Posts Tagged ‘Ultimate Painting’

After their debut album ‘Wooden Head’ was released in 2014, in between their other ventures James Hoare from Veronica Falls and the brilliant Ultimate Painting and Max Claps from Toy got back in a room together. Back in November there was another track by Proper Ornaments, It’s the second song they’ve shared from their second LP ‘Foxhole “Creamated -Blown Away” was the first but this from this wonderful duo of Ultimate Painting’s James Hoare and Toy’s Max Oscarnold. The band is back today with “Bridge By A Tunnel,” a Velvet Underground-indebted low-key groove that will have you comfortably easing into the work week’s wintry abyss. It’s from their imminent sophomore album Foxhole is due out 20th January via Slumberland in the US and Tough Love in the rest of the world.

The Proper Ornaments – Foxhole – 2017

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Ultimate Painting , The band was so happy with the previous recording that they offered a few of the tracks from the show alongside some others on a “live tour bootleg” cassette. After last year’s excellent self-titled debut, they went right ahead this year and dropped “Green Lanes”, which is one of those follow-ups that doesn’t change trajectory, but adds another dozen really good songs to already-strong repertoire.

New and old songs were on display side-by-side at this show at Rough Trade in NYC, where the band took the stage and launched promptly into “Ultimate Painting,” “Rolling In the Deep End” and “Riverside” from their first album before the new “(I’ve Got The) Sanctioned Blues” came in for a visit. The band’s love of classic English rock is obvious, and they honor their musical taste with some of the best and most approachable new writing in the genre among just about anyone from their native UK. Of the new material, the band’s strongest entrant might well be the album’s first song, “Kodiak,” a sunny jaunt that shows off the band’s trademark skill at making rock hooks. To wind things up, the band played “Ten Street” from the first album, turning it into a 13-minute guitar centerpiece. When their 50 minutes were up, the band didn’t tease us with a will-they-or-won’t-they encore situation. They had said what they were going to say, and informed us that we could meet them at the merch booth. Anything else would be un-Britishly improper.

hi and lo recorded this set with a soundboard feed from Rough Trade engineer Dustin, together with Schoeps MK4 microphones from our usual “FOB” location. The sound quality is outstanding. Enjoy

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Acidjack was early on the bandwagon for Ultimate Painting, as he captured the band back in 2014 and raved about their debut album. The British neo-psych quartet is now three records into their career and just completed a headlining tour with twelve US dates in support of their newest release, Dusk (Trouble In Mind Records). The tour’s final date was last week at Bowery Ballroom and if the crowd was not packed, it was notable for the music luminaries in attendance — Matador Records co-founder Gerard Cosloy, Rolling Stone’s senior editor David Fricke, Stereogum founder Scott Lapatine, and brooklyn vegan’s Bill Pearis.

Ultimate Painting’s set was a seventy-minute exercise in precision and synchronicity. The band’s two protagonists, Jack Cooper and James Hoare share vocal and lead-guitar duties and both are superb performers. The other aspect of the band’s success is the songwriting. The songs can be tight and guitar driven psych-pop, but when the band wants to open up and explore, they remain focused and in synch. While Ultimate Painting does borrow stylistically from the mid-60s London scene, the music also shows influences from the US — the Velvets and Television in particular. Among contemporary comparisons, I hear similarities to White Fence and Courtney Barnett (“Central Park Blues” in particular). The band worked through a nice selection of numbers from all three of their albums before ending the set with a sixteen-minute extended version of “Ten Street” that capped off the show in fine fashion.

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Recorded this set with the Schoeps cards in the balcony mixed with Kenny’s outstanding feed. The sound quality is superb.

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New York City’s live music archivist site NYC Taper have posted the third recording that they’ve made of Ultimate Painting over the last two years, this time at our Music Hall Of Williamsburg show a couple of months ago. This is really great quality and as ever, we appreciate the care that goes into these recordings. Thanks Acidjack and NYC Taper.

