Live: The New Pornographers and Ought – Kalamazoo, MI – August 17, 2017

The last time I saw the New Pornographers live was in 2007 at Chicago’s Metro.   Lead singer Carl Newman commented during the show about a strong thunderstorm happening outside during the gig, and you could hear thunder between songs now and then.  It was a great show, and my wife and got back to our hotel room still buzzing from it.  I noticed I had a voicemail from work, so I listened.  The storm that had rolled through Chicago during the show had become a tornado by the time it reached our hometown.  Nearly every home on the southeast side of town had either been destroyed or damaged.  A factory and a convenience store were wiped off the face of the Earth.  Amazingly, no one was injured.  Our house was fine, but we returned home early the next day to help with the rebuilding and cleaning efforts.

Thankfully, the only thing dire that happened during my second time seeing the New Pornographers was that the brewery in which they played, Bell’s in Kalamazoo, didn’t serve cider, radlers, or even their own root beer.

Ought

Unfortunately, I missed nearly all of opening band Ought‘s set.  I walked in during their last song (Thanks, Google Maps, for directions that were fine until the last two steps of the journey.), which sounded like some good shoegaze.  I need to check out their material.

The New Pornographers opening with “Moves.”

The New Pornographers came out sharp and quick with crowd favorites like “High Ticket Attractions,” “The Laws Have Changed,” and “Sing Me Spanish Techno.”  They sounded great.  They haven’t lost anything in ten years.  In fact, the additions of more electro touches from keyboardist Blaine Thurier and keyboardist / co-vocalist Kathryn Calder and violin and vocals from Simi Stone bring the band a new brightness.

Joe Seiders on drums and Simi Stone on violin and co-vocals.
John Collins on bass and Kathryn Calder on keyboards and co-vocals.
L-R: Blaine Thurier on keys, lead guitarist Todd Fancey, and lead vocalist and co-guitarist Carl Newman.

“Whiteout Conditions,” the title track of their new record, sounds even better live, and I was delighted to hear “Dancehall Domine” from Brill Bruisers live for the first time (They nailed it, by the way.).  The show cruised along well until a string broke on John Collins‘ bass and the band had a brief on-stage break while Mr. Collins worked some magic and had his axe swinging again in moments.  They were soon they were back to a fine rendition of “Adventures in Solitude.”

Broken bass string break.

The encore included “Challengers,” “Brill Bruisers,” “The Slow Descent in Alcoholism” (which I found funny considering they were playing in a brewery), and a rousing version of “The Bleeding Heart Show” that had us all cheering.

“Challengers”

It was a fun night, and much needed by all.  It’s no secret that depression and the 2016 presidential election fueled much of Newman’s songwriting for Whiteout Conditions, so the crisp sound, fun vibe, and power pop the New Pornographers brought were, for one night at least, an escape from the miasma of news, Tweets, rumors, and anger.

Keep your mind open.

 

Thundercat – Drunk

I don’t remember where I first heard of Thundercat (AKA Stephen Bruner), but I remember being amazed by his bass guitar skills. His fingers seemed to move on his guitar frets as nimbly as a spider racing across a web. I caught him live at Mamby on the Beach earlier this year, keen on hearing him live. He didn’t disappoint. He wowed the crowd with a jazz-fusion set that was unlike anything you heard the whole weekend.

His newest album, Drunk, is also unlike anything you’ve heard in a long while. It blends electronica with jazz, yacht rock, funk, and even a bit of trip hop. “Rabbit Ho” is a quirky intro with Bruner’s falsetto singing about friends coming and going from his life before it slips into “Captain Stupido,” which is a collaboration with one of his best pals – Flying Lotus. “I feel weird,” Bruner sings, perhaps speaking for all of us, as he struggles to get through the odd feelings that surround everyday activities like brushing your teeth. His bass and Lotus’ loops and beats are a killer combo.

“Uh Uh” is an instrumental showcase of Bruner’s stunning bass skills. Seriously, it will leave you dumbfounded. I have no idea how he plays that fast and that well at the same time. “Bus in the Streets” has Bruner watching the world go by and not wanting to get involved in the rat race. “Won’t you leave some things a mystery?” he asks in this age of everyone Tweeting, hash-tagging, and posting everything at every moment.

