Tag Archives: psychedelic

April’s Swag – Free (& Legal) Music Downloads

April's Swag - bite-sized, but very tempting (and even a bit delicious)

Once again, there’s been so much going on this month that I’ve spared little time to dig up the best bits from the nether regions of the internet. Lucky for us both, I don’t have to look very far to find something worth bringing to your attention – to recap those I already have:

After that, I suggest sinking your teeth into these:

Heinali and Matt Finney – Plainsong
Shoegaze/Drone/Ambient | 15MB – 320 kbps MP3
You may have caught the recent Conjoined review over at [sic], if not, this duo blend heavy shoegaze-drone a la The Angelic Process/Nadja, with spoken word vocals. These guys have got quite a few things in store for this year, with another album set for release later this spring on Paradigms Recordings titled Ain’t No Night – keep your eyes and ears out for more info soon, as there’s some seriously good stuff going on with that. Currently available for free download on Bandcamp right now is their take on The Cure’s Plainsong and Radiohead’s Creep. To top it off, from May 1st, Dreamcatcher – a half-hour soundtrack over two movements (Lucifer 1 and Panopticon), which recently accompanied a photo exhibit – will go up as a ‘name your price’ download, with all funds raised going towards financing another album later this year; some very absorbing work all-round.

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Wild Dogs In Winter – Homba*
Post Rock/Ambient | 120MB – 320 kbps MP3s
Released last year but only just recently brought to my attention, this nicely done 10-track album has more than enough weight to grab – and keep – the attention of Blueneck, I Like Trains, Our Ceasing Voice and Her Name Is Calla fans. Available on Bandcamp as a digital download (or purchase the CD).

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Sleepy Sun – Marina
Psych/Stoner Rock | 14MB – 320 kbps MP3
If you know me, you know I can’t get enough of these guys and their particularly sparkling blend of hazy psych/stoner rock. To celebrate their upcoming US tour, Sleepy Sun have made a live version of the single Marina available for free download, which you can grab here.

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Other Lives – For 12
Folk/Rock | 6MB 192 kbps MP3
It was nice to see this new track go up on RCRD LBL the other day, as I’m quite fond of Other Lives’ self-titled debut. (Not so nice to see RCRD LBL decide to go the same direction as Daytrotter and disallow direct downloads without registering for a user account – they better not introduce a poorly functioning, site-specific “download manager”). Slightly more old-school psych-folk in this track, but very nice indeed – grab it here.

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NeTE – Greatest Non-Hits 1 LP
Industrial/Gothic/Lo-Fi – 73MB 128 kbps MP3s
Some of you may remember my Australian music special from a while back, and briefly mentioning I couldn’t recall any Australian goth bands I was into during the 90’s. Well, while I was trying to jog my memory, I happened upon a site called Shame File Music – a label dedicated to experimental Australian music. Long story slightly shorter, I grabbed this collection of tracks, and while I can’t say I heard them back then, I can say there’s some stuff here worthy of a listen now. Grab them from Internet Archive.

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*These are available as ‘name your price’ downloads. For Bandcamp releases, you are able to enter any amount, including $0. For Mamaleek’s Kurdaitcha, voluntary donations (via PayPal) to support the artists can be made through the Enemies List download page linked above. As always, though I know times are tough, I encourage sparing a few bucks where and when you can to support the artists making the music you enjoy.


Deserts, Mountains & Psychedelics: Adrift For Days Interview

Adrift For Days‘ debut album, The Lunar Maria (released 2010), is undoubtedly my favourite Australian album of recent years. With it’s sedate, psychedelic, doom-laden  sludge, infused with blues and tribal elements, it’s safe to say very few Aussie albums have impressed me both immediately and to such an extent that I had to ask just where the hell this came from; and by that token, what else I’ve been missing out on in this vast country of mine.

Who better to ask than the guys responsible for making me a born-again Oz music noob? Mick (Kaslik) and Lachlan (R. Doomsdale) were kind enough to spend a little time answering some questions, starting with how this all came to pass in the first place.

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Holydrug Couple – Ancient Land

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

 

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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.


Adrift For Days – the Lunar Maria

For reasons that are not unknown, but best left to explain in greater depth at a later date, it’s not often I mention Australian bands here. Though, to be more accurate, it’s less common when compared to the origin of the majority of other artists I write about. Also, unless you count artists on the more garage/punk/thrash side of things, like Massappeal (who, in all reality, are still pretty old school anyway), the last Australian metal band I had a yen for was Mortal Sin and the album Mayhemic Destruction (1985, but it was @1990 I wore out my vinyl copy – also more on that sometime later. Probably).

