Sunday, October 9, 2011

Phaxanation and The Dust Kickers- "Now and Then" Album Review

Phaxanation and The Dust Kickers lay down some big jams that transport you back in time. Woodstock comes to mind, when heavily influenced blues rock would openly divert into progressive guitar dances smack dab in the middle of the song. Back then those long intense grooves would help all those who were tripping reach that drug induced nirvana but Phaxanation and The Dust Kickers seem to just jam for the pure love of it and it shows.  Now and Then encompasses roughly 3 years of song writing. In songs like "Lost My Ways"- "Now and Then" and the infectious "Falling Apart" there is a 70's renegade surf sound happening with Adrien Parker's guitar bouncing cooly (like a Heavier metal Duane Eddy) on what sounds like true 1960's Sears Silvertone Spring Reverb while Enrique Poveda's free form drumming and Daniel Huizar's solid bass work give the songs a harder progressive edge.

"Open Your Eyes" (one of my favorite songs on Now and Then) creates a delicious musical chaos. Adrien's potent guitar works off Povada's excellent drumming that dares to be absent in all the right spots. It is like a crazy carnival ride, with ambient guitar sounds that mimic a Theron and I absolutely love the studio talk thrown in- "Hey, let's try that... or listen to it."  Less steeped in psychedelia but having a more post punk sound are songs like "She Said" which almost has a Smithereens vibe and the very fun garage rock "Ohh It's a Zombie" which is the perfect sing along party song about becoming the walking dead with the immortal line, "now my feet just drag and this has to be bad." The opening hook in "The Days When We Used to Walk" almost sounds like a rock anthem riff that U2's the Edge would come up with but the rest of the song is lovingly steeped in a 70's rock feel as is "Can't Win" which evokes tie dyed shirts and faded bell bottoms hanging on that blonde girls sexy hips.

While some of the songs on Now and Then do have some derivative hooks that seem a bit familiar, almost all of the songs playfully divert and take you on a maze of melodies and sounds. This fusion composing style is what makes them so special. They are a mix of shoe gaze, psychedelic blues rock with free form jam in a classic 70's rock stew. Phaxanation and the Dust Kickers songs definitely take you on a trip, none more so then the last track on the album. "Around the Bend" is a slow burn cooker with droning sitar like guitar sounds. It then becomes broad and cinematic, Adrien's open guitar picking hanging in the atmosphere only to give way to heavy power chords. I imagined slow motion silhouettes against a wind swept orange desert sky. Close your eyes and the music will transport you. To where? That's up to you.

Adler Bloom

Catch Phaxanation with Abe Vigoda and Crystal Antlers at the UCR BARN
THE FALL 2011 BARN CONCERT SERIES PRESENTS Abe Vigoda and special guest Crystal Antlers with openers Phaxanation and the Dust Kickers on Octobet 19th!

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