Long Beach's Magic Lantern make the sort of music I haven't really heard since the British band Loop stalked the planet a generation ago. If you check their influences on MySpace, you'll see a unit immersed in some of the greatest head music ever: Can, Magical Power Mako, Hawkwind, Faust, Henry Flynt, Amon Düül II. Magic Lantern have learned their lessons well.
The band's sound is epitomized by the opening track on this CD-R (which is already sold out), the 15-minute "At the Mountains of Madness": The quintet lock into a groove of Stooges-ian heaviness, embellishing it with poignant flute wisps, guitars that crankily spark and swirl into psychedelic arabesques, and a propulsive beat that approximates Sly & the Family Stone's "Dance to the Music." It's the most exhilarating thing out of the 562 I've heard this year. If you like getting disoriented and levitated in sonic maelstroms (and who doesn't?), then "At the Mountains of Madness" is your golden brainticket.
The disc's other four tracks ain't too shabby, either. The doomy shimmer of "Vampires in Heat" evokes the static/ecstatic dichotomy that sometimes animates groups such as Spacemen 3 and Bardo Pond. "Chance Encounter" is a turgidly majestic sortie into the valiant prog-drone-metal of Om and Sunn0))). "Gateway" seductively floats downstream, immaculately stoned, blissing out like Faust's "Jennifer" and Black Sabbath's "Planet Caravan," but more fluidly. "Untitled (Live)" is a rolling fuzzball of communal psych-jamming that will have your third eye's lashes fluttering madly. Somebody needs to conceive a better title for it, though.
The New York label Not Not Fun (www.notnotfun.com) has issued a cassette with "At the Mountains of Madness" and "Untitled (Live)," which should hold you till they release their next CD-R on French imprint Ruralfaune. Magic Lantern: a beacon of hope in our region's underground scene . . .
Attention Orange County/Long Beach musicians and bands! Mail your music, along with your vital contact info and a decent high-resolution photo (plus any impending performance dates and bribe money—large bills, please; daddy needs a new pair of shoes) for possible review to: Locals Only,OC Weekly, 1666 N. Main St., Ste. 500, Santa Ana, CA 92701. Or just be lazy and e-mail your MySpace link to email@example.com.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Orange County, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.