"Come To My Party," intones Colter Langan on the severe and opening cut of the same name on the latest opus for Montana psychedelic collective Donovan's Brain and, although wrist-slashing is optional, he sure ain't breaking out the fairy bread and streamers.
donovans - The I-94 Bar
Montana-based psych collective Donovan’s Brain returns after a four-year hiatus – hardly a blip, really, in a trajectory that’s now spanned two decades. Joining San Francisco expat Ron Sanchez for the festivities are his fellow Montanan Deniz Tek and Mississippi power popster Bobby Sutliff, who once drove 13 hours to record with Let’s Active honcho Mitch Easter. His Career stablemate Roy Loney, who’s been shaking some action this year in tandem with his Flamin’ Groovies partner Cyril Jordan, is also on board.
Americans watch their football games in four quarters. The Rest of The World tends to do things in halves. Just because “Heirloom Varieties” is neatly sliced into a couple of equal portions of contrasting music doesn’t make it any less of a trip to the psychedelic and pop backwoods of the US of A.
The first half (the review copy is a 14-track CD but you can score it as an 11-song LP) plays out in Paisley Underground territory, circa California 1986, with a huge nod to the jangly folk-psych of two decades earlier. That’s to say Rain Parade (that band’s Matt Pucci is a member), Green On Red and The Dream Syndicate. Steve Wynn fans will lap it up. The second half switches the mood to something darker and more psychedelic.
Fifteen years after it was recorded, this superb piece of Nomads ramalama sees the light of day as a split single with psychedelic collective Donovan’s Brain.
Recorded in Montana while they were sweeping through the nooks and crannies of North America, Sweden’s finest manage to lay waste to this rippling instrumental (written by studio owner and Brain ringmaster Ron Sanchez) like it was one of their own. This is desert driving music, simple as that. A big, fat fuzz bassline and tumbleweed guitars from the severely underrated pairing of Hans Ostlnd and Nick Vahlberg - supplemented by Sanchez and bandmate Richard Teece - make this something special.
Donovan’s Brain plays a whole different ball-game to the Nomads but the flipside keeps up the pyrotechnics levels. “Bread Man” is a Sanchez vocal-led heavy psych rocker fleshed out by Deniz Tek lead guitar. It’s over too soon. “Snow in Miami” eschews vocals and goes for a roughed up surf sound. It dates from 1998 with then-Brain guitarist Richard in place, adding some tasty skronk.
1/4 - The Nomads
- Donovan's Brain
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If “Shambolic” needed a Facebook relationship status, it would use “It’s Complicated”.
It's a reconstructed Donovan’s Brain record, not intentionally written as a “concept album”, but becoming one along the way. It was recorded over the space of many sessions and three years, only to be left unfinished and abandoned for a decade-and-a-half.
The name’s a misnomer. It’s no shambles by any stretch, more a twisting and turning trip, set to words and music by principal band member Ron Sanchez.
A fresh album after what seemed an eon finds Donovan's Brain in fine, if geographically disperse, form. Core trio Ron Sanchez (vocals, keys and guitars), Bobby Sutliff (vocals and guitars) and ex-Atomic Rooster/Wayne Kramer/Spinal Tap (no shit) drummer Ric Parnell are at the centre with all sorts of collaborators making contributions recorded at six different studios.