Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Turnip “Haunted Stereo” 2018 Texas Heavy Psych Blues,Stoner


Turnip “Haunted Stereo” 2018 Texas Heavy Psych Blues,Stoner 
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There’s something special about a morning sunrise in Texas. I lived there for much of my formative years before high tailin’ it up to Oregon. For all it’s excesses (it’s damned hot there, guys), there are a lot of things that make me nostalgic for the Lone Star State. I’ll not wax poetic about all the good memories, but simply tell you that when I’m listening to San Antonio’s TURNIP, it all comes flooding back to me. 

You don’t have to have lived there to be similarly affected by Turnip’s vibe. I disovered the heavy psych blues trio not long after we’d released the Hurricane Harvey benefit, ‘Doomed & Stoned in Texas’ (2017), and wondered where they’d been all my life. Well, they haven’t been around that long, but for at least the last two or three years, they’ve been creating some pretty fantastic sounds, beginning with the brashly titled EP, ‘You’re A Fucking Liar’ (2016), following that up shortly with the album that first got my notice, 'Window Killer’ (2016). “Hey, this is good? How did we miss them for our Texas comp?” I asked. 

Long story short, the band ended up contributing a bonus track and asking if we’d be interested in debuting a new record they’d cooked up, coming out this Friday. It’s called 'Haunted Stereo’ (2018) and has certainly been a poltergeist on every listening device of mine since I got hold of it. Certainly any fan of All Them Witches and the southern school of psychedelic rock will be similarly enchanted. As you listen, you’ll find it very hard to stop and, as you dig further into these nine tracks, you’ll find this Haunted Stereo anything but predictable. 

I’d put Turnip up on stage with the best of 'em. Great picking, smoooooth vox, and an irresistible southern welcome in every note just luring you in further to experience more. That, and there’s enough heavy living in Turnip to lure in even the doomiest among us. Give ear

I asked the band to share a few words about the new record and how it came about. Mostly, I was just anxious to get to know these guys, who keep a pretty low-key profile. Here’s what they shared… 

“Another Turnip album wasn’t supposed to happen. By the time Window Killer was finished, we had already started a new band, finished an album, and were planning a tour. Turnip wasn’t even on our radar. As a group, we’re not very good at focusing on the long game. Mostly, we just want to write new songs. Most of them never get out of the garage. Every few months we agree to stick to a set and do the band thing again. We rehearse, play a few shows, and sometimes we even record an album.

“We aren’t locked into any specific style. We hover around all realms of rock. If a set of songs sounds too different from our latest project, we just jump ship and start another band. Really, we’re just too fucking lazy and unfocused to stay disciplined. It was this lack of discipline that drove us to write three new tracks one night, instead of running through our usual set. 

"At the next practice we completely abandoned our plans to hit the road, and we began writing songs for Haunted Stereo. We kicked out two albums worth of material in a little over a month. We experimented a lot. We put a violin bow on the lap steel, busted out an accordion, threw fuzz on a Rhodes, detuned a piano, played with vocal harmonies, and wrote a few bluegrass acoustic tracks.

"Right away, it was obvious that Haunted Stereo wasn’t going to be a repeat of Window Killer, but we weren’t sure where it was going to end up. We eventually locked into a 'sound’ and began weeding out the songs that didn’t fit. We’re not going to try and label it. We’d probably get it wrong. Leave that to the critics and reviewers. The best description we’ve heard so far, is 'lush.’ But that really only captures one piece of the whole. 

"We were listening to a lot of somewhat obscure classic rock at the time we were writing. We took inspiration from the strong hooks, heavy handed vocal harmonies, and creative song structures. It was important for us to make sure each song could co-exist without fighting to be heard or standing out for the wrong reasons. We also didn’t want to stray too far from what Turnip was supposed to be.

"In the end, though, Haunted Stereo isn’t exactly the target that we were aiming for. But that’s ok. We just hope you dig it enough to listen a few times. If you’re anything like us, you’ll lose interest eventually and start a new band.” 

Turnip’s Haunted Stero emerges Friday, April 6th, on 12” vinyl and in digital format. ….~By Billy Goate….~


I can’t help but feel like Haunted Stereo should’ve been the band name and Turnip should’ve been the album title. But semantics aside, the San Antonio group’s second album sounds like stoner rock played through a shoegaze lens. Both genres are rooted in textures and psychedelic effects, but Turnip is less distorted and more melodic than their peers. The overall production sounds rather muffled and the vocals have a gentle, dreamlike quality that recalls a restrained Josh Homme. 

Thankfully, the band dynamic works well with this different approach. The mix may sound distant and there are moments where the musicians come together to form climactic blurs of sound, but each instrument finds a way to stand out. The bass may be the most dominant instrument, driving many of the rhythms while the guitar focuses on trippy leads and occasionally chiming in on the heavier riffs. There is also a western feel that can be felt throughout, appropriate considering Turnip’s origin state.
While Haunted Stereo could hardly be called an aggressive album, it does boast some heavy, bluesy riffs. The album really gets going with “You Never Were” and “No Right,” which bring in more straightforward grooves after the opening songs’ more atmospheric feel. From there, “The Wolves Will Come” has a meditative beginning that goes into bluesy overdrive while “Cold Fire” and “Blood on the Road” feature the album’s most traditional stonerisms and close the album on a grungy note. 

It’s tricky to tell if Turnip’s more alternative rock approach to stoner blues was intentional, but it does make for a great album. It’d be easy to let the instruments blur completely together and lose the songwriting in the process, but the balanced mix keeps this from happening and the memorable riffs allow for repeat listens. I imagine fans of groups like All Them Witches, Merlin, and Elephant Tree will find this to be an enjoyably relaxing listen. Chill rock music for a desert night….by Chris Latta…..~

Tracklist: 
Into Under 04:19 
Last Rights 05:15 
You Never Were 04:15 
No Light 04:02 
Across The Sun 06:16 
The Wolves Will Come 05:46 
Cold Fire 03:49 
Blood On The Road 03:47 
Dead House (Bonus Track) 04:47 

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