Just look at their crowds on their tour opening for the Brooklyn band Woods and you can tell Ultimate Painting are on the way up. The young band is already two albums in, with new material still coming, and they’ve mastered a capable and engaging live show to go with it. For their slot at Music Hall Of Williamsburg, the band decided to roll out a few new tunes to go with regulars from their self-titled debut and last year’s Green Lanes, including the the band’s eponymous tune and their widely-beloved “Rolling In the Deep End.” The band’s low-key, 60s psych-influenced approach has found an audience not just because of nostalgia, but because of the band’s ability to craft good songs that mine that territory, the sort of numbers that you remember after hearing them only once. True to the spirit of the Velvet Underground  one of several flattering comparisons the band has enjoyed — they don’t let even their shorter performances end without some music exploration, and “Ten Street” has become that for them, with guitarist James Hoare (ex-Veronica Falls) in particular enjoying the chance to stretch his wings. Expect to see Ultimate Painting around for quite a while.

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Tracks
01 Ultimate Painting
02 Rolling In the Deep End
03 [unknown]
04 [unknown2]
05 Break the Chain
06 Central Park Blues
07 Sweet Chris
08 Ten Street

Ultimate Painting, who are currently touring North America in support of their album Dusk, have shared the video for ‘Monday Morning, Somewhere Central’, their latest single.

The video features bands members Jack Cooper and James Hoare traipsing about their hometown of London, mirroring the song’s lyrics but two never quite connect throughout the course of the video.

On the video, Cooper comments, “It’s a song about fading friendships and trying to look back on them optimistically.

“The vast majority of relationships we form with people eventually dwindle, but I’ve never really looked on that as being particularly sad. It may seem nihilistic or cold but I’ve found looking back on friendships and thinking about the good parts makes the ebb and flow of life a little easier.

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Drop City created wildly psychedelic paintings on acrylic, one of which, ‘Ultimate Painting’, inspired the London duo of James Hoare and Jack Cooper. It’s telling that “Lead The Way”, from Ultimate Painting’s third album, Dusk, features the lyric, ‘turn your back on society’ – they seem driven by a similar impulse to reduce and simplify. Both Cooper and Hoare have prior form in indie groups: the former with Mazes, and the latter with Proper Ornaments and Veronica Falls. If some of those groups access the creative energy of the ’60s through the refracting prism of ’60s independent music, Ultimate Painting return to the source direct, but they avoid the slavish copyism of any number of romanticising nostalgia acts, from Mod revivalists to limp psych-rockers, by tightening the focus, sketching the mise-en-scène with just the bare necessities.

Initial listens to Dusk, the duo’s third album, are similar to encounters with their other two (the self-titled 2014 debut, and last year’s Green Lanes); first impressions, of a muted slightness, give way to increasing wonder at the evocative qualities of the songs’ mindful minimalism. It’s uncluttered, spare, and open, and the production and arrangement has the feel of a group breathing together in the same room, capturing the recording space’s acoustic qualities, and playing only the essential notes, the better to let the room sing in tandem with the interactions between buzzing strings and humming valve amplifiers.

It kicks off with deceptive diffidence  “Bills” comes across, at first, like a paper-cut version of the crystalline excellence of Television’s third, oft-underrated comeback album from 1992; it’s a nudge away from the latter’s “1880 Or So”. But it soon blossoms, finding its own community of sound, and quietly ascending into a mantric chorus, as a huffing organ buzzes out the back of the studio. The guitar playing is particularly seductive – one guitar trebly and warbled by tremolo, the other lightly distorted but still pin-sharp, their relationship is one of mutual fascination, tiptoeing around each other and respectfully finding ways to weave around each other’s tonal spectrum. The jangling charm of the following “Song For Brian Jones” hymns the titular character via guitars that toll in consort with the gentle psych-folk of The Byrds circa Fifth Dimension; “Lead The Day”’s chiming piano positions the gracefully understated melody on an early solo McCartney album.

Cooper and Hoare have no qualms about drawing from some of pop and rock’s most distinguished as Cooper once said, “We accepted the fact that we’re influenced by the biggest bands that have ever been, because a lot of them are really good.” That kind of comfort with the canon is writ across Dusk, but it also risks games of spot-the-reference: it’d be pretty easy to draw a Venn diagram of, say, the gentler climes of psychedelic pop from the ’60s, the click and fizz of the quieter end of ’70s power-pop, and the pastoral lilt of the Flying Nun label in the ’80s, and locate Ultimate Painting at their intersection.

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The Proper Ornaments are soon set to release their second full album, “Foxhole” via Tough Love, due for release in parallel with single ‘Memories’, which is premiering above.

