in between your favourite psych artists – or, indeed, create new space entirely.
The title track, Ancient Land, is a 10-minute number that is clearly intended to be something of a journey, taken in three distinct stages. It starts in some fairly familiar territory, at least to those (like me) who are fans of the dazey psych stylings of Sleepy Sun and Brightblack Morning Light, then suitably drifts into an instrumental section that seems designed for just relaxing in with the sound itself, which reminded me in some ways of Spirtualized. The track winds down for the last three minutes in ambient drone territory with some ‘spooky hollow‘ twilight forest sounds.
The second track, Now, is a more straightforward psych jam which has a slightly glazed feel to it, and I’d lean more towards a laid-back The Black Angels for a comparison (Young Men Dead sprang to mind). Rounding out the EP is Mountaintop. It leans a little more toward dream pop and shoegaze with a definite 60’s flavour to it.
References aside, Holydrug Couple – for the main part – take a slightly more pop and blues direction with their psych, and give it an overall trance-like aesthetic without actually laying it on too thickly – the songs are generally energised but retain a sedative quality.
The Ancient Land EP is currently available in both standard and limited vinyl editions via Sacred Bones Records. You can also purchase it digitally at a variety of outlets, including iTunes, Amazon and Other Music. Once again, I was only able to use Boomkat.¹
1. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend Boomkat for Win7 users if other options are available, primarily because of who knows what they do when they compress files, once unzipped they’re not fully compatible with Windows 7. They do play fine, but they don’t have any data in the ID tags other than filename, and the tags can’t be edited. At all. They don’t even have track durations, all of which drives me up the wall. I must have correct data! So, each time I’ve purchased an album via Boomkat, I’ve had to convert the MP3s to… MP3s. 😐 Not only that, but I have to lower the bitrate from 320 kbps to 224 so that the converted MP3s don’t continually click when played. It’s actually quite lame.