“A Fan’s Mail (Tron Song Suite II)” is perhaps the greatest love song written to a cat of all time. Bruner sings about his admiration for his cat having nine lives, doing what he wants, and lying in the sun all day. “Everybody wants to be a cat. It’s cool to be a cat.” It has a groove as smooth as a cat’s walk, too.

“Sometimes you have to let it go,” Bruner sings in the opening of “Lava Lamp.” The song moves as languidly as its namesake. “I’m so tired. Where can I lay my head?” Bruner asks. It’s a common theme for a lot of us in these times. We’re so overwhelmed that we’re losing time to decompress. Flying Lotus comes back on “Jethro,” and brings wicked beats with him. “Show You the Way” has powerhouse guests Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald, and both men show they can still slay a microphone (and a keyboard, too, in McDonald’s case). It’s a glorious return of yacht rock that you won’t realize you missed until you hear this track.

The special guests keep on coming as Kendrick Lamar drops some guest vocals on “Walk on By” – another groovy, smooth track. “Blackkk” is the smoothest song about overcoming fear of death I’ve ever heard. “Tokyo” would be great to have in your ears as you cruise through the city. Bruner sings about eating too much fish, blowing all his money on anime, and wanting to stay another night there.

“Jameel’s Space Ride” has Bruner dreaming about driving into space as he’s pulled over by the cops. “Friend Zone” is a sharp dis on someone keeping him at arm’s length instead of embracing him as a lover. “I’m your biggest fan, but I guess that’s just not good enough,” he sings as his bass and Mono/Poly’s synths deliver dance beats. “Don’t call me, don’t text me after two a.m., unless you plan on giving me some, ‘cause I got enough friends,” Bruner sings. Ouch.

In contrast, “Them Changes” (the first single) has Bruner singing about heartbreak. “Nobody move there’s blood on the floor, and I can’t find my heart. Where did it go? Did I leave it in the cold?” His bass groove on it gets into your circulatory system and won’t leave until you dance. Flying Lotus’ beats sure help, too (as they do on the next track, “Where I’m Going”). “Drink Dat” is a slow jam for people starting to wind down after partying in the late hours. “Can’t open my eyes, girl, ‘cause I’m just too wasted,” Bruner sings between raps by Wiz Khalifa.

“Inferno” is the most psychedelic track on the record with Lotus’ trippy beats. “3AM” has Bruner still awake despite being (according to the theme of the album by now) drunk and tired. His bass groove in it is something Christopher Cross hears in his dreams. “Drunk” gets as wobbly as its namesake thanks to Bruner’s reverbed bass and Flying Lotus’ melted cheese synths.

“The Turn Down” is a witty song about the aftermath of too much partying. Bruner laments the mess in his house, the location of Captain Planet (who might be one of Bruner’s cats), and guests who have lingered too long. Pharrell teams up with him on the track, and Bruner has said multiple times that Pharrell’s contribution to the track blew his mind. He does nail it.

The album ends with the great, keyboard-driven “DUI.” Bruner’s night went from drowning his sorrows, to a fun time, to exhaustion, to annoyance, and then either back home, jail, or the grave.  “I’m so tired,” he sings again just before the keyboards turn into the sound of screeching tires and then fade into distortion. Did he crash? Did he make it home? Is he in the hoosegow?

Drunk is masterfully crafted, and the best-engineered and mixed album I’ve heard so far in 2017. It’s a stunning, eclectic piece of work. Only good things are ahead for Thundercat. Get Drunk.

Keep your mind open

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Rewind Review: Zola Jesus – Taiga (2014)

Zola Jesus’ music is difficult to classify. It’s not quite electro, not quite shoegaze, not quite diva, and not quite goth. Yet it is somehow all of these things. Zola Jesus, has one of the most haunting voices in music, and her album, Taiga, and is a fine addition to her already impressive catalogue.

The title track opener is a spooky electro song with drum and bass beats that dissolve into frightening horns. “Dangerous Days” could be a dance club hit if she wanted. It could also be your favorite new song about relationships. “Dust” sounds like a long-lost Yaz track with its tick-tock electric beats and her lovely voice creeping through it like fog rolling along a beach. Ms. Jesus, in case you’re reading this, I’ll sign a petition to hear you cover Yaz’s “Situation.”

