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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Assemble Head In Sunburst Sound from John N

(Scott): John N contributes some other great links and posts for the first time here, on a band with which I was unfamiliar but found to be most enjoyable. One of the most strangely named bands which I can recall, check out his review of these albums below and see if you agree, I found them to be quite good, and of course thanks as always to John N......if it means anything, I agree with him that the 2012 release "Manzanita" is the best effort.

San Francisco’s Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound, which recorded from 2007 to 2012, are squarely rooted in 1960s and 1970s psychedelic scuzzy jam rock with a modern guitar-blast bent.  And what a sweet gooey consistency this stuff is.  Light your spliff and get ready for lift off.

Their second album, 2007’s “Ekranoplan,” comes blasting out of the rocket launcher, organ and guitar spiraling helter skelter en route to the stars that lie on the fringe of a grunge galaxy.  The album continues its trajectory to include 60s-influenced rock’n’blues psychedelia (think Iron Butterfly goes rockabilly prog with Pink Floyd’s ‘Lucifer Sam’) in its second song, then seeps its way into a song that sounds as though a Turkish musician is sitting in Haight-Ashbury enamored with Jorma Kaukonen with its Jefferson Airplane-esque spiraling guitar swirls.  One of the album highlights, at least to these ears. The shrooms kick in while elements of Black Sabbath jamming with Blue Cheer assail your brain, in preamble to a terrific concoction of classic-meets-current rock.  What happens next is a mind-swelling Hendrix riff that shapeshifts into a beloved Jack Bruce-Eric Clapton scrunch.  Lots of instrumental prowess to consume in a short spurt, this, but put on your beads and bell bottoms, because we’re just getting started!

2009’s “When Sweet Sleep Returned” continues the Haight-Ashbury vibe – the Heads are still in deep intergalactic space, and are the better for it while blending still more early Floyd elements.  One of the new touches is that they’ve decided to have the guitars ingest steroids, adding more to their delicious soup. Other new touches include boy-girl vocals in a desert panorama while swaying with the shaman and shoegazey swathes of maelstrom guitar.  If anything is to be “noted” as different from its predecessor, then it’s that the soup is less murky, though only refined palates may taste the difference. The Heads learned their craft well, culling the best elements of heady listens to Grateful Dead, Blue Cheer, Crazy Horse, Hawkwind, Creedence, and others, to churn out their own recipe of California psych.  Wait, is that Sabbath?  It’s a fine stew, indeed.

My personal favorite of the bunch, 2012’s “Manzanita,is another one-two punch of psychedelic power choogle and lunar outpost chillout.  I don’t want to get too detailed, as this special slice should be fully chewed by each listener.  Songs are even MORE fully formed, complete with touches of farfisa and flute. Folky tinges akin to the Allman Brothers and Grateful Dead and classic rock elements akin to Steve Winwood and Traffic, Cream, and Hendrix, and again, there's even a pinch of Black Sabbath that awaits you.  It’s an amalgam of crunchy garage rock, blues, and R’n’B, like a gumbo of potent California psychedelic pop rock brimming and bubbling over with feeling, fuzz, soul, sunshine melancholy, feral ferocity, and hook-laden mystery.  It’s guitar psychedelia done in the 2010s that is at once pastoral, menacing, leaden, and ethereal.  It rawks!  If my CD was vinyl, the grooves would be gone.

Have a field day trying to figure out which influence is where while you rejoice in the atmospheres, textures, and musicianship that are infused in this splendid band’s records.

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