Artist Spotlight

Coco: A Hidden Dreamy Gem

I first discovered the dream pop project Coco when they opened for Kevin Morby. I knew immediately that they had the perfect sound. Right when they started playing I turned to my wife and said, “oh damn, I’m digging this.” Coco is a balanced blend of smooth vocal harmonies, subtle 60’s psychedelic inspired instrumentals and chill dreamy soundscapes with a hint of 70’s soul. It’s no surprise that they hooked us and made my wife and I obsessed with their beautifully crafted songs for months afterwards.

Photo from

Coco is a collaborative music project that started in 2021 between three very talented indie artists, Maia Friedman of Dirty Projectors, Dan Molad of Lucius and Chimney and Oliver Hill of Pavo Pavo and Dustrider. Together they create a rich and deep sound that is drenched in psychedelic notes. Maia uses her skills as a singer in Dirty Projectors to harmonize perfectly with the calm synths and gentle hazy guitars. The group has released one self titled album and several EPs to date.

Coco’s entire library is amazing but I do have a few favorite songs. My top favorite is definitely Empty Beach. It’s a slow, calm song that relies on beautiful vocal harmonies. It brings to mind walking on a vast empty beach in the cold fog. It has a meditative quality and calms the nerves. This song was amazing to see live. The crowd got really quiet and they used blue lights to create a peaceful trippy atmosphere. Another song that I really like is Come Along. This song has a little more of a psychedelic soul sound to it but still has those beautiful harmonies that Coco does so well. It has a more steady beat than some of their other songs and has an amazing chorus that you can’t help but to sing along to. Another great song is Last of the Loving which has a bit more of a pop sound and I could even see this song getting radio play as it is extremely catchy and has a memorable chorus.

Photo by Adam Peek

Music has that unique ability to connect meaningful memories to songs. Coco will always be a band that is meaningful to my life and I will always remember seeing them live with my wife. They don’t have a lot of music yet but their limited library has made an impact. I can still remember coming home after the concert and listening to them outside in the cold dark air with my wife ranting about how amazing their sound is. I’m excited to see where this band takes us next but in the meantime I will keep listening to them religiously because they are just that good. 

Genres- dream pop, psychedelic pop, psychedelic folk, folk, experimental, art folk, chamber pop

Score: 10/10 the perfect mix of psychedelic pop and dream pop

Favorite songs: Empty Beach, Come Along, One Time Villain, Last of the Loving and all of the rest of their songs as they are all perfectly crafted and executed. 

Written by Adam

Artist Spotlight

Joanna Newsom: Medieval Chamber Folk Star

I can still picture my wife twirling and singing to Joanna Newsom in our small apartment. We had just started dating but I already knew she was the one, in part because of her music taste. Instead of listening to pop music that everyone knew, she listened to indie music that was unique and often psychedelic. She introduced me to many artists but one that always stands out is Joanna Newsom because of her unique style and voice, long poetic songs and psychedelic harp instrumentals.

Photo by Tristan Lope

Joanna Newsom was raised in Nevada City, California by two doctors who didn’t allow her to watch television and instead stressed academics and music. She began playing the piano at a young age and once she was old enough began to take harp lessons. After high school, she attended Mills College, studying composition and creative writing. She played keyboards for the band The Pleased but dropped out of college and returned home to live with her parents in Nevada City. From there, she began her solo career and flourished in the local Bay Area indie folk scene and later reached a much wider audience with the success of her albums. 

Joanna Newsom has released four studio albums starting with The Milk-Eyed Mender in 2004. This first album helped her gain an underground following. Music historian John Morrish in 2007 called the album a “neo-folk benchmark”. Her next album, Ys was released in 2006. This album gathered a larger audience and landed at number 134 on the Billboard 200. Her third album, Have One on Me was released in 2010. It is a massive album with over two hours of songs but it is a remarkable piece of work that deals with complex issues such as womanhood and fertility. Her fourth studio album, Divers was released in 2015 and peaked at number one on the Billboard alternative albums chart. 

Joanna Newsom is completely unique in her delivery and style but lands in a few musical genres including folk, chamber folk, baroque pop and psychedelic folk. Her songs are often very long and complex, shifting from slow to fast and taking the listener into different realms of sound. She is a poet and beautifully weaves her poetry throughout her songs. Her lyrics are heavily influenced by literature and the writers Vladimir Nabokov and Ernest Hemingway. She relies heavily on the harp and piano and uses her distinct soprano voice to create a wonderful sound. She reminds me a little of Joni Mitchell in the way she sings, which is a reason I love her sound. I grew up listening to Joni Mitchell as my mom listened to her constantly, so I have a sentimental appreciation for any singer that mimics that voice. 

