Grave Flowers Bongo Band: Strength of Spring (2021)

At some point Castle Face Records stopped being the home of Osees (or Oh Sees, or Thee Oh Sees, or OCS, etc.) and became one of the most dependable labels for delivering rock and roll aimed squarely at my brain. Few labels are consistently knocking out great rock that slides effortlessly into psych and prog but somehow John Dwyer keeps finding them and signing them. Case in point: Grave Flowers Bongo Band, who not only embody everything I love about the label on their sophomore record Strength of Spring, but have the added bonus of being produced by another of my favorite artists, Ty Segall. For some that’s a recipe for garage rock disaster; for me it’s buzzed out sonic bliss.

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uncle acid and the deadbeats - blood lust

Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats: Blood Lust (2011)

When you’re recording guitars you’re taught to keep things “out of the red” – even with the heaviest distortion, you want to keep the sound from clipping and sounding like there’s something wrong with your speakers. Another term for it is “bricking” – when you see the wav form for something recorded too hot it looks like a solid brick of sound with no dynamics. It’s a good thing no one told Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats about that, because their second album Blood Lust wouldn’t have nearly the impact it does if the guitars (and everything else) didn’t sound like all the levels were maxed out. Far from being unlistenable, it creates a lo-fi psych/stoner doom rock gem that gets better with each listen.

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