Sometimes records come along (and this is, I think, a necessary thing, at least as far as concerns myself continuing on to be an excited fan of contemporary versions of a particular genre/strain of music) and completely smash open your expectations of a particular method of doing. These records re-expose the raw nerve that originally felt, tasted, experienced. These records are the MSG of music appreciation. For me they work the wonder of reinvigorating the memory, shaking awake the original experience of hearing related music (whenever back in the day that may have originally, not jadedly happened). DEVIN GARY & ROSS’ record HONEYCOMB OF CHAKRAS is one of these records for me in the general area of psychedelia. The last psych record that hit me like this was MOONRISES’ 2013 record FROZEN ALTARS. The records have nothing in common besides “general psychedelic-ness” and the eliciting of a similar eye and mind opening reaction. HONEYCOMB OF CHAKRAS is THAT good folks. Believe this hype.
DEVIN GARY & ROSS is Devin Flynn, Gary Panter, and Ross Goldstein. As must be mentioned Flynn is a well known experimental animator, Panter a visual artist with an impressive resume featuring Pee Wee’s Playhouse set design, and Zappa album cover design (he also designed the cover art for the centerpiece of the situation in which we now find ourselves), and Goldstein is a photographer and the most musician-ly of the bunch here taking on production duties (and an amazing job he does). As DG & R they have previously released one record, and DEVIN AND GARY released a record minus Ross on ECSTATIC YOD back in 2008. With HONEYCOMB OF CHAKRAS the trio have conjured into reality a deep, dank well of fuzzy asides, shaggy deep head(y) covers, and a batch of very cool original psychedelic runts of the litter. As with many of the records that I employ as favorites this one right here is of the variety that you can get lost in. And I suggest it. And I have done so numerous times at this point.
Their version of WEST COAST POP ART EXPERIMENTAL BAND’s “Smell of Incense” is worth the price of admission here almost by itself. The song sounds like it truly passed through the 90s, and in this new, ragged, and slightly tarnished form it is here. It has arrived. The guitars sound glorious, whether crusty or shimmering. These sounds are not arrived at by accident, this is meticulous rock based, and obsessed sound sculpture of a kind. The songs on the LP’s 4 sides actually flow as if part of larger suites, often overlapping with whatever it is that these gentlemen have next planned for us with the next track. KALEIDOSCOPE’s “Keep Your Mind Open” burns just well as the Los Angeles band’s original. FAMILY’s “See Through Windows” is given a perfect, and perfectly askew psych pop treatment that drips with other-worldliness. The approach is a woozy one across the board, the sounds, in their blending, evoking a dream. The instruments are strange. The covers are executed with more than enough personal, drunken swagger and effective hazy sensibility to make it all work. And for me that’s saying a lot, as 99% of the time I cannot stomach covers, let alone fall in love with a record full of them and then follow all that with a glowing write up! Great original songs such as “Monique” and “Pot Holed Road” anchor a blasted landscape of psychedelic wonder, field recordings, and general experimentation of several different kinds that frames those strangely wonderful covers and connects this quilt of psychedelia that more or less parallels the experience of getting stoned real good.
Massachusetts’ tremendous and enthusiastic FEEDING TUBE RECORDS has given this beautiful marvel to us. They, nor anyone else is streaming anything from the actual record on the netter though, so you’ll have to accept a few live DEVIN GARY & ROSS videos instead. Or go buy the LP from FEEDING TUBE (take a drive out to Northampton and visit the actual brick and mortar place, it’s special), because you’re going to wish you had this one. One of my records of the year, straight up.