All Them Witches – Lost And Found EP

It’s difficult to pick a music category that does justice to Nashville four piece All Them Witches, but ‘heavy psychedelic rock’ is probably a good starting point. When they toured the UK last year, they used the entire of Iron Man by Black Sabbath as their intro music and when I saw them at the Bierkeller in Bristol, the keyboard player Allan Van Cleave was wearing a Grateful Dead t-shirt – these are both useful historical reference points.

Although they’re now signed to New West Records, they have a history of self-publishing and guerilla releasing, so it was a pleasant, but not completely out of character, surprise when they announced yesterday that they have a new EP, Lost And Found, and it’s available to download for free from their Bandcamp site. It’s produced and mixed by guitarist Ben MacLeod and the striking artwork is by drummer Robby Staebler.

I’ve listened to it a few times over the past two days and I’m really impressed by the quality of the EP. Over the course of three original tracks and one cover, they push their boundaries in diverse directions. They’re going to start recording a new album in April – I’m not sure if this EP is intended to explore possible new directions or just limber up on some tracks that don’t otherwise fit, but either way it’s well worth a listen.

  1. Hares On The Mountain. This starts simply but piles drone instrument upon drone instrument upon hypnotic vocal, before disappearing in a giant wave of echoing guitar.
  2. Before The Beginning. A pretty straightforward cover of a Peter Green song from the 1969 Fleetwood Mac album Then Play On.
  3. Call Me Star. This is a mostly acoustic track which is strongly reminiscent (to me at least) of Nick Drake, especially in the fingerpicked guitar but also to an extent in the vocals.
  4. Dub Passageways. A proper King Tubby style dub treatment of a track which tries to rock out (the drums could be from a Faith No More track) but keeps being pulled back to dubspace. Allan Van Cleave also plays some mean violin.

I first ran across All Them Witches on a Premier Guitar Rig Rundown of all places. If you like the technical side of bands, it’s a fascinating forty minutes.

Actually, there are quite a few entertaining and informative Rig Rundowns – I should do a best of blog post.

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