Music and Art Monday, April 29th 2019: Psilocybin Jam

This week I want to introduce you to another local band. But not local to Jacksonville like all the other bands. This band is local to my third home: Cloudcroft, NM.

There is a funny story about how I was introduced to Psilocybin Jam: my wife and I fixed our perpetually broken truck and decided to take it for a test drive into town. While there we figured we may as well soak up some 4g for a bit and parked on Burro Street across from the Western.

I heard a tapping on the window behind my head. I turned and there is this dude with dreads motioning me to roll down the window. I scrambled a bit, but obliged. “Hey, you want to go get a drink at the Western?” We sat a bit confused but responded “Sure” and followed this guy over to the bar.

He introduced himself as “Wild Bill” and then said he had to run home for a bit. We got a beer and waited for his return. It was probably two hours later that he returned, seemingly oblivious to his new friends. We had found other friends to hang out with so it wasn’t a big deal but be got a bit of a chuckle out of it. Eventually we did end up hanging out with him and he told us literal war stories (Bill’s a vet, but you wouldn’t know it looking at him) and invited us back the next week to see his band.

Psilocybin Jam is pretty good live. They are even better on their album. So good, in fact, that some guy at a stop light asked me if I was listening to the Dead. I’d argue that Bill Larrubia’s bass playing is better than anything I have heard from the Dead honestly.

Lest you think all jam bands sound alike let me point you to two songs on the album that particularly stand out. “Nietzsche” blends the sounds of an 80’s metal band with Jim Morrison-esque  vocals from Felix Hernandez and a bass line reminiscent of The Prodigy. Figure that one out… “Bad Connection” sounds like the Doors if Ray Manzarek had never discovered the keyboard. I don’t know who’s on horns but dang.

Apart from those two songs the album sounds like a typical jam band, but with something super special. Bill’s bass playing along with the drums and percussion provided by his wife Heather Miller and drummer Albert Vallejo provide a perfect foundation for the eclectic styles guitar ranging from classical Spanish to Funk to classic rock and metal. There are no boring songs on the entire record.

As of this post, Psilocybin Jam has 4 monthly listeners on Spotify. I bet we can get that number way up there. Go check them out, you’ll thank me.

MAAM: February 4, 2019: Kickin’ It Old School

Nothing local this week, I had a bout with anxiety over the weekend. So I went back to old stuff. There is something about going back to stuff that you used to listen to, not for nostalgia purposes, but for the uplift.

Also, it is fun to introduce your kids stuff that you used to listen to around their age. My daughter requested Queen in the car. I obliged for a bit and then decided I wanted to listen to David Bowie instead. She had never been introduced.

I realized that I was listening to him twenty years ago and at that time the music was already pushing thirty years old. Pretty much everything I listened to at her age was already thirty to fifty years old. It’s pretty incredible that some music has lasted fifty to seventy years and still resonates.

My favorite David Bowie album, and the one I got her listening to is ChangesOneBowie. It’s not technically an album but a compilation but it was the first music of Bowie’s that I ever really listened to. My best friend’s dad had it on vinyl and I swear we wore it out trying to learn the “Rebel Rebel” riff.

Those were good memories but even without them the album still picks me up. Also around that time I was listening to “Earthling” which I thought was pretty epic. “Hours” has also made its way onto my Spotify list as well. All the old is new again.

Another album I’ve been listening to for the first time in forever is the 1967-1970 compilation from The Beatles. The “Blue Album”, as I would call it, is what I used to listen to while cleaning the kitchen when I was thirteen or so.

I listened to it so many times that if I hear the songs on their original albums I get frustrated because I got so used to the order on the compilation.

Another good blast from the past is Pink Floyd’s Delicate Sound of Thunder. It is probably the only live album (other than “Wings over America”, another album that I’ve been listening to again for the first time in 10 years) that I can tolerate. Most live albums are sloppy versions of the studio songs, but these actually stand up on their own.

Anyways, that’s what I’ve been up to lately. Hopefully next week my brain will be functioning correctly and I will be able to dissect something new for you. But for now you should go check out these “ancient” albums that bring me such pleasure to listen to.

