Tag Archives: Drippy Eye Projections

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Khruangbin’s Groovy, Funky New York City Debut

March 16th, 2016

Khruangbin – Rough Trade NYC – March 15, 2016

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“The ’60s” are an all-too-common reference for music that continues to persist even now, 50 years later. “This sounds like music from the ’60s” can mean just about anything. But watching Khruangbin play last night at Rough Trade NYC with the old school liquid-light display from Drippy Eye Projections bubbling behind them, I truly felt like I had been transported to a time when “free love” was a way of life and people said things like “groovy, baby!” Because if Khruangbin are anything, they’re incredibly groovy.

Tuesday night’s show was Khruangbin’s NYC debut, and they explained from the outset that it was one of their bigger U.S. shows to date. If they were nervous, the giddy, sold-out crowd made them feel at home right away as they worked their way through much of last year’s debut album, The Universe Smiles Upon You. Laura Lee’s bass and Mark Speer’s guitar were entwined in a musical romance on songs like “Mr. White,” laying down minimalist instrumental funk with flirtatious melodies and a slow-grind low end. Like his bandmates, Donald Johnson subscribed to a less-is-more style of drumming, settling into a groove and just letting things develop at their own pace. That pace was, by and large, very groovy and very sexy. Dressed in Day-Glo pants and moving as one with her bass playing, Lee blended right in with the undulating colors on the screen behind her.

Midway through the set, Khruangbin strayed from the album material, slowly morphing into a modern-day Meters, Speer’s floral guitar tone gaining a greasy-funk edge to it and finding some room to explore and offering a glimpse at the band’s exciting future potential. But mostly they stuck to their signature boogie-lubricant sound, as addictive for their beautiful restraint as for their deep, unflappable funk. Each song seemed to earn a louder applause from the crowd until Khruangbin ran out of material to play (“We just make this up in the studio … and then we have to learn it again”), but somehow found “one more” to close out the show—and then another for an audience-demanded encore: a Latin-spy-surf jam with rapid-fire guitar riffs while Lee and Johnson kept that characteristic make-love-not-war groove going. It was a heck of a coming out party for Khruangbin and their truly timeless music. —A. Stein | @Neddyo

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Woods Take Rough Trade NYC on a Musical Excursion

June 17th, 2015

Woods – Rough Trade NYC – June 16, 2015

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It was just another mind-bending, sensory-delight Tuesday night at Rough Trade NYC. Quilt got things going with an excellent set centered around new material from their upcoming album. The Boston quartet operated comfortably in that place where Rubber Soul flips over to Revolver, with two-, three- and four-part harmonies infusing a full complement of psychedelic guitar, bass and drums. By the time their set finished, the room was filled and in the proper headspace for the headliners, Woods.

The woods are a great place to hide, so many good spots to disappear and from which to reappear. During their superlative set last night, hometown band Woods showed they had plenty hiding within: at various points there was a folkie singer-songwriter, a full-fledged rock band, an earnest indie and a powerhouse jam band lurking onstage. They opened with a pair of more song-oriented pieces—“Leaves Like Grass” and “Cali in a Cup”—singer Jeremy Earl giving all indie-folk stars a run for their money with his wind-in-the-trees voice and evocative lyricism. A new sound popped out of its hiding spot during “Pushing Onlys” leading to the first of many extended jams. This one featured nebulous, Technicolor zaps of guitar fired across the stage and out into the sold-out crowd.

With eye-melting lights from Drippy Eye Projections it was impossible to decouple the music from the colorful liquid projections. Woods’ jams seemed to trace the curvature of the emulsions, spiraling and bubbling with a hallucinogenic rainbow. These musical excursions took on many flavors: from the milk-in-coffee slow-curling vortices of guitar and organ around bass to the being-chased-down-by-a-cougar gnashing two-guitar rock-out to the full-band space exploration. The set closed with two ragers from last year’s With Light and with Love. “Moving to the Left” embodied everything Woods in just one song, fantastic composition, with a great Jerry Garcia–melodic hook and spasms of groovy rock and stoner psych. The album’s title track closed the set with a multitiered guitar jam equal parts in your face and in your brain. A sweet two-song encore finished the night before Woods sank back into their hiding place until next time. —A. Stein | @Neddyo

 

 

 

