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July 2015
Ecstatic Vision
"Sonic Praise
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Heavy-psych three-piece Ecstatic Vision conjure cosmic soundscapes with their debut LP Sonic Praise (Relapse Records). Self-ordained as “primal,” the group’s orchestration is undeniably gripping and visceral, altering the embodied state of its listener at an instant. Pressing past the tropes of genre, Sonic Praise is a hypnotic example of the outfit’s versatility. The release of Ecstatic Vision’s tripped-out LP is hopefully the first of many.
 
Beginning with the well-titled “Journey,” Sonic Praise’s opening track unfolds like a swirling chant that gradually builds to bawdy, passionate dirge filled with buzzing riffs and drums. The song’s lyricism is straightforward yet amplified by the unrelenting progression of its instrumentation. The declaration of “Journey” is unapologetic. It’s not a conversation; it’s an invitation. At its climax, the resonance of the recording brings to mind similarly transcendent tracks like Moon Duo’s “Free The Skull” or Ty Segall’s “I Wear Black.”
 
“Astral Plane” is a tentative tip of the hat to the iconic Sun Ra’s masterpiece Space Is the Place, unfolding with driving riffs and drumbeats that elicit the sensation of being transported into the ether. By the two-minute mark, “Astral Plane” is in full swing, impressive guitar work resounding as the track’s earlier established foundation persists. Each component of the song’s structure expands as frontman Doug Sabolick’s vocals urge listeners to “Look in the mirror and tell yourself/this is the place to be.” Undoubtedly indicative of the cosmos (metaphorically or literally), “Astral Plane” is trancelike, with its instrumentation possessing the power to cast a psychedelic spell that lingers well past the song’s end. Nearly thirty seconds shy of thirteen minutes of length, the temporal duration of the recording is as well warranted as it is executed. “Don’t Kill The Vibe” is equally shamanistic, with riffage that feels psychotropic. The LP’s title track, “Sonic Praise,” begins with primeval distortion comprised of oscillating tempos and forlorn chants. The effect of its prelude is mesmerizing, dark, and strangely beautiful. Thematically cult like, “Sonic Praise” is satisfyingly otherworldly, seducing its listener to give in to Ecstatic Vision’s melodic ethos without hesitation. 
 
Sonic Praise’s final anthem “Cross the Divide” extends the mysticism of the album’s narrative, ending Ecstatic Vision’s debut on a plane similar to where it began - one of enlightenment and pure rock ‘n roll. - Dianca London Potts

 

 

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Big Mess -- Mold

Lowell trio Big Mess put out two new songs in October to follow up their self-titled release this past January. MOLD is twelve minutes of ominous, instrumental doom metal marching through a downpour of sludge. As opposed to their first album, which mixed in bluesy rock parts, MOLD adheres to a slow and straightforward brand of hardcore. Heaviness builds up in the desolate Side A and then trudges off to the dirge’s conclusion, and crunchy guitar distortion bookend Drone Bee.

--Sarah Ruggiero


New Holiday Single from The Hush Now

It's no secret that The Hush Now love the holidays. The Boston-based rock outfit treats its fans to a song for pretty much every major holiday. This season is no exception. Deciding that New Year's was a lonely holiday when it came to songs, they sat down and penned their latest gift to us all: Happy New Year, Dear.

Take a listen to the track below and head over to their Bandcamp to download it for free.

--Chrissy Prisco


28 Degrees Taurus Start 5-night East Coast Tour Tonight with Gospel Gossip (MN)

Tonight kicks off a 5-night east coast tour from local psych/shoegaze band 28 Degrees Taurus. Having recently come back from two midwestern tours (the last of which was with their Midwestern "sister band" Gospel Gossip) this marks the first area performance from 28DT in several months.

Minneapolis' Gospel Gossip will be accompanying the band on this tour. Some folks might remember Gospel Gossip from their last New England appearance in August at Deep Heaven Now. Combining energy, intensity and raw, emotionally-charged vocals from Sarah Nienaber, this band's shoegaze will leave you completely spellbound.

Do yourself a favor and make it to at least one, if not all, of these shows.

Wed, Nov. 30 -- w/ MAAR, Secret LoverRalph's Diner, Worcester MA
Thurs, Dec. 1 -- w/ Guillermo Sexo, Ghost Box Orchestra @ Great Scott, Allston MA
Fri, Dec. 2 -- w/ The New Highway Hymnal, Friendship @ The Ant Cellar, Lowell MA
Sat, Dec. 3 -- w/ Autochrome, ClouderThe Charleston, Brooklyn NY
Sun, Dec. 4 -- w/ The Josh Drews, Washerwoman @ The Velvet Lounge, Washington D.C.

--Chrissy Prisco


The Prefab Messiahs -- Peace Love & Alienation

When I first listened to Peace Love & Alienation, without knowing a thing about The Prefab Messiahs, I thought I had downloaded the wrong album by mistake. This was real garage-pop from the 80’s. After a brief peruse of the internet, I came to the conclusion that these guys are the longest-lived band to last only two years (1981-1983). Three ambitious Clark U. undergrads with barebones rigs, no money, and a lot to say combined punk, surf-rock, and garage-pop to create an unaccredited style of lo-fi pop-rock that is still relevant 30 years later,

Peace Love & Alienation brings together 8 newly remastered tracks, including both tracks produced by Bobb Trimble, that show the versatility Prefab Messiahs had in their heyday. With a strong influence from post-punk innovators “Swell Maps,” Prefab Messiahs coin a sound of their own. It’s as if the Ramones teamed up with Joy Division, took some LSD, listened to The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds, and then decided to write an album. The Album starts off with two of my favorite songs Beyond All That and Cousin Artie. In each of these songs we hear everything from surf-rock guitar licks, analog synth, punk chord progressions, and psychedelic refrains and bridges.

Then comes Prefab Messiahs’ most “famous” song, Desperately Happy. Catchy and fun reverb-soaked vocals over a simple but grooving, slightly out of tune, guitar line make this song an instant classic for any and every Prefab fan. Their creativity is certainly showcased in the next 50-second track, Prefab Dub. What was an eclectic instrumental grooving heady dub song doing in the middle of a post-punk compilation album? I’m not sure, but I listened to this short track three times in a row as any doubts that I had about this band being way ahead of their time vanished.

I suggest all music fans buy or at least check out this album. Especially for all those lo-fi, modern garage-punkers out there (fans of Wavves, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, etc.) who might find some satisfaction in listening to the roots, this is a must-have album.

--Michael Giordano


Annalise Emerick -- Starry-Eyed

On her album Starry-Eyed, singer-songwriter Annalise Emerick blends folk music with pop sensibilities as she crafts melodies as pretty as her name. The album follows the story of a young woman who learns to stand her own ground and rely on herself, but without sounding jaded. Emerick opens the album with You Win, a breakup song to her dear Nashville-- the city that became the takeoff point for her career as a singer-songwriter. In the beginning, she admits she was “starry-eyed and full of hope,” but when she gets her heart broken, she knows better than to let others get the best of her.

With its innocent and thoughtful lyricism, Starry-Eyed focuses some of its attention on looking back, like in I Came Around, which analyzes the should-haves of life and love and shows off Emerick’s tough side. But more importantly, the core of the album is about moving forward. Emerick has the soul of a traveller, and she’s not afraid to pick her life up and go when she needs to; She’s a Texan who has settled down in Nashville and Seattle before planting her roots in Boston, at least for the moment.


Annalise Emerick -- A Runner and a Singer

--Sarah Ruggiero


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