The London-based band are comprised of Veronica Falls’ James Hoare and TOY’s recent addition Max Oscarnold. Foxhole is a follow-up to their first release in 2014, entitled “Wooden Head”, and working in a similar vein, this new album showcases Hoare’s knack for ‘60s pop songwriting but with cleaner, piano-based accompaniment. This was achieved using self-imposed limitations; “doing [the album] on an 8 track… gives the songs a more sparse sound.”

Here, The Proper Ornaments are now refining and exacting their process, both as composers and musicians. The resultant feel is more of gentle, resigned melancholy rather than the upbeat power pop of their previous release. In reference to this, Hoare says that “[they] wanted to move in a slightly different direction from Wooden Head, away from the distorted guitars and into a more peaceful area.” ‘Memories’ unravels at a leisurely pace, though is not without hooks in its winding chord progressions.

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Despite being in other bands this duo don’t take much time to relax. Dusk is the 3rd album in not long over a couple of years from Ultimate Painting and their craft continues to captivate. This time around the record feels somewhat more restrained than the previous two, not that the previous two were unrestrained by any means. Ultimate Painting create wonderfully subtle songs, two guitars filling the sound as though they’re just playing instinctively, one always knows what the other is going to do next. On the surface they’re not obviously catchy but listen to ‘Bills’ or ‘Who is Your Next Target’ a couple of times and don’t even think about trying to forget them. Not that you’d want to forget them for a second. At what point does this stop being the guys from Veronica Falls and Mazes and when do we start referring to those bands as the guys from Ultimate Painting? They’re a vital band, Dusk simply pushes that point home.

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From their upcoming album “Dusk” ~ out September 30th, 2016.

London, UK duo of Jack Cooper & James Hoare.

 

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Dusk is the third Ultimate Painting album, a well-oiled psychedelic folk machine made up from Jack Cooper and James Hoare . Both come from severely underrated bands, Mazes and Veronica Falls. What first brought me into their world is how their writing styles melted together. Ultimate Painting had enough distorted moments to jolt you from your zoning out, but then you could float back into a beanbag, letting the relaxing atmosphere soothe you. Green Lanes, out last year, was a meditative affair. I’d be lying if I didn’t accept that ‘The Ocean’ had this magical feeling of longing and that’s why I got hooked on that one. What Green Lanes accomplished was syncing Cooper and Hoare‘s writing styles.

Now comes Dusk, out on Trouble in Mind records. It’s the perfect name for the album, as the feelings of sunsets do come across. There’s an inherent sadness in Ultimate Painting‘s work, but it doesn’t feel like it stems from depression. It’s that sadness attached to reflection, to that self-assessment you do when something is finished. End of a day. End of a season. End of year. Something has changed and with the good and bad that change bring, there’s a certain unnamed feeling creeping by. That feeling is evoked by Dusk.

‘Portrait of Jason’ in particular fits this description. Relaxed pace, minimalist arrangements, and enough atmosphere to terraform an old barren planet. The inclusion of a Rhodes in several tracks, like ‘Lead the Way’, enriches the atmosphere. A bit of gospel? Perhaps, it’s a grand old instrument and letting it shine like it does in this track gives the band its own sound. This sound, developed by this constant release schedule, is now fully evolved and it makes Dusk a highlight in their career:

Image of Ultimate Painting - Dusk

Dusk is the third album from London-based duo Ultimate Painting, a ten song set that expands the group’s sound from their self-titled debut and their critically acclaimed sophomore effort Green Lanes, about whose tunes Pitchfork raved their “deceptively simple interplay slowly worms into your synapses…” Dusk heads along the same path, albeit in a slightly different direction, forging to new territory by heading inward. Most groups would kill to have one talented songwriter in their ranks, but Ultimate Painting are lucky enough to be comprised of two singular voices in Jack Cooper and James Hoare.