Consider that, however, a testament to the fairly narrow scope of what actually appeals to me in the relam of all things metal, and not necessarily that Australia doesn’t have talent worth exploring – as mentioned previously, I rarely ‘get’ black metal, I often lose patience with drone, and the slightest hint of a cliché makes me run a mile (eg silly aesthetic details like names that misspell words such as apocalypse, or other doom-inferring words, so they can put a big X in it – apparently that’s still cool). Add to that the fact that I now have a serious aversion to full-on screamo type vocals and it automatically excludes a surprisingly large amount of music in the genre.

Believe it or not, having such, shall we say, discriminating taste can actually be quite frustrating, and while the above is ultimately fairly extraneous, it’s also a way of explaining the little extra awesome it is to find something that pretty much exemplifies everything I look for in heavier music – that something being the above album by Sydney-siders Adrift For Days. As they’re on home soil, it also means – finally – I actually stand a chance of seeing them live (unlike every other artist that’s made my favourites list recently).

Just to be clear, this isn’t just a decent album I’m mentioning because the band are fellow citizens of my country (really, that’s just not my style), but as it happens to stand, the Lunar Maria is already my favourite Australian album of the last 5 years, probably more. There will likely be someone that suggests I must have missed out on a bunch of stuff, and they may well be right, but at this point in time they’re going to stay missed as this album had me right from the start and I can’t see it letting go anytime soon.

After a brief tribal incantation, opener Bury All That’s Chosen kinda lopes on in with an almost creepingly indulgent, downtempo bluesy feel. I was pretty content just with that, but at about 4 minutes the song kicks into a dense wall of heavy, sludgey, melt-your-face psychedelic stoner doom, accompanied by vocals that could well be just as at home in gothic post-punk as they are here. More to the point, vocals by someone that has a good voice and primarily uses it to sing. Praise be for that.

It doesn’t let up after the first track, either – Messages Through Sleep, the third track after a brief outro, similarly blends a chilled blues mood, post-rock ambience and the hefty weight of doom-laden metal to become some of the most effective 12 minutes out of the 71 minute duration. The blues gets a little low-down and gritty for the stoner jam The Leech, while Along the Moon River gives up 18 minutes of some seriously leaden-limbed, melatonin*-inducing stuff.

By the time Waveform Collapse dissolves, if you weren’t smart enough to do it in the first place, you’ll have to peel yourself off from whatever surface the Lunar Maria stuck you to (wall, floor, possibly the ceiling depending on your original disposition) so you can whack it on repeat and sink back in.  There’s nothing here that feels contrived, out of place or superfluous; for a debut album it’s impressively paced, brings a bunch of the best elements from various styles to the table (really digging the blues vibe) and does it all in an uncompromising, inspired and intuitive manner.

Hear what I mean by taking a listen to the first track:

You can check out Adrift For Days at  MySpace, better yet, click the following link and download the album from Bandcamp. But even better still, you can also buy the Lunar Maria in a CD/Digipak version directly from the band.

(*AKA “Hormone of Darkness“)

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Last Minute Surprise – Murmuüre

I feel I should make a point of mentioning, right from the start, that I might not be the best – or most qualified – person to be talking about this album. My mother, bless her, brought me up on old school blues, 60’s and 70’s psychedelic rock, and heavy metal from a time when it had no sub-genres. As a consequence, and with limited experience in much of the vast sea that is metal these days, often the only artists I can draw on for comparison are Iron Maiden, Metallica, Judas Priest, Motörhead and maybe a few others, none of which will do here.

So, with that in mind, I want to talk about a black metal album that made me do something I haven’t done in quite a long time:

I listened to the opening track over at Bandcamp and decided to buy the download. I then listened to the album obsessively for a week, until finally I couldn’t help myself and bought the CD.

I’m not going to delve into the intricacies of how my mind works to try and explain to any satisfaction why I do things like that, other than that the immediacy of a download is sometimes far too alluring, and the appeal of a physical product is sometimes even more so. This, ultimately, makes at least one of the purchases somewhat redundant, but I don’t care. Sometimes I just want what I want and there’s no talking “sense” to me.

As mentioned, I’m relatively green when it comes to black metal. I’ve sampled a few artists here and there, but often I just don’t get it. To be more specific, I am generally left wondering just what the hell it is I’m listening to, and why. This, however… Well, Murmuüre’s album is something special indeed.

