Psychic Ills: One Track Mind

While this will please fans of the Velvets and the many Hudson River-adjacent bands who carry on their legacy, if Psychic Ills revved up the speed and kicked out more jams, it would liven the impact of One Track Mind, which too often lives up to its title.

Psychic Ills

One Track Mind

Label: Sacred Bones
US Release Date: 2013-02-19
UK Release Date: 2013-02-18

This New York outfit, like its inspirations here, shuffles when it used to slam."One More Time" takes its lazy, jangling time recalling the Velvet Underground to wander down a slower, mellower direction than the group's earlier assaults. For a case in point, cue up the opener.

"See You There" channels a spacier, druggier urban attitude, shared by other bands promoting underground, neo-psychedelic stylings on the faithfully retrospective records from Brooklyn's Sacred Bones label. It's consistent, but as with some of the label's other releases, it fails to rouse me much from its morning-after bluesy mood – shaking free or falling back again into slumber. Vocals by Tres Warren sneer and paces stumble. While appealing in small doses, we've all heard this long before from Lou Reed.

"Might Take a While" delivers on its hesitant suggestion of following through. However, Tom Gliubizzi's guitars (and keyboards on some tracks) don't accelerate, but stay modest, more like the later Feelies. While this will please fans of the Velvets and the many Hudson River-adjacent bands who carry on their legacy, if Psychic Ills revved up the speed and kicked out more jams, it would liven the impact of One Track Mind, which too often lives up to its title.

When "Depot" trades in the same pacing and stance as other bands of the past 40-odd years who've mingled addled vocals, studio effects, and a slightly menacing tone backed by organ and high-hat, to bring in the time-tested chord progressions, the causes add up to a familiar effect. This type of song, respectful of a generation and more of rock brewed on chemicals, cannot shake off its old fashions.

I was thinking about Spiritualized and Jason Pierce's similar stylings when musing over earlier tracks, so "Tried to Find It" with its touch of gospel-ish female background vocals did not surprise. Certainly not orchestrated, but it shows that having worked with Sonic Boom (the other half of Pierce's previous band, Spaceman 3), the affinity fits the group.

"FBI" cuts haze, but boosts the reverb. It's spooky only in a predictable sense. No real doom or threat of an orange alert. It plods, with Brian Tamburello's dutiful drums and Elizabeth Hart's stolid bass.

"I Get By" resembles "I'm Waiting for My Man" in its classic backbeat. Yet, I welcomed it by comparison, for it picked up the pace. Production on some tracks is credited to Neil Patrick Hegarty (Royal Trux) and this song sounded sharp and clean. However, I find with Psychic Ills and similar bands on Sacred Bones, so much more edginess and experimentation on earlier (more underground in some cases) records was inherent. Later albums settle down for a more comfortable, less confrontational, conventional setting.

Harmonica announces "City Sun": its folksy rhythms stay polite if inconsequential. ("Western Metaphor" did not appear on the advance file downloaded for review; but I like the title.) "Drop Out" closes out this outing. We find ourselves waiting for our man to "get up and go out of here," but the sung promise hovers rather than delivers. The compressed, woozy nature of this song typifies the ambiance on this album. If this eases your hungover or strung-out mood, it may sooth better than if you're caffeinated and restless.





12 Essential Performances from New Orleans' Piano "Professors"

New Orleans music is renowned for its piano players. Here's a dozen jams from great Crescent City keyboardists, past and present, and a little something extra.


Jess Williamson Reimagines the Occult As Source Power on 'Sorceress'

Folk singer-songwriter, Jess Williamson wants listeners to know magic is not found in tarot cards or mass-produced smudge sticks. Rather, transformative power is deeply personal, thereby locating Sorceress as an indelible conveyor of strength and wisdom.

By the Book

Flight and Return: Kendra Atleework's Memoir, 'Miracle Country'

Although inconsistent as a memoir, Miracle Country is a breathtaking environmental history. Atleework is a shrewd observer and her writing is a gratifying contribution to the desert-literature genre.


Mark Olson and Ingunn Ringvold Celebrate New Album With Performance Video (premiere)

Mark Olson (The Jayhawks) and Ingunn Ringvold share a 20-minute performance video that highlights their new album, Magdalen Accepts the Invitation. "This was an opportunity to perform the new songs and pretend in a way that we were still going on tour because we had been so looking forward to that."


David Grubbs and Taku Unami Collaborate on the Downright Riveting 'Comet Meta'

Comet Meta is a brilliant record full of compositions and moments worthy of their own accord, but what's really enticing is that it's not only by David Grubbs but of him. It's perhaps the most emotive, dream-like, and accomplished piece of Grubbsian experimental post-rock.


On Their 2003 Self-Titled Album, Buzzcocks Donned a Harder Sound and Wore it With Style and Taste

Buzzcocks, the band's fourth album since their return to touring in 1989, changed their sound but retained what made them great in the first place

Reading Pandemics

Chaucer's Plague Tales

In 18 months, the "Great Pestilence" of 1348-49 killed half of England's population, and by 1351 half the population of the world. Chaucer's plague tales reveal the conservative edges of an astonishingly innovative medieval poet.


Country's Jaime Wyatt Gets in Touch With Herself on 'Neon Cross'

Neon Cross is country artist Jaime Wyatt's way of getting in touch with all the emotions she's been going through. But more specifically, it's about accepting both the past and the present and moving on with pride.


Counterbalance 17: Public Enemy - 'It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back'

Hip-hop makes its debut on the Big List with Public Enemy’s meaty, beaty manifesto, and all the jealous punks can’t stop the dunk. Counterbalance’s Klinger and Mendelsohn give it a listen.


Sondre Lerche and the Art of Radical Sincerity

"It feels strange to say it", says Norwegian pop artist Sondre Lerche about his ninth studio album, "but this is the perfect time for Patience. I wanted this to be something meaningful in the middle of all that's going on."


How the Template for Modern Combat Journalism Developed

The superbly researched Journalism and the Russo-Japanese War tells readers how Japan pioneered modern techniques of propaganda and censorship in the Russo-Japanese War.


From Horrifying Comedy to Darkly Funny Horror: Bob Clark Films

What if I told you that the director of one of the most heartwarming and beloved Christmas movies of all time is the same director as probably the most terrifying and disturbing yuletide horror films of all time?

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.