A couple of neat psych-ish things today that I’ve been meaning to write about for a while. First up, Coconuts, an Australian group relocated to New York, whose scouring dirges make them one of the more incongruously-named I’ve come across recently.

A couple of neat psych-ish things today that I’ve been meaning to write about for a while. First up, Coconuts, an Australian group relocated to New York, whose scouring dirges make them one of the more incongruously-named I’ve come across recently.



“Coconuts” is a short and pleasantly intense debut album, amusingly described by No Quarter thus: “Words that come to mind while listening to Coconuts’ debut album include ‘ugliness’, ‘despair’ and unmarketability’.” Fair to say, then, that it’s at the more wracked, less idealistic end of psych: imagine a peculiarly slothful, tribally-adjusted Loop, maybe, cosying up to the Not Not Fun roster (in particular the slightly gothic moments of Pocahaunted). The press notes by Daniel Lopatin (Oneohtrix Point Never)also mention The Dead C, which makes sense.

The stunned agonies of “Lost Bitches” are a particular pleasure right now, while “Dark World” has cacophonous scraping affinities with “Venus In Furs” and points towards a refreshed, radicalised take on dronerock which Coconuts possibly share with another interesting new band, Disappears, who I’ll write about soon.

Somewhat less harrowing, “Naked, Stoned & Stabbed” is the latest album by Mushroom, apparently a San Francisco collective with allegiances to Citay and Brightblack Morning Light, and centred on drummer Pat Thomas, who works for the excellent Water reissue label.

Perhaps inevitably, a diligent handling of rock history pervades much of the album, from the jazz-folk reverie of “Celebration At Big Sur (The Sound Of The Gulls Outside Of Room 124)”, rich with the vibes – instrumentally – of earlyish Tim Buckley, to the closing singalong take on Kevin Ayers’ “Singing A Song In The Morning”.

Reading the tracklisting is an enjoyable business in itself, actually: namechecks to Jerry Rubin and Tariq Ali; wry nods to contemporaries (“All The Guitar Players Around Sean Smith Say He’s Got It Coming, But He Gets It While He Can”; “The Freak Folk Walk By, Dressed Up For Each Other”); a song pithily christened “Indulgence”. A lot of this looks perilously like in-jokes, of course, a bunch of West Coast scenesters snickering among themselves.

But happily, the music is nothing like that; the aforementioned “Sean Smith…” track, for instance, is a baked, rippling steel string guitar meditation, and the prevailing vibes are inclusive and laidback, a less thrusting cousin to Citay’s ‘70s pastoralia, with plenty of flute weaving through the fingerpicking and organ jams.

How about some listening? Coconuts are here, and here are Mushroom.