Mazzy Star + Psychic Ills

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Photograph: Ellen Ane Eggen
Mazzy Star

In the wake of Lou Reed’s passing, it feels apt to paraphrase the old saw, attributed to Brian Eno, that the first Velvet Underground album birthed a thousand bands, because Mazzy Star is certainly one of them. Whether it’s in the unadorned, sometimes slashing chords of guitarist and producer David Roback, or in the waking-dream hypnotic state of lead singer Hope Sandoval, the Mazzy sound—hazy, echo-drenched and turned unforgivingly inward—flows from a noirish art-rock undercurrent straight out of Warhol’s Factory.

Seasons of Your Day, the band’s fourth album, was released in September; for all the accompanying fanfare, Sandoval and Roback are typically blasé about the fact that it’s been 17 years since Mazzy’s last outing. As they do onstage, they prefer to let the music speak for itself—and it does, in an achingly familiar and timeless murmur. Recorded with the band’s original members and several vaunted guests, including My Bloody Valentine’s Colm Ó Ciosóig and the late alt-folk godfather Bert Jansch, Seasons picks up where 1996’s Among My Swan left off, with Sandoval sounding as quietly possessed by reverie (particularly on the singles “California” and “Common Burn”) as she did on signature hits “Fade Into You” and “Into Dust.” All these will figure into Mazzy’s first New York show since late ’96, with homegrown acid-gazers Psychic Ills setting the mood.—Bill Murphy

Follow Bill Murphy on Twitter: @RoninScribe

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