Improvisational bands live dangerously. You’ll never quite know what you’re going to get. That’s why it is so incredibly impressive that The Eternal Electric Landscape by Snakes Don’t Belong In Alaska sounds like a dark concept album, like the whole thing has little to do with chance or fate…or is it perhaps black magic?
From the get go the UK quartet goes Through The Darkest Dimensions, summoning a mysterious atmosphere, with ghoulish, wailing vocals and hair-raising synths. The plodding drums plod threateningly on, towards impending doom…but slowly, without any rush, the whole eleven minutes long…
Onwards with the hypnotic German krautrock vibes of Elektrische Zeitreise. Kaleidoscopic melodies claw into each other playing tricks on your senses. And that’s still the lightest track of the bunch, because The Holy Mountain Of Fire brings all the epicness that title promises, and then some. The vocals sound like a demented sermon by some fallen priest, while the guitars build up ominous walls.
Walls that lead up to the final song The Eternal Electric Landscape, and its big crescendo: The Horned Serpent. It’s a ritualistic song with dark chanting gang vocals and endlessly spiraling riffs over brooding synths. Once again it amazes me how Snakes Don’t Belong In Alaska are able to keep up their dark concept of psychedelic madness without much planning or scheming. The fact that they are an improvisational band, and that these dark musings spring from their band chemistry and collective imaginations is quite amazing, and a bit frightening too…it must be black magic.
Exotic times at the Weirdo headquarters where I got a pleasant surprise from Peru last week, when Necio Records contacted me to write about this new band from Mexico: La Era De Acuario and their latest self-titled LP. I had one listen and got pulled in immediately; this is exactly the kind of acid-laced femme friendly 60s-tinged space rock I was looking for.
Stylistically they pay hommage to bands like Jefferson Airplane (they did a stellar cover version, check out the video below) and Shocking Blue, but they add some stoner heaviness, a bunch of floaty-thingy Indian vibes, and very addictive Spanish vocals. A song like Agujero Negro brings some Spanish influences as well with catchy castanets, while all though the album Doors-y organs vibe a perfect hippie atmosphere. It adds enough acid to distance itself from the mainstream, while staying catchy enough to have yourself some springtime psychedelic tea and hum along.
The album is actually not entirely new. It consists of a previous released EP called Lunar from 2019, with four added tracks. The total spinning time is a little over thirty minutes, which is short and sweet, and begging for much record flipping. It’s limited to 300 pieces, which I predict are all going to be sold out by the time this article is published. Make sure you start harassing Necio Records for a second pressing though, because it’ll be worth your while.
Exoplanets are mysterious undiscovered places. Basically, they are all the planets that are situated outside of our milky way galaxy. They are so incredibly far away that we will probably never reach them, or even know if they have already expired or not. The beauty of them therefore is that you can endlessly imagine what they look like, and all your imaginations could be true. If you are a troupe of psychedelic astronauts like Moths & Locusts, you can imagine that they are a an endless source of inspiration…
For Canada’s Moths & Locusts Exoplanets constitutes their fourth full-length album. They have been around the block and back, and it shows. When it comes to reverb-drenched psychedelic rock so incredibly much has already been done since the acid days in the ’60s and yet they manage to come up with music that tickles my ears. So what’s going on here?
First of all, there is a beautifully balanced musical narrative in this album, starting off loud and abrasive with psychpunk blaster Cocaine Kangaroo, after which with each consecutive song a new world and atmosphere is explored until the song Avulsion seems to introduce the end of the world in a twisted biblical narrative that ends with the words “There will be fatalities, but cockroaches will never die”. And then Exoplanets starts.
In a genre that often detaches itself from much emotion, sometimes even literally drawing up a wall of purple smoke around itself as a guard to feeling anything, Moths & Locusts really does dare to explore new worlds on Exoplanets. The song’s sixteen minutes are so god damn heavily laden with the weight of the world (or perhaps worlds), giving the listener an intense sense of mourning with its dramatic vocal performance and cinematic soundscapes as it slowly and subtly builds up to a roaring rocket afterburner of feedback drenched heaviness. I bet Pink Floyd didn’t expect their machine would end up this way when they set the controls to the heart of the sun. It’s just beautiful really, and the unexpectedness adds to the experience, like a sudden ray of sunshine in the face while walking in the rain.
The album ends on an instrumental note with the psychedelic postrock track Fresh Red Blood, which is a welcome moment of contemplation after a full space travel experience like this. Moths & Locusts have really outdone themselves this time. They have explored their inner Exoplanets and found a fresh take on the space rock genre. For me personally it is a an album that captivates 2020 as the fucked up rollercoaster ride it has been more than any other piece of music I have experienced so far. And proof that sometimes good things do sprout from the bad.