“Hunger” is a hot song about hot sex that I’m sure tore up dance clubs in various remixes in 2014. “Go (Blank Sea)” is a swirling wave of sound that hits you over and over again (in a good way) with Zola Jesus’ powerful vocals, which are sometimes laced with reverb to make them even bigger, industrial beats, and angelic synths. It’s one of the best cuts on the record. “Ego” and “Lawless” highlight her vocals well, especially “Lawless,” which mixes epic synths with hip-hop beats and a bit of a tough girl attitude behind her vocals.

“Nail” has the gloomy yet beautiful feel that many Zola Jesus fans love in her work. “Long Way Down” has probably the biggest electro beats on the record (and the most reverb), and I’m sure is another excellent remixed dance track. “Hollow” is another solid entry, and the closer is the cheekily named “It’s Not Over.” It’s a big-voiced track about big love with a slow build and a glorious ending.

The main attraction to any Zola Jesus record is her phenomenal voice. The electro beats and goth touches help, but her voice can be soothing and haunting at the same time. She needs to sing the theme to the next Bond film, and the next ten Bond films if you ask me. If you enjoy a lovely female voice, you need to hear her.

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Rewind Review: Ty Segall – Live in San Francisco (2015)

Ty Segall is so prolific that I’m surprised it took him until 2015 to release a live album. He seems to put out a new record every month, so it feels like he should have three live albums by now.

The psych-fuzz whiz kid opens his live set with, oddly enough, “Wave Goodbye.” It starts out with low bass and then kicks into squealing high gear that has the small crowd cheering in joy. It sounds like something Tom Petty wishes he could release on his new record, but fears it would alienate his long-time fans. “Slaughterhouse” (from the album of the same name) is pure freak-out punk rock with a little Nirvana vocals sprinkled on top for good measure. “Death” mixes stoner rock with punk so fast it might give your ears friction burns. It’s one of the best cuts on the record.

“I Bought My Eyes” is one of Segall’s biggest hits, and he lets it rip on this live album. The guitars seem to come at you from all sides while Segall’s vocals are somehow gentle in the din. “Feel” borders on arena rock territory at first, but the sleeveless denim jacket riffs cut it off at the front door (which is a good thing).

“The Hill” follows the band’s friend, Julie, telling a joke, and next up is “Thank God for the Sinners,” which sounds like something Buzzcocks cooked up at their second jam session. Segall claims “Standing at the Station” “is about the cow trade.” I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know that it’s a swaggering, wild blues-influenced tidal wave coming out of your speakers.

The album ends with another of Segall’s hits – “What’s Inside Your Heart.” I’m sure the fans at this gig told him how their hearts were full of palpitations from being shaken by so much rock. It’s a strong ending to a strong record.

I know this entire review has essentially been me saying this record is non-stop blaring madness, but that’s the best way I describe it. You’ll understand once you hear it. Ty Segall is making crazy records, and we should all be grateful to him for doing it. The world needs more live records, and live performers, like this.

Keep your mind open.

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Rewind Review: TV on the Radio – Seeds (2014)

TV on the Radio returned in 2014 after taking time to mourn the loss of their bass player, Gerard Smith, who lost his battle with lung cancer in 2011. The album they released, Seeds, is a bright affair that not only pays tribute to Smith, but also embraces life and love after loss.

The first four lines of the opener, “Quartz,” are “How much do I love you? I’ll tell you no lie. How deep is the ocean? How high the sky?” It is a beautiful track with wicked beats that get your feet tapping within seconds.

“Careful You” (a play on “care for you”) is the most direct tribute to Smith barely hidden within a love song. The opening verse, “Oui, je t’aime, oui je ta’ime, a demain, ala prochaine (Yes, I love you, yes, I love you, tomorrow, and the next), I know it’s best to say goodbye, but I can’t seem to move away.” is both heartbreaking and tender. The throbbing synths drive the song through any fog that may be surrounding your head and bring you to out of your reality, at least momentarily.

“Could You,” with its big brass horns, has lead singer Tunde Adebimpe pleading for love (“Could you love somebody? Could you strip the ego bare and let love take flight? Could you open up your heart?”). The first single, “Happy Idiot,” is a sizzler with hot drums and lyrics about a man preferring ignorance and losing his mind to thinking of a life without his former lover. “Test Pilot” is another song about lost love and heartbreak, although by the end it seems the lovers involved may be willing to work through the rough skies and come in for a safe landing after all.

