Nate Fitzbutler did a remix to Kanye West’s and Kendrick Lamar’s “No More Parties in LA” called “No More Parties in SD”. He said, "we made this track to try to bring some national buzz to our city that’s always been in the shadow of the LA music scene."

Niko Sitaras from the San Diego based dream rock band Paper Days says, "We just released our new EP 'Fun For Family & Friends'. Our release party is on Feb 19th being hosted at the Irenic (with The Bash Dogs & Splavender). 

Panic Is Perfect is an indie-pop group from San Fran and they are touring in support of their new album, Cellspace, which drops tomorrow on Strange Loop Records. They'll be playing at The Loft @ UCSD on Feb. 12!






Howlin’ Rain – Magnificent Fiend (American Recordings)
Keith Boyd
Once upon in Rock music there was room for the mythic beast known as a hybrid. Bands would splice moments of soul, gospel, funk or what have you into their bag and come up with heart warming melodies that could be stretched out into endless space live but still find room on the Top 40. This paradigm extended to live shows. During the late 60’s through the mid 70’s concerts would celebrate diversity with lineups that could include Miles Davis and The Grateful Dead, Papa John Creech and The Jefferson Airplane. This willingness to blend and bend beyond the rock/pop narcotic was the magick of the times and helped produce the early genius of such acts as Moby Grape, Procol Harum, Elton John and The Band. While being critically celebrated to a certain extent during this period, most of these artists either found limited commercial success (a one hit wonder scenario) or only did so after changing significantly. While the long term money and fame might have eluded some of these acts their output has come around again to show its wide and powerful influence. What to call this sound? It’s definitely springing from the Rock idiom. It’s a mish-mash of something born under the California sunshine but also homegrown in the super Blues groups from England (Terry Riley, John Mayal and Fleetwood Mac (early)). From under that base however we end up with gospel choruses, trembling washes of Hammond B-3 Soul and over the top dynamics that ebb and flow with each piece. This sound has now risen again in the wonderfully capable hands of Howlin’ Rain on their super new disc, “Magnificent Fiend”.
Made up of members from Comets on Fire and Sunburned Hand of The Man, Howlin’ Rain started as so many great bands do, as a side project. It was a place where COF’s folks could let the noise go away a bit and replace it with song structure and melody. Their 1st album was a soft focus, good times blend that pleased the ear without any overt challenges. This time out the musical palette has been expanded and included horns and a heavier dose of keyboard/organ. The result is a wonderfully deep listen filled with rich song writing and the most heartfelt playing since The Band’s, “Last Waltz”. The overall effect of each song is a building steeplechase of dynamics but no matter how high these cathedrals get they are always punctuated by beautiful bridges that bring to mind the very best of the Summer of Love sound. The recently issued box set “Love is the Song We Sing” on Rhino gives you the blueprint. The sound however isn’t retro. It’s transcendent. I find myself swept on waves of joy as these soaring choruses pulse and swim. Howlin’ Rain has grown and matured in the space of one album more than most bands do in a lifetime. They’ve thrown their hats in with the timeless structures of quality and pulled from those archives a delightfully modern and hopeful record. While others are content to wallow in the mire of a world we have created HR are boldly declaring a new paradigm. It’s on their album cover as well. A psychedelic, Arik Roper moth emerges from its pupae and a quote floats behind it; “Live well Friends. Take with you as much love and laughter as can be carried in your days” That statement goes a long way towards giving us all an ideal to aim towards. Go out and buy this one folks. You’ll be so glad you did. I’ll leave you with two small bits. One to illustrate the poetry at work here and the other a song by song analysis by Ethan Miller from their website.
“Tailwind carry the birds to the coast to watch the clouds roll along. Pollen and pitch whisper the scripture of kings in a tongue only spoken by ghosts”

Mirroring the album’s running order, here’s Miller’s track-by-track take on the album:

“Requiem” – That’s a reformation of the chord progression to the revved-up rock intro to next song. Joel had an acoustic guitar that accidentally wound up with a broken neck; he was so devastated he went back into the studio and overdubbed that sorrowful horn solo.

“Dancers At The End Of Time” – Some of the imagery and the narrative tone are an homage to sci-fi writer Michael Moorcock’s books that center on his Jherek Carnelian character. People gleefully sliding toward Armageddon with a bowtie on top of their heads.

“Calling Lightning Pt. 2” – I’ve always liked the idea of taking the essential quality of a song like ‘Calling Lightning With A Scythe’ – which we did on our first album -- and making something different out of it. Which itself relates to the thematic concept of becoming distanced from your youth.

