The Flying Eyes, Done So Wrong: Psych Swagger and Heavy Soul

Posted in Reviews on June 17th, 2011 by JJ Koczan

Young men carrying old souls, Baltimore four-piece The Flying Eyes first made an impression by collecting two EPs into a self-titled Trip in Time full-length debut early last year, blending heavy psychedelia and Southern blues to an effect both surprisingly individual and confident given their age and the fact that it was their first album. Now following it with Done So Wrong, the collective of childhood friends continues to refine their approach and expand it a bit, shirking off some of the more stonerly elements in their sound – for better or worse – and instead working shades of indie, country and folk into their palette. The lead vocals of guitarist Will Kelly remain soulful and strongly presented, embodying in many ways the “beyond their years” aspect of The Flying Eyes’ sound, though the overall retro psychedelia in tracks like highlight “Overboard” and the Dead Meadow-toned instrumental “Heavy Heart” don’t hurt in that regard either, the band drawing more from late-‘60s pop sprawl than the hard-driving riff rock that would rise to prominence just a few years later.

As stylized as they are, though, what’s most consistent about The Flying Eyes is prowess in songwriting. The funky, bass-led groove of “Poison the Well” – Mac Hewitt laying down warm low end in the verses while drummer Elias Schutzman one-e-and-a’s his hi-hat to classic affect later echoed on the toms during guitarist Adam Bufano’s solo break – offers immediate contrast to the fuzz and wah swirl of opener “Death Don’t Make Me Cry,” but both ultimately work. The diversity is subtle, but it’s there, showing up also in the chic neo-grunge feel of “Sundrop” and the thoughtful acoustics of closer “Leave it all Behind,” on which Kelly is joined by a female guest vocalist for a duet worthy of capping off Done So Wrong. Their heaviest moment, at least in the sense of playing fast and loud, might come in the cut before “Leave it all Behind,” “Greed,” which in addition to breaking down to guitars sounding more like violins, has one of the album’s several catchy and memorable choruses. Another strengthening Done So Wrong’s swaggering back half is “Overboard,” ringing notes from Kelly and/or Bufano topped with vocals that sound run through a just-overmodulated vintage mic. There’s obviously a self-aware element to what they do, but The Flying Eyes make it sound spontaneous, and ultimately, that’s why they succeed with the record.

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Serpentina Satelite’s Nothing to Say to Receive Vinyl Release

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 13th, 2011 by JJ Koczan

Peruvian psychedelic rockers Serpentina Satelite were one of the first bands I ever reviewed for this site, way back in February 2009. As much as I was still getting a feel for what I was doing, on their debut, the five-piece had a much firmer handle on their sound on their debut, which they informed today they’ll be releasing later this year on vinyl through international psych purveyors Trip in Time.

From the band:

We’re glad to announce that Nothing to Say will be released on vinyl later this year by Trip in Time Records. This time around, our brother Johnny ‘O’ from Rocket Recordings took care of the vinyl’s artwork. The record will come out in a limited edition of 500 copies, a 100 of them in lysergic red.

Nothing to Say
A. Nueva Ola / Nothing to Say / The Last Drop / Madripoor
B. Kommune 1

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audiObelisk: The Flying Eyes Stream Track From New Album

Posted in audiObelisk on March 1st, 2011 by JJ Koczan

Baltimore heavy psych rockers The Flying Eyes, whose self-titled debut was reviewed early last year, are in the process of preparing a follow-up for release via World in Sound/Trip in Time. The next album, reportedly titled Done So Wrong, is due out March 18, and drummer Elias Schutzman was kind enough to send over the track “Nowhere to Run” for your advance streaming pleasure. Check it out on the Soundcloud player below.

Done So Wrong is due out March 18 on World in Sound/Trip in Time. For more info on The Flying Eyes, check out their Facebook page.

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Sons of Otis and Samsara Blues Experiment Have a Tour Poster

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 3rd, 2011 by JJ Koczan

If you missed the previous announcement (I did, oddly enough), German heavy psych-outs Samsara Blues Experiment and Canadian über-stoners Sons of Otis are hitting the road together at the start of next month. By now, the former should be in — if not finished with — the recording process for their second album, which as anyone who heard their Long-Distance Trip debut knows, is good news.

In case your day wasn’t “stoner rock” enough, get a load of this:

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The Flying Eyes Interview: Bearing Witness to the Rock of Ages

Posted in Features on January 25th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

Young Baltimore rockers The Flying Eyes offer bag-packed voyage-ready psychedelia amid one of the world’s most potent and vibrant doom scenes. If this makes them stand out, they hardly seem concerned. Their recent collection of two EPs, released as a self-titled full-length through Trip in Time, shows heavy blues American melancholy mixed with smart and urgent rock. They groove well beyond their years.

The story (as seen after the jump) goes that drummer Elias Schutzman, guitarist Adam Bufano and bassist/vocalist Mac Hewitt still considered themselves incomplete until vocalist/guitarist Will Kelly came along. Perhaps it’s that unwillingness to be — like so many others — a trio without a frontman that sets The Flying Eyes apart from their rocking peers. Whatever it is, the energy and vibrancy of their music stands testament to the success of the “getting together” process. When it’s the right people, it just sounds better.

Schutzman took time out recently for a Q&A exchange that’s available for checking out immediately after the jump. Hope you dig and thanks for reading.

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The Flying Eyes in Cold Blood

Posted in Reviews on January 4th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

Before I took the (literally) three seconds to fact-find on the situation with Baltimore psych-blues rockers The Flying Eyes’ self-titled Trip in Time debut, the fact that the album was split into two parts had me searching for some conceptual or sonic split between them, mining the tracklist for clues and trying to understand what it was about the first five tracks the band would want to call Bad Blood and what about the back half that would lead the four-piece to dub it Winter. It was an exhaustive search. The significance of three out of the five Bad Blood tracks end with the word “Me” in the title grew with each listen. I thought for sure “Red Sheets” (track seven of the total 10) held a clue beneath its retro fuzz riffing. Certainly the peacocks in Kiryk Drewinski’s album art mean something.

But yeah, it’s a compilation of two EPs, one named Bad Blood and one named Winter. Less thrilling than an underlying spiritual union of metaphysical sonics, perhaps, but at least it’s a fucking answer.

Two immediate thoughts when listening to The Flying Eyes opener “Lay with Me,” in order: (1.) alright, that acoustic guitar is pretty cool, and (2.) wow, this guy sounds like Jim Morrison. The “this guy” in question is guitarist/vocalist Will Kelly, whose powerful vocals not only are reminiscent of the spindly “poet” whose work still mesmerizes would-be deep 13 year olds the world over, but also are a good portion of the reason The Flying Eyes pull off their sound. The brazenness of his approach, backed by bassist/vocalist Mac Hewitt on the more compact, atmospheric “Better Things,” is a means of putting the listener precisely where the band wants and a constant that provides a connection between the sundry musical shifts beneath. Almost wistful notes on “Better Things” give way to organ and riff dance hall stomp on the first EP’s title cut — both of which can be attributed to guitarist/organist Adam Bufano — but Kelly’s voice links the two tracks with each other and with the rest of Bad Blood and Winter.

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Hey Serpentina Satelite, Psychedelic Much???

Posted in Reviews on February 9th, 2009 by JJ Koczan

Guess what these guys play...Sometimes the artwork tells you everything you need to know, and that’s more or less the case with Serpentina Satelite‘s Nothing to Say (Trip in Time). Billed as an EP, but with a length approaching 50 minutes, the Peruvian band’s five-track excursion capitalizes on the psychedelic, sonic swirl and organic earth mama nudity suggested by the cover. It is bright colors, late ’60s/early ’70s space tripping, with nine-minute opening track “Nueva Ola” acting as a sort of blast-off for what comes after, building a tension with wild drumming that lasts for most of the song’s duration.

They don’t appear immediately, but as the record progresses, Serpentina Satelite reveal more straightforward moments — even if that straightforwardness is relative. “Nothing to Say” is an appropriate title track, with exceedingly reverbed vocals and feedback wavelengths permeating an atmosphere driven forward through the cosmos by classic garage rock rhythms. A fuzzy guitar line opens up “The Last Drop,” the first of the album’s two tracks under the five minute mark. Somewhat less esoteric, if only for its lack of time to unfold, the centerpiece of Nothing to Say is peppered with echoey spoken word vocals and distant ambient guitar noise. If the mushrooms have kicked in yet, this is the track that lets you know you’re in total harmony with the universe. Read more »

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