The pair’s distinctive songwriting styles began to blur a bit with Green Lanes, but on Dusk it ’s hard to tell where Cooper ends & Hoare begins. Their tunes weave in & out of each other like the duo’s respective six-strings, spiralling around each other in a laconic dance. Album opener ‘Bills’ dives head-first into a crystalline pool of jangle, furthering the duo’s rep as purveyors of the Verlaine/Lloyd legacy, but despite the evident influence of American guitar pop both past & present, the group’s recorded an album that feels decidedly English. Cooper’s abstract poeticism balanced perfectly alongside Hoare’s alluring & universal pop leanings. The group’s discovered a simple lushness in Dusk’s arrangements, sometimes only with subtle additions like Hoare’s recently acquired Wurlitzer piano that drives tunes like ‘Lead The Way’ or washes underneath others like ‘Monday Morning, Somewhere Central’. They’ve tapped into the subtle grace that infects the mood and emotions experienced at times like sunrise & dusk. Hopefullness. Resignation. Ennui. A breathing in. A breathing out.

Dusk was once again recorded to tape by guitarist James Hoare in his London flat. The casual setting allowed the sessions & songs to unfold naturally, with the two of them accompanied by recent live drummer Melissa Rigby, who drums on the entirety of Dusk. Her skills lend a rhythmic elasticity to songs like ‘A Portrait of Jason’ and ‘I Can’t Run Anymore’, with jazzy undertones that break from the band’s previously unadorned 4/4 leanings. Dusk feels different and cements the group’s presence in the modern world guitar pop, finding voice in the allure of quietude.

Image of Jenny Hval - Blood Bitch (Bonus Disc Edition)

Norwegian artist Jenny Hval announces the release of her new album, Blood Bitch via Sacred Bones. Co-produced with acumen noise producer Lasse Marhaug, Blood Bitch is in many respects a complete 180° from her last album, Apocalypse, Girl, in subject matter, execution and production. It is Hval’s most focused album, but the lens is filtered through a gaze which the viewer least expects.

In the words of Jenny Hval: “Blood Bitch is an investigation of blood. Blood that is shed naturally. The purest and most powerful, yet most trivial, and most terrifying blood: Menstruation. The white and red toilet roll chain which ties together the virgins, the whores, the mothers, the witches, the dreamers, and the lovers. Blood Bitch is also a fictitious story, fed by characters and images from horror and exploitation films of the ’70s. With that language, rather than smart, modern social commentary, I found I could tell a different story about myself and my own time: a poetic diary of modern transience and transcendence. There is a character in this story that is a vampire Orlando, traveling through time and space. But there is also a story here of a 35-year old artist stuck in a touring loop, and wearing a black wig. She is always up at night, jet lagged, playing late night shows – and by day she is quietly resting over an Arp Odyssey synthesizer while a black van drives her around Europe and America. So this is my most fictional and most personal album. It’s also the first album where I’ve started reconnecting with the goth and metal scene I started out playing in many years ago, by remembering the drony qualities of Norwegian Black Metal. It’s an album of vampires, lunar cycles, sticky choruses, and the smell of warm leaves and winter.”

Jenny Hval has developed her distinct take on intimate sound since the release of her debut album in 2006. For her last two solo albums, 2013’s Innocence Is Kinky and 2015’s Apocalypse, girl, Hval has received thoughtful and widespread international acclaim for her fascinating voice, singular delivery and markedly non-traditional arrangements which incorporate elements of poetry, prose writing,
performance art, and film. She eloquently brings to light issues of both male and female gaze.

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Atlanta’s Warehouse will release their sophomore album, Super Low, at the end of the month by way of the Brooklyn-based label Bayonet. This is welcome news, since we named Warehouse a Band To Watch last year based on the strength of their unconventionally catchy debut LP Tesseract. We’ve heard a few singles off of super LowReservoir and Simultaneous Contrasts and today we’re premiering the title track. While Warehouse was recording Super Low, Elaine Edenfield was coping with a personal loss, which affected her creative process tremendously. She describes feeling “Super Low” as follows:

Super Low is about near loss, loss, and fear of loss. The slowest song, leaning towards the album’s most heavy subconscious undertones, Super Low is the coming to a point of resolution, understanding, and maturation.

Though this song was born of trauma, it’s not an upsetting first listen. There’s so much life in “Super Low” that it’s hard to fathom this song is about death until you listen carefully to Edenfield’s lyrics. Still, her words are resilient: “I can’t destroy the things/ They keep me alive/ And I can’t destroy the things/ That lead to where you lie.”

