A wise friend once hipped me onto the sounds of New Jersey hippy folk band Widsith and their back roads 1972 LP Maker of Song. It’s been a sunny day favorite ever since. A glance at the cover art shows a photo depicting two, very similar looking, long-haired mustached dudes leaning up against a dusty old barn with nothing else but a set of barrel staves and some mangy grass poking up from the bottom of the shot. While they say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, records certainly aren’t books. Here, the music you find within sounds like the cover looks. It’s like the photo was taken moments after they emerged from recording in that very barn. Mics crackle like they’re caked with an inch of dust; fluttery, telecasted guitar lines dance around each other Blind Faith style; tales of the road are sung out in a Dino Valenti-kinda-Van Morrison style drawl. Every song is a gem here, friends.
Long thought to be a lost treasure of the private press world, a few years back Alithia records shed a bit of light on the mystery LP with a lovely reissued version. I haven’t seen it around many places, but it’s out there. Seek one out for yourself.
Widsith ∆ “A Child’s Father’s Song”
Widsith ∆ “Singer In The Marketplace”
Since 2008, Richard Gibson and his brother Robert have quietly been operating the underground Toronto-based psych label Optical Sounds. A genuine individual who’s passion for music seeps from his pores, Richard has forged a scene–largely centered around the Kensington Market bar The Embassy–that recalls the prime of the psychedelic heyday.
Home to many of the city’s finest psych and shoegaze bands, Optical Sounds brings together the kind of artists who self release their material, but wave a collective flag and gig constantly around town with one another. A musical collective in its truest sense.
Earlier this week, Optical Sounds released Psych Pop Vol. 2, a compilation featuring songs from artists on the label along with some that are part of its extended family. You can hear the compilation for free via Bandcamp or streaming below. You can also see many of these bands performing live this Saturday night at the compilation release party taking place at The Great Hall.
Richard was kind enough to take a bit of time to chat with us about the label, himself and the new compilation. Read on for the full conversation after the jump.
Anna Fox Ronchinski of Boston psych-folk band Quilt was kind enough to put together this Winter-themed mix for us. Quilt are releasing their excellent new album Held in Splendor next week on Mexican Summer and will be hitting the road in support shortly thereafter. Head to Mexican Summer to pre-order Held in Splendor and check out the full list of tour dates after the jump.
HouseBoat Radio Mix
Boston psych-folk trio Quilt have unveiled the second tune off their forthcoming album, Held In Splendor, out January 28 via Mexican Summer. Hear the raved-up “Tired & Buttered” below and be sure to check out their upcoming tour dates as well.
(Poster by Jessica Milton)
We’re teaming up with our pals at Popgun Booking to bring you this most-excellent show, happening on November 5 at Glasslands. All three bands are great so be sure to arrive early. Show starts at 8:30. Tickets are $10. Purchase tickets here.
The latest video from Olden Yolk, the solo project of Shane Butler from Quilt, finds scenes from Pascal Auber’s “La Champignonne” providing a near-perfect accompaniment to the ambling psych-folk of “Burr Oak.” You can purchase a digital copy of “Burr Oak” / “Violet Vagaries” via Olden Yolk’s Bandcamp page
As many of you know, Dog Gone Presents moved headquarters from New York to Toronto earlier this year. Having been here for several months now, we’ve had a good amount of time to survey the local music scene and one of our greatest discoveries is a local psych rock band called Milk Lines.
Interestingly enough, it was actually in New York that we were first introduced to the band’s guitarist/vocalist Jeff Clarke, who was on tour with Acid Baby Jesus at the time leading his other Montreal-based group Hell Shovel (he also formerly played in Montreal’s Demonclaws). After that show, I was so impressed with Hell Shovel that I decided to reach out to try and connect when we both made it back to the other side of the border. When I finally got in touch with Jeff several months later, he told me to come check out a new band band he had formed now that he was living in Toronto. My first impression was that this band is good. Really good—like Toronto’s answer to White Fence. My second was that Jeff has monster hands that seem to claw at the guitar ala Neil Young. They’ve (the band, not the hands) got the garage-y rawness of Hell Shovel with the added female vocal edge of Emily Frances that recalls a less polished, slightly darker Quilt. Throw it all together with a bit of country twang and you have Milk Lines. Listen to their only recording, taped live at one of their recent shows, below.
Stay tuned for a Dog Gone Presents announcement bearing their name in the coming days!
First conceived in the summer of 2008 as the home recording project of five childhood friends from Miami, Lil Daggers have risen from the bedroom to shared stages with Swans and more recently The Growlers and Royal Baths. Mining the well of reverb-laden, darker-edged psych, the band’s sound offers a stark contrast to the vibe of the sunny, beach-side city they call home. Following a series of 7”s, and an LP for limitedfanfare records, Lil Daggers have now teamed up with our pals at Beyond Beyond is Beyond for a new EP, No Pizza No Peace, to be released on cassette September 10. Listen to “After the Flood” and watch the video for “Jazz Tom” below.
The story of Sunforest begins in 1969, when three American friends–Terry Tucker, Erika Eigen and Freya Hogue–set course for London in hopes of becoming pop singers. Almost immediately after their arrival, they were spotted drinking tea in a local cafe by legendary U.K. producer Vic Coppersmith-Heaven and were ushered into a studio to record a demo that very night. Just weeks later, they recorded their first and only album, Sound of Sunforest, a collection of psych-folk songs released on Decca Records that same year. The record sold very few copies and, not long after its release, the group permanently disbanded. An interesting factoid about this album, however, is that while working on A Clockwork Orange, director Stanley Kubrick heard the album and asked the band to re-record two songs, “Overture to the Sun” and “I Want to Marry a Lighthouse Keeper,” for the soundtrack.
Sunforest – “Magician In The Mountain”
Quilt’s new video for the song “Open Eyes” was shot and filmed on 16mm B&W film by producers/directors Kim and Luis Arnias. Watch it below and pick up The New Hampshire Freaks split with MMOSS via Beyond Beyond is Beyond Records.