Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound have at last unleashed their latest psychedelic onslaught on the world, Manzanita. Check out the album’s opener, “L.A. Sacrifice”, which is lighter on the sunny side but certainly bursting with all kinds of head-nodding psych rock guitar:
As it turns out, sunshine was a very real presence throughout the recording process, so Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound is kinda, in some ways, more than just a name. How do I know this? Assemble Head’s Charlie Saufley was kind enough to submit to my questioning. Check it out after the jump.
The band is in mid-trek across the US, including many shows with Howlin’ Rain. Here are all their tour dates:
June 26 – San Diego, CA – Soda Bar
June 27 – Los Angeles, CA – Bootleg Theater
June 28 – Fresno, CA – Audie’s Olympic
June 29 – Santa Cruz, CA – Crepe Place
June 30 – San Francisco, CA – Cafe du Nord
July 24 – New York, NY – The Studio at Webster Hall*
July 25 – Washington, DC – Rock and Roll Hotel*
July 26 – Philadelphia, PA – North Star Bar*
July 27 – Annapolis, MD – Metropolitan Kitchen & Lounge*
July 28 – Brooklyn, NY – Knitting Factory*
(* w/ Howlin’ Rain)
BB: Does Manzanita differ significantly from past albums? How?
CS: Well, it’s funny, I was listening to it and realized there is some fucked up stuff that you can only get through this weird combination of folks that make up Assemble Head. Still, it’s significantly different in some ways. It came together less through jamming than through songs and ideas that were brought to the studio in a more complete and realized state. That happened on earlier records too. But I feel like a lot of our older material was born of endless, drunken, meandering jams that we’d pound into shape via this weird hazy determination.
This time around, life was so hectic, we had to rely on songs a little more. But that has always been a part of our aesthetic to some extent. We like the Beatles and Byrds and Pretty Things and bands like Dinosaur that combined tunes and heaviness.
BB: Where/with whom was Manzanita recorded?
CS: We worked with Tim Green again, though he moved Louder Studios up to Grass Valley. Tim is a genius engineer, a fantastic musician, and the new studio just sounds amazing.
It’s a pretty incredible place to make a record too. There’s lots of land to wander around on and gather your thoughts, and it seemed like the whole studio was bathed in golden sunlight half the time. It was incredibly inspiring, comfortable, and relaxing.
BB: Will your set list at Cafe Du Nord on the 30th have lots of songs from the new album, or will it be a mix of old and new?
CS: We did a show at the Independent last month and did just one old track in the whole set. We’ll probably do a couple more old jams on this tour. There’s a few barn burners and cool mood pieces that are too fun to play, and we missed them.
BB: You guys play and tour a lot with Sleepy Sun. How’d that come together?
CS: We’re just buddies. We hang out all the time — doing stuff that has nothing to do with music half the time. Touring the country together meant guaranteed good times. And it really was a great time. There were some very special nights — everybody up on stage, drunk and shaking tambourines and dancing. And having a big gang of friends on the road like that keeps you sane — piling out of the van somewhere east of Buffalo, busting out the baseball gloves and having a game of catch. Ten weirdos crashing some unsuspecting but generous showgoers house after the show… It made the potentially drearier bits of touring a lot more fun.
BB: Any particular shows you’re looking forward to on the tour?
CS: I’m really stoked about our Santa Cruz show. The Allah Las are joining Assemble Head and the Shrine. That’s two of my fave bands going right now. I’d love to do a couple of weeks with that crew! And you can’t beat a Friday night, summertime Santa Cruz show — hit the Boardwalk for a ride on the Giant Dipper and some arcade classics, grab a corn dog, and hit the Crepe Place. With that bill too?…. Man, that’s just a perfect night. If your date doesn’t go home with you after a night like that, I don’t what to tell you.