The Lavender Flu


The Lavender Flu Barbarian Dust LP

Prolific Portland Deadheads go into the NU SHOOZ studio and make something truly special. I wonder if these guys are into SIMPLY SAUCER, because to my ears Barbarian Dust has that kind of spaced-out, mantra-like proto-punk sound that I like in Cyborgs Revisited. The warped, string-raking of “Hair Lord” sets a pummeling tone before yielding to the more mid-tempo psych-pop of “Mow the Glass.” The whole record is full of so many good and surprising ideas. Unlike the more deconstructed-sounding (and also excellent) Tomorrow Cleaners, everything here sounds perfectly in place, even the tunes that end abruptly. It’s like it was meant to be even when they’re adding elements that are not typically punk. Is that an EBow on “Keyboard Christ”? It still works! To say nothing of the VENOM cover. I have listened to this so damn many times and the various sonic turns it takes are burned into my brain forever. I think people will still care about this record ten years from now.

The Lavender Flu Tomorrow Cleaners LP

Fuzzy Oregon freaks the LAVENDER FLU celebrate their state’s decriminalization of recreational drugs with their third album in a mere year’s time. D.A.R.E. to bend an ear to the FLU’s warped sensibilities as they curve rainbows in mid-air and turn falling raindrops into flying butterflies. Tomorrow Cleaners finds the LAVENDER FLU back on the Meds label and exploring the same ’shroom-strewn forest that spawned their double-shot debut, Heavy Air. The owls are not what they seem as they lead you to a secret swimming hole where the humidity verges on the psychedelic. These sounds are melting along with you and perhaps even melting inside of you. “Boca Ciega” cops a welcome WEST COAST POP ART EXPERIMENTAL BAND vibe, while “Romelas” is lovely and groovy and lets low-key axemaster Chris Gunn carve out some space with his stun guitar. These are the songs that JULIAN COPE was singing to himself when he was hanging out under that tortoise shell. Naked and afraid and happy as a loon. Ore-gone or orgone? Unlike the recent Barbarian Dust, Tomorrow Cleaners is no killer rock slab, but still chock full of intriguing paths less traveled.