Joanna Newsom is an indie folk treasure. She creates music you will never hear anywhere else. She has a completely trippy and psychedelic persona that is straight from the Middle Ages. Her album cover art on Ys with a fair maiden sitting by a window is a perfect example of her medieval inspiration. I really enjoy Joanna Newsom’s music because of its originality and because it reminds me of my mother and her love for Joni Mitchell. Most of all, Newsom’s music reminds me of my wife and when we met and fell in love dancing and twirling to her gentle harp plucking and high soprano voice. 

Genres: folk, chamber folk, baroque pop, psychedelic folk, experimental, freak folk

Favorite songs: 81.0, Good Intentions Paving Company, No Provenance, Baby Birch, Soft As Chalk, Divers

9/10: Brilliant and unique but probably wouldn’t want to listen to her every day. One of my wife’s favorite artists and she has great taste. 

Written by Adam

Artist Spotlight

Kevin Morby: Folk Rock Maniac

I remember telling my wife after I heard Kevin Morby for the first time, “I just found this guy and he’s amazing. He sounds just like Bob Dylan. I think you’ll like him.” The next day, after listening to him, she tells me, “You were right! He does sound like Bob Dylan and he is amazing.” I must admit, my wife has excellent music taste, but regardless, Kevin Morby has this ability to blow you away with his unique and powerful style. Ever since first discovering him he has been a staple in our house and we’ve listened to him over and over, following his progression throughout the years and even seeing him live.

Photo by Stian Schlosser Moller

Kevin Morby began his musical career playing bass for the experimental folk band Woods and playing briefly with the band The Babies. He has released seven albums beginning in 2013. His style varies from traditional folk and Americana to classic rock and roll to country and soul. He is a master lyricist and song composer. His songs deal with current social issues like mass shootings, the negative effects of organized religion, sexism, racism, death and climate change. 

Kevin Morby has a very unique vocal style reminiscent of Bob Dylan. He has a deep voice and harmonizes with the bass in a beautiful way, at times talking out his lyrics. He has a very poetic style and loves alliteration and word play. His songs repeat certain thematic lines throughout like repeating his album titles, “oh my God” and “this is a photograph”. He loves using metaphors centered around nature. He talks a lot about rivers, usually symbolizing death and mortality and how life flows naturally on its given path. He also likes to sing about storms, trains, the Great Plains, singing, dancing, his family and he loves using the color black to create his dark and depressing mood. He is definitely one of the best and most creative lyricists I have ever heard and this quality alone makes his music a pleasure to listen to. 

Kevin Morby likes to experiment with different musical styles and each album has a different tone and sound. His first album, Harlem River from 2013 has a slight psychedelic jazz sound which is probably influenced by his time with the band Woods. I really like this style and Harlem River is a beautifully crafted album with a unique and dynamic sound. His next two albums, Still Life and Singing Saw are of similar styles to Harlem River, but a bit more dark, depressing and folksy. 

His fourth album, City Music in 2017 signifies a departure from his other albums in sound and style, bringing a more complex array of instruments and layers and an overall more upbeat sound. He uses horns and saxophones and has a lot more energy than his previous albums. His next album, Oh My God, made in 2019, puts together all of his styles into a perfectly crafted album. Oh My God drew a lot of attention from critics and the mainstream media and put Kevin Morby on the indie map. This album is perfectly sequenced and produced and contains many somber songs with eerie piano and explosive lyrics, that ironically critique organized religion, making this album his best in my opinion. 

Following the success and praise of Oh My God, Kevin released the album Sundowner in 2020. This album leans more towards traditional folk and Americana, relying more on acoustic guitars and less on piano and saxophone. Overall it was a decent album but did not blow my socks off. His newest album, This Is a Photograph, on the other hand is a masterpiece. He takes all of his styles and meshes them together, mixing his simple folk sound with layered soulful rock and roll. From start to finish this album sounds great and I am excited for the direction he is headed for any future albums. 

Kevin Morby has an amazing and diverse array of albums and is a dynamic performer to see live. I just saw him live on his This is a Photograph tour and I was blown away by his energy and attention to detail. He wore a shimmery silver Elvis jacket and shook his wild curly hair like a folk rock maniac. He knew when to slow down and when to bring the energy. My wife couldn’t help her excitement and screamed with joy over the polite artsy crowd. Overall he was an amazing act to see live and I will always try to see him when he comes to town. 

