Gris Gris, with Brian Glaze and Invincible Czars
After rising from a plume of industrial smoke in his native League City, Greg Ashley landed in the somewhat more herbal (though still industrial enough) Oakland, California, where the vocalist-guitarist formed Gris Gris in 2003. Since then, listeners have been riding high (literally) on the band's wild organ and guitar romps, often as not anchored by a floor tom 'n' bass backbeat (with a dash of tambourine for good measure). Last year, Ashley, along with bassist-clarinet player Oscar Michel, organist Lars Kullberg and a handful of guest musicians holed up in Ashley's family cabin in rural Kosse, Texas, to record the latest Gris Gris CD, For the Season. From the sounds of things, the retreat allowed the band to commune with the spirits of late-'60s Texas-based psych bands such as the 13th Floor Elevators, creating a work that has been described as "field recordings from a haunted house full of hippie ghosts."
For the Season shows steady growth from the band's debut album, placing huge washes of shrill amplified feedback and cacophonous reverb alongside their signature acid-washed jams and campfire ditties. Yes, Gris Gris has the ability to produce couch-sinking psychedelic catatonia in the at-home listener. Still, whenever they play Houston, where Ashley's roots remain firm, each show is a romp-stomping homecoming party, filled with friends and fans throwing back drinks, kicking up heels and dancing on tables. Good times.
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