If you’re reading this it is more likely than not that you will be aware of what is broadly known as the ‘psych’ scene. This is a broad and ultimately undefinable musical niche which is both global and, despite its ineffability, is strangely distinct. Problematic as this is it is a useful hook on which to hang bands/ labels/ websites/ people who in the main seem to have a shared outlook and approach to life.
Given this you would be forgiven for thinking where on earth a curious outsider to this scene could start? One possibility is with the growing number of ‘split’ series that are becoming prevalent. These are vinyl singles put out by labels such as God Unknown and Fuzz Club, which give you a chance to hear different bands and get a feel for what’s out there.
The latest such split on Fuzz Club, the eighth in a series of 10″ records, is between Dutch space rockers Radar Men From The Moon (RMFTM), and American noisniks White Hills. Between them the have provided a package that tells you a great deal about the ‘psych’ scene and provides signposts for where to go next.
First up the RMFTM track, ‘Decadence’, is a typically heavy and spacey track which includes subtle elements of shoegaze, 80s synth music (remarkably both pop and industrial), 70s German experimental, all held together with a noise-/ post-rock foundation. As the name suggests ‘Decadence’ is dark and relentless, yet it also had moments of lightness and melody which allow you to, at least momentarily, luxuriate in the bands ability to do the cooked as well as the raw. It is a fine example of how what we call ‘psych’ is able to take different genre, mix them up, and turn them into something thrilling and satisfying.
White Hills are a long established band who sit front and centre of many people’s psych collections. They are a band who have produced a series of albums that have each added to a growing reputation for experimental rock reaching, in my opinion, a high point with 2013’s ‘So You Are…So You’ll Be’ (which I have been playing consistently ever since). The track here, ‘As You Pass By’ is for me one of the finest the band have produced. It is ten minutes plus of all that is good about ‘psych’ music. At times haunting, it is a track that troubles you and makes you think. It is a track that worms its way into your consciousness and leaves you bereft at the end.
I cannot recommend this split 10″ highly enough. It puts together two bands who I would not have immediately thought of as being complementary, yet these two tracks of their work very well together. If you know the bands already you’re going to need this…if the whole thing is a labyrinthine mystery here’s as good a place as any to start.
White Hills and RMFTM are the latest additions to Fuzz Club Split Single alumni, one which already boasts rock n roll leviathans The Black Angels, A Place to Bury Stranger, Alan Vega and The Telescopes. Each edition in the series is pressed on 10” coloured vinyl housed in a black and white sleeve with different abstract artwork printed on each side. There will be an exclusive Fuzz Club pressing on yellow vinyl (300 copies) as well as a standard edition on white vinyl (700 copies).
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