Photo by Adam

Kevin Morby is an American gem that blends together folk and rock and soul in a unique and powerful way. His lyrics are poignant and meaningful and his vocal delivery is unmatched. I am excited to see what direction he is headed to next and I highly recommend that you take a listen to his work. 

Genres: Folk, Americana, Folk Rock, Rock and Roll, Soul

Favorite Songs: Harlem River, Beautiful Strangers, City Music, Tin Can (my wife’s favorite), Destroyer, Oh My God, No Halo, Congratulations, Singing Saw, Bittersweet, TN, This Is a Photograph, Stop Before I Cry

Score: 10/10 The perfect unique folk rock sound

Written by Adam

Artist Spotlight

The Growlers: My Kids Are Obsessed

Almost every day in my house I hear my children say, “Dad! I want to listen to The Growlers! Let’s watch The Growlers videos!” I usually chuckle and my wife often rolls her eyes. What makes this LA-based psychedelic rock band so appealing to my kids? Is it their catchy surf-inspired sound? Or Brooks Nielsen’s raspy deep voice? Or their witty ironic lyrics? Whatever it is, my kids are obsessed. 

The Growlers began in 2006 in the city of Dana Point, California. The band’s main members are singer Brooks Nielsen and keyboard/guitar player Kyle Straka. They have released seven albums, several EPs and a good amount of singles. Their style is a combination of surf rock, psychedelic rock, metal, New Age and lo-fi old-time rock and roll. They have created a genre they call “Beach Goth”, which to me sums up their unique style. 

Now why are my kids obsessed with The Growlers? I have a few ideas. For one, the band is very approachable and at times simple, combining familiar old-time rock and roll instrumentals with lyrics about current issues, like homelessness, drugs and sexuality. This familiar rock and roll sound has been played in my house since my kids were born with bands like The Beatles and The Doors, so it makes sense this sound would appeal to them. The Growlers’ later work strays away from the surf rock sound slightly and enters into a more New Age style, with heavier synth and bass lines. I was a little sad to see this transformation but I have since accepted it and learned to love songs like Dream World and Try Hard Fool.

Photo by Taylorbonin

Another idea of why my kids are obsessed with The Growlers is Brooks Nielsen himself. He is a dynamic character, full of humor and energy and has an amazing voice. He is a master lyricist and blends humor into his songs, while keeping them relevant and poignant. The song, Gay Thoughts, for example is very funny and silly but has an important message of sexuality and society’s gender roles and norms. One of our family’s favorite songs is Someday, which is about the hope of escaping poverty and having a better life. This song is meaningful to us as we listened to it during my career transition. The lines, “when bologna turns into steak” and “tall boys turn into champagne” are examples of Brooks’ excellent ability to create metaphors. My wife actually gave me a card with lyrics from this song when I officially began my current career.

My kids love watching The Growlers’ music videos and laugh when they see Brooks dressed in drag or dancing. He is a confident man, often wielding a cigarette and a glass of whiskey in his tattooed arms. Their music videos are very entertaining and are full of trippy psychedelic images, like melting spacemen, bugs in a tiny motel and a demonized Frida walking down a hallway. Their numerous videos add to their overall image of drinking, surfing and grungy alternative rocker lifestyles. But is this the reason my kids are obsessed?

My last theory, which is the most basic, is that The Growlers are an amazingly talented and unique band that created their own genre that is unmatched anywhere else in the music industry. Kids, no matter how old, have taste and can tell what is good music. My kids, not trying to brag, must have excellent taste in music for being obsessed with one of the best bands to emerge in the last fifty years. I’m proud of my kids for loving this band as much as I do and I will never hesitate to play their music for them or let them watch their music videos. The Growlers are a classic genre-bending band that I will always hold close to my heart. 

Genres: rock, psychedelic rock, surf rock, New Age, alternative rock, lo-fi rock

Favorite songs: Humdrum Blues, Someday, One Million Lovers, California, Problems III, Black Memories, Love Test, Rare Hearts, Gay Thoughts, Someday, Monotonia, Pet Shop Eyes

Score: 9/10 Almost the perfect sound, but their later work is not my favorite and leans too much towards New Age and less psychedelic rock. 

Written by Adam

Artist Spotlight

Allah-Las: Gateway to Neo-Psychedelia

Before discovering Allah-Las a few years ago, I never imagined finding the exact sound and vibe of my favorite music from the 60’s. Formed in 2008, this LA based rock band has all of the qualities that made 60’s music so great, from the crunchy surf guitar, catchy jangly lyrics and trippy background organs. I owe almost all of my new music discoveries to this band. Allah-Las was my gateway into the wonderful world of neo-psychedelia, a genre that bends and weaves through all of the aspects of 60’s pop, rock, blues, jazz and folk. 

