Review: Various Artists ‘Brown Acid The Sixteenth Trip’

Spring is in the air, and with the warmer weather, everything is blooming as fans of underground heavy, proto-metal and garage rock get yet another edition of RidingEasy Records, now legendary Brown Acid series. Most fans of this music, and this label, are well versed in Brown Acid’s history, and we’ve covered this a lot at The Sleeping Shaman, but for the uninitiated, I’ll offer a brief history…

Various Artists 'Brown Acid The Sixteenth Trip'
Various Artists ‘Brown Acid The Sixteenth Trip’ Artwork

Lance Barresi, co-owner of LA’s Permanent Records, and RidingEasy Records Daniel Hall, have joined together on an expedition of digging up as much out-of-print, long lost, acid rock, garage rock, heavy psych, and proto-metal singles from the ‘comedown era’ between 1968-1976 as they can unearth. Most of the artists featured on the Brown Acid series never released full-lengths, the only documentation of their existence being a 45, perhaps self-financed, sent to local radio stations, and/or labels in the hopes of landing a record deal, but often instead being lost to the annals of time.

The Sixteenth Trip, like all the previous fifteen, serves up another killer batch of good-to-great rock from said comedown era. The opening cut is from legendary LA ‘60s garage rock band The Seeds, well known for garage rock staples Pushin’ Too Hard and I Can’t Seem To Make You Mine. Here, The Seeds offer up Shuckin’ And Jivin’, a seven-minute psychedelic rare B-side from 1972, that’s most certainly ‘heavier’ than the self-titled record they’re most known for. It’s rawer, both in tone and approach from what I know of them, to say nothing of the heavy psych long-jam aspect of the track and serves as a great way to start The Sixteenth Trip. Young Generation from obscure Cincinnati band Nothing is a fun, of-the-times, jam calling to the comedown generation complete with a dash of funk, a sprinkling of ‘70s shred, and plenty of wah pedal action.

One of my favorites on The Sixteenth Trip is Macbeth’s Freight Train, featuring a walloping main riff drenched in fuzz that calls back to both Blue Cheer, Grand Funk, and dare I say Hendrix. I had to check my iPod earbuds whilst absorbing this track as we have some stereo panning throughout, it caught me off guard initially as I had to check my connection to make sure my earbuds weren’t fucking up. However, it’s not all riffs and fuzz, as Macbeth drops into a melodious break in the chorus for good measure.

another killer batch of good-to-great rock from said comedown era…

From Canada, we get Sarawest’s Saturday (Hot & Heavy), a fun, jammy tune with lots of vintage shred, some catchy riff action and a vocalist who possesses a burly delivery. North Carolina’s Brotherhood Of Peace deliver an ass-shaking, heavy, funky tune with Feel The Heat (In The Driver’s Seat) featuring some notable bass playing that, to this reviewer’s ears, lock the rhythm section down impeccably.

Attack’s Dream is a fuzz and distortion drenched acid-rocker of the highest order, with plenty of bash and crash on the drums that manage to force their way through the wall of noise, lest the listener be swallowed up by the wall of distortion. Lance’s Marilyn, undoubtedly an ode to the legendary Ms. Monroe herself, is probably the most melodic tune on The Sixteenth Trip as vocalist Marty Soski has a great voice, again of the era, but it’s a nice balance with the driving guitar rock that the track proffers.

Headstones (goes without saying, this is a fantastic band name) offer up a rocking, bouncing, organ-and piano infused instrumental with Snake Dance (I wonder if Monster Magnet’s Dave Wyndorf had this single in his collection in the early ‘70s?) featuring plenty of snappy snare drum action. The Sixteenth Trip comes down with Clinton’s Midnight In New York, a hard rockin’ tune with plenty of rippin’ ‘70s guitar shred as well as some catchy ‘Ooh’s’ in the bridge.

It’s worth wondering if sooner or later Barresi and Hall will run out of singles for this series. I read somewhere in researching one of my reviews of the Brown Acid series that they have enough for at least twenty of these compilations. If so, we have quite a few more trips to look forward to. One of these days, when it’s all said and done, knowing me, I’m going to be compelled to rank all of them, but for now, I’ll cast my gaze towards Halloween when I’m sure The Seventeenth Trip will land.

Label: RidingEasy Records | Permanent Records

Scribed by: Martin Williams