Third Eye Weekly Listening: 3/10/23

Another week, more great music. Tom added a few contributions to this week’s listening session. This week, we have dream pop from New Zealand, jam sessions from our friends Snakes Don’t Belong in Alaska, falsetto fairytale folk songs, and an interesting electronic/ambient concept album about interconnected radio stations. Enjoy!

Psych Jams of the Week

Tom’s picks:

“Sheep” from the album, Animals by Pink Floyd

I’ve been listening to this since I started writing my pair of articles on the Dark Side of the Moon and Animals. “Sheep” is more of a rock song than it is a psych one, which is like that album’s “Pigs (Three Different Ones)” in that regard. I love the textures and the way they incorporated prog-rock into what they were already doing. Both tracks are the highlights of Animals.

Upon The Way That Weaves by Benny Jones

Nick recommended this artist for review purposes, and I was immediately struck by the mix of psych, folk, pop, and Americana influences that flow throughout the album. “Gold Growing in His Hair” is one of the best songs on an album full of best songs. There’s a definite Neil Young approach and a bit of Tom Petty, two of my favorite artists from the classic rock era.

Nick’s picks:

Nivraym (Revisited) by Koenjihyakkei 高円寺百景

This is a freakin’ wild album, the band’s third recorded in 2001 and now remastered and released on vinyl for the first time via Skin Graft Records. The band returned to the original master recordings and, according to Bandcamp, added “new flourishes, additional overdubs, and re-recorded drum tracks.”

This is known as “Zeuhl” music, blending prog rock, symphonic, fusion, and neo-classicism with the edge of punk, the volume of metal, and a rock attitude. But I also noted that it has the constant, steady beat of world music mixed with techno. It’s hard to describe, really. The first track blew me away with its frenetic energy, and I couldn’t even think of any genre or category to place it in. Give this a listen for what I’m talking about.

Twilight Transmission by Chósta

Okay, many of the bands I’ve been picking for weekly listening aren’t exactly psych-rock. That’s okay – I’m merely sharing what I find interesting. Twilight Transmission is the self-released debut from Dublin-based Chósta, and this is downtempo ambient/electronic tunes. It’s a concept album with a fascinating story about a fictional network of interconnected radio stations. The record was made during the bleak months at the beginning of the COVID lockdowns.

Musically, Chósta says the album is influenced by trip-hop era Portishead, post-dubstep, jazzy Nineties hip-hop, Boards of Canada, and Madvillan. The album’s concept reminded me of Songs for the Deaf, the classic Queens of the Stone Age record. The music, of course, is nothing like QOTSA, but the concept of the radio stations is pretty similar and cool.

Ceremony by Tiny Ruins

Tiny Ruins makes psychedelic folk and dream pop, and Ceremony is due out on April 28th. The Auckland, New Zealand-based musical ensemble has been releasing music since 2010, according to Bandcamp, and began as an alias for singer-songwriter Hollie Fullbrook. Before adding members to the ensemble, Hollbrook opened for big acts like Fleet Foxes and toured internationally with Calexico and Beach House. Two singles are available from Ceremony right now, and they are both excellent, in my humble opinion.

Magpahi EP

Magpahi is the enigmatic music of musician and composer Alison Cooper, who is also a visual artist and curator. Bandcamp states this EP is a “sonic exploration of sound where she works to develop new understandings between narratives of landscape, material culture, human interaction, and sound.” This is all heady stuff, very intellectual. All the songs on the EP are concise, have some psych folk elements, and feature her beautiful, angelic voice. She describes them as “falsetto fairytale folk songs and 16th-century poems from the black and white birds’ nest.”

The Chairlift Sessions by Snakes Don’t Belong in Alaska

Snakes Don’t Belong in Alaska is an improvisational jam band that makes mind-bending psych music from the Northeast of England. I’ve been listening to them since reviewing their recent Interstellic Psychedelic album and learned about this new Bandcamp release via social media.

Their guitarist, Jarrid, recently had to leave the band, so they recorded two final jam sessions with him. The other one, also recently released on Bandcamp, is called The Psychedelic Jazz Lounge Session, and the band tells us, “Follow the snakey boys and friends through a smokey, psychedelic jazz club found somewhere near the edge of the universe.”

It’s Bandcamp Friday, so head to the site and support some of these artists!

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