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Zodiacs 

Gone (Holy Mountain)

Zodiacs blow away just about every stoner-rock outfit out there. So if you crave brutal acid rock melted with malevolent wah-wah, banshee reverb, and spine-piercing feedback, pick up Gone. This lo-fi muck will absolutely bugger you, especially the 10-minute closer, "Road Star Blues."

But wait -- on second thought, fuck that. I expect more from this group. Zodiacs is not a trio of "born free" bikers (an ongoing joke perpetuated by the band), but a hard-rocking side project for some cool indie dudes. In addition to Clay Ruby, formerly of Davenport, it features two great folk-rock singers: James Jackson Toth (aka Wooden Wand) and Keith Wood, who operates under the Hush Arbors moniker. With gifted songwriters like that, why not fuse these extended improvisations to some really great tunes à la Neil Young & Crazy Horse or Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac? Although this is a skill few bands can handle nowadays, these guys could pull it off. Of course, that means Zodiacs would no longer be just a hip homage to obscure psychedelia from the early '70s, but that's fine; the world is filled with enough of that stuff.

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