As major labels continue to exist behind the times, artists and labels with little capital and lesser reputations are producing some of the most innovative, interesting, and inspiring music. Whether it’s creating a new niche in digital technology or looking to once obsolete formats, Agitated Atmosphere hopes to shed a bit of light and share a bit of information on the up and coming sounds of artists such as Bardo Pond.
Sister album to last year’s powerfully chill Batholith from Three Lobed, Peri steps out of the molasses haze of its sibling with its own scruff approach to the Bardo ‘formula’. Bolstered by the sexy snarl of Isobel Sollenberger’s vocals and the Gibbons brothers’ dual psychedelia, Peri combines the stoner malaise Bardo Pond has long used as a calling card with lengthy bouts with fuzz to create an album more akin to the best days of Jefferson Airplane rather than the stack of carbon copy modern psych acts lining hole-in-the-wall establishments.
However, don’t let the idea of Bardo Pond exploring the mind-altering jams of Haight make you think the band is growing soft or brimming with flower power. Sollenberger’s voice may be as sultry as Grace Slick, but Bardo’s coquette mumbles and moans more like the ladies of Pocahaunted and Magik Marker, Eliza Ambrogio. John and Michael are also wise to change up the tie-dyed tide on the LP’s B-side with the gnarled Crazy Horse doppelganger “Chicken Gun.” Cut in half by Sollenberger’s grade school flute solo and the crushing double drums of Ed Farnsworth and Joe Culver, the track is the fist in the fact needed to remember the world is a cruel mistress rather than a long-haired nurturer. Finale “Silver Pavilion,” provides the link to Batholith that Peri sorely needs. Bardo channel Black Velvet Fuckere gliders Sapat and Valley of Ashes to produce the lengthy acid trip hinted during the album’s A-side. We stand in utter shock and amazement as Bardo Pond burn 1960s San Francisco to the ground until the very last flickering ember.
Justin Spicer is a freelance journalist who also runs the webzine, Electronic Voice Phenomenon. He writes the Monday News Mash-Up and Thursday edition of Song of the Day for the KEXP Blog. You can now follow him on Twitter.