-valis Pick of the Week

Hail Voyagers! Our Pick this week comes from Santa Cruz, California, (that's "Surf City" to you & me,*) Spanish Moss ! Their debut album, KELP, is out on the cool new label Spot-On Sound  in translucent pink vinyl.

Six tracks all as tasty as the damned vinyl they've been seared to. That searing then is transferred to your amygdala.....believe it! It's a "Fuzz Puzzle"!

Yes. Like that. Go get some.

More? Here's what Mr. Atavist said. And, that Ape in Revolt.

You can listen to the archived stream here; or, hear it this Friday, on The Dead Man's Turn Me On, Dead Man show on Live365, where it's heard every Friday at noon eastern time, as well as Mr. Atavist's Sunrise Ocean Bender show, heard every Monday from 1 to 3 am eastern, on WRIR in Richmond, VA.

* Huntington Beach's claim as "Surf City USA" notwithstanding.

(The band also claim Brooklyn as a part-time home base for the operations into the swirl-o-sphere. They could be from Vladivostok for all I care.  Or Petaluma.They're still rippin'. Much.)

“How does one put the spiritual significance of music on paper? Music transcends all languages and barriers and is the most beautiful communicative skill one can have. Music makes us all experience different emotions or the Navarasa as we call it. Different types of music, whether it is vocal or instrumental, Eastern or Western, Classical or Pop or folk from any part of the world can all be spiritual if it has the power to stir the soul of a person and transcend time for the moment.”

Those are the words of Ravi Shankar - and while truer words have never been spoken, we feel compelled to point out that Mr. Shankar, to the best of our knowledge, never engaged in the type of ritual abuse of fuzz-boxes that has long been our primarily mode of time transcendence.

Not that he needs to. There seem to be plenty of bands willing to travel time, at a cruising speed somewhere near interstellar overdrive.

Case in point: Spanish Moss, a group of astral travelers hailing from the visionary state who appropriately and undoubtedly went green during the recording of their debut release, “KELP.”  Then again, the color of the day may not be green, or even algae-brown, but perhaps orange – that being the hue of the picture sleeve that protects this massively satisfying record, and the hue of the amplifiers that drove directly into the over-driven, deafening, divinely-demonic rock and/or roll music contained therein.

Download “Witch Rings” from “KELP,” by SPANISH MOSS

All the pieces come together in the Spanish Moss fuzz puzzle, even the ones that we didn’t expect – as complete as their amplifier assault is (and make no mistake – it is), the band finds ways to be memorable within their dedication to blowing minds. As the comet-tail of the seven-minute incantation “Witch Rings” insists, over and  over, “always remember.” We surely will, as Spanish Moss have dropped one trip that’s unforgettable.

Spanish Moss/KELP

Spot-On Sound is a new label out of Sacramento spearheaded by Patrick Haight, mastering engineer for Burger Records. Spot-On has a few releases lined up down the pike, but they hit the ground running, hard, with Santa Cruz basedSpanish Moss and their aptly titled KELP. Santa Cruz and seaweed don’t mean sea shanties for these cats. Opener Fuzz Puzzle about says it all; KELP is a psych crop grown in fertile fuzz…and all the pieces fit.  Fit tight even though Spanish Moss deliver frayed, jagged blasts of psych rock that sound like they could splinter any minute. All the ragged burrs are left in fine form making KELP sound like the equivalent to a wave of hot pebbles being poured down your beach shorts. Feels good, sounds even better. Part straight up psych with doses of space rock and bluesy liquefying licks, KELP goes for the throat and cortex and relentlessly hangs on. They call is ‘psychedelic bluesgaze’ and no one is going to argue with the shorthand as they put repetition to good use hammering home the riffs for full stun effect. Layering on molten leads and wailing, and often soulful, vocals on top of a frantically active bottom-end, Spanish Moss bring all the ingredients together for a heady stew that doesn’t overwhelm the tunes underneath. And the hooks are there; barbed, serrated and slathered with heavy psych cream. KELP is an outstanding debut, for both Spanish Moss and Spot-On Sound.

Sick of the folky, twee nonsense that passes for “psychedelic rock” these days? Want something more substantial than dudes locked away with a four track and a couple Kinks records? Well, Santa Cruz-based rockers Spanish Moss might be right up your alley. Their latest EP, Kelp, is out now, and it’s a giant blast of heavy-lidded psych with wailing vocals, for fans of Dead Meadow and Comets On Fire. Kelp is the debut release from Spot-On Sound, the new label by Bay Area recording master Patrick Haight, and the tape is out on Burger. Both editions are limited, so pick one up, turn on, and drop out.

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