Allah-Las consists of Miles Michaud, vocals and guitar, Matthew Correia, percussion and vocals, Spencer Dunham, bass and vocals, and Pedrum Siadatian, lead guitar and vocals. They have released four studio albums along with many singles. The first three albums share a similar surf rock sound while their newest album, LAHS has more of a mellow jazz sound. Their style is a blend of California surf rock, Mid 60’s rock and roll, jazz, blues and psychedelic rock. Imagine combining The Kinks, The Byrds, The Doors and The Beach Boys into one perfectly structured and fine tuned band. Allah-Las screams sunny California, bringing us back to the golden days of surfing, sun and laid back beach vibes. They follow closely to the jangle pop era of the 60’s, made popular by The Byrds, with the use of 12 string guitars, tambourines and background harmonies. They also incorporate a lot of Latin jazz sounds that were popular during the 60’s with their use of xylophones and other percussion instruments.

Photo by Tore Saetre

You can really tell these guys are music historians and enthusiasts. The level of detail to match the 60’s sound is amazing. They use the right guitars and hollow amps, vintage organs and microphones. Even their album cover art looks straight from that era. For a 60’s music enthusiast like myself, it’s hard to find a current band that matches this iconic sound as well as Allah-Las. 

I highly recommend listening to Allah-Las no matter what music you are interested in. They have a timeless sound that is reminiscent of the 60’s but remain relevant with current music trends and styles. 

Favorite Songs: Don’t You Forget It, Busman’s Holiday, Satisfied, High & Dry, Fish on the Sand, Had It All, Every Girl, Polar Onion

Genres: Psychedelic rock, surf rock, folk rock, garage rock, rock and roll, jangle pop

Score: 10/10 The Perfect Sound

Written by Adam

Artist Spotlight

The Blank Tapes: A Hazy Cloud of Psychedelic Smoke

Matt Adams, the genius behind the psychedelic rock band, The Blank Tapes, has been making hazy surf music since 2003. His music library is impressive with over 200 songs, ranging from short comical instrumental diddies to long electric guitar-heavy jams. I have loved The Blank Tapes for many years because of how they use humor and wit mixed with authentic 60’s style rock. 

Matt Adams grew up in Southern California, spending his days surfing and playing music. He is an artist and illustrator and does all of his album’s cover art as well as art for other bands including The Grateful Dead. His passion and drive for creating colorful music and art can be seen in his discography, which is diverse and extensive. He writes songs about the everyday mundane and uses humor to make light of his subject matter. His lyrics are what really draw me to his music, even though his instrumentals are very intriguing, complex and structured. Take the song “Way Too Stoned” for example. He has hilarious lines like, “I might lose my shit and then forget my phone” and “It’d be nice to have an ice cream cone”. The first time I heard this song I couldn’t help but laugh out loud to myself, a reaction most music doesn’t trigger.  He has this power with his lyrics, which is a unique and highly unappreciated effect of music in general. 

Along with his funny and witty lyrics, Adams creates complex and highly structured psychedelic rock songs, full of blues chords, unique progressions and trippy effects. He varies his style from classic rock and roll, to surf music, to folk to Brazilian style bossa nova. He even throws in these short funny little songs that sound like a game show theme or a kids cartoon. This variety and mastery of his instrumental side of his music is a major draw for me. 

The Blank Tapes, behind Matt Adams’ genius, creative and witty lense is one of my favorite bands and will probably remain so for the rest of my life. They have a timeless sound and a lot to say behind their hazy cloud of psychedelic smoke. 

Favorite Songs: Way too Stoned, Candy, Ebbs & Flows, 1000 Leather Tassels, Thinking About You, Early Birdy, 4:20, Do You Wanna Get High, Holy Roller

Genres: Psychedelic rock, rock and roll, neo-psychedelia, surf rock, folk

Score: 10/10 The Perfect Sound

Written by Adam


Artist Spotlight

Fuzz: A Homage to Metal

Before I discovered the band Fuzz, I was completely unfamiliar and slightly intimidated with heavy metal music. I loved psychedelic rock and electric guitar solos, so it was inevitable that I would discover and fall in love with the genre. Fuzz was the perfect gateway band to the energetic world of heavy psychedelic metal, exemplifying the power and technique that makes this music so enjoyable. 

Fuzz began in 2011 as a collaboration between friends Ty Segall, Charles Moothart and Chad Ubovich, who all wanted an outlet for their heavy metal cravings. They have released three studio and two live albums. The first two albums, named I and II, have a similar garage metal rock sound, very primitive and raw, while their third album is a bit more polished and has a later 70’s sound closer to later Led Zeppelin. This Bay Area power trio really shines in their live work, extending their insanely technical and fast guitar solos, along with powerful vocals. They are heavily influenced by the original metal bands of the 60’s and 70’s like Black Sabbath.

