Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Disappears, The Psychic Paramount - Psychedelic shoegaze haze and Krautrock grooves on a very heavy co-bill at the Iron Horse Monday, July 25th at 8:30. Amherst band Lord Jeff opens.

Disappears: Drawing on a combined reverence for reverb, heavy tremolo, distortion, delay and repetition, Disappears play minimal rock music inspired by everything from Kraut to American gospel to punk. Started as a recording project in 2008, Disappears inevitably left the studio - supporting Wire, Deerhunter, Tortoise, German legends Cluster and beyond.

Initially designed to explore the simplicity of early American music and it's reinterpretation by UK acts of the mid 80's, the band self released a series of 7" singles and a live album in 2008, signing to the Kranky imprint in 2009. Their debut album Lux was released in the spring of 2010. Sans a few early champions, Lux was initially met with little fanfare and went largely unnoticed. Dark and hazy, it showed the band experimenting with minimal arrangements married to the attitude of bands like Suicide and The Fall.

A series of US tours followed, the band criss crossing the states playing to small but enthusiastic crowds. Undeterred, Disappears entered the studio a mere month after Lux's release to record their follow up Guider. Propulsive and violent, Guider perfectly represents the state of the band - uncompromising and uninterested in a world deluded with hype and numerical evaluations. Anchored by the 16 minute "Revisiting", Guider showed the band locking in on the minimalism hinted at on earlier releases as well as fully giving into the ideas of repetition and space explored by influences like the Staple Singers and Neu!. 

A chance meeting with Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth proved not only instrumental in the band supporting Michael Rother on his Hallogallo tour (on which Steve played drums) but also to his eventual joining of the band following Gibson's amicable departure. Bolstered by Shelley's presence as well as the critical acclaim upon Guider's release, Disappears launched a series of successful tours in the US, United Kingdom and Europe. Shelley joins them for the Iron Horse show.
 The Psychic Paramount: The key to The Psychic Paramount is rhythm. It's easy to invoke Can and Faust if any band has that essential kraut-rock beat, which is certainly here, but Jeff Conaway is so loose on the jam and so fierce on the fills that he's like a jazzier John Bonham. In fact, that's what separated The Psychic Paramount then, as it does now: a collective looseness that suddenly zeroes in like a machine gun on its target. Their sound is instrumentally driven and often heavily psychedelic with cosmic Rhys Chatham guitar exercises — a drone-like bed with subtle, bluesy leads — and sudden turns into acrobatic noise that threaten a spectacular crash. But the trio always finds its way back to the essential jam, its quick-cut twists and turns like a Bourne Supremacy for the senses.

"Like the instrumental way stations within a bloodthirsty performance by a band with songs (like, say, The Who's Live at Leeds)... or like free jazz with rock syncopation and dynamics. There’s some pacing, some narrative, lots of purpose, but the basic idea is to be always exploding in your face." New York Times

"Huge jams that soar, crash, and smolder-- often at the same time-- the band pumps extra blood and muscle into their sound, as if stretching a balloon into a blimp." –Pitchfork

Lord Jeff—aka Lord Jeffery Amherst—is most certainly the only Valley band to lose members to Scientology, a drive-by shooting, and Katy Perry. The group has been a working concern for almost a decade, playing countless shows and releasing a string of recordings, including the recent eponymous album for Ecstatic Peace!  The group incorporates a diversity of styles into its music. “We are droney, reverbed-out, Dirty South, crunk, psychedelic rap with or without drum machines” says lead singer Sean Goggins. "It's all been a blur. I think we've played close to 400 shows by now, self released three albums and five tapes, toured the country four times." Over 20 musicians have passed through the ranks of Lord Jeff, but Goggins is convinced that the current lineup sounds better than any assembled in the last decade.

Tickets are $10 at Northampton Box Office, 76 Main Street, 413-586-8686 and online at

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