“Love Stained” is an epic song with lovely lyrics about a man terrified by his feelings and seemingly the world at large, but whose lover is always there for him (“In the middle of the night, when fear comes calling singing it all dies, always scared, alone, I’m looking into your eyes to feel the call, pretty thing that catches me so strong when I fall.”). The synths in this rise and fall like waves and eventually drift out like the tide. It’s almost as haunting as opening to the follow-up track, “Ride,” in which the piano and violins sound like a funeral dirge until the drums kick in and the song bursts open to become an affirmation of moving beyond grief and embracing the future. It’s a telling statement from the band considering the loss of Smith.

“Right Now” is another song of renewal and embracing of life. It is a directive from TVOTR to live in this moment and the leave behind the “imaginary need for the silly little things.” “Winter” has blaring guitars that sound designed to reach the back of the concert hall; and, yes, it’s another love song. It has the sauciest lyrics on the album – “Can’t think of nothing better than a union in the afterglow. Let it go, all the thinking and the reason. Here we go, to the lovin’ and the pleasin’.” Meow.

If all the synths are too much for you and you’re whining about the album not having a “real” TVOTR song, don’t worry. “Lazerray” sounds like something the band might’ve put on Return to Cookie Mountain. It’s is the most straight-up rocker on the record and a strong message about the impermanence of everything (“Chop down your master plan in nanoseconds, man. I hope you understand that nothing living lasts forever.”). “Trouble” seems to be a song about a man realizing his lover’s going to break up with him and there’s nothing he can do about it, but I can’t help but think it’s also about the impending death of Smith, especially when the song ends with “Everything’s gonna be okay” repeated over and over. The title track closes out the record, bringing back the thick synths and TVOTR’s great layered vocals. It’s another beautiful love song about a man planting the seeds to build a relationship with a woman who’s been stung in the past.

Seeds might be the best collection of love songs released in 2014. It was a great return for a great band.

Keep your mind open.

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Rewind Review: Blue Cheer – Vincebus Eruptum (1968)

I’d heard and read that Blue Cheer (Dick Peterson – bass and vocals, Leigh Stephens – guitar, Paul Whaley – drums) were among the loudest bands of all time. Eric Clapton mentioned this in an interview I read once when he was talking about the psychedelic / stoner rock scene in late 1960’s. Other musicians seemed to whisper about Blue Cheer like speaking too loudly of them might unleash a sonic boom at any moment. So, I figured I should buy their debut album Vincebus Eruptum (which is Latin for “blue cheer,” by the way).

The album opens with what is widely considered to be the first heavy metal song ever released – their cover of “Summertime Blues.” It immediately pours on the distortion and drumming that sounds an army of Orcs is playing it. My favorite part of the cover is how they don’t bother singing the parts when the boss or the congressman in the song speak. They just play a quick bass, drum, or guitar solo instead. “Rock Me Baby” is a blues standard, showing that Blue Cheer could groove as well as blow out your eardrums.

“Doctor Please” is the first track on the album written by Peterson, and it’s almost eight minutes of howling vocals backed by wailing guitar, heavy drums, and angry dog-growl bass. “Out of Focus” almost starts that way with its funky, weird bass groove, but soon Whaley’s drum licks bring everything into a (somewhat fuzzy) focus.

“Parchment Farm” has guitar work that you can hear influenced bands like Earthless, Sleep, Kadavar, and Wolfmother. Stephens melted the first faces in 1968, and some people still haven’t recovered. Listening to “Second Time Around” is like hearing the first cries of Baby Stoner Rock. It’s a wild, bluesy, psychedelic trip with a crazy drum solo from Whaley. The band is allegedly named for a type of LSD, after all.

As wild as it is to hear Vincebus Eruptum now, it must’ve been mind-blowing in 1968. No one had done anything like this before, and many are still trying to do it now. From now on when people ask me, “What should I listen to if I want to get into stoner rock?” I’ll tell them to start with this.

Keep your mind open.

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The Orwells – Terrible Human Beings

Elmhurt, Illinois’ the Orwells (Grant Binner – bass, Henry Binner – drums, Dominic Corso – guitar, Mario Cuomo – vocals, Matt O’Keefe – guitar) have this neat blend of Chicagoland grit, snotty punk, psychedelia, and Midwestern garage rock that is riff heavy and really catchy. Their newest album, Terrible Human Beings, is a great example of it.