Image of Public Access TV - Never Enough - Bonus Disc Edition

Having successfully nabbed the attention of NME early on, with the magazine singing their praises after uploading just one song to SoundCloud and declaring them “New York City’s hottest new band”, the group played their first live show at the legendary East Village bar Niagara, to a packed crowd before heading to England to hone their sound.
Touring under the fake band name “The iLL Herbs’ their run of UK shows was a huge success, culminating in their performance at The Great Escape Festival in Brighton.
The band have more recently played both the Bonnaroo and Governor’s Ball Festivals. In addition, both NME, and Entertainment Weekly declared the group one of the “buzziest” bands at SXSW this past year. The band also played a sold-out NME show at Birthdays in London this February, as well as a number of support slots for The Strokes, Hinds, FIDLAR and Palma Violets.

Image of Ian Sweet - Shapeshifter

IAN SWEET’s indie pop packs the personality that [Hardly Art] is known for, spinning conventional rock band setups into output that is unconventional.”

“They’ve relocated across the USA, gone on three tours, eaten a lot of donuts, climbed rocks and worn crocs.”

“The unmistakable voice of singer Jillian Medford is a force that stands all on its own.”

“I have a way of loving too many things to take on just one shape,” Jilian Medford sings over and over again on the title track of the Brooklyn-based band IAN SWEET’s debut album, Shapeshifter, repeating it like a mantra. This is Medford’s thesis statement, a narrator to carry us through Shapeshifter, which is above all else a meditation on loneliness and displacement. It’s about losing love and your sense of self in the process, about grabbing at the little things in life that bring joy when nothing else is going according to plan. It’s also an ode to the bandmates, and the friends, that see you through. Ian Sweet started in 2014 with a string of text messages. Medford was a few days away from embarking on her first tour when the driver and drummer she recruited cancelled. Medford sent Ian Sweet drummer Tim Cheney  whom she barely knew a series of desperate messages, asking if he knew how to drum and whether or not he would be willing to take two weeks off of life to go on tour. Cheney responded soon after with a simple: “Yes.” Accompanied by Cheney and bassist Damien Scalise’s playful instrumentation, Shapeshifter becomes a celebratory purging, an album that finds humor in self-deprecation and vice.

Ian Sweets debut interrogates capital-e Existence through a candy-coated lens, their mathy precision scaffolding the chaos of Medford’s personal neurosis and turning those anxieties into something hook-laden and relatable. And though the narrative of Shapeshifter clings to an ex-lover, the yearning felt on this album isn’t directed at a particular individual so much as it’s turned inward. “You know the feeling. When you really like someone, you forget to do anything for yourself, you forget all of the things that gave you your shape,” Medford says. “The things that form your absolute.”

Image of Various Artists - Liverpool International Festival Of Psychedelia Presents PZYK VOL.2: Further Adventures In The PZYK Diaspora

Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia are thrilled to announce the release of PZYK Vol.2 – a deluxe triple vinyl compilation celebrating the latest stars in the neo-psychedelic firmament.

The release comes one year on from the original, scene defining release PZYK Vol.1, which was named Piccadilly Records ‘Compilation Of The Year’. Featuring a mix of exclusive tracks, re-mixes, rarities and album cuts, the compilation spans and charts the global PZYK diaspora, with artists from around the world contributing to an international selection comprising 30 of the current movement’s key noisemakers.

Festival headliners SUPER FURRY ANIMALS are featured, as are The Horrors with a scintillating cut from TOM FURSE. The compilation again celebrates the internationalism of the neo-psych underground, with appearances from KIKAGAKU MOYO (Japan), DUNGEN (Sweden), PURE PHASE ENSEMBLE (Poland), ZOMBIE ZOMBIE (France), THE GANJAS (Chile) and 10,000 RUSSOS (Portugal), to name but a few.

All the artists featured on the release have performed at Liverpool Psych Fest.

Image of Bon Iver - 22, A Million

22, A Million is part love letter, part final resting place of two decades of searching for self- understanding like a religion. And the inner-resolution of maybe never finding that understanding. The album’s 10 poly-fi recordings are a collection of sacred moments, love’s torment and salvation, contexts of intense memories, signs that you can pin meaning onto or disregard as coincidence. If Bon Iver, Bon Iver built a habitat rooted in physical spaces, then 22, A Million is the letting go of that attachment to a place.

