Dead Meadow is a psychedelic rock band. Formed in 1998 in Washington DC, the band is now based in LA. The group has spent the better part of 25 years immersing listeners in laid back, fuzzy audio waves. Their music is soaked in a deep groove you can almost taste, with wah drenched guitar leads that will astral project your ears into a different reality. Dead Meadow will appeal to fans of bands like Sleepy Sun, Black Mountain, and The Re-Stoned.
Force Form Free, the band’s latest album, was released through independent label, Blues Funeral Recordings. The album was produced for the label’s Post Wax vinyl subscription series, with the band “working up a disparate yet cohesive group of songs that placed new works alongside the culmination of ideas they’d been tinkering with since the band’s genesis.”
1. The Left Hand Path 6:51 2. The Lure of the Next Peak 5:51 3. Valmont’s Pad 4:27 4. To Let the Time Go By 3:20 5. Force Form Free 6:28 6. Binah 8:03
The album is mostly instrumental, immersing listeners in six richly layered psychedelic jams. We’re treated to dreamy reflections like chill tracks, The Lure of the Next Peak and Force Form Free, with it’s drony Middle Eastern sound. There’s plenty of groovy riffs and wah pedal steeped leads like on the fuzzy Valmont’s Pad. Jason Simon gives a taste of his distinct vocals on To Let the Time Go By and Binah, the only two tracks with lyrics.
Force Form Free is the perfect album for sinking into the sofa and letting your ears drift away to the dreamy rhythms. Check out the psychedelic visualizers for the tracks on Youtube. You can find the digital album on Bandcamp. Stream it or download the album for $7. Dyed vinyl is available for $26 and CD’s for $11. Check out the band’s website and social media.
Elder is a four-piece heavy psych band based in Berlin, Germany. Originally from Boston, Mass, the band was formed by founding guitarist and vocalist, Nick DiSalvo and bassist Jack Donovan. The current lineup includes Mike Risberg on guitars and keys and Georg Edert on drums. Since their formation in 2006, the band has been continuously evolving, adding new elements to their sound. What started as primarily a Sleep-worshipping stoner rock band has significantly grown and developed over the last decade and a half. Through the course of their career, collaborating with other bands, touring the world, and continually experimenting and adding musical elements, the band has crafted a progressive, psychedelic, genre-bending sound that is always recognizable as Elder.
The band released Innate Passageon November 25. It follows 2021’s Eldovar, a collaboration with Kadavar, and their 2020 full length, Omens. Innate Passage clocks in at 54 minutes with 5 tracks. The album was recorded and mixed by Linda Dag at Clouds Hill Studio in Hamburg and mastered by Carl Saff. The intriguing artwork was produced by Adrian Dexter, a legend in the stoner rock art community who has produced all of Elder’s album art.
Calling the album anything other than ambitiously grandiose and epic would be a huge understatement. The songs are long, with each song hovering around the 10 minute mark or more, and each track is like a tapestry or a painting, continually revealing layer after psychedelic layer as it unfolds. The songs tend to be elaborately constructed and unpredictable in their arrangement, but the flow and catchiness of the tracks will draw you in. It may sound oxy-moronic, but this is exactly the type of heavy music you could equally head bang or fall asleep to, both energetic and relaxing.
1. Catastasis 10:50 2. Endless Return 9:54 3. Coalescence 9:47 4. Merged In Dreams – Ne Plus Ultra 14:43 5. The Purpose 8:37
Elder’s trademark harmonies are ever present in Disalvo’s endlessly creative chord progressions and soaring guitar leads. Listen to the opener, Catastasis, for some awesome chord progressions and some incredibly fretboard-sweeping patterns on Endless Return. His vocal style is strong, with well-delivered melodies and occasional harmonies like on the opening track. The lyrics on Innate Passage are abstract, with poetic, philosophical observations and societal commentary, in the tradition of past albums.
Risberg’s guitars and diverse keys on the album are huge, adding beautifully to the sonic richness and dreamy nature of the album’s well produced sound. Check out Endless Return and Merged in Dreams for some awesome dual guitar leads. The keys tones run the gamut, with orchestrated sounds on Catastasis, spacy sounds on Endless Return, synths on Coalescence, with plenty of psychedelic tones in between. Listen closely to The Purpose to hear Risberg’s spacy keyboard interplay with Donovan’s absolutely heavy bass line.
Underneath it all, Donavan and Edert hold things in the pocket with a tight and driving rhythm section. Donavan’s bass tone is thick and beefy on Coalescence, which also features some tricky time signature work reminiscent of Rush in their heyday. Edert drums with the utmost complexity and flow but without being flashy or standing out. The album merits relistens just to try and figure out some of his timing on tracks like Coalescence. There’s plenty to explore in the band’s tight and complex song structures, especially on the nearly 15 minute Merged in Dreams, with trippy keys and guitars that build to possibly the heaviest ending on the album.
Nova Koloso is a heavy psych, alternative rock band from Baltimore, Maryland. The group formed during the pandemic by brothers Mark and Tom Colegrove. With Tom on drums and Mark covering everything else, the duo produces a fast paced blend of progressive psych rock, with plenty of jamming and layering of all kinds of groovy guitar sounds and catchy keyboard tones, topped off with grungy vocals. Their Self-titled first release was released in 2021. Now, the group is back with their second psychedelic offering, Hallucinate Your Faith. In it, the group draws from the best elements of their debut (a brilliant, cross-instrumental harmonic sound, catchy leads, hooky vocals, tight musicianship) and beefs it up with a killer mix. Nova Koloso will call out to fans of psych rockers like King Gizzard as well as alt rockers like Smashing Pumpkins.
For Hallucinate Your Faith, the brothers enlisted the aid of former band mate, Ken Moore, on bass. The album was mixed and mastered by Steve Wright at Wright Way Studios. Clocking in at 38 minutes, its eight songs are on the shorter side, though the band includes lots of great leads and progressive interludes, as well as a nearly eight minute closing track.
1. Hallucinate Your Faith 3:54 2. Whatever You Want To 5:42 3. New Recruit 4:04 4. Dead Tongue 4:25 5. Night Surf 4:20 6. Washout 3:57 7. Salamander 4:03 8. The Mastermind 7:40
On vocals, guitars, and keys, Mark’s propensity for orchestrating harmonized layers really shines throughout the album. Catchy keyboard tones are layered in, like on the grungy Hallucinate Your Faith and the hooky Whatever You Want To. There are flowing, psychedelic guitar patterns and lots of cool effects, notably on tracks like Night Surf and Salamander. Listen for cool, Middle-Eastern sounding guitar leads on Whatever You Want To and New Recruit. The vocals are melodic and catchy, with an edgy 90’s grunge sound.
Tom holds thinks down solidly on drums, with metronomic exactness and a tendency for driving beats. Listen for some cool, odd-time drumming on Dead Tongue, as well as tricky, creative patterns on The Mastermind. Moore’s bass is a great addition to the album, with a thick, beefy tone. His bass sound really stands out on the opening and closing tracks. Additional musicians include Fiona Crowley, who provides some nice backing vocals on Whatever You Want To and Washout, and Jenny Rae Mettee, who takes over bass on Night Surf.
You can find Hallucinate Your Faith on Bandcamp. Digital download is $9 with CD’s available for $15, but copies are going fast. The band is active on social media.