The opener, and first single, “They Put the Body in the Bayou,” is a powerhouse of a tune and one of the best rock singles of 2017. It starts out slow at first, but then bursts out with psychedelic reverb and funky bass. The song is about the pitfalls of the music industry (“All right, make it quick. Good songs make you rich.”) and our culture’s love of sharing others’ misery with our friends (“I came by to see. I just had to know who put the body in the bayou.”).

“Fry” has sizzling guitar throughout it as Cuomo sings about people addiction to television and frying their minds on empty pop culture. “Creatures” depicts us as people “fading, creating, losing all control. Spinning and grinning, looking for a soul. Rollin’ and flowin’, tryin’ to find a role. Before you know it, you’re livin’ in a hole.” A “Vacation” should be a good time, but the Orwells know that often you need a vacation from your vacation.

I’m not sure if “Black Francis” is a takedown on the Pixies’ lead singer, or a what the Orwells think the Pixies (who do seem to be an influence) would think of them: “Have you heard that band? / Yeah, I think they’re shit. / And the way they dress? / Yeah, they think they’re hip. / And the things they say? / Yeah, it’s all a bluff. / And where they’re from? / Yeah, it ain’t that rough. / Black Franky’s got my world in his hands.” It’s really catchy and I’d love to know the story behind it. “M.A.D.” has a nice surf sound to it. The sharp bass of “Buddy” is some of Grant Binner’s best work on the record, and I like how the guitars soar around it at all times. “Hippie Soldier” and “Heavy Head” have great rock hooks throughout them. Both sing about different generations and the faults of each, with “Heavy Head” (a takedown of their own Millennial generation) being the most searing.

The guitars on “Ring Pop” shred as Cuomo sings about things in plain sight being “not quite right.” “Last Call (Go Home)” is a salute to barflies seeking romance. “Double Feature” has Cuomo singing about how he could’ve had any other career than a rock singer, but he “came from the wrong side of the tracks” and was doomed to a rock and roll life.  It becomes a wild, cosmic freak-out by the end.

The running theme of Terrible Human Beings is that we are our own worst enemy. We constantly put limits on ourselves or continue behaviors we know are detrimental. We like to point the finger at anyone else, but we forget about all the other fingers pointing back at us. The Orwells’ new album is an examination of conscience, a Zen story, a therapy session, hidden in a smart, sharp rock record.

Keep your mind open.

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Rewind Review: The Black Keys – Magic Potion (2006)

Every now and then (okay, more than that), an album slips through the cracks and years go by before I pick it up and wonder, “What took me so long?” Such an album is Magic Potion by the Black Keys (Dan Auerbach – guitar and vocals, Patrick Carney -drums). I’m a big fan of their work (especially the first half of their discography), and Magic Potion has been on my “must buy” list for a long time.

The opening chords of “Just Got to Be” exemplify what I love about the band – chugging guitar, rock drumming that borders on being sloppy, and sweaty blues-style vocals. “Your Touch” is one of their biggest hits thanks to its slick groove and sexy subject matter. “You’re the One” is a bit psychedelic as Auerbach sings a sweet song about his mother teaching him about love and how he later carried those lessons to his girlfriend.

“Just a Little Heat” reveals the band’s love for Led Zeppelin, who also loved the blues. Just listen to the opening licks and tell me they don’t remind you of Zeppelin’s “Heartbreaker.” “Give Your Heart Away” is a great “So long, baby” type of blues song about Auerbach walking away from a woman who treated him like a doormat. “Strange Desire” again brings in some psychedelic guitar work before it becomes a catchy song about dangerous love. “I don’t wanna go to hell, but if I do it’ll be because of you,” Auerbach sings, pulling no punches in the process. “Modern Times” only amplifies the dirty, floor-stomping feel of the record.

“The Flame” has some of Auerbach’s best guitar work on the record as it moves from blues to psych-rock to some Marc Bolan-like riffs. “The times are changin’, and the people need rearrangin’,” Auerbach sings on “Goodbye Babylon” in a sweaty, loud ode to the world of 2006. “Black Door” could be the follow-up to the Rolling Stones’ “Paint It Black,” with Auerbach and Carney painting all of Keith Richards and Charlie Watts’ red doors, as Auerbach unleashes a ton of skronky, reverbed guitar that Richards would enjoy and Carney puts down a wicked beat behind him that Watts would love. The album ends with “Elevator,” a song that has Auerbach getting freaky with several different women in one building. The guitar goes from smooth groove in the verses to wall-flattening in the choruses. It must be deafening live.