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Steve Gunn Headlines a Great Showcase at Mercury Lounge

May 19th, 2014

Steve Gunn – Mercury Lounge – May 18, 2014

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Last night Mercury Lounge hosted the kind of show you’ll easily find during CMJ week, but is rare most of the rest of the year. Beyond Beyond Is Beyond Records have put out a steady stream of fascinating, enigmatic music over the past couple of years, and there was no reason to expect anything less in the live version with multiple acts on the same bill. Things got rolling with the acoustic duo Worthless. There seemed to be a resonant theme with reverberating six- and 12-string guitars, echoing vocals and stark shadows formed by the LCD projector. It was a crunchy sound, slightly comforting, very engaging. Devonian Gardens followed, and at various times they featured a harp, a flute, finger cymbals, a harmonica and a possibly intentional aqua blue–instrument scheme. At this point, things began to simmer as Drippy Eye Projections filled the stage with swirling bubbles of light. Given all that, the set was actually heavy duty rather than cutesy esoteric, characterized mostly by a pounding bass drum and not-much-less-pounding electric bass. There were plenty of frisky little space jams, off-kilter vocal harmonies, weirdo-psych-punk ragers tied one end to the other and, on average, about one hair-on-your-chest guitar solo per song.

The penultimate slot went to Prince Rupert’s Drops, guitarist Leslie Stein began the set wondering if they would get a trippy backdrop as well. (As if she had to ask!) Still, they hardly needed the visuals to get the brains turning, immediately charging into psychedelic territory led by Chad Laird’s slow-drip bass grooves. The set was a mix of old and new material, the newer stuff characterized by an exciting, darker edge. One of these featured some fancy overlapping guitar riffs, the band showing a new level of skill and maturity. A tune introduced as the “mellow” number for the night began as a dreamy sitar-esque jammer before flipping into a nicely played crescendo jam, drums, bass, guitars and organ working together. Altogether, the material showed a nice mix of both prog and psych rock, most songs featuring several sections or movements with Laird and Steve McGuirl on drums leading them from one to the next smoothly. The set closed with a 10-minute version of “Run Slow,” a long raging jam combining of old Genesis and Led Zeppelin.

Steve Gunn isn’t actually on the BBIB label, but he still perfectly capped off the bill. Playing solo acoustic, he announced things would be mellow but that it was OK because it was Sunday night. (Someone probably should have informed the rest of the bands, but then again, we all have different definitions of mellow and Sunday appropriate.) Gunn’s Sunday night was filled with gorgeous acoustic guitar playing: exotic reverberations, beautiful tones and compelling narratives. He opened with a long meandering thing that drifted in and out of verses and guitar excursions, like a helium balloon filled with blues music that floated halfway across the globe and up into the outer shells of the atmosphere. Although all the songs felt like instrumental pieces with sung verses layered on top, the one true instrumental was a highlight. It was a stunning bit of acoustic music, almost-over-the-top decadent, the room totally saturated with the sound of his guitar. If some of the strings were out of tune, he somehow worked this to the music’s advantage, only enhancing the otherworldly affect. It was a perfect ending to a night of great music. —A. Stein

 

 

 

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Woods Take The Bowery Ballroom into Orbit

May 19th, 2014

Woods – The Bowery Ballroom – May 16, 2014

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In recent years, Woods have gone from just a band to the gravitational center of a small musical universe. Other bands sounding like Woods is a thing. And artists having their albums released on Woods’ label or produced by that guy from Woods are things other bands rightly aspire to. Take Quilt—the opening act at The Bowery Ballroom on Friday night—a far-orbiting body, but orbiting nonetheless with its cross section of weird-folk songs and free-floating jams. Performing live, the emphasis was on the latter, with several Grateful Dead–of-the-’60s excursions, democratically elected brain fodder that were long but not too long. Showing off a real tour-tested cohesion, Quilt were in good form, relying heavily on material from their recent Held Up in Splendor album. The final movement of the set was either multiple songs seamlessly stitched together or a far-reaching opus with twists and surprises, trippy spirals, groovy jogs and hairpin turns.

