The Higher State with Marty and Paul Messis have a new album, called Volume 27, out soon. Here’s a video for “The Worst of Their Treason”, the first song released to the public. The video looks like it’s shot in San Francisco a long time ago. Any know who the band in the film are?
Posts Tagged 13 O’Clock
The Higher State have just layed down some tracks for their new and fifth (!) studio album. Considering their last one was their finest moment so far I have high hopes for this one, to be called Vol. 26 (no doubt a reference to West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band who called their albums things like Vol. 2 when it was actually their third). However, it is a bit unclear who is actually in the band now apart from founding member Marty Radcliffe and new recruit Paul Messis. But you’ll get a taste of what’s to come on the new 13 O’Clock single coming out next month. It is already playing on Spotify so check out these moody janglers embellished with organ. I am convinced!
It’s a wonder that The Young Sinclairs and 13 O’Clock haven’t created magic together yet. But here is the band’s first single of 2015 and it’s one of their best yet. Available from 13 O’Clock since two weeks if one’s to believe their website. Also streaming on Spotify since December.
Paul Messis is back with another slice of vinyl recorded at State HQ and released by 13 O’Clock. Here is the strangely sundrenched video for the bleak psych jangler “Nightmares”. An a-side that manages to sound like both The Electric Prunes and West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, while remaining uniquely Messis. Even better I think, is the flip “Penny Arcade”. Here we have a bittersweet beat ballad, carried by a beautiful melody that makes me think of one of my favourite groups Sandy Coast. Another winner from Monsieur Messis.
And of course, directly from the State, comes the 2nd 45 from Denmark’s The Youth. The Sandgate studio has done wonders for the group’s sound. This is a truly menacing beat record, almost blowing Thee Vicars out of the water. “I’ll Call Your Bluff” has that great putdown vocal with a compelling continental groove. The Youth channel the best of Scandinavian and mainland Europe 60s beat, and on the incredible “You’ve Done Me Wrong” they have cut a track that would’ve kept the Star Club crowd dancing past 4am. The best new garage group of 2014? Well, I’ve yet to hear the Rosalyns debut 45.
In more 13 O’Clock related news, the first album from Sweden’s The Flight Reaction should be out imminently. And while we’re speaking of State Records’ studio, I should mention that my wishes have been heeded, and The Kumari’s best recording so far, “Until That Day”, has now been made a-side of their most recent 45 on Hey Girl. Get it directly from the Spanish label.
If you’re a garage head these would have been the two most anticipated releases of the year. Since bursting out of a Melbourne suburb in 2009 with their Lovin’ You EP, they’ve practically spawned a whole scene of garage and punk groups inspired by them and Straight Arrows. The Frowning Clouds have now found a home on Anti Fade, run by the people behind Living Eyes (one of those very bands). Still represented by Saturno in Europe, who have helped them sway a new continent with only two brief visits. And a fantastic tour tape to boot, that I wrote about earlier and which features in my recent list of 2013’s best singles and eps. I wouldn’t be too surprised if Whereabouts ended up on my list of the best 15 albums, which I will be posting soon too. Because although the Gospel Sound From the Church of Scientology cassette didn’t show much progression from their ’65 revival sound of Listen Closelier, (except some ventures into ’66 sounds, like The Mods’ “Days Mind the Time”), this album is a completely different beast. While recent single “Propellers” is included here, neither that nor the preceding “All Night Long” hinted at the direction they would be taking here. This 13-track album is an ode to the psychedlic era Kinks and the folk-rock sounds of 1968. Without churning out catchy pop songs, they achieve the same success Woods did on their latest album, via quirky song structures, groovy bass lines and far-out 12-string sounds (check out the ending of first track “All Angles” for example). “Into the Ground” and “Dreamtiming” are among the most beautiful electric folk songs of the year. And on “3 O’Clock Habit”, “Beetle Bird” and “Product of the Peanut Butter Company” they could have been channeling Peanut Butter…. Conspiracy. But they’re at their absolute best when they are just Frowning Clouds: “Mayan Calender Girl”, “Much Too Much Too Soon” and “Heaps Deep” are unique and memorable songs in their own right. And still they’re not afraid to break out a simple braindead riff like that of “Human Being, Human Doing, Human Going”. Hear it on spotify
