20 November 2023

DIRE WOLVES (Just Exactly Perfect Sisters Band) – Easy Portals (2023, LP Centripetal Force/Cardinal Fuzz/Ramble Records) 




Label: Centripetal Force/Cardinal Fuzz/Ramble Records

Format: LP, Album, Limited Edition, Black Vinyl

Release Date: 27 Oct 2023

Mastermind Jeffrey Alexander, is always busy, always moving, making things, music, projects, albums, LPs, Cassettes, gigs, recording sessions… One of these recording sessions by his band Dire Wolves (Just Exactly Perfect Sisters Band) – DWLVS in short – was released through 3 collaborated record labels, Centripetal Force (North America), Cardinal Fuzz (UK), and Ramble Records (Australia). Here’s some interesting info about who-when-how from the band’s Bandcamp page:

“In the autumn of 2022, the core of DWLVS got together for a recording session at Santo Studios in Oakland, CA, the same studio that birthed the three most recent DWLVS albums, Grow Towards the Light (Beyond Beyond Is Beyond), I Just Wasn’t Made For These Set Times (Centripetal Force), and Paradisiacal Mind (Feeding Tube / Cardinal Fuzz). Because of the pandemic and group members relocating from San Francisco’s Bay Area to points all over the globe, DWLVS hadn’t played together, or even seen each other in person, since their 2019 European tour. Band organizer Jeffrey Alexander had moved to Philadelphia, drummer Sheila Bosco set off for Amsterdam, and violinist Ajrun Mendiratta had moved to the more remote confines of Northern California, leaving only bassist Brian Lucas in the immediate Bay. Like their last gathering at Santo in 2018, this 2022 session resulted in hours of rich material, the first of which is coming to light with Easy Portals.
Outside of an odd cover song or two, DWLVS’ material has always been centered on improvisation and spontaneous composition. The making of Easy Portals was certainly no exception to this practice. And while the group’s layoff was long, their penchant for meditative and intriguing long-form compositions has only strengthened in the interim. Even upon initial listening, you will hear the familiar tone and timbre of DWLVS. However, on this album, there is also found a darker and more progressive slant to their communal approach, possibly the result of those pandemic days. Or the current geo-political state of the world. Or both. Whatever the case, and as reflected by the artwork, Easy Portals transports DWLVS to another musical dimension.
Consistent with their practice of collaborating with other artists, DWLVS was sure to include friends new and old to the 2022 recording session. Easy Portals sees the return of Taralie Peterson (Spires That in the Sunset Rise, Tekla Peterson) on saxophone, as well as the arrival of J. Lee and Marina Lazzara (both of the San Francisco band The Rabbles, as well as Warm Spell, which also includes Brian Lucas). Lee, who plays Farfisa organ and modular synth, and Lazzara, who offers voice and percussion, are a defacto Keith and Donna to the DWLVS lineup and serve as a key element in setting the tone around the sonic portals that lay before you. Enjoy the journey”… 

(You can check my reviews of a few past Dire Wolves albums, 2020’s “Flow And Heady”2020’s “I Just Wasn’t Made For These Set Times”2019’s “Grow Towards The Light”and 2021’s “Lost Bolinas Sessions”.

“Easy Portals” contains just four tracks/compositions/creations, two on each side of the LP album. The album starts with a slow Psych piece of experimental spontaneous Psychedelia called “Your Confusion May Not Be Visible” (4:51), acoustically trippy, dark, super mystic, mind-bending with ethereal incomprehensible female vocals/lyrics, a torturously slow psych-a-licious track! “Easy Portals Suite” (17:19) starts in an experimental way (of course) with weird noises that are blended with eerie sounds and rather strange cold n’ dark female vocals – sounds like Pythia producing various sounds while trying to give an oracle – the environment over here is mystical with an avant-garde-ish Psych air, the band is slowly but steadily trying to take the ‘lead’ of this Suite, transforming it into a terrific improvisational Psych Jam, also there’s this Violin sound that adds a mystical dark-Americana feel to the final Mind-blowing result! Side ‘B’ opens with “Every Star Is A Grain In Heat” (6:11), this is a turn to more ‘grounded’ music, but still trippy, still psychedelic, still heady, electric guitar-based, and improvised (of course!), a psychedelic rhythmic and quite addictive tune with a tribalistic (sort of) percussion, becoming experimentally avant-garde-ish and weird towards its end… The album closes with “Their Heads Are Green” (14:57), electric guitar, Violin, and Sax, are cooperate at the start of this ‘monster’ in order to create a huge PSYCH amalgam of Sounds, the music that is produced has a cool weird mystical feel, ready to penetrate your brain, but only if you let it in, the female vocals are helping you to enter deeper, this is Mind-blending Psychedeliathat helps you to pierce the right Brain Cells and create an instant Lysergic Illusion… Wow! So, in conclusion… Psychedelia can be Heady. Heady music can be Psychedelic? Hmmm… Back in the day, it was so easy for Heady music to be Psychedelic but these days it’s a very rare ‘phenomenon’… “Easy Portals” is one of those ‘rare phenomenon’ albums! MIND EXPANDING! Dig! TimeLord Michalis 



A1 Your Confusion May Not Be Visible 4:451
A2 Easy Portals Suite 17:19
B1 Every Star Is A Grain In Heat 6:11
B2 Their Heads Are Green 14:57



Listen / Buy through DIRE WOLVES Bandcamp




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