Sageness delivers third full length, Tr3s

Tr3s was released on May 15, 2022

Sageness is an instrumental psychedelic rock band from León, Spain. The power trio treats their music with an infusion of post-rock and shoegaze guitar work, and live recording in the studio gives them a fresh, raw sound. The group has just released their third album, the aptly titled Tr3s. It’s a mature, well-developed follow-up to 2019’s Akmé (Full review here) and their Self-titled album from 2017.

1. The Effect of Colours 9:45
2. Greenhouse 8:04
3. Spirit Machine 6:16
4. Event horizon 12:22

Tr3s is composed of four tracks, clocking in at 37 minutes. Throughout the album, muscular riffs and sensual guitar textures, infused with plenty of wah-pedal and shoe-gaze FX, are underscored by a crisp, clean bass sound, and solid drum patterns. Subtle, spacy synth sounds add to the atmosphere. The album is a further testament to Sageness’s skill as a well-rehearsed jam band. The long, creative arrangements at times remind me of Elder, in the vein of their instrumental album, The Gold & Silver Sessions, but with more of the muscle of Dead Roots Stirring. Whether you’re on a road trip or sonic tripping on the sofa, Tr3s is an ideal soundtrack. It’s got plenty of headbanging as well as spacy post-rock introspection.

You can find Sageness on Bandcamp. The digital album is available for download for $7. Tr3s is also on CD for $9 or vinyl for $25. Ceck out the band’s social media and merch pages for vinyl/t-shirt bundle deals, and don’t forget to check out the music videos for The Effect of Colours and Spirit Machine.

The Dry Mouths release new psych album, Thödol

Thödol was released on May 13, 2022

The Dry Mouths are a psychedelic instrumental power trio from Almería, Spain. The band specializes in creating sonic landscapes of hypnotic, psychedelic soundwaves, laced with occasional heavy stoner rock sections. Active since 2006, the group has six full length records, with the release of 2022’s Thödol.

Released in May, Thödol is inspired by the Tibetan Book of the Dead. The band elaborates on their interpretations with 10 tracks, ranging from two-seven minutes. According to a statement from the band, “The album is a work of fantasy and extra-sensory experiences, of life and death, of both peaceful and dark visions, of self knowledge and of the fight against the fears that our own minds create. The album is a mental journey in which consciousness separates from the physical body and tries to gain enlightenment and ascend above, through the act of listening.” For the best effect, Thödol should be listened to start to finish, as a single composition, to fully induce the trance.

1. Den-Dro Sum 3:40
2. Hinayana 6:29
3. Kyenay 4:26
4. Milam 2:49
5. Dhyana 3:34
6. Ngen-Dro Sum 5:20
7. Chikhai 3:40
8. Dharmata 5:37
9. Zhi Tros Lha 7:10
10. Chönyid 2:01

Opener Den-Dro Sum sets the mood for the first three quarters of the album with soothing guitar leads that more than take the place of vocals. It’s easy to get lost in the hypnotic drum patterns. Hinayana introduces a fat bass tone, bordering on dub, and listen for some creative percussion throughout and a kettle drum sound at the end. Kyenay features a groovy rhythm section and some cool post-rock guitar leads, while Milam has some creative Middle-Eastern sounding guitar that gave me Babylon Tree vibes. The ethnic sounding drumming and sitar on Dhyana made it a stand out track for me. Another stand out was Ngen-Dro Sum, which changed things up with one of the heaviest riffs on the album. The last four tracks of the album mostly replace the guitar melodies with spacy synth layers. Chikhai features a chill transition with layers of keyboard tones building up throughout. The heavy synth tone on Dharmata gave me some low-key Dimetrodon vibes. Listen on Zhi Tros Lha for a spacier synth sound and groovy, fx-heavy bass tone, while Chönyid closes out the album in a satisfying, low-key way.