The use of a flute got my attention from the outset. In the mid-90’s, my obsession with Asian cinema, particularly Hong Kong action, was such that I bought films to watch at a rate which I now buy music, so it wasn’t just interesting to hear those notes fluttering over an opening track, but they brought back a veritable montage of much-loved heroes in their moments of reflection – those moments when they were deep in thought, pending life-changing and/or threatening decisions flickering over their faces as they look out into the distance, right before stuff gets serious and fists start flying.

And they really do fly:

 

Murmuüre’s album is steeped in intense introspection, resonant with ritualistic mysticism and rife with hard-hitting, occasionally crushing, weight – the overall effect of which is unlike anything I’ve heard before, and from reading the reviews over at Aquarius Records, it seems obvious to me that has nothing to do with any lack of knowledge in the genre.  Much greater insight into just what has gone into making this album is given by reading this blog post by the artist behind the album, which (amongst other things) indicates I’ll never hear anything like this again – a prospect that is slightly disappointing, but fitting none the less.

This album surprised and impressed me in almost unprecedented amounts; so much so that in the rather brief amount of time I’ve been listening to it, it’s climbed rapidly in my list of favourites for the year (something which will be reflected elsewhere shortly, since I missed the opportunity in my original list). While I may be a little hyped about it, I’m pretty darn sure I know the difference between a fleeting enthrallment and long-term admiration. The more I listen to it, the more I know this is very much a case of the latter.

 

You can currently buy it on CD  via Paradigm Recordings; or you can purchase a digital copy via Bandcamp.

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Os Ovni – Something in the Sky

If you got into witch house this year, you’ll probably dig this nifty little blend of shoegaze, dream pop and psych, all wrapped up in a droney-witch house package by Texan duo Os Ovni.

Something in the Sky, recently released by Answering Machine Recordings, and apart from having a tripped out cover, was apparently recorded using only one instrument. Quite impressive when taking into consideration the different sounds and genres blended into the mix. The video is quite a nice trip, too.

You can grab one of 300 limited pink vinyl pressings via Answering Machine Recordings.

For more Os Ovni, check them out on Tumblr; or pay a visit to their SoundCloud page where you can listen to or download a couple of mixtapes.

 

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Beyond the Dune Sea

Accidental Music?

The sound, or “dimension”, acheived by Beyond the Dune Sea is – according to their bio – an accident. I wish I had these kinds of accidents with musical instruments, instead of the requiring medical treatment accidents I’m more likely to have or cause even with just a plastic whistle. Unfortunately, all musical instruments become dangerous weapons in my hands. Never mind, on to people who can actually use them…

To start off with. I’m going to call it instrumental post-rock. Then throw in progressive and experimental. Did you roll your eyes? I know I often do when I see those genre tags for the upteenth time; there just doesn’t seem to be a great deal of diversity or any real experimentation and progression within the plethora of bands garnering those tags. The shame is that now those generic tags are automatically applied to some not-so-generic bands. They fit, sure, but they don’t really tell you anything, and these days aren’t reason enough to want to hear what a new band has to offer.

Beyond the Dune Sea, however, deserve some attention, because their self-titled debut is an interesting one. To start off with, the album bucks the typical post-rock trend of only running 27 minutes over ten tracks (including the brief intro and a 23-second reprise) – there’s no drawn out, overblown self-indulgence here, which makes for a nice change of pace. Bonus points not for being brief, but for concise storytelling within instrumental tracks and knowing when enough has been said.

Experimentation with various sounds is generally kept to individual tracks, and are as diverse as some funky jazz influences (Time is of the Essence) and glitchy electronica (Save Game), to some breakbeat-like percussion in a few songs – which, by the way, sounds completely organic to my ears, so an interesting touch when used. I will say I’m not the biggest fan of Save Game. If the title doesn’t give it away, the bleeps and blips certainly don’t let you make any mistake about the inspiration for the track. Within the context of the album, it seems to sit a little left of centre and has the unfortunate effect of making it come off as more of a distraction than anything else.

Elsewhere, however, theres’s enough to have kept me listening to this album fairly consistently over the last couple of weeks. Final Solution, for example, starts off with some grungy post-metal, then melds into a 70’s-ish pych jam, while still every now and then touching on some subtle jazzy bass and percussion. Might sound messy, but it’s pulled together quite neatly.

As is the above track – The Red Tide. If that is an accident, I’d like to see what they come up with when they do it on purpose. 😉

The album, released via net label Abridged  Pause, is available as a free download here.

Beyond the Dune Sea @MySpace

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