March 1, 2014


...or at least, time for a BREATHER. As mentioned/threatened previously, The Spacerock Continuum is going on indefinite HIATUS. Don't go away mad - there's always the chance of the occasional random drive-by post and/or playlist (also check Soundcloud), when and if the mood (and TIME) strikes me. Be Excellent.

A quote to leave you with (THIS IS TRUTH!): "Euphoria should always be a byproduct of good psychedelic music; if it's missing, you should check the dosage." - some music writer

At least for this installment I'm going to write some descriptive passages - I owe my dedicated followers that much at least:

Chicagoans Cave has always been a fun workout, whether they're blasting raw-fuzz acid rock or trancing the hypno-motorik highways, or doing a whole lot of both, they set the bar high and never fail to accomplish what they set out to do. Austinites White Denim are an odd bird, offering up a unique blend of nerdy math rock, classic americana and spastic jam band hysteria, and they take the prize for most idiosyncratic. Leeds-based Vessels work within a well-defined instrumental post rock regimen, but are consummate over-achievers in that category.

Speaking of odd, the female Asian-Canadian duo leading Yamantaka//Sonic Titan are a post-prog rock juggernaut, and their performance at this year's Austin Psych Fest (yes, that happened again, back in May, and it was glorious... in case you wondered where we've been keeping ourselves) was once of the highlights, where complex and heavy multi-part song-suites meet Butoh-inspired performance art. Torontoans Blood Ceremony also tap the prog rock vein, with sprinklings dark mystical folk, taking their influence from some of the classic '70s progressive geniuses like Amon Duul, Yes and even Jethro Tull. Pleasure Forever is another cross-genre treasure, evolving from a thorny post-punk outfit to include melodramatic glam and goth with proggy arrangements - a captivating concoction that has gone undeservedly undiscovered since the turn of the millennium.

Traveling Circle are an SF-based band that actually solicited The Spacerock Continuum, and we're awfully glad they did! As evidenced by them having been included in the last half-dozen (give or take) playlists on the basis of only one album, we sure like what they're doing in the trippy, dreamy psychedelic realm. Portlandian solo artist Dewey Mahood, operating as Plankton Wat, is a former member of Eternal Tapestry now delving deep into instrumental guitar workouts that is more counterpart to his earler work rather than a departure from it. Thee ever-evolving Silver Mt. Zion collective (aka A Silver Mt. Zion aka Thee Silver Mt. Zion Orchestra And Tra-La-La Band) has done it again, with what may be one of the top ten albums of 2014. With moniker and personnel changes from album to album, Montrealite mainstays Efrem Menuck and Sophie Trudeau travel a similar path to sister collective Godspeed You! Black Emperor, with complex and epic-length operatic post rock paeans to pathos that span the extremes of dynamics from the valleys of misery to the peaks of ecstasy.

Borrowing The Allmusic Guide's description, not merely out of sheer laziness but out of spot-on aptness, "London's Toy borrow from shoegaze, krautrock and classic psychedelia to make pulsating, hypnotic music." Okay, that description may be a bit dull, but the band is anything but. Ironically-named Hebronix is one half of Yuck... and how often does one see a sentence like that? In actuality they're led by one half of the songwriting duo that formed young Londoners known as Yuck (now sadly defunct), but instead of that band's noisy '90s indie tendencies (Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., et al.) they explore extended guitar explorations more akin to Television and Crazy Horse. All-female Canadian quartet No Joy have evolved from fairly rote shoegaze homage to a sound of their own that references those influences without imitating them.

Australia's manic experimentalists Blank Realm embrace gritty NYC dissonance as well as trance-y motorik groove for a sound unlike any other. Well that's not entirely true: Magik Markers, from Hartford Connecticut of all places, are cut from similar, if not the same, art-punk cloth. Speaking of left field, when's the last time you saw former Pavement leader Stephen Malkmus in a space rock playlist? We here's here this time because of his ever-increasing penchant for extended and epic guitar jams, and the arrangement of this song betrays his absorption of prog and kraut rock as influences.

The Warlocks need no introduction, do they? With dozens of band members in various rotations, and a proclivity for guitar-heavy Spacemen 3/Heads/Loop-style wall-of-sound space rock and psychedelia rivaling kindred spirits like Brian Jonestown Massacre and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, the LA-based collective, around since the '90s, is as prolific and consistent as any fellow practitioners, or more so. Side note: did you know that the name Warlocks was used by both The Velvet Underground and The Grateful Dead in their early incarnations? As the new standard bearers of a modern psychedelia that brings progenitors like Pink Floyd into the 21st century, SF-by-way-of-Santa-Cruz head fuckers Sleepy Sun (also a highlight of this year's Psych Fest) just keep getting better with each album. It would appear they will be here for some time to come, as they continue to evolve as most classic bands do, and could one day be looked upon with the same reverence as their forebears. And finally, the contenders for heaviest sludge masters of deep dark doom-y (and stoney) psychedelia, DC's finest, Dead Meadow, also reinvent the past for space-age sensibilities, and we're all the richer for it.

That's it for now. Who knows when we'll be back, so DIVE IN.
For you traditionalists who don't mind streaming from this site, the following tracks should appear in the first player below:

The Spacerock Continuum Theme - bRambles
Silver Headband - Cave Threace
Burnished/At The Farm - White Denim D
Altered Beast - Vessels White Fields And Open Devices
Crystal Fortress Over The Sea Of Trees - Yamataka/Sonic Titan Yt//St
The Magician - Blood Ceremony - The Eldritch Dark
King Cobra In The Guts Of Valhalla - Pleasure ForeverBodies Need Rest
The Willow Tree Fair - Traveling Circle Escape From Black Cloud
Changing Winds - Plankton Wat - Drifter's Temple
Austerity Blues - Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra - Fuck Off And Get Free, We Pour Light On Everything
Conductor - Toy - Join The Dots
Garden - Hebronix Unreal
E - No Joy Wait To Pleasure
Acting Strange - Blank Realm - Go Easy
Don't Talk In Your Sleep - Magic Markers - Balf Quarry
Surreal Teenagers - Stephen Malkmus - Wig Out At Jagbags
Dead Generation  - The Warlocks - Skull Worship
11:32 - Sleepy Sun - Maui Tears
This Song Is Over - Dead Meadow Warble Womb