Photo by Alexandre Pennetier

I remember when I discovered Fuzz in the cold, rainy Fall. I blasted them on my way to work for weeks. Charles Moonhart’s guitar work would bring chills up and down my arms and at times tears would stream down my cheeks. His guitar work is a rare and unmatched style. He plays very fast and heavy and at times sounds like he is using a whammy bar by pushing down really hard on the back of his strings. He is by far one my favorite modern day electric guitar players. 

Along with Moonhart’s guitar work is Ty Segall’s amazing steady drumming and powerful vintage metal voice. Of course we can’t forget about Chad Ubovich, who is key in their overall style and song writing. Together this power trio brings the heat and never lets up. They are one of my favorite bands of all time and definitely deserve a listen, even if you are not a heavy metal fan. 

Favorite Songs: One, Preacher, This Time I’ve Got a Reason, You Won’t See Me, Sunderberry Dream

Genres: Psychedelic Metal, Stoner Rock, Garage Rock, Psychedelic Rock


10/10 The Perfect Band

Written by Adam


Artist Spotlight

Buffalo Killers: A New Familiar Sound

I grew up in a house of classic rock. I remember waking up to the sounds of Led Zeppelin and The Doors, while my Dad made his coffee. For most of my teenage years I was stubborn and stuck in my ways, assuming all new music was commercialized pop with no heart. After years of only listening to late 60’s and early 70’s rock, I finally got up the courage to branch out. I discovered bands like Allah-las and The Growlers, which opened my eyes to the world of modern neo-psychedelic rock. I have since been on a relentless search for the perfect psychedelic sound, blending just the right amount of fuzz, harmonies, rhythm and crunchy guitar solos. I found the perfect mix in the band, Buffalo Killers.

The band was formed in 2006 by Ohio brothers Andrew and Zachary Gabbard, and Joseph Sebaali after the breakup of their first rock group, The Shams, which had an earlier 60’s sound similar to The Animals or early Rolling Stones. You can hear many of these elements in the Buffalo Killers, with their tightly structured blues progressions, energetic vocals, powerful guitar solos and meaningful lyrics. The Buffalo Killers are a more polished and refined version of The Shams. They are the perfect blend of late 60’s, early 70’s blues rock. Their lyrics are creative and powerful, and at times haunting. The Gabbard brothers’ harmonies range from a soulful southern blues style of the Allman Brothers to a more gentle sound reminiscent of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Their melodies send chills up your spine. They have a slight metal sound similar to early Ozzy, while also sounding almost identical to Neil Young. They touch on themes of rebirth, ideath, nature and freedom. They have toured with some big bands including The Black Keys and The Black Crowes. Andrew Gabbard has released music independently under his own name and the brothers are currently making music as The Gabbard Brothers, which I’m very excited about.

Photo by Erin Volk

What really drew me to Buffalo Killers is their guitar work. Being a guitar player myself, I really fell in love with their tone and technique, so similar to the sounds of late 60’s, early 70’s blues rock. Andrew Gabbard is truly a master of his craft. His tone and vibrato is unmatched. He holds the note at the right time and has the perfect blend of blues, rock, metal and crunchy psychedelia. His sound is very similar to early Clapton while playing with Cream, full of rich, heavy distortion. If you are a fan of rock guitar, no matter what era, take a listen and you will be amazed and transported into a realm of timeless sound and technique. 

Buffalo Killers have released eight albums. Their second album, Let It Ride, was produced by Black Keys guitarist Dan Auerbach. Almost all of their albums have a similar sound except for Fireball of Sulk, which to me has more of a punk, metal or grunge style like Nirvana. It’s hard for me to choose my favorite songs from their entire discography, but a few that stand out to me are “Get It”, with its catchy piano and heavy blues guitar, “Huma Bird”, with its soft subtle flare and “Need a Changin’” which really sums up their overall philosophy and style and is a wonderful rock anthem song. 

Buffalo Killers are my perfect psychedelic rock band. They have the right balance of touch, technique, soul and downright heavy homegrown rock flare that will leave you wanting more. They are a new familiar sound that will grab you and never let go. 

Favorite Songs: Get It, Huma Bird, Need a Changin’, Moon Daisy

Genres: Psychedelic Rock, Roots Rock, Blues, Southern Rock, Folk Rock, Swamp Rock


10/10 The Perfect Sound

Written by Adam