“Lord Have Mercy” – A tribute to different kinds of Faustian characters at different stages of their making devilish deals.

“Nomads” – That’s a song about trying to write songs, as seen through the perspective of a musician’s life on the road.

“El Rey” – A modern pulp story like something Jim Thompson or James M. Cain might’ve written. How someone could become embroiled in something they’ll never shake, like Abu Ghraib, and drift into the criminal world. “

“Goodbye Ruby” – An allegorical tale about the road not taken. Told from point of view of someone who’s still in love with the companion in crime who betrayed him.

“Riverboat” – Another pulp crime story about people on edge, trying to hold on while riding the rivers.

    Lotushouse MP3 Sampler
    Maquiladora - The Revenge of Becky Royal (New Piano)
    Tenniscoats + Maquiladora - Hours
    High Mountain Tempel - Processional (An Invocation to Thee Angelic Sister)
    Raagnagrok - HJD
    Beggars - Will We Call It Love
    Maquiladora - Termez 1936
    Maquiladora - Song 26
    Buzz or Howl - Sendhe Mortu Chin Rigore
    Earthling Tempel - Celestial Inhabitants of the Sun
    Buzz or Howl - The Sins Of The Flower Are Visited On The Shunned
    Maquiladora - Light of the Rain
    High Mountain Tempel - The Ascended Master (Hang Gliding in Heaven)
    High Mountain Tempel - Fluctuat Nec Mergitur
    High Mountain Tempel - Tempel Walk
    Buzz or Howl - 05 Oct 05
    Buzz or Howl - Sun as the Destroyer of Dreams
    Live version at the Make Room SF 2005
    Maquiladora - In This Life
    Maquiladora - Simply to See You
    Maquiladora with Kawabata Makoto - Nampasen
    Maquiladora Maquiladora - Drunk and Lighting Fires (A Waltz)
    Maquiladora Maquiladora - Ritual of Hearts
    Maquiladora Maquiladora - Ankle
    Maquiladora - Mayday
    Loraine Loraine - Pasqually Old Pasqually

    Beggars - S/T
    by Pierro Scaruffi

    Maquiladora's Eric Nielsen and Bruce McKenzie joined forces with Skygreen Leopards' Glenn Donaldson to form Beggars, whose double-disc Beggars (Lotushouse, 2013) is a tour de force of ecstatic Eastern-influenced freak-folk. Mostly these pieces lean towards the traditional song format, although inevitably deformed by the musicians' pedigrees.

    The ghostly hyper-dilated drones of Ghost Coyote are imbued with quasi-Morricone western-movie guitar twang and even harmonica. The sweet lullaby and the trotting pace of Eureka My Love as well as the romantic honky-tonking Justine (with a refrain a bit reminiscent of Dylan's Blowing in the Wind) hark back to the heydays of country-rock. 2-3-74 Floating evokes the martial laments of the young Neil Young although diluted amid discordant guitar jamming and lulled by waves of funereal vocal harmonies. Berserker's Boogie is a lively and poppy almost-bluegrass tune. They even intone the singalong Queen Anne's Lace with drums, banjo and all.

    Thankfully, the spaced-out yodeling of Lullaby de Bourbon (memories of Aoxomoxoa-era Grateful Dead), the free-form quasi-jazz guitar and vocal interplay of Will We Call It Love, the seven-minute dreaming psalm Big Pink Sun and its sublimely disintegrating coda, remind us of what Maquiladora are best at. The 23-minute Midget Decapitates Clownis an ambitious concerto for suspense and agony. Far from being just a droning piece, it piles up sonic event after sonic event, producing the trancey effect out of a multitude of traumatic sounds. The chirping and tweeting that accumulates half-way into the piece decays into a nervous organic filigree and dies away in the most cryptic manner; one of the high points of Maquiladora's career.

    Earthling Tempel - Pilgrimage To Thunderbolt Pagoda
    by Aquarius Records

    Not sure if this is part 4, or just the first in a new multi part epic, hardly matters, what does matter is, this is another glorious expansive collection of meditative psychedelic abstract dronefolk ambience. Every High Mountain Tempel disc we're reviewed thus far has gotten played to death here, and this one doesn't appear to be any different. Well, at least in that respect. In one distinct way it is very different, HMT are not going it alone this time. They've assembled a pretty impressive collection of sonic alchemists and musical conjurers to help with this ritual, Isis Aquarian from the Source Family, Charles Curtis from La Monte Young's Just Alap Raga Ensemble, and two crews from the UK we've never heard of, Earthling Society and Astarism, but even with all those cooks in the kitchen, HMT and friends have managed to weave another dark minimal masterpiece, all hushed barely there guitar shimmer, drifting whispered vocals, delicate crystalline melodies, dense swirls of piano, warm swells of tape hiss, mysterious voices and field recordings, whirring organ, bowed steel strings... so lovely.

