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6 May 2012

Dead Luke - 'American Haircut' (Florida's Dying)

There's a new strain of psychedelia kicking about the American underground the last few years. It's characterised by a return to lyrical songwriting (after the more jammy, improvisatory neo-pysch made large by people like NNCK and MV/EE) and voluntarily lo-fi production techniques. Dead Luke fits right in with this, with lots of strummy guitars, drugged out organs, and reverb-drenched vocals, occasionally unintelligible. I guess this is a one-man band, though with a few guests, and a thick, full sound.  I listened to this record inside out because both sides are labeled "A", so I (of course) started with side B by accident, which leads from a hazy midpoint ('You're Bringing Me Down') into 'God Bless the Midwest, God Roast the East Coast', a rambling, scattered sketch. 'Lil' Red Ridin Hood', compositionally credited to an anonymous third party, is a deceptively complex tune. Like much of this record, it hides behind a twee wall, with home-made style casio keys and a bouncing melody. But by the end, it builds up nicely, and the recording fidelity is revealed to be more than just a 4-track mess - there's a lot of clarity there, it's just chosen sparingly. When Dead Luke stretches things out, such as 'Sunrise', it's quite welcome - there's a sea of tremolo to sail across. Said track, which ends side A and therefore ends the record for me, is a melting semi-instrumental with great Eastern tinges to the acoustics, and deep, reverberating percussion. The voices in the background are distant and murmuring, giving this track a hash bar feel. 'Trapped in Lust', the proper opener, has a stark, confident, and relatively sparse feel that shows this guy's songwriting chops. More has probably come since this came out in 2010 but I don't know where to go next - but this is a nice random pickup that fits in well with the sounds of today.

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