WOODEN SHJIPS Vol. 1 (Holy Mountain) lp 14.98
For those of you who missed out on the limited edition double cd version of the Wooden Shjips debut release on Holy Mountain, here's a proper reissue of that bonus disc, with the addition of the music from Shjips' now out of print Summer Of Love 7", in a vinyl version (they also did a separate digipack cd too we already listed). This record has the three tracks from the Shjips debut Shrinking Moon For You 10" and both cuts from their Dance, California / Clouds Over Earthquake 7". We'll try to summarize what we said about these songs before. The music from the 10" starts off with the title cut, a fuzzy garagey stomp, a groove that locks in and plows forward relentlessly. We began to feel like we were listening to some sort of garage rock Steve Reich. Guitars just sort of buzzing along, blooping new wave bass right underneath, simple solid drumming. But then in swoops some super feedback guitar that sounds like a demented horn section, and before you can examine it more closely it disappears, and we're back to the groove. That happens a few more times before the vocals kick in, sort of sing songy, but SO drenched in delay that the words get all jumbled up and are sort of jettisoned into outer space. There is also a subtle wash of fuzzy keyboards giving the whole thing a sort of Loop vibe. the second track is quite similar except the vocals are a bit more distinct, sort of laidback and mumbly. After a few listens, it became clear that there is some sort of minimal thing going on, but it's more like some lost Velvet Underground track arranged for Reich and Riley. Droney and drifty and druggy and totally mesmerizing. The third track bucks the trend and instead veers off into some tripped out ambience, with drifting motes of guitar fuckery, random sounds and noises, and some cool creepy backwards vocals. Sort of like an indie hipster freenoise "Revolution #9." Cool. The two tracks from the 7" are also quite sonically similar to the 10" cuts. First up, surprise surprise a buzzy lo-fi garage groove, beneath bizarre super distorted insectoid guitar leads, buzzing WAY up in the mix and sounding almost like some primitive malfunctioning synth. But the whole time, beneath the alien buzz, the groove just hums along, like some extra baked Velvet Underground outtake. "Clouds Over Earthquake" is way more laid back, some blown out sun baked riffage, a super lazy groove, like Loop played at 16rpm, decorated with warm hornlike melodies that eventually stretch out into some serious outerspace psych rock explorations. The vocals we loved so much on the 10" resurface here too, laconic, drawled sung/spoken and super affected, very Lou Reed sounding albeit buried way down in the mix and absolutely drenched in thick reverb and fuzzy delay. Awesome! So those tracks are all here (not in that order though) along with a radio edit of "Dance, California" for completists. But unlike the bonus disc that came with the first pressing of the Shjips' debut, this disc tacks also on the Summer Of Love 7", an 11+ minute slab of everything we love about these guys: a relentless, neverending blown out fuzzy groove, all warm whirring organ, fuzz guitar, and throbbing bass, the drums a super solid motorik framework, the vocals sort of sung / spoken, reverb and delay EVERYWHERE, the strangest addition are the haunting horns that drift and moan ghost like over the fuzz jam below. By the second half of the track, the band have locked it in and sound like they are never gonna stop. A looped cyclical minimal fuzzrock jam that sounds almost like some crazy crossbreeding of the Doors and Spacemen 3, which should appeal to Circle, Salvatore and Magyar Posse fans as much as all the druggy psychrock dronesters out there. Anyone who missed out on that bonus disc NEEDS this. For everyone who DID get it (and there are a whole lot of you), you just have to figure out if it's worth buying again to get that extra S.O.L. 7" material if you don't have that. Either way, killer stuff and absolutely essential!
"Clouds Over Earthquake" MPEG Stream: