Assemble Head’s inventive sound looks to get Jose’s psyched.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
The Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound is a reincarnation of the San Francisco psych-sound: heady blues, campy hooks and reverberating junky noise.
They are even armed with an instrument that wields the same psychedelic creepiness as the jug did for 13th Floor Elevators – band member the Anderson Lanbridge plays the theremin, an instrument he controls without having any physical contact. Using antennas to sense the position of his hands Lanbridge creates sounds that range from cellos to almost-human voices and droids from outer space.
Directors Alfred Hitchcock and Robert Wise even took advantage of the instrument’s esoteric resonance in classic thrillers like Spellbound and The Day the Earth Stood Still.
Along with the bizarre theremin, the jangling distorted guitar chops of Charlie Saufley and Jefferson Marshall recall The Byrds guitarist Roger McGuinn.
In their instrumental “The Chocolate Maiden’s Misty Sunday Morning” distant Gregorian monk-like chants make love to an orchestra of Technicolor. The four-minute studio version of the song beckons to be extended to at least 10 minutes in live performances.
“I wrote [“Chocolate Maiden’s”] after tinkering around tuning my guitar to a Ravi Shankar album,” Saufley says. “I kept my guitar in that open tuning and it evolved into a jam; and the crusty guitar solo is definitely an homage to Neil Young.”
On Assemble Head’s newest album, When Sweet Sleep Returned, Saufley says the band wanted to create a collision of worlds that would steer clear of the monochromatic and lackluster sounding albums so common these days. Saufley cites The Beatles’ White Album and Revolver: “No one knew what was coming next when they heard those albums for the first time.”
“We wanted to create a juxtaposition,” he explains. “Really pretty stuff with really filthy and crusty stuff.”
With the new album and an enthusiastic review from Pitchfork, Saufley says Assemble Head may also release a homemade EP recording of four or five songs in the near future.
Assemble Head’s perfect non-monochromatic counterpart, Spindrift, is also playing. The Los Angeles-based band pulls its influence from Ennio Morricone’s Spaghetti western ballads – and peyote.
Led by Kirpatrick Thomas on guitar and vocals, Spindrift features former and current members of The Brian Jonestown Massacre and a Hefty Bag full of instruments including the harmonium, Autoharp and melodica.
In 2008, the band mixed their love of film and music and released a feature-length, psychedelic western called The Legend of God’s Gun (also the name of one of their songs) about a gunfighter seeking revenge on the killers of his lover.
Spindrift and Assemble Head appear 9pm Saturday, June 20, at Jose’s Underground Lounge, 638 Wave St., Monterey. $5 advance; $10 door. 655-4419.