The Strange Land/bAd bAd // Split 7″
Grabbing Clouds Records and Tapes
Recommended Track: hot lAvA
Let’s go back to a time when mix-tapes were still perceived as the ultimate talisman of love and friendship, a craft that was finely honed and only shared with a very select few. Giving someone a mix-tape was a deeply personal gesture, akin to handing over a piece of your soul with an intensely calculated song order. Growing up in my rural hometown, finding someone who listened to anything more than what our local Wal*Mart had to provide was rare. Finding someone who could teach you something about music and expand your horizons was a goddamn white buffalo. I got lucky and had a co-worker named Bothe who became the big brother and mix-tape mogul of my 14/15 year old self. All that to say, the first tape he gave me featured psychedelic brethren the 13th Floor Elevators, The Monsters and Ween. My love for psychedelic rock was established, a ceremonial flag was stuck in my foundation like I’d just reached the summit of some terra incognita. The new split between both the Strange Land and bAd bAd via Grabbing Cloud Records AND TAPES (!!!) is keeping the spirit alive one cassette and 7” at a time, this release being no exception.
I’m veering to the B-side of this 7” split first and foremost because Oakland/San Francisco natives bAd bAd have stolen the show with both hands tied behind their back. If I can tip you off to only one band this year it would be these East Bay cats who are going to melt your face into a Salvador Dali masterpiece. “pickitapart” is a fun sonic jam, but the second track, “hot lAvA” is an infectious and audible tropical disease that you will beg to catch. It embodies the doom and gloom of surf-rock vibe few can execute well; try throwing The Black Angels and the Beach Boys in a blender and you might get a close second. Much of their debut album (released on cassette!) contains Latin American vibes creeping in like deadly nightshade up the psychedelic backdrop, but on this 7” they stick to a less complex, but just as brilliant approach. If their pending lawsuit with Steven Tyler’s youngest spawn, Chelsea Tyler, over similar band names wasn’t enough to get them noticed, you know the Creature from the Black Lagoon is spinning this dark, droopy Technicolor melody in some lair near Aruba. Thank the Universe this hasn’t been released on an actual cassette yet; your tape-deck would devour the ribbon on purpose it’s so fucking good.
Now don’t get me wrong, Michael & The Strange Land sound stellar, although “Real” and “Seer” don’t showcase their best talents. Really want your mind blown and then some? Check out the phenomenal track they released this past December entitled “Specter”. If I could choose one band to pass on to other music lovers seeking some knowledge as I was a decade ago, bAd bAd would be it. Help someone else stake their flag, yeah?