“We never had the intention to start a band,” says Yīn Yīn’s Yves Lennertz. “Our idea was to just release a tape cassette for our friends.”
However, when you land on something as distinct as Yīn Yīn’s sound, it soon becomes an inevitability that more ears are going to be pricked.
The project began life in 2016 with Lennertz teaming up with Kees Berkers. What was an experimental jam session soon became something more as the Maastricht-based pair were joined by Remy Scheren on bass and Robbert Verwijlen on keys.
I love the mix of musical cultures on this album. The base psyche sounds incorporate distinct Southeast Asia influences, combining at times with the twang of ‘spaghetti western’ soundtracks, at others, with generic funk and disco. Traces of North African Tuareg music also poke through.
The digital version, and some (now sold out) limited edition, coloured vinyl copies of the band’s debut album, ‘The Rabbit That Hunts Tigers,’ has been available via Bandcamp for a few months. But no worries, come April 20th 2020, the excellent Bongo Joe label will see that the album is more widely available, with a general release.
Just like the buses around here in Glasgow, you wait for ages and then two come at once!
Hot on the heels of his forthcoming new album’s lead track, Alex Pollock has also made available the following, ‘No Fooling.‘
The album was self-produced, written, performed, recorded, mixed and mastered by Pollock from his home apartment in Somerville, Massachusetts. During the creation of Rain, Pollock’s mother unexpectedly fell ill and passed away. While Rain is in some ways an expression of that change, it is also aspires to belong to everyone, beyond a singular, defining experience.
‘Rain‘ is a new, ambitious and exciting stage in the evolution of The Ocular Audio Experiment, colored lovingly with influences like, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, True Widow, Mercury Rev, Spacemen 3, BRMC, Black Angels, Psychic Ills and others.
I’ve been a fan of The Ocular Audio Experiment from, well, the start, I suppose, but much as I enjoyed the earlier work, from what I’ve hear of ‘Rain’ so far, it shows a maturity and richness of sound. It sounds to me that Alex and his ‘live’ band have truly found their feet and there is a greater sense of professionalism in both the music and accompanying video production.
It’s been three years, but he’s back! And if you were a reader of Loud Horizon back in the day, you’ll know how happy this makes me.
Alex Pollock, if I recall correctly, is from Boston area, USA, and under the pseudonym, The Ocular Audio Experiment, produces some glorious, shimmering yet dark and melodically doom-laden psyche music.
In his own words: ” Well, here we are, a whole year after I thought this project was done. Wow. This has taken me a lot longer than I had ever hoped or expected it to, for a variety of reasons, none of which are exciting or interesting. I am, however, ready to finally start putting it out into the world for good. ……….
” …. My goal with The Ocular Audio Experiment, going way back to the beginning, was to show that if some idiot like me, with no training, no label, no studio, no band, no know-how, could put together something maybe kind of close to cool, than really anybody could. That’s still the point and I still believe that.”
‘Rain,‘ is the lead and title track from the forthcoming album. It’s hard to quantify exactly, but I sense a distinctly more confident and professional approach from Alex on this one. The production and sound seem less cluttered and the accompanying video is quite striking in its ambiance and basic starkness.
I look forward to hearing the whole album, and sincerely hope Alex manages to get this in front of labels who specialize in this genre.
Los Angeles psyche-pop band, Allah Las are set to release their fourth album, ‘LAHS,‘ this autumn (October 11th) with ‘In The Air,’preceding it as a taster.
The album sees the band drawing from their years of touring the world, and experiences of recording three prior LPs. Their development as songwriters and producers is quite evident, and there are even a couple of songs sung in Spanish and Portuguese.
However, the melodies, hooks and harmonies are all still there, and on ‘In The Air,’ in particular, you would hardly need a second guess as to where the band come from. The warmth of a Californian / desert evening positively drips off this track. There’s a distinct psychedelic feel about it – a jangly, poppy psyche feel, which reminds of the less commercial catalogue of The Monkees. The video promotes that feel a little too. Ok – a bit darker than ‘Day Dream Believer,’ but you know what I mean.
(Incidentally, the album name, ‘LAHS’ is simply reference to a common misspelling of the band’s name – and once I read that I had to re-write the heading to this piece three times!)