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Music and Art Monday, Jan 14, 2019: Loretto

After last week’s post, I decided it might be fun to run down the Spotify rabbit trail of local Jacksonville bands and review one each week. Lest you think I’m going to start pining over local bands, here’s a review that’s not so positive. Loretto is a self described “rock n’ roll band”, as such I expected some more classic type rock. What I got on their only album so far, Sleeping In The Pines, was a mixed bag of experimentation and indie noise with a few gems hidden here and there.

Honestly I didn’t like it at all at first. But when I turned it on at 5 am this morning I realized that it’s “mood music” meaning you have to be in the mood. This album is perfect for my 5 am mood. It is messy and disheveled, slightly grumpy, but optimistic about the future.

Ordinarily rejecting commercial appeal results in complete garbage, garbage that hipsters will lap up and pretend to like, because “they are not part of the system!”. Kinda like IPA’s. But this album is more a sour than an IPA.

Once you have more than one you begin to like it. Once you listen to this album a few times the intricacies begin to come out, and your palette is pleased to find a bit of depth, not just bitter hoppy nonsense. Wait. This is an album review, not a critique of beer flavors. Best tracks?

“Alaska” is by far the best song on this album. If you download one song on Spotify it should be this one.

“Things We Said Today” and “Pick Me Up” are also pretty decent.
The rest. Well, the rest is “mood music”. Give it a go, and if you don’t like it immediately, try again later.


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Music and Art Monday, June 25th, 2018: A New Song

I had an urge the other night to play guitar. This is not an urge I have very often, since I got so out of practice with the instrument that I get annoyed by it. But since I had the urge I rolled with it.

I even wrote a song.

Yep, it’s literally been years since I wrote a song. At least that’s how I remember it. So I decided I wasn’t going to get up from the table until I had something written. It’s simple and not very eloquent but I kinda like how it turned out.

I’m a little surprised at how hard it was to get out. I guess years of slacking off will build that kind of rust on a mind.

The wife’s out of town, so I was a bit lonely. But the words really aren’t about her, well, not entirely anyway.

Here are the lyrics:

I met a girl with a rebel heart,
She looked to me for a brand new start.
She told me she’d never part,
But now she’s left with her rebel heart.

Now I’m less a man inside,
Feeling just like I died,
When she left me and I cried,
Oh I cried.

It took us years to get a start,
Built a life despite her rebel heart,
She told me she’d never part,
But now she’s left with her rebel heart.

Now I’m less a man inside,
Feeling just like I died,
When she left me and I cried,
Oh I cried.

I may have deviated a little here and there and the chord progression isn’t perfect. But without further ado here is a link to Rebel Heart:

https://d.tube/v/driptorchpress/h7sd1inc

Music and Art Monday April 30th 2018: Pensive Tunes

Is there anything like music to set a mood? What happens if you’re already in that mood? The wrong music can totally kill it.

These are a few go-to albums for when you are in a pensive mood:

Linda Perry In Flight: my first girlfriend dumped me while this was playing in the background. From the very first chord of “In My Dreams” this album is a drag. But in a good way. You may know Ms. Perry for her Four Non-Blondes hit “What’s Up” or her feud with Pink, I know her mostly for this album. It’s the perfect background for any melodramatic mood. There is no way you can be cheerful whilst listening to “Success“. That bass line always gives me goosebumps.

I also recommend her second album, After Hours, though it’s a bit hard to find.

If you’re in a creative funk, Jon Hopkins’ album Opalescent provides the perfect ambiance. See what I did there? He’s an ambient musician… Well, I thought it was good. I was listening to this album when I decided to take an old job back. It was raining a lot and I was driving around. You would have to be there. It’s always a go-to on nights when I just have to stay up and paint, write, or Photoshop.

That and most of the album sounds an awful lot like the soundtrack to the original Maplestory.

Hopkins’ collaboration with Purity Ring is what piqued my interest in him. But Purity Ring is a great group on its own. another eternity is a tremendous album for when you’re in that mellow but optimistic mood.

Nothing says “mellow” quite like levitation.

Every song is written in such a way that you are almost not sure when one ends and the next begins. Despite the similarities I do have two favorites, “Begin Again” and “Bodyache” stand out to me and are particularly good for a bit of an uplift.

What are some of your favorite songs/albums for mellow moods?