Podcast 2020.16 This Is This

This episode of Turn Me On, Dead Man features a good deal improvisational psych, with powerful tracks from Frozen Planet….1969, Population II and High Arctic, as well as atmospheric tracks from Herbcraft, Magic Cobra and Melody Fields, a little stoner/doom from Outer Head, and lo-fi guitar pop from Honey Radar. It opens with one of my all-time favorite bands, Magic Shoppe.

The title and breaks come from the 1978 Vietnam War epic The Deer Hunter. The cast of The Deer Hunter elevates what is otherwise a shallow, poorly thought out film. As Studs Turkel pointed out, “not since The Birth of a Nation has a non-Caucasian people been portrayed in so barbaric a fashion.” Still, De Niro. And even when he doesn’t make sense (“This is this”) the viewer is swept along by his intensity. “Is this what you want? Is this what you want? I love you. *click*”

00:00 TMODM – Intro
00:50 Magic Shoppe – On High Street (Live)
03:55 Herbcraft – Eon Rd
10:29 Magic Cobra – Golden Child
14:15 Frozen Planet….1969 – Rollback (Green Version)
19:15 Melody Fields – Broken Horse
22:47 Population II – Ce n’est Rêve
30:03 Honey Radar – Lilac Pharmacy
32:21 Outer Head – Left Hand Cult
38:32 High Arctic – First Trip

Magic Shoppe – On High Street (Live) [from Live In London, released October 30, 2020]

I corresponded with Josiah Webb of Magic Shoppe.
TMODM: How has life been for you during the pandemic?
JW: I still have my day job and am able to work remotely, which I’m thankful for. Getting outside as much as possible (bike riding, hiking, etc..). I’m doing alright, all things considered. Always recording, too. Hope to have a new studio album out in 2021. I’ve also been helping out some bandmates and friends with their own music, too.
TMODM: What’s next for you?
JW: Looking forward to the pandemic subsiding (I know that’s likely many months from now). I’ll continue recording and all that for the next record. Other than that, just trying to stay mentally sane (getting outside and being active helps).

Herbcraft – Eon Rd [from Trash Heap, released May 22, 2020]

I corresponded with Matt LaJoie of Herbcraft, who also co-runs Flower Room Records.
TMODM: How has Flower Room been affected by the pandemic?
ML: So many of our plans and intentions for 2020 went out the window by mid-March: we had tours booked for spring and had begun planning summer dates for a few of our acts, expecting to be on the road for much of the year, and on top of that we were forced to vacate our home and studio/workshop so that the owner could quarantine there at the beginning of lockdown. While we’ve been able to retain as productive a release schedule as we hoped, widespread financial insecurity and long, impossible to anticipate delays on pretty much every level of physical vinyl production has made it difficult to get vinyl out close to the digital release dates. Cardinal Fuzz really came through for us in coordinating getting the Herbcraft vinyl pressed on time, and luckily our fans have remained incredibly supportive and understanding through everything. Bandcamp Fridays have been a lifeline!
TMODM: What’s next for you?
ML: Anticipating at least another year ahead without the opportunity to tour, we’re turning our focus more toward digital releases and remote events that convey some of the communion of live shows. Right now I’m releasing a new and exclusive song every weekday for our Bandcamp and Patreon subscribers, and we’re planning other similar peeks into our process in the coming year. We’ve been working on a full-length concert film that we hope to premiere in Spring 2021, and hopefully we can work out some more livestreams soon. Our next vinyl project is my instrumental electric guitar album Paraclete Tongue, which is set for digital release at midnight on New Year’s and available on vinyl shortly thereafter.

Magic Cobra – Golden Child [from Magic Cobra EP, released October 24, 2020]

I corresponded with Dave Watts of Magic Cobra.
TMODM: Who are your main influences?
DW: Some of our staple influences include Brian Jonestown Massacre, Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine – some of these sounds pop up here and there across our tracks. While I think the BJM influence is apparent in Golden Child, the chords and lyrics are an obvious nod to “Pictures of Matchstick Men” by Status Quo. We are inspired by a lot of 60’s psych – I know when we were recording this tune, I was personally feeling inspired by “Every Christian Lion Hearted Man Will Show You” from the Bee Gees first album.
TMODM: How have you been affected by the pandemic?
DW: When the pandemic hit we had a really tight set and had just lined up our first live shows. Obviously we had to cancel before we were able to get out there – but we also stopped rehearsing as a safety precaution until there is a vaccine. However, we are still writing and collaborating together from our homes – passing rough tracks and lyrics back and forth to see what sticks.
TMODM: What’s next for you?
DW: Once things get better, and they will, we will be back at it with a lot of new material ready to go. Hopefully that time comes sooner than later. In rehearsals leading up to the pandemic, our sound was taking a bit of a darker and heavier turn. The newer material we are writing seems to be even more so, likely fueled by the dystopian nightmare we’re all currently living in. I just can’t wait for things to return to normal so we can play it live and get possibly work on a full length in the studio.

