Paul Lawton from The Ketamines has some major problems with the Canadian music scene. From what I can gather, Canada has some kind of funding for the arts (imagine that) with something called "FACTOR" which seems to exist to help Canadian bands financially with recording, marketing and promoting (??!!). The trouble is, Paul argues they end up funding the same boring bands that no one is actually paying much attention to. I've certainly never heard of any of the bands they mention in his National Post interview, but then again the idea that bands would be getting arts funding from the government to do anything seems pretty bonkers. Part of me thinks whatever they're attempting to do is better than here, which is nothing, but then again any government seems to fuck helpful things up, so nobody ever wins.
But the real point here is that the Ketamines are back with a new album, You Can't Serve Two Masters on Southpaw Records and the first of four (!!) new singles. The first one, "All The Colors of Your Heart" is on Pleasance Records and sounds like a shift in psych direction from last years fuzzy pop punch full length, Spaced Out.
"All the Colors of Your Heart" begins with a groovy funk organ jam, the bubbly warmth supporting this distorted choir of vocals. Everyone is in there, the whole band, playing with a falsetto call and response chorus. A hybrid of punk garage and a lighthearted Fog Hat. It's a late '70s psyche jangle of warm tremolo guitar complete with a solid cowbell line painting the leather moustache picture. They get away with this throwback sound because they've been so seriously devoted to raw garage history, honing their craft since the Myelin Sheaths. You can hear that starting point and the distance they've been willing to explore in the process, landing on this later beefy period. Walking that line between homage and sheer dismantling of the genre.
B-Side's "Turning You On" has even more experimental studio psych with a slowed down monster vocal that drops down into rhythm. On this track it's clear this is their new carefree attitude, the funnier side of The Ketamines who are willing to forget everything they thought they knew about this sound and have some god damn fun. The catchy static filled grooves are still swirling through this but this feels like they've been tuned into classic Beck or The Unicorns in messing around with effects techniques like this manic out of tune watery guitar solo! Even this waltz-y type rhythm in a Devo jittery half step with a laid back Nodzzz vocals singing, "Turning You On" is really the farthest thing you'd associate with this sexy sentiment. Their brand of psych is willing to get silly and come out the other side with all its sincerity and dignity intact.
Pick this one up, the first of one huge demented sleeve, from Pleasance Records.
The master plan:
Heading out for a massive tour tomorrow, they head west across Canada and the upper reaches of the US.
Paul is one of the nicest guys, I'm just sad they aren't coming to NY, but I'll make some life size cutouts and listen to this record with some friends. The next best thing.
(Orders will be shipped June 1st 2013)
The first of a four part series of 7"s by everyone's favorite space-out punks, The Ketamines. Collect all of them to complete a grand, mind-bending image of magic by artist Felix Morel.
"All The Colours of Your Heart" is The Ketamines staying from the garage and discovering a jazzier side of themselves; taking that swing into the sunshine of romance and power-pop.
Along the same gracious lines, the b side, "Turning You On," is like rolling down a grassy hill in the summer while Syd Barrett jangles away next to you.
For earworm lovers only.