By Dave Pehling
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Two top-flight neo-psych bands share the stage at the Chapel in San Francisco’s Mission when local heroes Lumerians and Carlton Melton play the venue Friday night.
Founded in 2006 by guitarists/keyboardists Tyler Green and Jason Miller, bassist Marc Melzer and drummer Chris Musgrave, Bay Area favorites Lumerians make hypnotic, pulsing songs that draw heavily on classic krautrock sounds (specifically Can and Neu), more experimental punk bands like Sonic Youth and the Butthole Surfers and global psychedelia. Though founded in San Francisco, the band would relocate to Oakland early on after finding a converted church where they were able to build their own recording studio.
With the addition of percussionist/synth player Luis Valdez, the band started releasing music in 2008 with its eponymous debut EP on the Subterranean Elephants label. The group would build a reputation for transporting live performances, aided in no small part by the retina-searing light show and projections used while onstage. Subsequent releases including a pair of efforts for Knitting Factory Records (their debut full length Transmalinnia in 2011 and the Horizon Structures the following year) and invitations to open for the likes of Killing Joke and My Bloody Valentine and appear at international psych music festivals including Roadburn in Holland and Levitation in Austin further solidified the band’s following.
Valdez would depart the group in 2011 to focus on his own popular darkwave project The Soft Moon, but the band has continued to be a consistent draw in the Bay Area and abroad, especially after adopting hooded robes and masks to their already otherworldly stage show. Lumerians took a break after releasing Transmissions from Telos Vol. III in 2014, but returned with another hypnotic effort Call of the Void last year.
The band appeared in their new glowing-eyed, psychedelic cowboy guise (ditching the hooded monk’s robes that had long been their visual signature) for their closing main stage set at the Huichica Festival in Sonoma last June and are returning to the Bay Area from an extended tour that saw the band playing festivals and headlining concerts on the East Coast and in Europe over the past month. Lumerians are preparing to release a new 7-inch single on Fuzz Club Records featuring the original guitar-driven tune “Yellowcake” backed with a cover of “C Rock,” a song by late ’70s Italian experimental synth duo Chrisma.
For this Friday night show at the Chapel, Lumerians will be joined by prolific psych power trio Carlton Melton. Made up of guitarist/synth player Rich Millman, drummer/guitarist Andy Duvall (both former members of late, lamented SF blues-punk Zen Guerilla) and bassist/drummer Clint Golden, the band has been putting out its guitar-heavy instrumentals for over a decade. Starting with a live CD-R of freewheeling improvisational jams that the band recorded in 2008 at their geodesic dome studio in the small coastal town of Point Arena, Carlton Melton makes music that hearkens back to early Pink Floyd (the band covered the Obscured By Clouds gem “When You’re In” on their proper debut album Pass It On…), the corrosive six-string squall of Hendrix and Tangerine Dream’s expansive, meditative soundscapes.
Collaborating in the studio with such notable players/engineers as Phil Manley (Golden, Trans Am, Terry Gross) and former Monster Magnet guitarist John McBain, the band has put out an impressive string of recordings with UK psych label Agitated Records and on their own Mid-To-Late imprint along with a number of singles and splits via other record companies, including their most recent double-album effort, last year’s Mind Minerals. Noisy SF psychedelic/post-punk outfit Death Cheetah opens the show.
Lumerians with Carlton Melton
Friday, August 30, 8:30 p.m. $16-$18