Don’t wait a long time to pick up this record. It’s solid from beginning to end. This Magic Potion is probably just what you need right now.

Keep your mind open.

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POW! – Crack an Egg

I hadn’t heard of San Francisco’s POW! until a recent radio gig of mine. I thought the name of the band sounded fun and figured I’d give their new album, Crack an Egg, a try.

I’m glad I did, because this is a fun synth-punk record and one of the catchiest albums I’d heard this year. The opener “DNS” blends early Gary Numan synths with snotty vocals about the lead singer’s father (or boyfriend?). It also has a brash guitar solo to make it a bit glam. “Back on the Grid,” with its male and female vocals and 1980’s video game keyboards, is a great post-punk track. “Castle of Faith” sounds like something that you heard in a video on USA’s Night Flight at 3am and you haven’t heard it since – big synths and beats and slightly distorted vocals made for an industrial club.

“Necessary Call” is both retro and new at the same time. Stoner rock guitars and drums blend quite well with deep synths and Low-era David Bowie style vocals. “Runner” is synth-psych and the oddly placed “Crack an Egg Intro” is trippy synth-weirdness. “Cyberattack #3” sounds like Kraftwerk, Gary Numan, and Thee Oh Sees all partying in a dystopian future. “Color the System” reminds me of early Public Image Ltd., and “The Razor” would fit right in on the Stranger Things soundtrack. “Energy in Motion” is suitably peppy with its loud guitar chords and keyboards that sound like robots having a conversation.

The album ends with the sprawling, humming, and chugging “Crack an Egg in Honor of the Human Race.” It’s a title as intriguing as the album. The album is full of synths, drum machines, loops, and processed and chopped beats, but the longest track on the record calls for us to remember our humanity. As always, technology has just as much potential to drive us apart as it does to bring us together. Perhaps POW! wants us to cook each other breakfast after a long night of partying to their album. I’m game. Are you?

Keep your mind open.

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Rewind Review: The Black Angels – Clear Lake Forest (2014)

The Black Angels‘ 2014 EP, Clear Lake Forest, is a fine dose of psychedelia and was a great way to get your summer freak on when it was released that year (and still is).

“Sunday Evening” hits you right away with reverb and the lyric “What if I told you that everything you know isn’t even really true?” Christian Bland’s guitar work on it ranges from skronky to trippy, and the song has probably the hottest tambourine work you’ve heard in a long while.

“Tired Eyes” opens with Stephanie Bailey’s always-dependable thunderous drumming and soon spins into a wild track with lead singer Alex Maas and Christian Bland sharing the vocals about someone who seems tired of living in illusion. I may be wrong. The song is so groovy that it seems to pour incense smoke from your speakers, so I may be hallucinating any meaning I’ve assigned to it.

“Diamond Eyes” is downright lovely. Maas’ reverberated vocals, Bland’s spaghetti western guitar, Jake Garcia’s soothing rhythm guitar, Kyle Hunt’s soaring synths, and Bailey’s military-precision beats all gel to become one of the Black Angels’ best tracks.

“The Flop” was the first single off Clear Lake Forest, and it’s easy to understand why. Hunt’s keyboards sound like he’s streaming them from the Doors’ “Soul Kitchen” outtakes. Bailey’s drums hit so hard they may take your lunch money. The bridge plunges you straight down the rabbit hole and doesn’t let you out. “An Occurrence at 4507 South Third Street” is the Black Angels’ second “address” song (the first being “Haunting at 1300 McKinley” from Phosphene Dream). It has a bit of a honky-tonk feel to it (thanks to the snappy beat) and I can’t help but wonder if it’s about another haunting or a murder or suicide that led to the haunting. “The Executioner” is certainly about death (a common theme on Black Angels records). Maas’ lyrics are the clearest on this track (before the freak-out of a bridge, at least). It’s an interesting twist. Maas wants you to know that sin may feel good, but death waits so you’d better get things straight before you meet it.

The closer, “Linda’s Gone,” follows the life of a woman who wants and seeks something beyond her boring life and even the boredom of the illusion around her (and all of us, really). It has all the stuff you like from the Black Angels: tribal drumming, metaphysical lyrics, trance-inducing synths, spacey vocals, and guitar licks that seem to fold in on themselves and then back out into different shapes.

Clear Lake Forest was a solid EP and a great follow-up to their full-length album, Indigo Meadow. Treat yourself to it.

Keep your mind open.

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