As enjoyable as Quilt were, the sold-out crowd wanted the source, and it was good to see Woods in their element. Drippy Eye Projections provided the show’s visuals with old school liquid light displays bubbling behind the band. The projections had the effect like Woods were playing in some petri dish, part of a Technicolor ooze on the hinge between chemistry and biology. The music shared in the metaphor, natural, organic folk-based songsmith-ing meeting explosive, entropy-building jam outs. For the most part, the show was a live imagining of the excellent new With Light and With Love album. Each song was recognizably Woods at its core, but small variations on the basic theme and evolution in the sound make large changes. The title track was a representative highlight, Jeremy Earl’s unique falsetto vocals setting the mood and then releasing the tension as the band escalated into an ecstatic improv.

Little spacey ambient noodling filled the spaces between numbers: the primordial ooze from which the songs bubbled through, the medium of the goo as important as the shapes and colors moving through it, superlative songs like “Moving to the Left” as enthralling as the jams they set adrift. At one point, Woods introduced their new bassist, Chuck, for whom the packed crowd enthusiastically boogied down and/or attempted to keep their minds from leaving terra firma altogether as the scrambled rainbow colors cascaded over the stage. The encore featured a dedication to their “Vermont friends” (and fellow orbiteers) MV & EE and an excellent cover of Pink Floyd’s “Green Is the Colour,” Jarvis Taveniere playing an earthly 12-string, Woods making it beautifully their own. It was the end of one of those shows that felt, in its glorious reverie, like it might not ever end at all. But, alas, we were finally released from the Woods orbit, but hopefully not for too long. —A. Stein

 

 

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Chilean Music Takes Mercury Lounge Down the Rabbit Hole

March 22nd, 2013

Dog Gone Blog Presents Föllakzoid and the Holydrug Couple – Mercury Lounge – March 21, 2013

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At the end of each of the final two sets at Mercury Lounge last night, each band—the Holydrug Couple and Föllakzoid—spoke to the crowd for the first time, each announcing that it would be the final song of their set. At that point, both bands launched into a lengthy, jammed-out tune that stretched for no less than 20 minutes apiece. This propensity to send the audience into a musical rabbit hole was not the only thing the two bands had in common: both are from Chile, both have great new albums out and both are turning heads as part of the worldwide psych-rock revival.

For all their similarities, each band’s sound was very unique. Chile is that narrow strip of land scrunched up between the Andes and the Pacific, half coast, half mountains, and the bill seemed to split the same way. A guitar-bass-drums trio, the Holydrug Couple were the mountain climbers, hopping from musical peak to musical peak. This was acid-trip music with the visuals from Drippy Eye Projections pulsing on the screen behind them. The guitarist seemed to be playing duets with his lava-lamp shadow, notes lingering in the air with psychedelic reverb. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard Mercury Lounge sound so good, the tech pushing the stereophonic effect, bouncing the jams from one side of the room to the other, adding a torque to the entire room, sending it spinning around.

In this metaphor, the closer, Föllakzoid, was the ocean. Their sound was more of a hypnotic trance, tidal and everlasting. The lights switched up to a constant stream of Technicolor bubbles as each song ebbed and flowed into exploratory movements. The effect was like a strong undertow. Without noticing it, the music pulled the crowd far from the safety of shore, powerful and kind of scary in its power. Like the Holydrug Couple’s music, lyrics and vocals were mere buoys marking the way, the space in between percolating with guitar, bass, Moog synth and a constant steady drumbeat, eventually building to a head and crashing into shore—that spot where the mountains meet the sea. —A. Stein

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Dog Gone Blog Presents a Night of Chilean Psych Rock on Thursday

March 20th, 2013

Juan Pablo Rodrigues (vocals and bass), Diego Lorca (drums) and Alfredo Thiermann (synths) met as kids in Santiago, Chile. Their first time playing music together, they found themselves amidst a two-hour jam, and something clicked. They later rounded out the sound by adding Domingo Garcia-Huidobro (guitar). Föllakzoid (above, playing for Nuez TV) do a psych-heavy take on krautrock, and they take their time making new music, having recently released their second album, II  (stream it below).

Ives Sepúlveda and Manuel Parra are also musicians from Santiago. Doing business as the Holydrug Couple (below, playing “Slow Motion Cat”), they record dreamy, layered space rock out of a home studio. And along with Föllakzoid, they’re part of a great, trippy double bill, presented by Dog Gone Blog, tomorrow night at Mercury Lounge. And to make things a little extra special, Drippy Eye Projections will be providing visuals.