New York Music Daily

No New Abnormal

Tag: Sean Forlenza

Heavy Psych Trio River Cult Make a Twisted Live EP

Heavy psychedelic trio River Cult spun off of an excellent, similarly loud and underrated Brooklyn postrock band, Eidetic Seeing. Their debut ep got the thumbs up here; their latest one, Live at WFMU is up as a name-your-price download at Bandcamp. More bands should be making live albums – if you’re paying for studio time, it’s infinitely cheaper, and you can capture what the band really sounds like. Do it right and it’s the best advertising you could have. They’re bringing their cinematic, unhinged, doomy sounds to the Cobra Club in Bushwick on May 27 at 11 PM; cover is $10.

They open the album’s first number, Likelihood of Confusion with a syncopated sway and then straighten it out, drummer Tav Palumbo’s nimble flurries under guitarist/frontman Sean Forlenza’s sunbaked blues riffage in tandem with bassist Anthony Mendolia. “Sobriety! In the breeze,” Forlenza sneers. “I can’t get by…it just gets boring.” But this doesn’t, through a Stoogoid wah solo, a bit of finger, then an echoing pulsar interlude that Palumbo eventually crashes the band out of.

They segue out of that epic into the even longer, practically ten-minute Temps Perdu, stomping their way through what could be the early Dream Syndicate playing Sir Lord Baltimore. Mendolia goes up the scale as Forlenza holds his notes, bends the walls, shivers and then descends toward a mournful abyss as the rhythm slows and then falls away.

The longest, most twistedly picturesque and final cut is Shadow Out of Time. Forlenza plays echoey slide over a dirgy sway, then all of a sudden they pick up steam and they’re into Daydream Nation-era Sonic Youth with offcenter bass/guitar harmonies. And then into galloping post-Sabbath: “It gets hard to breathe when you know you just wanna be dead,” Forlenza snarls. The studio version collapses into its own grave; the slow lights-on-lights-off outro here is even better and just as creepy. On the floor, headphones on, you know the drill. Is that just ash or is there something in there?

Tuneful Heavy Psych Epics from River Cult

River Cult is the latest project of guitarist Sean Forlenza, late of epically intense, cinematic heavy rockers Eidetic Seeing. That band really liked long songs, a trait that Forlenza has carried even further on his new band’s debut ep, streaming at Bandcamp.The power trio builds a roaring, enveloping, psychedelic envelope of sound that’s a lot more propulsive than your typical stoner metal or postrock band.

The opening track,. Temps Perdu is a pounding mashup of the early Dream Syndicate, Daydream Nation-era Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine. As long as this song is – just a tad under ten minutes – it’s awfully catchy. Forlenza’s reverb-cloud solo slowly works toward a frantic shriek over Anthony Mendolia’s growling bass and drummer Tav Palumbo’s matter-of-fact, hard-hitting sway. From there they segue through a hypnotically looping outro to Shadow Out Of Time, Forlenza using his slide, again with a ton of reverb over a slow, loping beat. Tempos shift, they hit a headless horseman gallop, riffs echoing Sleep or vintage Sabbath, then finally take it out in a morass of bleeding amps and a twisted kaleidoscope of sound, like scanning the radio dial but not pulling a single clear signal.

The final cut is A Drop In The Ocean – gee, wonder what THAT one is about, huh? Interestingly, it’s the most straightforward number here: at its molten core, it’s an Abbey Road Beatles dirge as a vintage 70s stoner group like Poobah might have done it. Good music for slipping away from reality on a gloomy Sunday.

Edgy, Brilliantly Original, Heavy Psychedelic Sounds from Eidetic Seeing

Brooklyn Band Eidetic Seeing play a smartly tuneful, unpredictable, defiantly original mix of noise-rock, third-generation post-Sabbath stoner metal and postrock, veering from a focused Mogwai attack to sunbaked, fuzztone Kyuss riffage, to uneasy interludes that echo Goo-era Sonic Youth. Their new second album, Against Nature, is angry and dirty, haphazard but intricate, packed with catchy hooks and abrasive noise. Tempos shift and unwind as guitarist Sean Forlenza and bassist Danilo Randjic-Coleman plunge from restless jangle to a roar over the artful and richly dynamic, even understated drumming of Paul Feitzinger. His individualistic, coloristic groove is one of this band’s most instantly distinguishing features, with a heavy, echoing snare sound in contrast to his nimble attack on the kick drum and intricate cymbal work. The whole album is streaming at their Bandcamp page.

Dial up the opening instrumental, A Snake Whose Years Are Long and name that riff: it’s something iconic from the 80s or 90s. The band quickly takes it from there to an uneasily jangling, slashing pulse, then shifts into a fuzztone rumble, then back and forth with shrieking SY-ish guitar and up-and-down dynamics. Like the rest of the tracks here, it’s a long one, but because it’s so unpredictable it never loses your interest. White Flight morphs from atmospherics to a bolero beat to an undulating stoner groove with all kinds of tempo and timbre shifts, from early 70s bluesmetal to squalling noiserock.

The sarcastically titled Froleuse works the tension between fuzztone riff-rock and lingering, apprehensive, 80s-tinged lo-fi sonics, acidic chords, endless metric trickery and finally a screamed, anguished hardcore outro. Ashplant Blues is sort of their Electric Funeral, a ten-minute epic that begins as a macabre, chromatically-charged dirge that once again gets abrasively noisy, then morphs into janglerock, then leaps around before falling away into atmospherics. The longest and final track is K2, which seems to be an account of murder high above the treeline. Again, it opens as a dirge, the most anthemic thing here. The way Feitzinger keeps the menacing groove going even as the guitar and bass fuzz out and recede toward the horizon is one of the album’s high points. There’s so much more going on in these songs; this is just the Cliff Note version. This is one of the most consistently original and interesting albums of 2013. You can catch Eidetic Seeing (the band name means photographic memory) on January 23 at Grand Victory in Williamsburg.