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TRACK PREMIERE: SALT LICK “CALIFORNIA MUD”

There were a lot of bands between Blue Cheer's Vincebus Eruptum and that first Ramones album that came from nowhere and had nowhere to go. They were too crude for prog, too early for punk, too heavy for garage and way too weird for good-time dive-bar party music, although they surely spent plenty of time in dive bars. Now it's fifty years later but that's still the place where L.A.'s Salt Lick come from, even if their new "California Mud" offers just a little bit of 'proto' and a whole lot of 'punk.

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VIDEO PREMIERE: LITRONIX “FOR ALL THE SPECIAL SOULS”

Last year Kevin Litrow and his solo persona Litronix put out Elvis Lives, an album that was something between a recalibration and a reinvention. Recorded by the esteemed producer Greg Ashley, Elvis Lives saw Litrow dial down his signature throbbing Suicide-style synthesizer and motorik robo-rhythms to explore something more traditionally transcendental: guitar and human voice, channeling the full force of the human spirit.

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VIDEO PREMIERE: BLACKSEOUL (JUPITER BLACK + TRE SEOUL) “BOLD”

Jupiter Black and the enigmatic Tre Seoul team up here on a song and visual that’s spook-blime. Jupiter is either cursing or blessing a wayward youth, played by the stoic Sistergrass. Tre exists in a visual vacuum, a man apart observing and reporting but never retorting, letting Jupiter do the work of possessing folk. Their verses are pure syrup, delivered like sorbet melting in the sun—drip drip.

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VIDEO PREMIERE: LEVITATION ROOM “QUARANTINE”

L.A.'s Levitation Room put out their Headspace (Greenway Records) last fall and took the scenic route through all the microbiomes of mid-to-late 60s psychedelia, although they skipped Altamont to spend more time at Monterey Pop. But now without access to any outside studios (or outside ... anything?) they've retreated to a more fundamental format. "Quarantine" is the understated acoustic coda Headspace never had, the contemporary reincaration of those mellow moments on so many underrated little-band-on-big-label psych LPs. There couldn't be a better time for this sort of indoors mood.

Interview

DREAM MACHINES: MORE SEX, YEAH

When 2016 happened, the innocence of skimming Jezebel turned into the self-flagellation of reading Reductress, and the non-stop queer boogaloo was interrupted by the draconian plans of a sentient sunburn. As other bands wrote protest songs, Dream Machines just got super slutty, celebrating the bacchanal joy of fucking right in Mitch McConnell's wilting face. Their new EP Trust / Desire drops today, and it's a juicy lucy. We talked about being 18 again, why their live show is better than yours and LaCroix. That bit is right at the top. This interview by Tolliver.