SAN FRANCISCO -- Two leading lights of heavy psychedelia share the stage at the Bottom of the Hill Tuesday night when Telekinetic Yeti and White Hills bring their tour to San Francisco.
Formed in 2015 in Dubuque, Iowa, by guitarist Alex Baumann and drummer Anthony Dreyer, Telekinetic Yeti combined elements of sludge metal, doom and the more extreme end of psychedelic rock with Baumann's heavily processed, seven-string guitar covering lower frequencies. Within two years, the pair had made their mark with the release of their well-reviewed debut effort Abominable and tours supporting like-minded acts Weedeater and Truckfighters, earning legions of new fans with their ferocious stage show.
Despite the success of the album, tension between Baumann and Dreyer over touring commitments would disrupt the band the following year, leading the Baumann to fire drummer and enlist a fill-in player for a tour with Red Fang. In October of 2019, Baumann announced that he had begun writing and recording songs for the band's second album with drummer Oscar Johansson (formerly with Truckfighters and Witchcraft). While the sophomore effort was completed in 2020, the pandemic and accompanying uncertainty about touring led Telekinetic Yeti to hold off releasing it until last month when Primordial became the duo's first release with noted heavy-music imprint Tee Pee Records. With new drummer Rockwell Heim behind the kit, the duo is garnering high praise for the tuneful, exploratory doom anthems featured on the album produced by Philip Cope (Kylesa, Baroness, Black Tusk).
Partnering with Telekinetic Yeti on this tour are the Brooklyn-based psych cosmonauts of White Hills. Over nearly 20 years of making music, the band has established a reputation as one of America's foremost proponents of fuzz-driven space rock. Founded in 2003 by guitarist, principal songwriter, and onetime S.F. resident David W, the group has released an avalanche of albums and EPs mixing juggernaut riffage and pulsing krautrock dronescapes.
With sole other constant in the band Ego Sensation on bass, White Hills earned notoriety with its synapse-frying live performances featuring heavy visuals, strobe lights and thick fog as well a prolific output of recordings that eventually scored the group a deal with Thrill Jockey records (though they have continued to release a steady stream of albums and EPs for other labels). Efforts like 2007's explosive psychedelic opus Heads on Fire, the band's self-titled Thrill Jockey debut and H-p1 expand on the legacies of Hawkwind, Can and early Tangerine Dream with their deep-space epics. The group got additional exposure with its appearance in director Jim Jarmusch's 2014 vampire romance The Only Lovers Left Alive.
On the group's 2017 effort Stop Mute Defeat, the band teamed with previous collaborator and veteran NYC engineer/producer Martin Bisi (Sonic Youth, Afrika Bambaataa, Swans, Bill Laswell) that explored a different sonic approach. Looping and sampling their instruments and utilizing a drum machine, the duo crafted a sound that nods to the no-wave movement and the electro punk of Suicide. The band continued to delve into an industrial-tinged post-punk style on their 2020 album Splintered Metal Sky that included collaborations with Psychic TV producer/engineer Jeff Berner, Jarmusch (playing guitar on two songs) and synth player Jim Coleman (Cop Shoot Cop, Human Impact).
White Hill's forthcoming album -- the first for the band's newly established label Heads on Fire Industries -- revisits one of the bands seminal efforts. The Revenge of Heads on Fire features new remixes of the original album's six tunes along with six additional rediscovered and previously unreleased tracks, expanding on the remarkable record's psychedelic vision. Telekinetic Yeti and White Hills bring their tour to the Bay Area Tuesday night (it also stops at Cafe Colonial in Sacramento on Sunday) and are joined by new local all-star outfit, Desslock. A menacing, synth-powered post-punk quartet with members of Zen Guerilla, Carlton Melton, Acid King, Frisco and Ace Frehley tribute act Frehley's Vomit, the group's sound echoes elements of early Gary Numan (they're known to cover a song by his pre-solo career band Tubeway Army) and Killing Joke. DJ Sasquatch Borracho plays records before and between bands.
Telekinetic Yeti and White Hills with Desslock
Tuesday, Aug. 16, 7:30 p.m. $15-$20
The Bottom of the Hill
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