Berkeley, California has been the birthplace of many progressive American movements. A home for counterculture, not just visualized as 60s hippies but also through 80s and 90s punk bands such as Green Day, Rancid and Operation Ivy.
This tradition of Berkeley music is further emphasized by modern psychedelic band, Crooked Flower. The quartet was founded by bassist, Daniel Erik and guitarist, Dan Ingberman in 2011. By 2014, the duo recruited Patrick Shields on drums and percussion and multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, Angelina Dang. This lineup solidified the feel of the band – groove-oriented songs backed by a tight rhythm section, closer to pop than modern psych bands like the Flaming Lips and Dungen. Rounded out with tasteful guitar noodling, foundational and soloing organ and electric piano, Crooked Flower’s sound is topped by Dang’s sultry, swaggering voice.
With Blooming – The Light Rail Sessions, a live in-studio album released on July 8, the songs sit in a mid-tempo range apart from a couple of pop rockers such as Losing Time and Go Back. But the roots of uncomplicated psych rock define this album – most prevalent in tracks like winding opener, Came to Me in Dreams (Prelude and First Part), Moving on and Tunnel of Light. By boldly opening this album with a 7 minute freak-out, the band introduces (and perhaps vets) the listener to what to expect from the following 6 tracks. Second last on the album is the piano-driven Coming Back, presenting some balladesque gold and yet another example of Angelina Dang’s vocal prowess. The album is bookended with the second part of Came to Me in Dreams this time as (Second Part and Conclusion), featuring wah-thick guitar and keyboard solos in a building and crashing jam.
Have a listen to this album and let us know your favourites.