Frozen Planet….1969 – Rollback (Green Version) [from Hydroculture, released October 21, 2020]

TMODM: How much of your music is improvised and how much do you have mapped out ahead of time?
FP1969: All of our music is completely improvised as a band. At times Paul, our guitarist, may have an idea or riff that he may show us right before we are about to record but that’s about it. What happens after we play out the riff or idea is spontaneous. In the case of ‘Rollback (Green Version)’ this is us having another crack at the same idea with differing results to the original ‘Rollback’ track on our 2019 release ‘Meltdown on the Horizon’.
TMODM: What do you use for inspiration?
FP1969: The inspiration is purely from each member of the band playing out what they hear. We all have different musical influences and are quite open minded when in comes to musical style. So the jams are a platform for us to experiment and play what we feel.

Melody Fields – Broken Horse [from Broken Horse EP, released October 10, 2020]

TMODM: Who are your main influences?
MF: We have our studio down in the harbor, so in the summer we often go outside with our instruments to play and watch the ships come in. But if you mean what kind of music we listen to right now I send you a playlist.
TMODM: Very cool playlist. How have you been affected by the pandemic?
MF: Of course it has been sad to cancel all shows and so on, but for us as a band it has been mostly positive. When we haven’t been able to come out and play during the new release we have been focusing on recording new material instead. Even though it’s only been about a month since we released the Broken Horse EP we soon have a new album finished. We are lucky to have free access to the studio that we share with Djinn, Goatman and Hills among others. We, as everyone else of course, feel that it’s sad and boring not to be able to go out to meet friends as often as you would like to and above all we miss going to live shows. But isolation surely makes time for making new songs.
TMODM: What’s next for you?
MF: Our plans for the near future is to mix all the new songs we’ve recorded. Hopefully there will be some record label interested in releasing the album.

Population II – Ce n’est Rêve [from À la Ô Terre, released October 30, 2020]

TMODM: Who are your main influences?
PII: Our main influences are Amon Düül II, Soft machine , The Stooges.
TMODM: What’s next for you?
PII: We are right now writting new songs and jamming. We call it « pandemic rock ».
TMODM: How have you been affected by the pandemic?
PII: We are easily rockin’ the pandemic away to another dimensions and hope to play live show in front of people soon.

Honey Radar – Lilac Pharmacy [from Sing the Snow Away: The Chunklet Years, released June 20, 2020]

I corresponded with Jason Henn of Honey Radar.
TMODM: How have you been affected by the pandemic?
JH: We’ve been sidelined like most band’s this year. We had show plans we had to put on hold, and we’ve been trying some remote recording, but we’ve only been able to play together once all year, distanced in a big open room.
TMODM: What’s next for you?
JH: We’re slowly working on new music, and the next thing to come out will probably be a split 7″ with our friends Smug Brothers some point soon.

Outer Head – Left Hand Cult [from Cult Of Chaos, released October 17, 2020]

I corresponded with Sarantis Charvas from Outer Head, a U.K. stoner/doom/psychedelic band from Leeds.
TMODM: Who are your main influences?
SC: Apart from the very obvious influences (Black Sabbath, Pentagram, St Vitus, Sleep, Electric Wizard) we love 60s and 70s hard rock and psychedelia: Hawkwind, Stooges, MC5, and also bands like Pinnacle, Poobah, Wicked Lady, Third Bardo, Erkin Koray. We love Anatolian and middle Eastern music too, something that is very obvious in our Sonic Doom song.
TMODM: I’ve heard you’re starting another lockdown in the UK. How have you been affected by the pandemic?
SC: Lockdown has been hard, it has stopped us from practicing again now for a month and the first wave kept us from practicing for quite a while.
TMODM: What’s next for you?
SC: We have more than enough material for a next album so we are working on that at the moment. I personally feel it’s our best material to date. We have a few new demo recordings and the songs sound heavy already.

High Arctic – First Trip [from First Trip, released July 24, 2020]

High Arctic describes their music as “Heavy Surf Psych Doom”. I corresponded with Kalev Mikhel Kaup, vocalist/guitarist for High Arctic.
TMODM: Who are your main influences?
KMK: Influences are from a great spectrum of the artists in the music world. Miles Davis, Sunn O))), Grateful Dead, Sun City Girls, Jimi Hendrix are a few examples. Doom, Jazz, Rock, experimental.
TMODM: How much of your music is improvised and how much do you have mapped out ahead of time?
KMK: First Trip is the first of a series of releases of our warm up jams for our weekly practices. It is 100% improv with absolutely no planning or discussion in advance. We plug in and play.
TMODM: What’s next for you?
KMK: We have an upcoming full length of structured songs coming up soon. We’re just waiting for artwork. It will be called False Pasage. We will also continue to realese Trips for the unforeseeable future. We are always working on and recording new material.

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