Image of Pixies - Head Carrier

Sophomore ‘post reunion’ album from the alt-rock four piece, their first new music since 2014’s Indie Cindy.

This 12 track record showcases the band’s unique mixture of surrealism, psychedelia, dissonance + surf rock.

Produced by Tom Dalgety (Royal Blood, Killing Joke) and recorded at London’s Rak Studios.

Paz Lenchantin, the band’s touring bassist since early 2014 (and previously a member of A Perfect Circle and Zwan amongst others) is now a permanent member of the band and her cool vocals can be heard on the album, most notably on ‘All I Think About Now’ on which she takes the lead.

Image of The Wytches - All Your Happy Life

The Wytches second album All Your Happy Life draws on a lifetime’s worth of new experiences shoehorned into two whirlwind years since their acclaimed debut album ‘Annabel Dream Reader’. There’s no difficult second album syndrome here. This black-hearted set is a combination of heavy comedown psychedelia and bilious and brilliant baroque ‘n’ roll. It’s portentous and scathing. Scabrous and bold. Utterly nihilistic.

Influences and inspiration is drawn from unexpected places – reading Tolstoy’s stories of dysfunctional relationships on the tour bus, digging the warm Hammond-and-acoustic tones of Elliot Smith, loads of underground metal band – but mainly it is informed by observing small town English life with new eyes, having traversed the planet on that first wave of success that followed their 2014 debut. It’s not so much the sound of the calm after the storm, but the howling vortex that follows in its wake.

All Your Happy Life marks a creative leap for The Wytches. Some might say it is the sound of a band finding their place in the world but really it is about world being allowed to enter the sphere of The Wytches – on their terms.

Image of Slaves - Take Control

Following on from the success of Slaves’ top 10 Mercury-nominated debut album ‘Are You Satisfied’, the duo mark their return with first single ‘Spit It Out’, an explosion of punk-rock fury that trails second album, ‘Take Control’. ‘Take Control’ was produced by one of the legends of early hip hop and New York punk, Mike D!!

CooleyImage of Drive-By Truckers - American Band

A statement from Drive-By Truckers’ Patterson Hood: “We are beyond thrilled to announce the release date of our new album ‘American Band’.

“These are crazy times and we have made a record steeped in this moment of history that we’re all trying to live through. We’ve always considered ourselves a political band, even when that aspect seemed to be concealed by some type of narrative device i.e. dealing with issues of race by telling a story set in the time of George Wallace or class struggles by setting ‘Putting People On The Moon’ in the age of Reagan.

“This time out, there are no such diversions as these songs are mostly set front and center in the current political arena with songs dealing with our racial and cultural divisions, gun violence, mass shootings and political assholery. Once again, there is a nearly even split between the songs of  and myself, with both of us bringing in songs that seem to almost imply a conversation between us about our current place in time.

“‘American Band’ is a sort of rock and roll call to arms as well as a musical reset button for our band and the country we live in. Most of all, we look at it as the beginnings of some conversations that we, as a people very much need to begin having if we ever hope to break through the divisions that are threatening to tear us apart.

“Drive-By Truckers are celebrating our twentieth anniversary as a band in an election year where some people are trying to define what it is to be American. Definitions based on some outdated ideology of prejudice and fear. We are loudly proclaiming that those people don’t speak for us. America is and always has been a land of immigrants and ideals. Ideals that we have often fallen short of achieving, but it’s the striving that has given us whatever claims to greatness we have had. That’s what America means to us and “We’re an American Band”.”

Image of The Wands - Faces EP

Scandinavian psych-rock outfit The Wands pinned themselves at the forefront of the European psych stage long ago with their previous efforts but the new Faces EP is certain to keep them sitting there comfortably. Dining on an influence of Nuggets-era rock and roll and Eastern acid-rock this is psychedelic music as it should be, underpinned by a nostalgic yearning but wholly innovative and equally addictive. Their latest cut is a much more dynamic and vivid effort and it’s immediately evident that The Wands are back with a clearer vision than ever with their vibrant and infectious psych. Whilst the groovy fuzzed-out guitars, otherworldly solos and tremulous vocals still echo a tripped out ode to the 60s and 70s psychedelic forefathers, the cosmic swell of synths and organs propel it with a contemporary and ethereal vigour.