Friday, February 15, 2013

Psychic Ills at Dusted

Okay, gotta day that 2013 hasn't blown me away yet, but my three favorite records so far are Psychic Ills' One Track Mind, Lisa Germano's No Elephants and Kinski's Cosy Moments. My review of the Psychic Ills albums went up a day or so ago at Dusted. Have a look if you want:

Psychic Ills
One Track Mind
Sacred Bones

Psychic Ills has been moving away from free-form drone and toward songs for a couple of albums now, starting with 2011’s Hazed Dreams and accelerating with this year’s One Track Mind. If you last checked in around Mirror Eye, you might be surprised by the relative conciseness and structure of the songs, and by the fact that nearly all put their melody in the vocal line. Make no mistake, Psychic Ills is still trippy, still laid-back, still fogged in with effect-driven haze, but it’s more in line with Brian Jonestown Massacre or Royal Baths these days than Bardo Pond or MV+EE.

Consider, for instance, the title track, with its loping, looping guitar line. That’s Tres Warren wandering out on a long tether, spinning the kind of head-nodding licks that arc up and trickle down, that buffet a single note into a mad, dramatic crescendo and then trail off into smoke and dissolution. Underneath, bassist Elizabeth Hart keeps ragged, pick-scratching time, the low notes bobbling and bumping at the under-edge of audibility. There are slow drums, electronic bits, a feedback haze floating in the mix, and over it all, surprisingly clear and dominant, Warren singing, a murmur but not a monotone, the vocals drifting out over lazy cumulous clouds of guitar. The singing’s not a texture, but the wind-up spring that drives the whole song, though slowly, deliberately, without any angst or aggression. It’s like The Jesus and Mary Chain at a hallucinogenic crawl, or Satanic Majesty-era Stones heard through a sandstorm.


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