The record, a follow-up to 2019’s Lo-Fi Sounds for Hi-Fi People, was recorded at Desert City Studio between October, 2020 and June, 2021. The artwork was disigned and created by Iván Carreño. It can be downloaded on Bandcamp for under $7. The vinyl record, co-released by Spinda Records, Aneurisma Records, Violence In The Veins, Discos Macarras, Zona Rock Productions, Bandera Records, Quebranta Records and Odio Sonoro, can be ordered for $20. Check out the band’s merch page for current and back releases and find the band on social media.

Album Review: Melvin’s Holiday, by Lewis and the Strange Magics (Plus Interview)

Lewis and the Strange Magics are a heavy-psych band from Barcelona, Spain. The band produces groovy, stylish, psychedelic music, with strong funk and jam undercurrents. The band just released their third full length, Melvin’s Holiday. The album is a followup to the 2015 full-length Velvet Skin, the 2017 full-length Evade Your Soul, and the 2018 EP, The Ginger Sessions.

Melvin’s Holiday was independently released on September 6, 2019. It’s a concept album made up of nine, 1960’s and 70’s inspired, sexy, velvety, groovy, shag-carpeted tracks. Even the artwork by Shaun Miller is a throwback, with its retro style and filmy look. The album tells the story of Melvin, a rich man who divorces his wife and takes off on holiday in the Mediterranean, where he seeks happiness but finds only loneliness.

Musically, the entire album is catchy and easy to listen to, with plenty of creative guitar and keyboard tones. The lyrics are melodic and catchy, roughly comparable to the style of Ric Ocasek of The Cars. The album carries echoes of bands such as Pink Floyd, The Eagles, and Steely Dan, but with the psychedelic style and attitude that makes Lewis and the Strange Magics completely one of a kind. Get ready to sink into a velvet sofa and be carried away with the smooth flowing tracks. To help me get a better idea of the band’s song writing process and influences, I caught up with band leader and multi-instrumentalist, Luis Pomés, for the following interview.

The Sonic Sofa (TSS): Can you tell us a little bit about your recording process?

Luis P (LP): For this album we recorded everything in my home studio, with an audio interface to the computer and some microphones. Everything is digital but we tried to find an old/vintage sound.

TSS: What insight can you give us about the album’s lyrics and the Melvin character?

LP: My first intention was to do an album with songs that had a common theme: a summer and decadent atmosphere. I liked this concept and then when I was working on the final steps of the composition I realized that I could connect the songs by creating a character who lives all of the experiences that the lyrics show. So, I created the rich man, Melvin, and I changed some of the words to make a kind of rock opera. I think I got the idea of this concept, among other things, from a Roxy Music song that describes the decadence of a rich person who has a mansion but no one to share it with.

TSS: What is the band’s songwriting process and how does jamming play a part in it?

LP: I write everything in my mind, then I usually record some demos, or I explain the ideas to my band-mates to make a kind of jam. This last process was the one we used in our previous release, The Ginger Sessions EP. Sometimes I record a song without a definitive demo, making the arrangements while I’m recording, and this is why some tracks can have a jam band sensation.

TSS: What are the band’s influences, both musical and otherwise?

LP: All music I enjoy can be an influence, but for this album I think there’s a lot of Roxy Music, Funkadelic, Pink Floyd, Steely Dan, heavy-psych in general, and cult movies from the 70s, both for the general atmosphere of the film or from their soundtracks. For example, the track Carpet Sun is a direct tribute to erotic movies soundtacks from those years, and the whole album is very cinematographic.

“groovy, stylish psychedelic music”

The album opens with Melvin (2:51), a short track featuring hand percussion, smooth organ tones, a crisp drum sound, and some tasty wah pedal. A Funky feel, harmonized vocals, and some jazzy brass tones make this a catchy intro track. Next up, Sad in Paradise (3:48) brings a tight, progressive, fuzzy riff. This track stands out among the others with straight up catchy vocals and a hook-filled chorus. Don’t miss the cool stereo effects of the double guitar lead.

Jazzy drums and organ set the tone for The Answering Machine (2:11), and heavy effects on the vocals and a crisp ride cymbal gives the song a San Francisco jazz feel. Fashion Siren (5:31) has a great sounding snare drum and crisp, Steely Dan-like tones on guitar. Probably one of the catchiest songs on the album, with creative keyboard lines and a funky, eclectic chorus, self-referencing the band’s “Strange Magic” in the lyrics.

