Spaceface is a self described “Retro Futurist Dream Rock” (but you can call them psychedelic-pop) band from Memphis, TN and Los Angeles, CA, active since 2012 and including members of The Flaming Lips and Pierced. Always eavesdropping on the Universe whispering its chaotic will, the groovy bunch harnesses the transcendent pulse of the spacetime continuum into catchy songs that whirl and twirl, bend and stretch, attract and propel. Their unique alloy of dream-pop, funk rock and post-disco, charged by the Sun, ultimately shines way past our collective bedtime, akin to a glow-in-the-dark Slime Science Lab kit. The psych outfit are now announcing Anemoia, a second full-length album that should please fans of Beck, Tame Impala and MGMT. The forthcoming long play is scheduled for release on January 28th, 2022 via Montreal-based Mothland.
Over the course of eight years, the collective has toured all over the United States, as well as Canada, with stops at international festivals such as SXSW, Desert Daze, Canadian Music Week, Treefort Music Fest, Hangout Music Festival, God Save The Queen City and Distorsion Psych Fest. Always equipped with a state of the art, self made light-show & crowd participating antics sometimes accompanied by weirdish stage props and/or gadgets, the ever-evolving American act provides their dedicated following with thrill-inducing D.I.Y. performances that only get crazier as they perfect their experimental craft.
The project’s founding members include Jake Ingalls (formaerly of The Flaming Lips), Matt Strong, Eric Martin, and Daniel Quinlan, but the lead research team recently enrolled Los Angeles-based musical mind, Katie Pierce from Pierced, with whom sonic experiments continue. Ultimately, Spaceface’s goal is to acknowledge the blurred pain that lurks in the corners of one’s vision on a day-to-day basis while providing a brief escape for anyone who needs or desires it. In light of years of thorough research (or a dream to that effect) that have confirmed music, as an artform, to be a potent medicine for both your mind and your feet, the psych rockers abide.
Reptaliens are ready to be direct. After exploring surreal realms of high-concept synth-pop across two acclaimed albums, the Portland, Oregon, duo found newfound clarity in a stark, grounded approach. That may seem unexpected for such a colorful act—known for heady lyrics about conspiracy theories and transhumanism—but Cole and Bambi Browning have streamlined to the lean, propulsive essentials on their self-produced new LP, Multiverse.
Shelving the dreamy synths altogether and working without their other bandmates due to lockdown, Reptaliens reset, picking up their guitars and emphasizing the catchy attack that’s been there all along. Drawing inspiration from the spontaneous energy of the ’90s alternative canon, the pair hit a surge in momentum after a casual-turned-revelatory listen to Jane’s Addiction’s 1990 classic “Been Caught Stealing.” Without even aiming to make a Reptaliens song, they wound up penning the set’s lead single “Like a Dog,” a sun-soaked groove-bomb that’s blissfully unencumbered by sonic baggage. “That really kicked it off,” Cole recalls. “It was so fast and easy and fun that we said, ‘Let’s do more like that.’”
Oregon natives Bambi and Cole started Reptaliens in the mid-2010s as a multi-faceted vehicle for their most adventurous urges. Across their first two Captured Tracks albums —FM-2030 (2017) and VALIS (2019)—they established themselves as dedicated dreamers and deep thinkers, filling their wooly, homespun synth-pop with meditations on outré science fiction and philosophy. With some help from friends, they’ve been able to tackle big questions and explore vast sound worlds. Tapping Julian Kowalski (guitar), Bryson Hansen (synth), and Tyler Vergian (drums) for their previous albums and shows, Reptaliens have bewitched crowds during extended national tours with STRFKR, Turnover, and Turnstile.
By contrast, and somewhat by necessity, Multiverse brings those lyrical concerns closer to home. “I didn’t get lost in these worlds like I normally do writing lyrics,” says Bambi. “It was way more reflective of the world around me.” And so past source material like cults and Stockholm Syndrome gave way to more immediate muses—like the pair’s frequent recording companion, a Labrador/pit bull mix named Hambone. Meanwhile, the music grew in a fresh direction, a jangle-prone timeless form of subtly psychedelic guitar-pop, finding occasional dark cul-de-sacs but ultimately tending toward the light and breeze.
Recording at home on the sleepy west side of Portland, with deer and woodpeckers regularly popping into their tree-lined backyard, the duo played all of the instruments themselves this time. The result is a departure that in fact only emphasizes the band’s melodic gifts. While Bambi’s distinctive bass-playing is more direct and driving, her airy vocals preserve Reptaliens’ soft-focus otherworldliness. Even when she’s singing about something as relatable as losing touch with her mind and body during isolation on “I Feel Fine,” there’s still an uncanny edge to her delivery. And so lines about sniffing glue and melting into the couch become reality-bending evocations of normal lockdown anxieties.
With mixing duties divided between Mikaelin “Blue” Bluespruce (Solange, Blood Orange, Mariah Carey) and Ross Brown from Kansas City bands Shy Boys and Fullbloods, Multiverse is a crisp pop record packed with surprising flourishes, from the crunchy chorus of “I Can’t Hide” to the smoky, serpentine guitar solo on “Jump.” On the recording front, Bambi and Cole applied lessons learned from making their 2020 EP, Wrestling, a synth-steeped darkwave detour that was the duo’s introduction to working alone from start to finish.
Those releases represent just two of the creative planes nested comfortably within the wider Reptaliens sphere, a prismatic notion that inspired the album’s title. Striking out into refreshing new directions at every turn, like its creators, Multiverse indeed feels like a symbolic crossroads. And one that only yields more possibilities with each visit.
New Boise-based project from Frankie Tillo (thick business, the dan franks, more).