Podcast 2021.18 Half Measures and Alibi Runs

A look at current psychedelia and a look back at life during wartime. A few more releases from prominent labels this time around. This episode opens with The Mountain Movers on the Trouble In Mind label, with tracks from Axis: Sova and Birds of Maya on Drag City as well as The Holy Family on Rocket Recordings. The artists in this episode come from the UK (The Holy Family and Longheads), Canada (Dark Bird and Dr. Joy), Australia (The Dharma Chain) and the rest from the US.

01:19 The Mountain Movers – I Wanna See The Sun
04:22 The Dharma Chain – So You Wanna Be A Spaceman?
10:49 The Holy Family – Inward Turning Suns
17:09 Axis: Sova – Fractal USA
22:53 Dopesoul – Karma Kaze
27:19 Dark Bird – Out Of Line
32:14 Dr. Joy – Signed, The Body Electric
37:47 Playing With Circles – Page 63
41:03 Birds of Maya – Please Come In
48:00 Longheads – One and a Half Each

The Mountain Movers – I Wanna See The Sun [from World What World, released June 18, 2021]

Mountain Movers are from New Haven, Connecticut. Vocalist/guitarist Dan Greene answered my questions.
TMODM: How does the place you live — your city, town, landscape — feed into the music you make?
DG: New Haven has a vibrant music history, and currently, is a city where many interesting musicians and artists call home. A bunch of us share a practice space that looks out over a magical dirt pile. We started making music together, supporting each other’s projects , and forming an underground scene rooted in New Haven. We love playing music all the time, and playing with people you love is easy. Everyone is so different and thinks and plays so differently, it’s interesting to see how different combinations can produce such different work. Sometimes we all get together and play as Loose Trucks or The Dirt Pile Family Band and just have fun.
TMODM: What record changed your life?
DG: The week that Double Nickels on The Dime by the Minutemen came out I was sitting in the backseat of a Chevy hatchback when an older kid popped the cassette in the deck and turned it up. We drove aimlessly around town listening to it from start to finish and it became my portal into the national underground scene.
TMDOM: What’s next for you?
DG: We have a few gigs to play in 2021, but really we are focused on a series of new recordings we made recently. The pandemic meant that we had no tours, so we could just focus on recording as freely as possible without restrictions. Once we were all vaxxed, we began to get together every week and improvise with different instruments than our usual rock line-up. The music is completely new to us. We hope it will become our next record.

The Dharma Chain – So You Wanna Be A Spaceman? [from The Dharma Chain, released July 01, 2020]

The Dharma Chain are an Australian band from Byron Bay, New South Wales.
TMODM: How does the place you live — your city, town, landscape — feed into the music you make?
DC: As a band we all live in Byron Bay, NSW. Byron is obviously known for its sunshine, surfing beaches, and instagram wannabees. So if you don’t fit into that it can be quite alienating at times. That’s how as a band we all kind of met each other. We tend to make our music as some sort of unintentional antithesis to this place I guess, looking for a little more to identify with in the place we live in. The music scene here is pretty one dimensional in our opinion, and we formed a musical friendship by striving to do something a little different to what’s going on. Something a little darker.
TMDOM: What record changed your life?
DC: Speaking from personal experience, I still remember the first time I heard Give it Back by The Brian Jonestown Massacre. That just totally blew me away in terms of what music could be. I just found it so transparent, emotional and full of attitude in a way that punk couldn’t provide me.
TMODM: What’s next for you?
DC: We are constantly in the studio recording, with a live in the studio EP coming out next week. We are always trying to play as many shows as we can in these COVID times. And me and Jarra, my co-writer and partner in forming the band, are always busy recording and mixing more songs to continue releasing this year. Heaps more music to come!

The Holy Family – Inward Turning Suns [from The Holy Family, released July 02, 2021]
Axis: Sova – Fractal USA [from Fractal EP, released May 07, 2021]
Dopesoul – Karma Kaze [from Demo, released July 10, 2021]
Dark Bird – Out Of Line [from Out Of Line, released June 11, 2021]

Dark Bird is based in Toronto.
TMODM: How does the place you live — your city, town, landscape — feed into the music you make?
DB: I’d say I’m not influenced by the cities I’ve lived. I hold little attachment. I could live anywhere honestly. This album would have been written in both Brantford and Waterloo, Ontario. Both pretty uninspiring places. I often search within, a solitary place, when I write. I’m sure there are influenced that seep in through what I see and in the people/bands that I meet, but I mostly meditate on the Canadian wilderness and the sadness in mine/our disconnect from the natural world.
TMODM: What record changed your life?
DB: In my mid teens, late 80s/early 90s, I stayed up late listening to the radio. One night at about 2am there was a showcase on Warp records out of the UK, and I have never even heard the word Techno. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. They played stuff like LFO & tricky disco. I was an isolated kid in the suburbs. Anyway, I taped what I could that night and played it to death. Then I went to a friends place and saw his brother had an advance DJ copy of the album Frequencies by LFO and I flipped out. We played that song on his folks killer sound system and literally shook the house when that bass breakdown part kicks in. His mom coulda killed us. Lol Soooo fucking great. There is nothing like it. Changed my life and open my mind big time. I know that’s not very “psych” of a story. Most people seem to be connecting me to Syd Barrett, but I hardly know his music. I did listened to a lot of Eric’s Trip and Elevator, and I know Rick’s a big Syd fan. Musta rubbed off on me somewhere down the line lol.
TMODM: What’s next for you?
DB: We’ll, actually, connecting to my previous answer, I want to finally make a Techno album! I have some gear and I’m trying to find a way to make it my own. It will likely end up pretty psyched out, as it has been my tradition to record under the influence of magick mushrooms 🙂

Dr. Joy – Signed, The Body Electric [from Dr. Joy, releases September 17, 2021]

Dr. Joy, based in Toronto, is a collaboration they describe as, “Born out of friendships first, Dr. Joy is the collaboration between celebrated songwriter/cosmic rider of the range Matthew ‘Doc’ Dunn and Toronto based psychedelic savants Mr. Joy – whose membership includes songwriter/visual artist Blob, Harrison Forman, Steven McPhail, and producer Asher Gould-Murtagh, all of whom are deeply talented multi-instrumentalists.”