    If the liner notes are to be believed, two of the tracks feature Earthling Society on their own, and those tracks do sound different, much less free and sprawling, a bit more structured, like seventies UK acid folk, swirling and melodic and quite lovely. The final two tracks find the two groups in full on collaborative mode, and the gears shift to something much more space rocky and Hawkwindy, all blissed out and heart-of-the-sun, until the final track which is a strummy, delicate, moody chill out closer, a sort of dour doom folk drift, that makes a perfect ending.

    Super nice packaging, silkscreened oversized 4 panel sleeve, white on black, with the cd-r affixed to the inside. And of course, SUPER LIMITED!

    High Mountain Tempel - The Glass Bead Game by Aquarius Records

    Part three in the ongoing series of limited cd-r explorations from mysterious drone combo High Mountain Tempel, and like the two before it, the band continue to delve into some murky sonic underworld, again presenting loooong songs, each separated by brief sonic interludes, this disc seems feature more actual vocals, the opening track features a processed voice, that sounds a bit like throat singing, or a Speak And Spell, intoning some arcane message, interwoven with long drawn out tones, and a thick ropy buzz, super dark and intense and atmospheric. Elsewhere sampled voices surface, there are bits of chanting here and there, all peppered throughout the disc. But even with the extra voices, the focus here is still on dark, lugubrious, extended dronescapes.

    The sound of High Mountain Tempel is probably closest to Expo '70, as their various permutations of dronemusic seem to have a definite krautrock vibe, that gives the sound a sort of spaced out quality, and a subtle propulsion, but unlike Expo '70, HMT seem to have a distinct Eastern influence, much of the music is meditative and subtly dramatic, a bit soundtracky, and some of it sounds like it could be Japanese. Especially the way field recordings are incorporated into the sounds. Giving everything a definite texture, some of it sounding like it was perhaps recorded live in some hilltop temple. Which we would imagine is the idea.

    Not sure what else to say actually. This is indeed fantastic, brooding and malefic, but also shimmery and dreamy, sonically it has much in common with the first two installments, so definitely check out those reviews to read more about their 'sound'.

    Needless to say, fans of the drone and folks into the current crop of cd-r soundscapers will for sure dig this, but like the other HMT discs, this is more than simple drone music, this is ritualistic alchemical soundwork, one can almost imagine stumbling across a group of cloaked figures huddled around a fire in a forest clearing, tossing various powders into the flames, causing the fire to change color and cast beastlike shadows on the branches above, and this is the sound filtering through the forest like a black moonlit fog...
    SUPER LIMITED of course, packaged beautifully in a foldover silkscreened sleeve, gold metallic on red on the outside, black on red on the inside.

    High Mountain Tempel - A Screaming Comes Across The Sky - The Faultline Scriptures
    by Aquarius Records

    Record number two from this mysterious drone-kraut styled duo. Their last disc was a huge hit around here, so we were pretty thrilled to get our hands on this one, a logical sonic extension of the first, delving deeper into some murky tripped out twilit soundworld.
    The disc opens with shimmering clouds of gongs and cymbals, whirring and sizzling, suspended over a deep distant rumble, a delicate intro to a record at once hypnotic and lovely, dark and dense.

    The record is arranged into three epic tracks, interspersed with short sonic interludes, ranging from field recordings of crickets, looped chants (Elizabeth Clare Prophet if we're not mistaken), spirituals and mysterious liturgical songs, whirring drones, and backwards percussion, but it's the long tracks where the duo get to spread out, let their dense soundscapes sprawl.

    The three long tracks sounds like movements of a greater whole, clocking in at 15 minutes, 11 minutes and nearly 17 minutes respectively, each rife with creepy delayed vocals, churning guitars and smeared chords, roiling muddy whirls, which often dissipate leaving streaks of fragmented melody and haunting slowed down voices. Buried amidst the drones and whirs, are lullaby-like melodies, skittery percussion, streaks of grinding distortion, hidden voices, more field recordings, thick swaths of cavernous rumbles, little bits of electronic glitch and lots and lots of low end buzz.

    Packaged in a fancy navy blue fold over sleeve, screenprinted in white ink, with a photocopied insert with liner notes and song credits.

    LIMITED TO 150 COPIES! Each one hand numbered.


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