Dead Acid People are a four-piece Stoner rock band from Paris, France. Initially formed as a duo back in 2014 by guitarist Stéphane and drummer, Guillaume , theywere shortly thereafter joined by Alain on bass. Agreeing then their sound could be further enhanced by the addition of a vocalist, he services of Mathieu were then enlisted.
Their first album, ‘Mocker Fuzzers‘ was released in 2016. I’ve had a quick run through that one and while it is worth checking out, to me it has more of a gothic, Gary Numan feel about it rather than ‘stoner.’
However, ‘Earth, Weed & Fire,‘ far better fits the description. It’s very bass-led, and an early indication of this comes in the opening ‘Intro’ track, The seven minute plus title track follows and immediately the difference between this album and the band’s debut becomes apparent. The production is definitely geared towards their vision, with the vocals sort of choked back into the mix more than the first album. Being the length it is, the track moves through a couple of distinct phases and incorporates a (too) short guitar wigout around the mid point.
‘Never Ending‘ unfortunately does. And all too soon. Perhaps not strictly ‘stoner’ for the purists, but this one races through its two and a half minutes duration and in terms of beat and bass line, echoes those of Iggy Pop’s ‘Lust For Life.‘ A winner in my book!
‘Fuzz You,‘ keeps the tempo high, and chugs along with a sense that it is the most commercially accessible track on the album. It’s not inconceivable that this track could be appreciated by a wider audience – one that would normally balk at the thought of listening to anything so radical as ‘stoner.’
‘Cosmic Trails‘ returns us to what I’d consider the more traditional ‘stoner’ sound – steady, solid rhythm, pounding drums, more deadbeat vocal styles and searing guitars. ‘Beyond The Path,’ slows even further and has a kind of ethereal feel. It’s a lovely spaced-out track, predominately instrumental, but interspersed with hushed group vocals.
‘Light A Fire’ features some fuzzed up guitar and more growled vocal style. It has a harder edge than the other tracks.
Closing track, ‘Wrong Faith,‘ is a heavy-riffed, brilliantly dark, nine-minute end to the album. Arguably the best of the eight racks, in my opinion.
‘Earth, Weed Fire’ is definitely an album well worth exploring, and at only 15 Euros (or more if you feel it worthy – and I’d say it is) for the vinyl copy via Bandcamp, then, you know, go for it!
Music doesn’t get much heavier than this! Norwegian stoners Kal-El are set to unleash their storming fourth studio album, ‘Witches of Mars.‘
OK, it’s a few months away, on October 4th, but the title track has been made available as of now. And it’s a doozy!
Heavy touring schedules over the seven years since their inception have seen the band’s stock rise, release after release, and ‘Witches of Mars‘ is set to continue the trend.
Build on a foundation of heavy (very heavy) bass, Kal-El surround themselves with massive walls of sound that incorporate doom, blues rock, psyche and space rock. Basically, all the good elements of Rock in general! The result is a slow moving juggernaut of noise – monstrous on one hand but oh so sweet on the other!
(James) Elson, is a Leeds based, Merseyside born, singer / songwriter, who first came to prominence as one half of ENGINE, a band that started out as a psychedelic rock outfit but eventually morphed into an electronic production duo.
It was the release of a well received EP, ‘Cucumber Water,’ that brought ENGINE to the attention of Leeds’ promoters Odd Job and they were so impressed they moved quickly to get the band onto the line-up of one their gigs. The relationship was maintained, plans to work together were knocked about and it was Odd Job who subsequently gave Elson his first solo gig in November, a support slot in a sellout event featuring another act hailing from Merseyside, The Tea Street Band. The next step was to collaborate on the release of some of the songs James has been working on as a side project over the last few years.
‘Closer To,’ is the result. This is Elson’s third release, one that began life with Engine. The psychedelic elements are still there and from a gentle, electro opening, the song quickly develops into a classy psyche-pop wig-out. The keyboards and syth dance away in the background, while the buzzing , frantic guitar sounds contrast with James’s more laid back vocal style.
Radio 6 Music’s Gideon Coe recently gave Elson a spin, and in early May, James also played a set at his home city’s prestigious Liverpool Sound City Festival.
As Harry Nilsson, (one of the artists James draws inspiration from) once said: ‘Let The Good times Roll.”