Harrison Forman
TMODM: How does the place you live — your city, town, landscape — feed into the music you make?
HF: I think my environmental context has always played a bit of a subconscious role in the type of music I make. When I first arrived in Toronto from a small town, I got really into electronic instruments and just wanted to get swept up in the many flavours and styles happening in the city – I wasn’t as interested in just being a guitarist anymore. Though a couple years later I begun to gravitate back to acoustic instruments, which I now feel was partly a reaction to living in a big city. The gentrifications just been so heavy, so much is being sacrificed for condos and the people who live in them. Maybe something about that drew me back to the raw, organic nature of an acoustic guitar. Acoustic instruments ground me, they can feel like a return to nature in a way.
For me, Dr. Joy (and Mr. Joy) has been a project where all this is occurring simultaneously. It’s its own world and there are no limits to the paths we can collectively take the music. At that point, the environment means nothing or everything depending on how you look at it.
TMDOM: What record changed your life?
HF: Sun Ra’s “Lanquidity” was a big one for me. My mom gave her old vinyl copy of it when I was in my early 20s. I was already exploring many different styles of music at that point, but I think that album marked some sort of turning point for me, setting in motion a ride from the surface into the depths. “There Are Other Worlds” really did allude to some sort of “beyond” to be found through music. Not just in its narrative, but it literally oozed out of the sound of that recording. Searching for similar qualities in music has been a big part of my journey since.
TMODM: What’s next for you?
HF: I’m currently shifting my home recording setup into a more analog rig with the intention of making my own oozy recordings 🙂

Asher Gould-Murtagh
TMODM: How does the place you live — your city, town, landscape — feed into the music you make?
AGM: I feel like just by virtue of how close we all used to live, with 3 of us in the same house in Toronto, it meant that we were able to always be creating and getting inspired by each other. That made the process of starting “Dr. Joy” possible, doing weekend recording sessions and having the luxury of time to discover what the project really was. Then halfway through we all moved to different cities and that coincided with the “finishing” part of the album. It kind of gave us all a different perspective, and really forced us to be intentional in the way we went about wrapping the album up.
TMODM: What record changed your life?
AGM: Dark Side of the Moon was probably the first CD, as like an 11 or 12 year old that I put on and really was blown away. It was almost like a rite of passage.
TMODM: What’s next for you?
AGM: Making more records.

Playing With Circles – Page 63 [from Tomorrow’s Mystique, released June 26, 2021]

Playing With Circles are from San Diego. I corresponded with Dhani Marr.
TMODM: How does the place you live — your city, town, landscape — feed into the music you make?
DM: I grew up in Fullerton, CA, and then when I was about 4 or 5 years old my family and I moved from house to house and soon ended up in Riverside where I found a closer connection to music than I ever did before. We lived in this christian/conservative town called Menifee, where hills and mountains surrounded the land like a fishbowl. I recall getting kicked out of my house numerous times and crashing on homies’ couches and sleeping in my car. I remember wanting to get the fuck out of that town though because I couldn’t stand, living there any longer, and I did when I turned 20 just last year, now living in San Diego.
TMODM: What record changed your life?
DM: One day my tio gave me a box full of records, filled with albums such as Kinks’ Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneyground, Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland, Neil Young’s On the Beach, Bo Diddley’s 16 All-Time Greatest Hits, and that later led me to all the 60s garage-psych/punk shores. There were so many albums that have had a correlation in resurrecting my soul.
TMODM: What’s next for you?
DM: Well, I have been currently working on this folk sound and it’s developing as an album. Recently I’ve been listening to a lot of John Fahey, Bert Jansch, Love, Charles Manson, and the idea of a more minimalistic approach to art has been forming in my head for quite some time. All I will share with you is the upcoming album has got fingerpicking Fahey going on, strum full of acoustic guitars, pots and pans, mallet sticks and floor tom, snare drum and crash, and a cover of the old bluegrass/country hymn Will The Circle Remain Unbroken.

Birds of Maya – Please Come In [from Valdez, released June 25, 2021]
Longheads – One and a Half Each [from Higher Than Bacteria, released June 25, 2021]

Longheads are a mind altering heavy psych band from Norfolk, now based in South London.
TMODM: How does the place you live — your city, town, landscape — feed into the music you make?
LH: At the time of writing One and a Half Each we were living on the outskirts of London in an old plastic factory. Although living in London we felt somewhat detached from society. Which feeds into the chaotic nature of the song.
In a more direct way living there also gave us the means to experiment freely as we used the space to write and record. This is evident in the long sprawling musical arrangements. Which is something we wouldn’t have attempted when we were using rehearsal studios.
TMDOM: What record changed your life?
LH: Back In Black (Album) by AC/DC is the band album and the soundtrack to every Longheads gig day. We play it while driving to shows and setting up to record. It never fails to get us in the mood to play a hard set.
TMODM: What’s next for you?
LH: Thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign our debut EP ‘Higher Than Bacteria’ is being pressed to vinyl and will be out soon. Other than that we have a few shows coming up and we are preparing to record our next EP.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.