Jason Simon - Self Titled (Color) (LP)
Jason Simon is the vocalist and guitarist of Dead Meadow.
Jason Simon is best known as the voice behind D.C.-based psychedelic/stoner rock trio Dead Meadow. The singer’s beautiful tenor vocals are at once distinctive and captivating, with the range and delivery to slowly draw listeners in and keep them engaged. On his solo project, Simon retains the spacey atmosphere of Dead Meadow, but uses acoustic guitar to affect a much quieter, more relaxed theme on the music. It is neither folk nor blues, but rather a style that lies somewhere in the middle; soft and calm, but still highly expressive, intelligent, and meaningful. Fans of folk musicians like Imaad Wasif and Harper Simon will fall in love with this album. Make no mistake—Jason Simon now has two musical avenues for creativity beyond the imaginations of mere mortals.
Jex Thoth - Blood Moon Rise (IMPORT) (LP)
Listening to Blood Moon Rise is a seductive, rich, brooding journey, as Jex eerily serenades you and captures you in her rose scented web. Jex Thoth deliver a well-blended experience of occult laden doom, mixed with psychedelic rock. This isn't a journey down the rabbit hole, this is real. From softly sung vocals to quirky keyboards, Jex Thoth offer a vast experience, delivering each nuance with precision. Vocally, this album is euphoric, with harmonies that hypnotize, sending shivers down your spine. Jex delivers a otherworldly performance. Her voice is seductive yet undoubtedly powerful. She sings from the heart and the lyrics drip with emotion. The music and her voice intertwine with ease, coming together to create a colourful, symbiotic experience.
As a whole, the musical composition is a dreamy, doom affair. The composition allows the songs to breathe, they come alive. They never feel overly refined or unremarkable, they sit comfortably spewing out the weird and wonderful. Instrumentally, this album is a well-rounded experience, the guitars perpetuate the melancholic, constant climactic atmosphere. Blood Moon Rise features exceptional guitar melodies, which harvest an uncomfortable feeling, gently swirling and acrobatically filling the airwaves with doom. The nature of such melodies may seem bewildering, as they entice the listener to come closer, to be submerged in a pool of bliss, only to be dragged by the hair and beaten within an inch of your life. Even simplistic riffs are written with heart, accompanied with gargling bass-work filling the lower end, while the drums elegantly simmer in the mix, commanding to be heard. Furthermore, the keyboards reinforce the dream-like atmosphere with a notable presence.
Jex Thoth have managed to create a powerful experience, not only musically but emotionally. Their secondary effort oozes with sincerity, heart and soul. The music is an expression of all things dark and mysterious. Not only does it embody the essence of doom and psychedelic rock but it does so in a smooth, sharp fashion. Essentially, Blood Moon Rise is a beautifully twisted affair.
Jex Thoth - Witness (IMPORT) (LP)
“Witness” is perhaps less guitar oriented than before with the mood becoming more melancholy in the process; the music is heavy yet laid back and openly nostalgic without being sentimental or trite. The band’s biggest strengths are the haunting vocals of Jex and avoiding the usual trap of carbon copying its predecessors. As such this will appeal to fans of pastoral, psychedelic rock/metal with a firm footing in the past but not necessarily dwelling there -- timeless, really.
John Garcia - Self Titled (IMPORT) (LP)
Limited edition on black vinyl. Deluxe gatefold sleeve.
Kyuss, Slo Burn, Unida, Hermano, Vista Chino... Whichever band John Garcia had a hand in, it instantly became a success. Garcia always understood how to create his own style and thus established himself as the most distinctive voice of the entire desert/stoner rock scene. For his self-titled solo album he recorded catchy material, drawing on classic rock as well as the super-intense stoner rock that he is most well known for. There's even some experimental moments on here.
John Garcia has delivered a multi-faceted and extremely intense solo album that will stir up more dust than a sandstorm in the California desert. Danko Jones, Tom Brayton, Mark Diamond and also Garcia's old partner in crime Nick Oliveri show up here as guest musicians.
John McBain - The In-Flight Feature (IMPORT) (LP)
John McBain is the co-founder of Monster Magnet, Wellwater Conspiracy and Hater. Featuring Tim Cronin (The Ribeye Brothers) and Jon Kleiman (Monster Magnet).
Those familiar with Monster Magnet know the name John McBain. Monster Magnet was a sonic force to be reckoned with (Spoine of God -‘nuff said). No small part of that was due to guitarist John McBain. Since his acrimonious split with Monster Magnet, McBain has popped up sporadically, most notably with Wellwater Conspiracy and Hater. The In-Flight Feature is his first “official” solo album, and it shows a different and unique side to his playing. Rather than repeat the styles of his other projects, The In-Flight Feature is more in line with acts like Can, Pharaoh Overlord, or ‘60s acid rock. The songs are mostly instrumentals (vocals are a rarity) and are trippy compositions that, true to the album’s title, are content to take you on a journey. It’s an adventurous album with some beautifully weird passages (or maybe they were weirdly beautiful). Check this out if you want to fill your head with some fucked up colors and images.
I don't think anyone familiar with his earlier albums will be disappointed. While it's mainly instrumental, I caught vibes that remind me of his Monster Magnet and Wellwater Conpsiracy stuff while still being pretty unique unto itself.
The In-Flight Feature is a "soundtrack-without-portfolio" of sorts – predominantly instrumental journeys with most parts played by ex-Monster Magnet and Wellwater Conspiracy guitarist John McBain with fellow ex-Monster Magnet members Jon Kleiman and Tim Cronin contributing guitar and drums on several tracks. It's a real return to "head" music for McBain, as well as an exercise in pushing the limits of hard-drive recording. Some tracks feature so many guitar layers that Glenn Branca would be proud. As for the results, Can's Soundtracks is a reference point, as are various early Pink Floyd excursions and even Morricone. The In-Flight Feature is wonderful progressive psychedelia.
Joy - Under the Spell of Joy (Red) (LP)
Limited edition on translucent red vinyl. Includes download code. Guest appearances by Nik Turner (Hawkwind) and Parker Griggs (Radio Moscow).
Crushing heavy psych debut from San Diego's "Joy". The sound of Southern California psychedelic savages JOY has been described as "a spaced-out sonic groove-ride" and "outer reach freak out," but that hyperbole alone doesn't do justice to the group's measured mode of attack. JOY puts a premium on establishing both structure and dynamics. Its kaleidoscopic flurry and full-throttle riffage is anchored by both subtle detail and surprising textural depth. Prepare to fall under the spell of JOY!