Carpet Sun (2:21) features a dreamy intro, with some great layering and effects from the keyboards. Synthy and velvety, this short musical interlude is a nice, reflective break in the action. Following up, Village’s Wizard (4:32) is a nice, percussion heavy track, with easygoing keyboard tones and guitar and a smooth, Latin-jazz feel.

Driving classic-rock riffs and catchy, love song lyrics set the stage for Only a Fantasy (4:13). This track features a great keyboard lead with some interesting scifi-esque tones. Lounge Decadence (2:27) opens with a great bass line and the song employs plenty of Latin style rhythms. And closing the album, Afternoon on the Sand (6:28) starts off soft, with great sounding vocal harmonies before shifting to a swingy, bluesy style to finish off the album.

Melvin’s Holiday is an album that should be listened to straight through, from start to finish, for the full effect. The album is currently available for digital download on Bandcamp, and hopefully we’ll see a vinyl release in the coming months. Make to support the band by listening to their music and buying their merch. Thanks for reading The Sonic Sofa. Go in peace, and rock on, Sofanauts.

Akmé, the Sophomore Heavy-Psych Album by Sageness

Akme, by Sageness

Sageness is a heavy-psych trio that hails from Leon, Spain. The band produces instrumental, psychedelic music with healthy doses of stoner and post-rock. Akmé, their second full length after their self-titled album in 2017, was released on February 23rd. Rich textures and complex arrangements characterize the songs. Ethereal guitar parts overlay in-the-pocket drum and bass grooves. Parts of the album have progressive qualities, and everything on the album is listenable and enjoyable, with the haunting guitar melodies more than taking the place of vocals. Akmé is a great example of a band whose members are synced together and really listen to each other. Their album features beautiful art by Diogo Soares and you can buy the digital album or CD on bandcamp.

“plenty of full-blooded riffs”

Andromeda, the first track, is an easy flowing opener that clocks in at just above seven and a half minutes. The song takes its time to develop up and take form, exploring arpeggiated guitar leads early in the song before developing into plenty of full-blooded riffs later on. Fans of the album Dead Roots Stirring, by Elder, will appreciate the rich guitar tones on this song.

The second track, a nine minute composition entitled The Thought, opens with heavily driving bass, spacey effects and ethereal guitar sounds, while the drums lay down a lively, funky beat that holds the song elements together. The band alternates between jams that allow the song to breathe, and moments of progressive syncopation. Great use of the wah pedal is made later in the song, and there are moments when the guitar leads even have a surfy vibe that is just fun to be carried away on.

Sizigia is the shortest track on the album, clocking in at four minutes and 19 seconds, but what it lacks in length is made up for in catchy guitar hooks and pleasing tones. By contrast the next song, Ephemeral, is the longest song on the album, clocking in at nearly 10 minutes, and is a sprawling track that really should be thought of more as a complex composition, with many transitions, than simply as a song.

“a progressive, post-rock journey”

A thought that crossed my mind continuously while listening to this album was how tuned in the musicians of Sageness are with each other. The next track, Mindbender, is a great example of this. The group takes us on a progressive, post-rock journey. Don’t miss the last half of the song when the track makes a swift turn into a galloping stoner rock riff to finish things off.

The album wraps up with Hydro. Wonderfully melodic guitar leads more than take the place of vocals on this one. The end of the song features some tight drum and bass progressions, over laid by heavy effected guitar lines, with amazing results.

Overall, the album really is a good showcase for these proficient musicians, who are in tune with each other and their craft. It’s tempting to think that on a 42 minute album with no vocalist (not to mention three songs that are over the seven minute mark) the songs might tend to be drawn out and boring, but this can’t be less true. There are plenty of transitions to keep things moving and interesting, and the guitar dramatically takes the place of vocals. Akmé is well worth repeated listens.

March 23 Babylon Leon – Leon, Spain W/ Raw Colors