14 Oct 2015

13 O'Clock 7"s - The Higher State / The Beginner's Mynd

Reviewed by Nathan Ford

I've never made a secret of the fact that teeny Austin, Texas label 13 O'Clock is one of my very favourite vinyl labels, and it's releases like these two that have helped them secure that position.

First up is a brand new single from the Higher State. Based in Kent in the UK, and formed in 2005, the Higher State play "authentic 60’s West Coast sounding original songs and make records with a total disregard for the trends coming and going around them." That's what their website says, and it ain't no lie.

For those of you who already know the Higher State, there has been some concern recently about whether there would be a future for the band, with original drummer Mole and guitarist Daniel Shaw leaving the band. This then, is the first fruits of the trimmed down Higher State, and any concerns about a change of direction can be safely put to bed on the strength of these two sides.

Marty Wilde's vocals and lyrics still give the impression that he's extremely hard done by, in the best tradition of snotty sixties garage/psych: "Don't say you care when you clearly don't, you wish me well when you really don't...." , and the jangly guitars, minor key melodies, and vintage organs that we've come to expect, and love are all present. A-Side "Consider it a Debt Repaid" is all righteous fury, with an insane, plot-losing organ break, while flip "In a World That Just Don't Care" is a more restrained, and resigned minor key opus. Both are fabulous examples of what the Higher State do so well, and apparently intend to keep doing in their stripped back state. Yay!

13 O'Clock's other new 7" release is one that we're even more excited about. We've been following the progress of Washington D.C psych trio The Beginner's Mynd with keen interest from day one, and it's great to see them get a physical release after a string of great digital only E.Ps. I'm surprised it's taken this long for an enterprising label to nab them.

"I Found You Out" starts the ball rolling with their signature chiming guitars, offering a textbook example of their skills at merging vintage U.S folk-rock, with quirkier UK pop-psych trimmings. This would have fit in nicley among the eighties revivalists like Plasticland, with the added bonus of not suffering from the dreaded eighties production curse that weighed so many great records from that era down. And flipside "When You Go" might just be my favourite side yet to escape from Dan McNabb's fertile Mynd. Combining a jaunty tempo with a pensive chorus, and moody, minor key leanings, this one stretches out a little more, which is a great move, as there's plenty of mileage to be had from this particular melody.

These are great - you can get them both straight from the label here. And there's plenty of other greatness to be found on the label too, so dig deep.

Digital (and physical for UK/ EU customers) copies of the Higher State single can be found here:

Digital and physical copies of the Beginner's Mynd single can be bought directly from the band here:

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