Saturday Grab Bag

Low-key Saturday night in, I grabbed an assortment of records I'd flagged as needing closer inspection. Here's what I played.

Harsh Toke ’Light Up And Live’
Tee Pee Records, 2013

Full freak-out psych from a San Diego outfit that churn out commendable stoner metal jams on this debut from late 2013. Bluesy acid rock led with some cosmic guitar soloing from Justin Figueroa, who’s apparently also a pro skater. This is a scorcher. 


Sun Ra & His Astro-Infinity Arkestra ‘Sign Of They Myth'
Roaratorio, 2014

Minneapolis-based Roaratorio released this lost Sun Ra session, recorded in 1973 for ABC/Impulse before it canceled his contract. Along the same lines as other work from the era, with the Arkestra out exploring their own respective corners of the universe. Notable for some explosive reed work and a range of kooky Moog action from Ra himself, this thing is jam packed with things I keep coming back to try and understand.

The similarly minded "Astro Black":

N.Racker ’Flock Toxicant’
Pre-Cert Home Entertainment, 2012 (UK)

Spine-tingling textures and sinister forms from an incognito producer whose identity remains the subject of speculation. Whoever’s at the helm is steering us through some dark waters. Unsettling soundscapes that would feel right at home accompanying some sort of Soviet cartoon. Originally released in late 2012 on Pre-Cert.


Paul Metzger 'Tombeaux'
Nero's Neptune, 2013

The almighty Paul Metzger is a Twin Cities-based instrumentalist who plucks, strums and takes a bow to a self-modified 23-string banjo. “Tombeaux" is a peculiar fusion of Appalachian and buddhist vibes, drawing from string influences that span from Fahey to classical sitar.

Nero’s Neptune says Metzger recorded these three extended tracks in the middle of a “dead Minnesota winter.” That might be why this makes me want to curl up in front of a fire. This is amazing and Metzger should be working with someone like Christian Fennesz or Stephen O’Malley as soon as possible.