It’s true, The Higher State are here with their best album so far, aptly titled just The Higher State. Unassumingly packaged and presented, this masterpiece sounds like it could have been recorded in a casual 10-day session just like Younger Than Yesterday. Marty’s cut his hair, Paul Messis has come in on bass, no paisley shirts on the cover. As a band they’ve reached an age at which style and artifice is less important than just being yourselves. “Look here comes another trend, now you look just like your friends” to quote the album’s closing track “Try Slowing Down”. Even though the more psychedelic precursor Freakout At the Gallery was great, it’s this equally balanced mix of 12-string folk-rock and seething fuzz leads that they do best. With two razorsharp singles already released this year, only “Potentially (Everyone Is Your Enemy)” is included here, leaving you with 11 new songs that together make up the strongest material Marty and Mole have released since The Mystreated’s classic LP Looking Right Through (that, believe it or not, turns 20 years old next year). Perhaps it’s Messis who has re-ignited that spark, or maybe it’s the comfortable setting of their own Folkstone studio that just makes these songs come together naturally. Each of them so strong it’s impossible to pick a favourite. Hear it here, or get it from 13 O’Clock, along with their newest 45 “I Just Pretend”.
State Records have started a new 45 series called Sandgate Sound Acetates, the first being the debut from The Baron Four called “Yes I Do”. The Baron Four take off where Thee Vicars stopped after a tragic death. Don’t miss them live with The Higher State and Italian legends Head & the Hares in London next month.
Label owners The Higher State drop their own contribution to the series with the unwieldily titled “Potentially (Everyone Is Your Enemy)”. The a-side mixes viscous fuzz with a jangly chorus, both sounds that the group is well versed in by now – making it seem like they can churn out new high-standard material at the drop of a hat. “All Ties That Bind” on the flip is a short but sweet affair. And it should be added that the releases in this series are all in mono, with a sleeve/label combination that will have you reminiscing over Hangman’s Daughter 45s in no time.
But The Higher State are also looking ahead, with an upcoming US release, once again on 13 O’Clock. “I Just Pretend” is out in October and features a classic CBS design with a push-out centre. Hear edits from both releases below.
Just in case this one has slipped you by, Swedish princes of darkness The Flight Reaction have returned with a 45 on 13 O’Clock. This is modern moody garage, so if you enjoy Yesterday’s Thoughts but like a few psychedelic swirls too then this one’s for you. The flip is a cover of the Stones’ “Citadel”. Now, WHEN will they play in Malmö?
If I’d paid more attention, this would have been my favourite single of last year. Paul Messis, who is the same age as me, seems to have come out of nowhere, looking and sounding like a young Dan Treacy with his Burns Doublesix. Paul played bass with London mod/garage group The Fallen Leaves (with Rob Symmons of Subway Sect no less) for about a year, before hooking up with Marty and Mole of State Records (and The Higher State). He’s recorded three singles with them so far, one out on 13 O’Clock Records (pictured below) and two on State, even if he doesn’t have a live band yet. This is what a picture sleeve should look like!
He’s got a wealth of songs just waiting to be taken into the Folkestone studio, and The Problem With Me LP should be out by May he reckons. 13 O’Clock are having it pressed right now. I seem to share more favourite bands with Messis than anyone I’ve met, he quotes The Dovers and The Squires for example, and Fenton records out of Michigan, USA. Fenton was the home of many a great group: The JuJus, The Quests, The Aardvarks and The Plagues. Since one of the covers Paul has done is The Plagues’ doom-laden “I’ve Been Through It Before” I asked him if I could put it up here. You’ll have it yourself as well soon, since it’ll be included on the next Lost In Tyme fanzine comp.