Acid Tongue, Seattle Psych Glam Rockers, are about to release “Arboretum,” an album that is part glam-rock opus, part mixtape while it marks a significant step forward for a band well-versed in straddling the line between psychedelia and power-pop.
The core duo of the band is songwriter Keltner and drummer/vocalist Ian Cunningham (currently based in the Pacific Northwest) but with numerous touring and studio musicians scattered between Paris, New York, London, Mexico City, Los Angeles, & Austin, the rotating roster has grown larger by the day. Acid Tongue has been productive over the past 18 months, self-producing 10 new songs on their third album. Each song of “Arboretum” is a collaboration with some of the best and brightest in underground rock and roll. Guy Keltner, the primary songwriter for Acid Tongue, took a rough couple of years and turned them into a libretto. “I became incredibly depressed and started spending a lot of time at the Arboretum in Seattle. I had just moved home and was spending all day absorbing this diversity of plants and sounds at the park. I poured myself into writing some deeply personal songs, heavily influenced by the artists in my immediate orbit.” During the recording of Arboretum, Keltner was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and decided to get sober from alcohol. “Kicking booze helped me focus in the studio, but I needed help finishing this album. I was incredibly fortunate to work with musicians that I actually listened to and enjoyed. They individually elevated each song to be something beautiful and unique.”
Album opener “Home,” featuring Brazilian artist Libra, is a mix of glam and classic rock with an upbeat sound soaring in a chorus shining like a Christmas song. “Ordinary People” is a dense and fuzzy earworm with sax, and the rest of the album has an interesting collection of guests: Los Angeles psych-garage staples Death Valley Girls are featured on “Take Me to Your Leader,” one of the harder-rocking tracks of the album that works as a retro loud psychedelic party. “Rock & Roll Revelations,” and “Suffering for You” feature the participation of Freakout Records-siblings Shaina Shepherd and Smokey Brights, while bringing a large dose of classic rock and roll soul. The songs embrace the optimism of the ‘70s with jangly keys and saxophones, but “Suffering for You” is more on the soft side, with energetic strummed guitar and piano keys and sad lyrics.
The slightly more stripped-down “Facts of Life” is a warm soulful disco ball, much more danceable than you would expect from psych-rockers, and the dancefloor continues with another disco anthem, “All Out Of Time,” featuring Canadian singer-songwriter Calvin Love. Seattle freak-rockers Naked Giants gave a more intimate and indie vibe to the introspective “Won’t Walk Back” and the album ends with the longest song of the album, “The World’s Gonna Fuck You,” a psychedelic epic trip, both bright and anxious.
“Arboretum” works like a good-vibes party – quite short as the entire album runs under 30 minutes – a bit Rolling Stones-y at times, often danceable and poppy, showing its powerful classic rock side blending with dynamic garage rock. However, even though the music is joyful, the lyrics may reveal more doom and gloom
“Arboretum” comes out December 3rd via Freakout Records. Beyond the credited collaborations, performers on the record include keyboardist Glenn Brigman of Triptides & Levitation Room, vocalist Matan KG (Paper Idol), bass guitarist Dustin Bookatz (Pearl Charles), and the band’s longtime string-arranger Philip Peterson (Haim, Taylor Swift, Portugal the Man).
Acid Tongues has also some tour dates:
December 31st – Seattle, WA – Substation (with Christian Bland & The Revelators)
January 7th – Brooklyn, NY – TV Eye
May 12th – Los Angeles, CA – Zebulon (with The Detroit Cobras)
September 9th-11th – Giverny, FR – Rock in the Barn Festival
- Ordinary People
- Take Me To Your Leader
- Facts of Life
- All Out Of Time
- Rock ‘N’ Roll Revelations
- Suffering For You
- Won’t Walk Back
- The World’s Gonna Fuck You
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