Rocket Recordings recently announced the signing of MIEN whose self-titled debut album will be released on Friday April 6th, 2018. MIEN is comprised of The Black Angel’s Alex Maas, The Horror’s Tom Furse, Elephant Stone’s Rishi Dhir and The Earlies’ John-Mark Lapham. Today the band shares the second single, “Earth Moon,” which you can listen to now via Brooklyn Vegan.
The press reactions to the band’s first single “Black Habit” has been overwhelming:
“Apocalyptic psych rock” -Pitchfork
“MIEN is the psychedelic line up of your dreams” -Clash
“Kaleidoscopic series of atmospheres and excursions” -Self-Titled Mag
“Propulsive and groove-laden” -Gigwise
“A collaborative path clearly worth following” -Northern Transmissions
“Will put you in a mesmerized stupor” -The Revue
“More than happy to get lost in MIEN’s trippy sonic bubble” -The Most Radicalist
“Is it too early to say I’ve already heard one of the best singles of the year?” -7th Level Music
“Capture the sonic altered state of consciousness” -Turn-up the volume
“The Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young for the 21st century” -Audio Fuzz
“Shot through with a sinister, intoxicating venom” -Get Into This
The seeds were sown for this collaboration as long ago as 2004, when Rishi Dhir found himself in a chance encounter with Black Angels’ frontman Alex Maas whilst performing sitar with his former band on a bill at SXSW in Austin with The Brian Jonestown Massacre. Not long afterwards, he would also stumble across the Anglo-American band The Earlies, who he would similarly collaborate and share a stage with. This led to essentially the genesis of MIEN, via a shared love for one song – the ‘classic sitar banger’ by the Association, ‘Wantin’ Ain’t Gettin’. Upon finding that both he and The Earlies’ electronics guru and producer John Mark Lapham had a particular desire to cover this ditty, they began a slow process of putting together the version they’d always dreamt of. Whilst this would never come to fruition – the sparks that flew between them lit up a collaborative path clearly worth following.
Some years later, another piece of the puzzle came into place, when Dhir was now playing bass with The Black Angels in 2012, and found the band sharing several bills with The Horrors, whose ‘Skying’ album had been on heavy rotation for him during this period. Thus he made the acquaintance of Tom Furse, and yet another pact was made to work together in the future. Soon, via yet another pass at the ill-starred Association cover, the four planets of the MIEN universe were to align, as a long-standing demo of John Mark – originally based on a Beastie Boys sample – was passed from the cutting-room- floor through the hands of Rishi, Alex and Tom to undergo an alchemical process that startled all four – this was to become ‘Black Habit’, the second song on this debut.
Several traversals of the globe by both plane and audio-file later, the result is an album that sees this quartet transcending their origins whilst maintaining a cohesive unity borne of a desire for outward exploration. John Mark’s vision, as he puts it, was “imagine the Black Angels as Nico in her ’80s industrial phase mixed with George Harrison and Conny Plank.” – true to form, it’s an album that finds equal room for radiant groove-based propulsion and ambient dreamscapes alike – as comfortable with the murky hallucinogenic voyage of ‘You Dreamt’ as the powerful widescreen sweep of ‘(I’m Tired Of) Western Shouting’, yet with songwriting acumen as potent as the production values are expansive and exploratory.
This may have been a record put together at a distance – yet the chemistry between these four figures is manifest amidst a kaleidoscopic series of atmospheres and excursions whereby the fertile songwriting of the golden age of ‘60s psychedelia is transmitted into a transcendental realm above and beyond the second decade of the 21st century.
MIEN are: Alex Maas (vocals, samples, loops), Tom Furse (keyboards, programming), Rishi Dhir (bass, sitar, keyboards) and John-Mark Lapham (keyboards, samples, programming).
Pre-order MIEN on vinyl/CD here or digitally here
04/28 Austin, TX – Levitation Festival / Stubb’s *
* = w/ Slowdive & S U R V I V E