Meet River Cult, Brookyn’s Newest Heavy Psych Rock Trio


While the influence of the occult is inextricable from rock ’n’ roll, it often appears in the hokiest forms possible and gives us insufferable garbage music made without any context or feeling. Tenuous trend-hopping bands come and go, but I try to listen to a lot of them anyway because 1) I’m a masochist to the core, and 2) hidden gems await. River Cult are one such gem, and their germane appearance on my radar — while I was reading Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll — seemed almost supernal.

The Brooklyn trio is new on the scene, with two of the members relocating to NYC just last summer. Their self-titled EP dropped on February 4th, and the band is now gearing up to play their first show ever on April 8th at the Acheron, followed by a set at Lucky 13 Saloon on April 19th.

After hitting them up with my rookie journalist questions out of selfish curiosity, I was delighted to discover we share many of the same cultural obsessions and influences: Led Zeppelin, Sleep, Jodorowsky films, Lovecraftian themes, etc. Literature is also a big influence on the band’s songwriting, with vocalist/guitarist Sean Forlenza citing French novelist Marcel Proust as an inspiration for the opening track, “Temps Perdue:”

The lyrics of the song are about experiencing what Proust calls “lost time.” Memories that take over your whole body and mind when experiencing them in the present. They can be experienced by all of the senses, and are therefore experienced NOW and not just a memory of THEN.

These elements blend beautifully into a fuzzed-out psych rock quest that sounds like it was recorded in a ’70s rec room in outer space. Fans of the Riding Easy Records roster take note: if you’ve ever geeked out to the 13th Floor Elevators or wished Hawkwind did (more?) heroin, this is right up your alley.

The EP comes out on cassette today, and you can stream it below or buy it on Bandcamp. Check out their Facebook for upcoming show info.

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