“I really do recommend you listen to this at around 85-90 percent volume through good headphones and the whole way through because it’s a Floydian kind of listen,” said Geoff Arias, guitarist of Mount Sherpa, when he gave me their EP Tabor’s Head. It was poignant advice. The debut release from the SA instrumentalists, Tabor’s Head is a four-track freak-out, dynamic in its treatment of psychedelic music.
The opener, “Mountains of Dust,” starts with a traditionally reverb-soaked theme from Arias, tipping-off the EP with a dazed attitude. A few minutes in, bassist Andy Pennington throws on a deeply affected pedal, pulling the heady metal influence of Sunn O))) into the straight-ahead psych tune.
Throughout Tabor’s Head, Mount Sherpa pulls off these impressive shifts in direction, drawing listeners into a head-nodding groove, then shaking loose on a powerful doom metal riff or a soothing drone. To call them a jam band would be a great disservice; these are clearly crafted songs with intention, a great sense of pacing and an enthusiasm for controlled experimentation. With Rich Hands, Bright Like the Sun, See You In the Morning. Free, 8:30pm Sat, Aug 23, 502 Bar, 502 Embassy Oaks, (210) 257-8125, 502bar.com
On their 2012 LP Animal Prisms, Pop Pistol posted career numbers, refining their electro-rock chic without sounding over-produced or overthought. Over 13 tunes, the SA trio infused their sophomore album with “different states of the human psyche, mirroring our animalistic nature,” according to bassist George Garza.
Two years later, Pop Pistol recruited San Anto producers and electronic musicians to reinterpret their effort, resulting in the remix album Afterlife. Thirteen tracks have been expanded to 16 as SA’s finest tear apart and restructure the material of Animal Prisms.
Afterlife acts as a survey of Alamo City musicians privy to Ableton Live and electronic production, featuring a varied crew of artists whose best work is done on the MacBook. From WZKD and Mexican StepGrandfathers’ hip-hop revisions to the underwater textures of Xyloid, each artist spins the Pop Pistol originals according to their own taste.
Though 16 producers shape the contours of Afterlife, the album still feels cohesive, as they stay true to the spirit of the source text. Isolating and amplifying the electronic elements already present in Animal Prisms, the Afterlife team has successfully advanced upon the Kid A stylings of the original. With textural harmonies ready-made for loops and singer Alex Scheel’s voice wafting over the whole project, it’s almost as if Pop Pistol created Animal Prisms with the intention of a second and collaborative look. With Femina X, Ernest Gonzalez. $8, 8pm Sun, Aug 24, Luna, 6740 San Pedro, (210) 804-2433, lunalive.com.
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